At 3 or 4 years of age, I was perfectly content to have a piece of plain white paper or two, a fat kindergarten pencil, and an old school box full of broken crayons. I could sit for hours drawing and coloring at the restaurant style booth that was our table when my family lived in my Baba's basement in Ohio. I preferred my own drawings over coloring books any day and can remember after the 3 bears I had drawn were finished (a Momma, a Poppa & a baby of course) I'd cut them out with a pair of safety scissors and then tape all of their hands together. They would then be proudly displayed on our old refrigerator that was more round than rectangular. Everyone who saw them would be amazed that I did that. "Did you really draw those all by yourself?!"
Art equals good feelings.
I'm not sure how long we lived in my grandmother’s basement, but I remember that she would save old window blinds. You know, the ones that you pull down out of a big roll? She would save them for us to draw on. Amazing! A vinyl white roll of endless canvas and a huge tin coffee can of crayons with every color you could imagine.
I also remember going on summer vacations to visit my mother’s side of the family. That meant Arkansas or Missouri. I LOVED my mother’s side of the family, full of musical talent, story-telling and lots of critters and cousins around. And my Aunt Frances had her very own Art Gallery. Again, I was amazed that you could have such a thing. Your OWN art gallery?! Seeing her creations up on the walls was like stepping into another world. My view of "art" was contained to self at that time and I had no idea that adults did this as a JOB.
When I was about 8 or 9, we were introduced to clay at school. Real clay. Not play dough. Not flour or salt dough. Real clay from the Earth. It was dirty and messy and being the tomboy that I was, I loved it! I sculpted a bear (huh...more bears) and a turtle carrying a baby turtle on its back. My teacher liked them so much, she actually asked me to make her some too!
Art equals more good feelings.
Jump forward to about 12 years of age and I was in love with horses. I drew them and drew them and drew them in my sketchbooks. The horse parts I couldn't quite figure out how to draw, I hid behind trees. I drew a lot of trees at age 12. I also discovered that cartoons were about the easiest thing in the world to "copy" just by looking at them and following the lines. When I would write a letter (anyone remember snail mail?) I would first draw a faint cartoon on the lined paper in pencil (I'm thinking Smurfs were big at that time), then I'd write my letter over the drawing with ink. People thought that was pretty cool. Nowadays if you want a background on your paper you just print it out that way. But I drew my own....Who'da thunk it? Cartoons are just lines. It's all lines; straight lines, curved lines, and shapes! Fat lines, thin lines, circles, squares and rectangles. And it impressed people. People asked me to draw stuff for them. Grownups asked me to draw for them. Art teachers asked me to draw for them.
Art equals good feelings again.
Fast forward to high school and art was about the only subject I ever got an “A” in. When I entered contests, usually drawing something the night before the deadline, I would occasionally win a blue ribbon and a lot of praise and encouragement for the work I had done.
Art equals good feelings.
(I wish I had actually listened better and learned more than I did, now, but hindsight and all that...) We had a great Art teacher & he seemed to love his job. He'd take us on many outings and field trips. We even got to drive our own cars sometimes. He would take us to different places around our little town, Eureka Springs, Arkansas to draw the Victorian homes and landscapes of the Ozark Mountains. He also took us to art shows and competitions. He even took us to local caves to dig our own clay to make our art with! Digging our own clay was quite an experience especially when you had to pry a tiny brown bat from your hair! Aside from that, Mr. Russell actually taught and I learned.
Art equals good and sometimes danger.
I wanted to go live with my Baba in Ohio for my senior year so that I could attend an art institute when I graduated, but for Mom it was too far away, on a bad side of town and it wasn't allowed. It didn't happen. Fifteen hundred miles is pretty far away from home. As a mom, I can understand her a little better now and I really didn't push all that hard. I was in LOVE with my soon-to-be and still husband and really didn't want to be away from him.
After high school, I had kids. Literally right out of high school, married with children. As my babies grew into toddlers and young children, it was always "Mom, draw this for me or that for me." I'd make them their own coloring pages like the ones I had drawn for myself when I was a child. I'd make other kids their own pages too. They loved it. I have drawn hundreds of Ninja Turtles and Pokemon, animals, and even a few people. I drew portraits of my nieces and nephews for Christmas one year and all their parents seemed to like them (ha I would most likely cringe if any of those showed up today...not the kids, the drawings!)
My husband worked overseas a lot so usually it was me and the kids keeping ourselves entertained.
Art equals good.
When the kids got a bit older and could entertain themselves, I enrolled in a drawing class. It was one of those "they send you an assignment in the mail, you complete it and send it back, they grade, correct and so on" courses. My husband bought me everything I needed, including a small drafting table where I could work. Well that didn't work out very well with the kids, family and not having an actual teacher at hand. That was that.
I found I really like pen and ink and ditched the wishes of realistic pencil magnificence that was never going to happen.
I sold some drawings. Sold! $50 each for a series of 3 and I thought I had it made....
Art equals good and $!
Then life happened some more and drawing was put aside to live it. But, I was always doodling something or another. Sometimes doodles would turn into cool ideas.
When I was in my mid 20's my aunt introduced me to polymer clay. I loved it. It was flesh toned and had endless possibilities. I bought as much and as often as we could afford and started making dolls. (Did I mention I was a tomboy as a kid? I hated the word doll.) Dolls quickly turned into goblins and faeries. Again, my husband bought my supplies and took me to the hobby stores I needed to go to and put up with my current obsession.
I sculpted for many years and actually sold 100's. I worked on them from sun up to sundown and beyond, trying to make each one better than the last. I had quite a few collectors here in the US and internationally. I participated in international art shows that were exclusive to this type of art. I sold a lot of sculptures. Some for insane amounts of money, and I had a series reproduced by a company. Again, I thought I had it made. That is, until I saw what they "reproduced". It was utter crap and I felt horrible that MY name would be on the boxes (which were the nicest part of the reproductions, unfortunately.)
Even so,I kept going. I'd draw what I wanted to sculpt and worked at it for a few more years until I was just plain burnt out. So I put sculpting aside.
Art equals good and lots of $, but bad & ugly too.
Still, drawing was one of the constants in my life and I continued with my doodles.
I was asked to design logos and paint murals and would do whatever crafty little thing made me happy....selling a few drawings here and there, but mostly giving them away as gifts. "Hey, can you draw me a _____?"
Life has happened fast and I never did go to an art school. I did however work as a sculptor, an illustrator, a gymnastics coach, a graphic designer, a karate instructor, a guitar teacher, and much more. All the while, drawing on my plain white sheets of paper and putting a piece of me into each one.
I tend to draw animals and places I love. Animals because I've always loved them and there are so many choices. I draw places because I miss them and it lets me have a little bit of them no matter where I am.
I have one child left at home, & she's a teenager now, so I have a lot of time on my hands to once again do what I do, draw.
Art equals good, work, $, friends, family, love, and home.