Tell us about your art.
I’ve been painting sights around St. Augustine. … I love architecture. I love places in St. Augustine.
I also do florals. I try to do a little bit of everything. I’m trying to expand right now. But most of my sales right now are the St. Augustine paintings. I’ve done quite a bit of nautical, wildlife, things like that – coastal-types of things.
I’ve done some sharks’ teeth, some oysters. I get a lot of orders for those as well.
I do custom home portraits, as well. I’ve had people who’ve had those done for their friends. I’ve had some real estate agents order them for their clients in cases where they’ve sold a house they’ve been in for a long time. It’s a great gift.
Do you sell prints or originals?
I do both. Right now, I have a lot more prints. I’ve had an Etsy shop up for several years now. And I’ve done probably a couple of hundred sales on Etsy.
Do you exhibit your work locally?
My husband [Earnest Kepler] does pottery on the side – he’s a physician’s assistant, but he does this beautiful pottery on the side. We’re both artists. So, once a year, we do an open house. Usually before the holidays. And we’ve invited quite a lot of people to that. Actually, I made a lot more money doing it that way than I have putting it into a gallery.
I’m probably going to be putting up more on artist websites, where you can sell your stuff like print-on-demand, dropshipping, where companies will show your stuff and then they’ll send it out to people, so I have a broader range that I can use to make more money that way.
When did you decide to become an artist?
I think I decided when I was five. My mother was very creative. She was an artist, and she taught us quite a bit. And I was the only one who really picked up art out of the three siblings.
I did it most of my life, including through difficult teenage years. That was the one constant that I had, was my art.
Back in about 1991 I took a watercolor painting course at the local high school. And so, I learned a more detailed-type of painting. Then I just took off with it, really loved doing it.
But then, after having kids, I put it away for a while.
So, 10 years ago, I started back up again. And then I opened an Etsy shop officially in 2014. I had moved to St. Augustine in 2013, and so I really loved the idea of doing coastal, nautical work.
And then, I got into painting some of the sights around St. Augustine, as well, because I love it here. It’s given me a lot of inspiration for some of my paintings. I want to do more of the sights and more architectural sites, so I’ll be adding more of that to my collection.
Did the watercolor class help you to decide to pursue that medium?
Yeah. I liked it because it was something that you really couldn’t control easily. You always get a surprise with watercolor.
Acrylic painting was nice, but there was just something about watercolor. It was luminous. It was one of those things where you just never knew what you were going to get. I loved the challenge of it.
I always tell people: Start out with acrylics first, and then work your way to watercolor, because it can be hard. You have to keep at it for a while and then you learn how to work it and to let it do its magic, but also how you can control it.
Do you have any advice for young artists?
Yes. Paint every day, because you can lose some of the skills if you don’t. Do a little something every day, and don’t always try to make it a perfect painting.
I used to do that, and it would drive me crazy. Just play with it for a while, and then you can get serious, but always leave room for some play and do a little bit every day.
Where are you from originally?
Originally, I’m from the Midwest. I raised my kids in South Florida. After my first year of college, I came down here in 1983 and then got married in 1984. And lived the rest of my life down in South Florida.
What brought you to St. Augustine?
A job for my husband. But we were also tired of living in South Florida. It was getting too big and too crazy. And we both had kids at UNF in Jacksonville.
We knew this was an artistic community. It was more of a small-town feel. And the people were just so wonderful up here. We never looked back since we moved up here.
How do you like to spend your free time?
Now, funny enough, we go down to South Florida once a month to see my daughter and our grandchildren. And we love to travel. We’ve been to Paris, London and Italy. And that gives me a lot of inspiration and a lot of ideas for art, as well. I’ve done a couple of paintings from over there.
Where can readers see your work?