I especially wanted to write and let people know that, as an artist, I'll always respond to any questions or comments that you may have concerning art or anything else for that matter!
See, I'm a self-taught artist. When I was younger, I never had the money or time to go to college and study art. I was married at 22 to a wonderful man and we started a family right away. Three kids in three years! Woo hooo! We certainly started with a bang! I'd always been an artsy girl and I just longed with every fiber of my exhausted, sleep-deprived being to become an artist....I would fiddle around in the dark, unfinished basement of our CT house with craft paints, teaching myself Tole painting and painting little canvases. Looking back, they were really bad! Wow!
I remember rocking my babies in the wee hours of the morning, dreaming and longing to just have the time, or the money or even one day to just attend an art class! It wasn't happening. So I fumbled around, painting on the walls of my daughter's room, doodling flowers and birds and picket fences during nap time.
Amazingly, I started getting better at painting flowers with acrylics and people started paying me to come and paint flowers and butterflies in their children's rooms and nurseries! Oh joy! Soon, I had this grand idea that I was going to volunteer my budding murals to hospitals and sick kids. The Yale New Haven Hospital in CT had me paint murals on the entire third floor of their Psychiatric Ward...(please note, I have a history of failed grand ideas) (also note, the ideas are always grand to me until they flop, but that's ok!)
That was interesting! There's nothing quite like having a bunch of patients hanging over your shoulders asking you head scratching questions and wanting to "use that bush over there" for their bodily needs....the bush being the tree I just painted on the wall! I wasn't sure if that was a compliment b/c it was so realistic looking to this slightly disturbed person or an insult to my art. Oh well!
Moving down to North Carolina meant that I had to start over with my client base, but things soon picked up again. UNC's Pediatric Surgeon's office needed a volunteer muralist for their walls...I volunteered three months of my time filling their walls with elephants, ducks, birds, etc...finished it, and they moved! You just have to laugh at life sometimes. If you don't laugh, you'll just cry with frustration!
Some of my early murals:
In the end, you just have to dive in and start somewhere, make that pencil mark, pick up that brush...risk it! B/c if you don't you won't get anywhere or learn anything or have the opportunity to fail....and yes, failing is an opportunity b/c every time you fail, you learn something.
So, in between mothering, homeschooling, painting murals, my hubby bought me my first watercolor paints about 4 Christmases ago....and I fell in LOVE! There was no going back. A new challenge to teach myself! Oh joy!
I got books, I studied, I muddied, I tore paintings up, I framed some really bad art, I struggle and I WROTE other artists that I admired...not a lot, mind you, I just wrote an email once in awhile to an artist that I liked....and I never got a response. I just so badly wanted someone to say, "you can do it" or give me some advice on an watercolor problem...and no one ever did! I guess when you get too big for your britches, you forget that there are others coming up behind you that need encouragement and cheer.
Now, let me preface that by saying that my inquiries were in my early watercolor years....until I found Pam Shank and she has been a WONDERFUL encouragement to me. She paints gorgeous watercolor portraits and I love her to death.
So, my friends, ALL that to say that I will never ignore people who write me. I will do my best to be an encouragement to you and help you along your journey, because who are we if we cannot love and assist others in this life?
It is what God expects of us and it is a joy and a privilege. Please enjoy, learn from, paint from, experiment with any of my tutorials...and if you need reference pics, I have free ones on my facebook page! They are copyright free, taken by me at the NC State Arboretum.
Let's see what you can do!
Thanks for reading and I wish everyone the best on their artistic journey!