"I try hard to capture a good feeling in my paintings and make people want to sit and look and look and look at the picture," she says. "I just am so thrilled with the beauty around me in this world. I just want to capture it and share my feelings. I love nature, and I like lots of color in my work."
Raised on a farm in South Bend Township, she traveled extensively throughout the United States as a military wife. She says she has had an opportunity to view a large part of America "up close and personal," and captures her inspirations in her art.
To fight cabin fever during the long winter in Alaska, where she lived for 20 years, she began creating ivory jewelry, carvings and scrmishaw. She started taking photographs and entering shows and county fairs.
In 1992, Lods entered a Ritz Camera phot context with 41,000 nationwide contestants and captured second place.
Lods says she is mostly self-taught in the arts, learning water color techniques "by experimentation, frustration and workshops."
She considers her tenacity a strength. "I do not give up. I will try a different view, or a different day and just do not give up painting, even if I get discouraged," she says.
She is an active member of the Kiski Valley Artist Guild, East Suburban Artists League, Indiana Arts Association and the American Gourd Society. She has taken workships with the Monday Morning Artists who meet in the spring and fall in Brackenridge.
Lods returns to Alaska each summer as a nanny at a fish camp. In the summer, she plans to assist her son, David Hilty, who is opening Bear Quest Aviation, a bear-viewing, air-taxi service.
She also collects Japanese-glass fishing floats. "My bush pilot son flies me out to remote areas, and we find them on beaches, washed up from storms in the Aleutians," she says.
As a gourd artist, she works with hardshell gourds, carving, painting or otherwise enhancing them. "When I lived in Alaska, I did scrimshaw and carvings on ivory, deer or caribou antlers and bone. That was years ago, when ivory was easier to obtain. It is highly regulated and protected and not often seen 'raw,'" she explains.
"My very first painting was a paint-by-number kit, and I was not happy with that. I ended up smoothing edges and blending colors," she says.