Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting. I made my debut about a year later. Needless to say, I was born into the art realm.
I remember my mother’s big wooden easel, poised with the canvas of her current work in progress. Often it was flowers, sometimes animals and occasionally portraits. She had this huge painters pallet covered with various mixes of oil paint. My mother still uses that pallet to this day and now its filled with decades of recycled paint. She held back an invitation for me to join her in these creative sessions because she feared the oil paint was too toxic for me to be around. Although I didn’t paint with her, she would set up an enclave for me to paint with mediums less toxic than what she used. I created with finger paints, markers, crayons, colored pencils, pastels and I’m sure there was sidewalk chalk somewhere in there. That was the beginning of my artistic endeavors.
My father worked in Corporate America, more specifically in computer sales and more specific than that, he worked for IBM (International Business Machines Corporation). We had a computer in the house when I was really young, it’s a shame I didn’t take more advantage of the technology then. Instead of using the computer, I would take out the printer paper with the perforated edges and draw whatever came to mind. I often used the projector markers my dad had lying around. If you’re old enough to know what projector markers are, then you know yellow was never an option. Thank God my dad had the yellow highlighters to make up for that. I drew the typical elementary pictures. The family, the house with the apple tree in the yard that almost every kid has attempted to draw at some point in their lives. I drew cats and dogs but the thing I drew the most consistently and the most often was eyes. All types of eyes. Artistic endeavors continued.
From kindergarten to the third grade I attended “The Arts School.” Though the title emphasized art more than the curriculum did, we had daily painting sessions. I didn’t have any formal training on perspective, light, shadow, etc., but my exposure to art and painting came early. I entered my first art contest in the first grade, it was an open theme and I won 1st place. I painted a white cat, with a crown on its head on a solid blue background. We had a cat at the time so maybe that was my inspiration. I am blessed to still have an image of that painting and I find it interesting that my style of work has evolved but hasn’t changed much. Lions and tigers have graced my canvas, yet the collection remains bear-free, for now, humorously.
I think about growing up in a house that my mom decorated with her own art on the walls that added to making our house a home. Two paintings stand out, a gorilla that she painted and the eyes followed you no matter where you stood. That was fascinating to me. The other painting I remember vividly was two white calla lilies that hung on the wall in the living room. I remember the yellow spadices of the lilies were textured and somewhat 3-D. Now my mom uses that same technique in the hair of the people she paints best known as “The Blue People.” I didn’t understand how amazing it was at the time but in retrospect it was awesome. Now my walls hold my work and those that have visited often compliment the fact that it is my own creations in my home. I’m grateful that my parents introduced me to art and made it synonymous with life. They nurtured my creativity early. I think I took it for granted for years because it was so ingrained in my upbringing. My parents are why I got started in art. Now, I appreciate the gift that it is and I look forward to sharing more with you.