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Creating lasting images
that preserve the
passage of time.


Norma's Past and Preset Photo.jpg
Norma's Cow with Attitude.jpg
Norma's Rooster.jpg
Norma's Tulips
Norma's Goldie
Norma's Sweet Deer
Norma's Pet Portraits - Lucy
Norma's Racoon
Norma's Tiger Lily
Norma's Lotus Pond
Bird on the beach

"My favorite subjects are animals

which I describe as sweet spirits."

Painting their eyes creates a connection to their innocence and sweetness that I treasure. I’ve always been drawn to animals since I was a child and finally wore my mother down and adopted my first dog. Time spent with my mother’s family in Ireland, exploring the countryside helped grow my love of cows, pigs, and roosters. Farm animals along with birds, florals, and some landscapes are some of my favorite things to paint. I am drawn to images that make you smile and feel good.

After You Moved the Graduation Tassle

It's hard to believe so many years have passed since we were in high school with so much life ahead. 


Since that time, I spent twenty years as a Navy wife and mother to three sons.  Two live in Northern Virginia and one close by here in Virginia Beach. I have two grand daughters who were born five days apart and will be two in June. Being a grandmother really is the best! I spend my days painting in my home studio and teach oil painting to small groups. And I live with my eight-year-old Maltese mix named Coco. I adopted her in October and she is the best studio assistant! Her favorite job is greeting the students and watching us paint. 

When you look at your art, you get a feeling of peace that comes with embracing the simple things in life.  This is your art world today, how about when you started this journey?  What was your art like then?

Thank you! I took some classes in my twenties but, it was really twenty five years ago that I began painting in earnest. At first, I painted using soft pastels, but then moved to oil painting. When I started to sell my work, I painted for shows at the gallery where I rented studio space and would paint anything and everything.


That's how I learned what I enjoyed the most. People would come to the gallery with subjects they wanted painted such as; a house and pet portraits which I loved doing. Collectors have responded enthusiastically to my cow portraits, so I’ve painted many cows and have always wanted to capture the look of a particular cow so you could go in the field and find that cow.  I think  I have a bit of a portrait artist in me. 

Added a New Dimension to her Artwork

I still work in oil paint and recently added oil sticks which are different than oil pastels as they dry completely and can be mixed in with oil paint applied with a brush. It has added a new way to be expressive.

You have a B.A. in Psychology.  What role does psychology

play in your art?

When I was in college I earned my degree in Psychology with the desire to work with seniors in providing recreational activities. After college, I worked as an activities director in two nursing homes. Then after raising my family and finding my passion for art, I began combining my new passion with my psychology background by teaching art in an independent living facility for the last twelve years. I believe that my education served to give me a foundation and greater understanding of how to work with people. 

Tony Dorsett is quoted as saying:  "To succeed, you need to find something to hold on to, something to motivate you, something to inspire you."

It takes a lot of tenacity to succeed in a business. I hold onto memories of  past successes when times have been rough, and the joy of happy collectors who have shared how much a painting has meant to them. People are drawn to art for all kinds of reasons and no matter what we do in life we have an impact on others in ways that we can’t imagine.


Staying motivated is a challenge in any business even if on the surface it seems fun and “not like work."  It's how I have chosen to earn a living and I have learned that I need to be with other artists to fill my creative well and network with fellow artists to share marketing and business strategies. Spending time in nature, going to museums, galleries, and traveling have all helped me find inspiration.

Inside the Halls of Frankford

Frankford helped prepare me for adulthood by teaching me to navigate in a large high school with choices of classes and new friendships. I especially liked my history teacher, Mr. Houston, who was very encouraging and introduced the world through history.


It served as inspiration to travel and to see these places brought to life through his teaching. I learned that I preferred and was more adept at classes meant for those who were going  to college. My parents did not envision a college education for me.


A friend asked me to go with her on a visit to a prospective college and I fell in love with the school. It took some convincing but I ended up going to going to college at a small all female Catholic college which I never would have imagined and they were some of the best years of my life. 

If you could go back and talk to 16-year-old Norma with the knowledge you have today, what advice would you give her?  

I would tell her to get more involved with activities, join the flag corp that I declined  to do because of fear, and watch less T.V.! Life is too short and you should enjoy each stage fully! 

What do you like most about teaching art classes? 

Teaching art is a joy because I can share my love of painting with others and see them grow in their skills. Anyone can learn to paint.    

 There is a misconception that you are born with artistic ability and people tell me all the time they can’t even draw stick figures. I had 

 that belief also until I took a class and stuck with it. It has been an incredible journey filled with fun and joy and I am able to share that  with my students! I encourage them to persist while giving them the tools they need to be successful. I also love the comradery. 


I ended up in Chesapeake when we moved here as a family thirty years ago and my husband was stationed at N.A.S. Norfolk as a helicopter pilot. We were able to stay here which gave my sons the chance to make long-term friendships and a lot of stability in spite of being a military family. We are only a thirty-minute drive away from the oceanfront and have great state colleges so it was a wonderful place for a family. 

What advice would you give today's students, especially in light of their present situation? 

I am sorry to hear that the school had an asbestos problem and that the students won’t be able to do classes in person. I would 

encourage them to make good use of their time learning online if possible, getting together with their classmates as much as

 possible, exercise, and read as much as you can. Your next year in school will be extra special when you can be together again. 

Norma's Bunny Rabbit.jpg
Norma's Students Tea Cup.jpg
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