When you decided to volunteer your time to paint a mural at St. Paul’s, did you have any idea how large of an impact it would have on the school?
“The staff and parents of St. Paul’s wanted to freshen up the library and I’ve painted murals at other schools. I started out painting one wall in the corner of the library. Every day while I was working, the kids would come in and ask me questions about what I was drawing and painting. Would the pirate have a parrot on his shoulder? What did the wording on the scroll mean? They connected with the images on the mural. The next thing I knew, I was painting the entire library.”
How did you start painting murals?
“When I was about 28 we opened our first store and one of the walls was old and dilapidated. Clifford Dennis was a friend and an artist from New York who suggested I paint a mural on the wall. We spent the entire weekend painting that wall and I loved every minute of it.”
What do you love about painting?
“Everything. I get an idea and my heart starts pounding. It’s so exciting when your work resonates with other people. I truly experienced that thrill while working at St. Paul’s School. The kids would come in and check out what I’d done and tell me I was their favourite artist. It spurred me on to do some of my best work.”
The mural is beautiful and it’s made a big difference in the overall aesthetic of the library. In what other way has it transformed the space?
“The mural is filled with magical images; fairies and elves and animals and a dragon, which was originally the focal point of the mural. It’s vibrant and creative but most of all it’s meant to stir the imaginations of the children which is what it has done. Every time they come into the library they can look at the mural and get lost in it, similar to the feeling when you’re reading a book you just can’t put down.”
You and your husband Joseph are the owners of a very successful shoe store, Pensieri in downtown Peterborough. How does your love of art and painting translate to the work you do at the store?
“So many things inspire me. Even shoes. Some of them are so exquisitely-crafted they are a work of art. I guess when you love what you do it becomes an extension of just about everything you do and who you are.”