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!
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.