“I became a little fed up with my job. With my husband’s support, I decided to do art full-time,” she explained. Bigg’s husband is also an artist, creating sculptures, and works at Medtronic.
Over the years, the primarily self-taught Warsaw artist has painted portraits, landscapes and nature scenes in a variety of mediums including pastels, oils and acrylic. She enjoys commissioned work and has been up to the challenge of painting anything from a beloved sports car to a full-size portrait of a pin-up girl. Raised in Rochester, she has also painted her fair share of round barns.
Other artistic endeavors include recycled folk art furniture, gemstone jewelry and traditional Native American crafts. Biggs is a member of the White Earth Nation, a reservation of Ojibwe Native Americans in northwestern Minnesota. Adopted at 2-years-old, Biggs did not know of her heritage until she began searching for her birth parents in her 20s.
“In the ’50s and ’60s when I was young, it wasn’t too hip to be Native American. There were many social prejudices. To protect me, my parents didn’t tell me of my heritage until I was older,” she explained. Although her birth parents were deceased, Biggs found her grandmother, aunt, uncle and cousins. She continues to keep in contact with those family members.
“I enjoy learning about traditional Native American art,” she said. “I’ve made prayer fans, a gourd sculpture to honor my grandmother and a portrait of myself in my Native American regalia.” Biggs’ self-portrait took an award in the recent Honeywell Clark Gallery 92 County Art Exhibit and has been featured in an Ojibwe art exhibit hosted by the Red Wing Art Association in Minnesota.
More of Biggs’ pastel drawings are featured in the current Northern Indiana Pastel Society’s exhibit at the South Bend Museum of Art.
“I used to do a lot of oil painting, but I now enjoy pastels more. You can finish things faster,” she explained. “I use soft pastels on medium-grit black sandpaper. The color sticks in the grooves and I’m able to do layering to paint light and shadows.”
Biggs’ enjoys sharing her artwork with the members of the Warsaw Artist Forum, a new group of 25 or so local artists who meet at the St. Regis Club in downtown Warsaw to network and share ideas. The group is holding their first show, the “Artist Forum Spring Show,” on May 2-3 from 4:30 p.m. to close.
“At this point in my life, I feel like I’ve finally arrived as an artist,” said Biggs. “I raised two children and kept busy with them, but now it’s my time and I enjoy where I’m at.
“More people should consider purchasing original artwork. It’s more affordable from you think and it’s one of a kind.”