been a freelance artist for over thirty years. She studied
art at the University of Redlands, California, and at
the College of Creative Studies, University of California,
Santa Barbara. She has worked in graphic design, and is
the illustrator of six books for children, several of
which earned national honors.
botanical illustration at the New York Botanical Garden,
the Chicago Botanic Garden, and the Morton Arboretum,
and holds a Certificate in Botanical Art from the Arboretum.
She is a former member of the Western Massachusetts Illustrators'
Guild and is currently a member of the American Society
of Botanical Artists. Her paintings and prints are in
numerous private collections.
of her art include Michelson's Gallery in Northampton,
Massachusetts, the Illustrators Guild of Western Massachusetts,
the Seabury Western School of Theology in Evanston, Illinois,
the Straube Center in Pennington, New Jersey, and Trinity
has taught art at Trinity Cathedral Academy
and at tthe Trent House Museum in Trenton,
and at her home studio in Pennington. She
is currently co-chair of the New Jersey Chapter
of The Episcopal Church and Visual Arts,
and is teaching at the Paul Robeson Center
for the Arts in Princeton.
her own words:
California in 1949, I was the second of four children.
My father, a Lutheran minister, was also an Army Chaplain.
That meant that he and my mother, who was a gifted musician,
and the four of us kids, moved around the country a lot,
staying no longer than three years in any one place.
Many of my earliest and happiest memories were of semi-rural
Springfield, Virginia — of snow days, endless
summers, and walking to school. I never wanted to leave there.
Not even to live in France. But shortly before my tenth birthday
that is where we went. After that we were transferred to Germany.
Living so many places at a young age opened my eyes to the
wider world and its languages and cultures. My parents encouraged
my interest in art, and made certain we made the most of our
travels. How many eleven-year-olds get to see Michelangelo's
David? The travel, museums, and historic sites stimulated
my imagination and confirmed my desire to become an artist.
I dreamed of becoming an illustrator of children's books.
1967, after graduating from Kubasaki High
School in Okinawa, we returned to California.
As an art student at the University of Redlands
and later at the University of California
at Santa Barbara, I was drawn into the counter-culture
of the late sixties and into the ant -war
and anti-racism movements. These were my
hippie protester days. I dropped out of school
in 1971, my junior year, and married my protesting
sweetheart, George Councell. Together we
hit the road to Cambridge, Massachusetts
where he entered an Episcopal seminary. After
he was ordained a priest, my life's focus
became our little family. Daughter Sarah
was born in 1973 and Martha in 1976.
In the early
1980s, I worked in graphic design at the University of
California, Riverside. I continued to study art, and almost
10 years later, with the help of wonderful mentors Elaine
Smith, Peg Davol, and author Jane Yolen, my childhood
dream of illustrating children's books was realized. (Click
here to see images of the books.) Eleven years and
six books after that it was time for a change.
studying botanical art in the Chicago area where we then
lived. During l that time I worked with a garden designer,
Dorothy Hebért, painting watercolors of her designs
for clients' gardens. Later I found myself being drawn
into painting large colorful abstracts in oil. I began
teaching art lessons to children and adults, and I learned
the basics of curating and mounting exhibitions.
residing in Pennington, New Jersey, I still do botanicals,
oil painting, and now illuminated letters.
I also enjoy gardening, quilting, and Ukrainian egg decorating,
as well as teaching art and organizing exhibitions for
Jersey Chapter of ECVA (The
Episcopal Church and Visual Arts).
I am grateful
to my parents and numerous teachers and mentors who encouraged
me along the way. I hope that in creating and teaching
art, I will never stop learning and that I can pass the
joy of art on to others.