Saturday, January 3, 2009

Greetings, Mortals.

Okay, here I am, joining the world of blogging. And as I tend to be both long-winded and philosophical, good luck! I warn you now, I will talk about art, art and more art. Fortunately, I have a rather broad definition of art so maybe I won't dig too narrow a rut.

But maybe you want to know who I am. Or not, in which case goodbye.

Still here? Hello!

I am an artist. This should make everything else about me make sense. I wish it did. I deal in pictures and words. Do not trust me with numbers. I think pictorially, in three, sometimes four, dimensions. I have had to learn to use words to interpret myself. In this sense I have been preparing to write all my life.

Although I consider myself an Oklahoman, I will admit to being born in Independence, the same town in southeast Kansas as the great playwright, William Inge. I grew up in Bartlesville, Oklahoma and Coffeyville, Kansas, both near the state line. With its short and glamorous Indian Territory history, I find greater cachet in saying I'm from Oklahoma.

I fell in love with books at a very early age. Someone loaned me a series of children’s books called Book Trails. I can still see several of the wonderful illustrations quite vividly in my mind. I believe the influence of those books made me the artist I became. Thanks to ebay, I now own a full set in the very same edition I cherished as a child.

While still in high school I discovered theatre. After seeing a play in the local community theatre, I won a role in the next one. During rehearsals I found myself fascinated by the development of the scenery. I apprenticed myself to the set designer on the next play and knew that this was where I belonged. Some artists work in clay, some in oil paint - theatre design was obviously the medium for me. I earned a BFA in Theatre Design from the University of Kansas and - 21 years later - an MFA in Scenery Design from the University of Oklahoma. I was a costume designer for most of those intervening years in Chicago. I have designed costumes and/or scenery professionally for hundreds of plays in Chicago, New York, Oklahoma, Alabama, Texas, Maine, Rhode Island... Along the way, I was an assistant professor and taught costuming and makeup at several universities.

Once retired from theatre, I took up art doll making and writing, mostly short stories and essays, some of which have been published. I found my fellow writers in the Woodlands Writers Guild (The Woodlands, Texas) not only lacked my knowledge of historical clothing, few knew how to find it. Having long been aware that costume histories were notoriously sparse on twentieth century clothing, I now realized such books were equally short to nonexistent on verbal description. My critique group challenged me to do something about it. I am currently shopping for a publisher for the result, Dressing America in the 20th Century.

Reading continues to be my addictive hobby. Otherwise, I’ve been supremely lucky to get paid to do things other people do as hobbies. Thanks to a music teacher uncle I am also addicted to classical music. I adore the verbal/conversational dynamics of music. Some day I shall write a story that exactly matches the dynamics of Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand.


  1. Welcome to the world of blogging Pepper!

  2. How many or us got up in the morning and could hardly wait to get to work. We are a fortunate bunch.