I am an artist. I make some of my art in collage, by cutting out lots of little pieces of painted paper but I make paintings on canvas, too. I am also a writer. I write children's books and, sometimes, articles about books and art. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a teacher. When I grew up a little, I wanted to be a poet and a short-story writer. When I grew up a little more than that, I wanted to be an artist.
Dar in studio:
I think I got really lucky because now I get to do all those things as a job!
I am the oldest of two daughters and grew up in a home that was very artsy and creative. I was born in Wisconsin, grew up in Missouri, lived for a while in Ohio, and now live in central New Jersey with my husband, my two sons, and two big brown dogs named Ezra and Ruby. I have a large yard with lots of flower beds and, in the spring and summer, I like to see what kinds of plants I can grow. I truly love trees and I am proud that I have, in my yard, the biggest and most majestic tree on my whole entire street. It is a wonderful old oak tree and it stands more than four stories high.
When I am ready to make a picture book, I almost always work on the writing first and then, after the writing is done, I do the illustrations. The illustrations take a long time because I have to first paint all the paper, then cut it, then arrange it, then glue it down, and then, finish each picture with liquid inks, oil pastels, and colored pencils. Collage artists like me are often called Mixed Media Artists because we do more than just glue pieces of paper and we use lots of different art supplies to make our art. Most of my book illustrations are done during the winter months when I am not tempted to putter around outside or when I am not playing around at the pool with my kids or on vacation! Winter is a great time to stay busy and cozy in a studio.
I like all kinds of food, but especially spicy dishes and wonderfully rich desserts, and I enjoy cooking for my family and friends. I love to watch movies and have seen thousands of them. I like to read books a lot and belong to a book club so that I can talk about the books I read with other people who like to read books, too. My family and I are totally crazy about Apple computers and enjoy learning how to use all kinds of technology in creative and educational ways. I run about three times a week and, when it's not too hot, my German Shepherd, Ruby, likes to join me. I have a special fondness for nighttime, the Moon, and nocturnal animals. My birthday is September 21.
I have six finished published books, two books that are finished being written but not completely illustrated, and nearly 10 more that are in various stages of rough drafts! I plan to keep making books for as long as I am on the planet and I am coming up with new ideas all the time. Knowing that people enjoy my books and art is one of the very, very best parts of my life!