How I got to LSUS: I grew up in Bossier City, so it was a natural for me to attend LSUS. Plus, I had some older friends who had LSUS degrees, and they spoke very highly of the school.
Fond Memories of LSUS: The faculty and my fellow students were great. Special memories include going back up to the UC after eating supper at home and studying late into the evening with classmates. Likewise, several of us used to get to school very early and meet in the UC cafeteria, drinking coffee and getting ready for the academic day ... I think several of those tables might just have our names on them!
LSUS faculty who helped me: Don Alexander, LaMoyne Batten, Bill Pederson, Lee Musselman, Norm Provizer, and the library staff, especially Mary Bowman - I was a student worker in the old library for a couple of years.
How LSUS helped me succeed: The positive core educational and social experiences of my LSUS years shaped and matured me in more ways than I can name. Even now, 21 years after I graduated (yikes!), I still consider my time at LSUS as very important to my overall success.
What I do now: I am a full-time Aviation Artist.
About my job: I spend my days working on commissioned oil paintings of historical aviation subjects for private collectors across the globe. I have also done work for the US Air Force as well, which has led to some awesome jet rides!
Advice to college-bound students: Learn how to study - college courses are not easy! Devote yourself completely to excelling in school, but don't forget to have fun with your buds!
Advice to someone who wants to enter my field:
Get a good grounding in the basics of drawing, composition, and color theory. Learn how to draw well before you even pick up a paintbrush. Join a national-level society of artists in your chosen genre, attend their forums, and actively solicit critiques from the artists you admire. Painting in color is not easy (to do well), but stick with it and never give up.
Tips on choosing a major or career: Choose your major carefully, and wisely. Solicit advice from those who are where you want to be. Consider your future employment opportunities of course, but by all means follow through with your passions. Once you decide on your major, give it all you've got while you're in school.
My toughest professional challenge: Making the transition from primarily black & white work (pencil drawings) to the wonderful world of color. That challenge is ongoing as I constantly explore different techniques.
My toughest personal challenge: Holding out until I found the true "Mrs. Right."
Successes in my life: I was elected an "Artist Member" of the American Society of Aviation Artists, and I recently won the Boeing Spirit of Flight award at a Seattle juried exhibition. I am especially proud of my work for the Air Force - from originals done for squadrons to cover art for their magazines, that they consider my work to be representative of their mission is the ultimate compliment.
I've learned this from life: Follow through with your passions, strive for excellence in what you do, and the world is yours for the taking! In all areas of life always work to honestly cultivate a good group of personal and professional friends and by all means avoid burning bridges.