I started my painting career with McMenamins early in 2003 when Jenny Joyce took me under her wing and began teaching me to paint decorative borders at McMenamins Hotel Oregon in McMinnville. Myrna Yoder and Lyle Hehn were there as well. I met Kolieha Bush when we started in on the second wave of art (decorative borders, lettering stories and painting portraits on the walls of the rooms) at McMenamins Grand Lodge in Forest Grove, Oregon. Somewhere in there I was honored to meet Kolieha's partner, fellow artist Joe Cotter. These guys were larger than life to me, but I found them all to be down-to-earth and a lot of fun to work with. I was introduced to folks as "the newbie" for many years, until Eona Skelton joined the group, having been discovered through her fabulous chalk art for the company. Since then, we've had several more join our fold, enduring dusty construction sites, painting in all kinds of light and weather, and at various heights, from pretty close to the ground, to pretty darned high up. Sometimes it can be a bit tricky getting to the spot that needs art, but once you're there, the creative forces take over and the sheer love of painting causes one to forget the discomforts.
We alternate decorative painting on site with painting fine art panels in solitude in our studios. I've really enjoyed the back-and-forth of working alone and then with the team. Through the years I have learned so much from, and bonded with the other artists and our wonderful historian, Tim Hills, until now they all feel like family, and, honestly, each of them is still "larger than life" to me.