I grew up in southern California in a small farming community. I had a happy childhood, roaming fields and our town freely on foot and by bike under clear blue skies, catching frogs, collecting insects for my science “lab,” running wild with friends, discovering the joys of reading. By the teen years, however, I could not wait to throw myself into the larger world. At the age of seventeen I went in search of work, education, and adventure. I hit the jackpot in all three! Through the years, three passions have remained strong: the need to see and experience the world and its people, to try new things, and to record it all in words, photographs, and paint.
From the moment my second-grade teacher showed me the masks she brought back from a vacation in Mexico, I knew I wanted to travel the world. I spent three decades exploring many of the world’s remotest regions, including the Arctic, the Antarctic, Borneo, New Guinea, Asia, much of Africa, and Central and South America, with easier travels through western Europe. I lived and traveled in Mexico for three years, which led to graduate work in Latin American Studies at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. What wonderful memories I have of those adventures!
My modes of transportation over those years included plane, train, ship, motorcycle, canoe, zodiac, jeep, skidoo, dog, horse, foot, and camel! Although I am no longer an active pilot, my childhood dreams of learning to fly led me to flight school and a variety of aircraft, including fixed wing, helicopter, sail plane, hang glider, ultralite, and hot air balloon. I am not naturally athletic, but I just like to try stuff. Where others jump into new sports with grace and agility and take on new adventures without a backward glance, I learned that with persistence and determination, taking one baby step at a time, I could try things out. Although not a strong swimmer, I overcame my fears of the ocean to explore underwater areas throughout the Caribbean, Central America and the Hawaiian Islands, swam with sharks near Cocas Island, Costa Rica, and the famous Blue Corner in Palau. I was usually the least skillful of those around me, but I was there and that meant a lot to me.
More natural to me has been my lifelong love of books, words, art, and learning. I’ve kept journals, written freelance articles and commercial video scripts, and continue to read everything I can get my hands on from recipes to literature. With the founding of Carstens Communications in 1999, my dream of spending my working hours in the world of words became a reality. In addition to my travel experiences, my international studies at the University of San Diego and my graduate Latin American studies have helped me to work successfully with writers, artists, galleries, publishers, and corporations.
I am a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, as well as other regional professional organizations, a recipient of a John Anson Kittredge Educational Fund grant, and a Helene Wurlitzer Foundation fellow. I live in northern Colorado and can most often be found either wielding a paintbrush in my studio, pounding a keyboard in my office, or lounging around with my nose in a book.
Yours in words and paint,