PHOTOGRAPHED BY MARK BERNDT
Growing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico allowed Simone the unique opportunity to experience a rich culture and the wonder of an expansive landscape. This created an early love of nature and the outdoors. While she received art history and studio art education through high school, she enjoyed it as a passionate hobby but pursued STEM fields in her higher educational programs.
After earning a degree in Environmental Studies at Austin College in Texas, she moved back to New Mexico. Seeking artistic fulfillment, she returned to work at Barbara Meikle Fine Art gallery to pursue a creative career doing graphic design, painting photography, and help others grow their art collections. Her personal talents for painting and drawing were renewed with an introduction to plein air painting. Painting outdoors provided the unique challenge of capturing fleeting moments and, along with her background in the sciences, allows her to bring overlooked beauty to viewers. She now lives in Santa Fe and continues to explore northern New Mexico and the West. She inspires others to environmental appreciation and conservation through her studio and on-site oil paintings and is always on the lookout for the next inspirational vista.
Simone’s WISC Fellowship project seeks to contextualize and reinvigorate an appreciation for the unique cultural impact of Indigenous, Spanish and Anglo inhabitants on the land of New Mexico by using the Acequia Madre House’s archival black-and-white photos of churches, historical buildings, landscapes and people as inspiration for a new series of full-color oil paintings.