My name is Jonene Ficklin, and I'm a full-time wife, mom, writer, and professional artist. I've been drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I use colored pencils, oil paints, and watercolors. I love what I do!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Why Tropical Art?

I often get asked why I like to do tropical art when I live in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of the American west. Why don't I portray what I see here? Why am I not like my father, who as a professional western artist, paints cowboys and Indians, dramatic snow-topped mountains, and elk breathing out steam on frosty mornings?

It's a fair question.

I’ll tell you. It's a physical as well as psychological thing. I've got a problem with anything cold. I’m allergic to it. Really. It’s called cold uticaria. If you're interested, check out this link at the Mayo clinic:

So I’ll bet you want to know what happens when I go outside in the winter. Well, from the time I was a wee sprite, whenever I get cold, my fingers and toes swell up like sausages. On top of that, large white hives pop out like spots on mushrooms. Not terribly attractive. I used to think I was allergic to mittens and boots. There's a few other side effects, but this is enough to give you the idea.

The good part is, as soon as I warm up, the hives and swelling leave, just that quick. No harm done.

But the psychological damage is: I don’t like cold. I really don’t like cold. No, I really, REALLY don’t like cold.

So, when I was still a youngster, I read one of my brother’s Tarzan books. It happened to take place in a jungle. And as you all know, in the jungle, you NEVER get cold. It hit me like a category five hurricane: there are people in the world who never have to hide their hands and feet!

Suddenly, I had a new interest. National Geographic became a best friend. Did you know NG has a gazillion articles on tropical places? They have pictures, too—awesome, amazing, world-class pictures.

I’ve learned a lot about Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia, the Amazon, and deepest, darkest Africa. And I’d love to learn more.

Since I lived and breathed art, drawing/painting these places was a natural next step.

It was a huge high point in my life when my husband and I went to Hawaii. I shot more rolls of film than I’m willing to admit - lovely, beautiful fodder for hundreds of future art pieces. And in those peices, you can bet  the temperature will be balmy, so - even if it's only in my head - my warm hands and toasty toes can smile.

So . . . as Paul Harvey used to say: Now you know the rest of the story.


  1. Yup, cold is evil. That's why I hybernate for the winter. And I do it with a blanket wrapped around my shoulders while I sit in front of the fire and dream of 80 degree weather.

    And hives from the cold really stink.

  2. I'm just glad I'm not allergic to heat. Now THAT would stink : )


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