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Photo: Tasha Tolliver via Palette Home


PH: Where did you grow up?
DM: I grew up in the southern part of the Garden State across from Philadelphia.
PHTell us about your family
DM: I am very fortunate to have a wonderfully supportive extended family and a great husband in Richmond. And two lovely adult daughters and sons in law, three terrific grandsons ranging from college age to first grade all of whom live out of state, but take great interest in my painting.
PH: When did you start painting and why?
DM: I always knew I would paint full time someday. I didn’t know why – I just knew. Throughout the years I was a “project” person and a “maker” always daydreaming about my next creative project. As time permitted, I either painted independently or studied with professional artists. I did formal study of drawing, composition, color theory, art history, and appreciated and analyzed many paintings in galleries and museums. When I met the gifted artist and teacher Christophora Robeers in 2000 it all came together and I became a full time painter and student in what I like to call “Christophora Robeers painting Atelier.” I still consult with Christophora and continue to study independently to fine tune my understanding of the principles and elements of art, while developing my own voice.
PH: Who has been the greatest influence in your life?
DM: The greatest influence in my life is my mother because she told me at an early age I could do anything I set out to do. It was a wonderful confidence builder for a daughter at the time when options for women were still limited.
PH: What is something that has made you really laugh recently?
DM: The funniest thing to happen to me recently, is when someone looked at me and said gently, “did you know your shirt is inside out?” and I had to say, “Oh, that’s O.K. – it is just a habit from painting and not wanting to sacrifice what I’m wearing. 
PH: Where is one of the most inspiring places you like to visit?
DM: For me, one of the most inspiring places to visit is right here in Richmond – the sculpture garden at the VMFA. There is something about the peacefulness of the open green space and the contemplativeness of the water garden.
PH: What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your Artist bio?
DM: I may mention in my cv, but not in my bio – an undergraduate degree in psychology, masters in urban affairs, and a law degree. This is where all the day dreaming took place. It was always a battle between study focus and planning my next creative project.
PH: What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?
DM: Since painting is my passion, when I’m alone in my car (or whatever I’m doing) I am thinking about the next composition or series.
PH: How would you describe the color yellow to somebody who is blind?
DM: The color yellow is like a trilling bird – maybe a mockingbird.
PH: What was the last gift you gave someone?
DM: That would be a recent gift of a painting to be auctioned in the upcoming gala for Noah’s Children and Richmond Hope Therapy Center.
PH: Do you prefer the sunrise or the sunset?
DM: It is difficult to choose between a sunrise and a sunset – each has it’s own magic.
PH: When you sit in front of a blank canvas, how do you get started?
DM: This is a really easy one – I NEVER sit in front of a blank canvas. The uncertainty would be just too much for me! I always tone my canvas first, wiping the paint on with a cloth. This helps to “get to know” the canvas before starting. I come to the canvas with notes on what the subject and intent will be and what principles and the elements of art I will use to achieve my intent. I work out a basic composition and have a premixed palette ready to apply and adjust as needed. However, this doesn’t mean the painting will co-operate – and usually it doesn’t! So the painting begins with a road map and ends with many detours along the way.
PH: What do you want to be when you grow up?
DM: I think I’ve finally “grown up” and I’m doing what I want to do.  
PH: A favorite quote?
DM: A quote by Contemporary British artist, Sir Howard Hodgkin

“I would like to paint pictures where people didn’t care what anything was because they were so enveloped by them.”


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