Wortel is a Portland native who at the age of 12 started taking formal and not-so-formal art lessons in exchange for babysitting from longtime McMenamins artists Joe Cotter and Kolieha Bush. This began Wortel's early understanding of narrative art as well as her adoration of the McMenamins artists' work.
After Wortel went off to art college and traveled the world, she came back to Portland and asked Mike McMenamin if she could paint for him. To her surprise he said yes.
Wortel's work strives to capture the essence of a person, place, time or thing with color, movement and emotion.