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We all have had many lives. One of mine was working as a court reporter for ten years. 

Crazy, right?

On one of my walks to the courthouse, I realized the Art Institute was around the corner. I then started bringing my overalls to work and taking (art) night classes taught by a well-known Faux Painter. Soon I started faux painting walls and murals for my friends and family.

After seeing my work, a prominent designer in Chicago commissioned me to join him on several projects which would include; Chicago Place, Fort Sheridan, Haberdasher Square, Gotham Lofts in Canada, the Metropolis and Kinzie Street Station. Following these experiences, I decided it was time to ditch my court reporting job and turn to my passion full time – art!

In 2004, I opened Smart Art Studios, a decorative painting business in the Chicago area. I would decoratively paint walls for over 200 clients. In the early 2000s, faux finishing was popular and receiving attention. Some of my work was featured in the Home section of the Chicago Tribune, Loft Style Magazine, the Pioneer Press, Better Homes and Gardens and HGTV. 

Eventually I realized it was time to climb down from the ladders and scaffolding. And so in my early fifties I decided to focus on my personal art. I would return to the university and graduate with a BFA (Bachelor in Fine Arts). My art was always a freeing experience. Accordingly, I would use mixed media, acrylics, spray paint, or anything I could get my hands on!  

In my late fifties, I would volunteer at my mom’s nursing home to teach a painting class. It was there I realized another passion.  Teaching!  I would now put my energy into teaching art. To date I have led many classes at “sip and paint” studios in Chicago. Each time, I love meeting new participant artists as they light up their canvas with a paint brush in hand. It’s always a fun evening whether it’s painting, or sipping, or both!

I also teach art to the very young, those with special needs and nursing home seniors. My goal for myself and my students is to enjoy the process, continue to expand creatively and experience success. 

So there you have it…….the many hats I wear!

"Zee" Journey

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