Artist Biography


Born in Los Angeles a long time ago, I began my art career in grammar school when I started doodling on the canvas covers of my notebooks.  I so wish I could find just one.  It would be fun to see.

As a budding teen, I had a dream that I would have a private audience with my favorite band.  Little did I know that this would come true in the 70s'.  This dream occurred shortly after I picked up my first SLR camera.  Concomitantly, I was taking guitar lessons. One of the teachers wanted to meet me.  I didn't know him, but he found my number and called.  I met him, and the next thing I knew I was delivering a harp to the music studio he was recording in.  He left for France.  I joined a band, where I got to know the piano player from the studio whom became my first husband.  He played in a great bar band called Benbeculla (spelling). Other members of the band were Bob Siebenberg (later Supertramp's drummer) and Scott Gorham (one of Thin Lizzy's guitarists).

This is how life happens.  I was a terrible guitarist, yet I fell into the music world.  Meanwhile, I was shooting everything thing that moved or stood still.  As a result of my friendship with Bobby (as I call him) C. Benberg, I got to know others in Supertramp all of whom I became very fond of, and eventually I was given the privileged to work with Supertramp for a number of years--my favorite band.  One night on a catwalk in Manchester, England, with my own isolated window to the stage, with camera in hand, I had my private concert.  Other favorite bands at the time: Elton and Bernie, Joni, The Band, Steely Dan, P.P. and Mary to name a few.  Not really a rock n roll photographer but living the life and enjoying it, I found myself housed in Putney-SW London with my husband and flatmate Scott.  My stay was short, but while there, I found my photo calling:  The London Underground.  Documentation and people  are my favorite photo subjects. 

Moved back to L.A.  in the late 70s.  Left husband/mother ill. I needed a job, so I began working as an assistant to an old friend, Bruno Schreck, whom has become a world class commercial photographer out of New York.  Check out his website.  
An incredibly generous teacher, I learned a great deal from Bruno.  He moved to N.Y.  and I became a commercial photographer, primarily shooting head shots for actors and muscians.  But I burned out.  Commercial work not my bag, and L.A. not my inspiration.

I took a ridiculously long leave of absence from art.  I decided to become practical.  I ended up in a Ph D program at UC Riverside focusing on Sociology (area of interest-urban design).  I came to realize that being a Sociologist was really what I was suppose to do in life, so I petitioned for my masters and left--grateful for the needed education, nevertheless.  That was my Everest.  I needed to prove to myself that I could do it, and I could.  I taught briefly, but when my mom died, I decided to take some of the money she left me and took the trip my dad had always wanted to take.  For 1 1/2 years, my dogs and  I traveled through twelve western states in an RV,  My dad in spirit sitting shotgun.

This was a soul searching trip, but I didn't find what I was looking for.  Not then.  In the meantime, I had a great time and saw much of our beautiful country, but I was floundering, not clear on what the next chapter was to be.  I needed to find my passion.  I was coming out of denial about a lot of things and having a rough time of it.  Also, when you are lucky enough to have experienced a true passion and then lose it, it is difficult to be ordinary, so I kept searching. 

In the 90s, I worked as, at first, a bookkeeper.  I'm not a bookkeeper, but it was a foot in the door) at KIXE-TV: a PBS station in Redding, California.  Focusing on the Production Department, I fortunately wound up there in short time and eventually became a producer, director, graphic artist,  photographer, video-grapher, editor: well just about everything that you do in TV.  However, my initial job was graphics, and I became a specialist in this area.  I loved it, but ultimately, working 70s hours a week took its toll.

I opened my own business, "The Great McGarigal Grafx Company" at the turn of this century and began to do quite well, when I became ill.  This didn't stop me, but it did change my direction. 
As I was recovering from a valve fix in my heart, a friend suggested that I should take an art class.  I thought, good idea, it will help my graphics business.  In fact, it ended my graphics business though not immediately.  However the second I put a brush in my hand, my passion was reborn.  The next chapter's first sentence was written.

Having taken all the courses available, excepting sculpture, I specialized in etching.  This is why today my main medium is scratchboard.  It statisfies aspects related to etching, and as I don't have a press and prefer not to be around harsh chemicals, scratchboard has been a great substitute.  But more, scratchboard is a remarkably beautiful.  As drawing is the initial step in both etching and scratchboard work, I'm in heaven.  Then you get to sand and paint and sand again.

I've always been an artist.  As the graphic specialist at KIXE, I more often than not threw in artistic flares, despite being told that just words and a plain background would do.  They never complained though, because I was fast, good, and it added personality to the station.  Anyway,  I really didn't realize how much of an artist I had always been despite all the evidence. 

After nearly dying twice, I simply decided it was time to do what I came here to do, and yes the farm is threatened.  All or nothing.  Courageous or Stupid? I choose the former.  Everything will work.

My artwork is my voice.  It is everything I know.  I am nothing more than that.  I create beautiful telling inviting work.  My entire life story is embodied in my work.  All dedicated artists do the same, so respect their work whether you like it or not.  As art is self-absorbing, and hence we can become quite self-centered, I have chosen to reach out to the world hoping to touch all people and create conversations.  In other words, to give my gift to the world, for what is art if it isn't shared.

I am a Nichiren Buddhist and my work is more and more focused on examining this journey in my work.  The larger goal is to teach people to find joy, and hence work for world peace.  This of course includes being actively involved with environmental issues.  I love animals, pets and wildlife of all kinds, yoga, swimming, biking, activity in general.  What would I like?  A studio, a place to call my own and some security.  That will come.

May all of you discover that peace is within regardless of your circumstances.  I hope you enjoy my work