Does it just happen one day? Poof! You feel like an artist - and, therefore you are!
When I was seven years old living in Gales Ferry, Connecticut my first grade teacher handed out my favorite assignment materials...a blank piece of paper and a handful of crayons. She announced the task was to draw a picture associated with the school play, Bambi. I drew a deer in the woods with some flowers and trees. Unbeknownst to me there would be voting for the best picture out of all the classes involved in the play. I only found out when my drawing won first place - which meant it would be printed on the front of the school play program. All the grownups made a big deal out of this, telling me what a great little artist I was.
I didn't feel like an artist, I just enjoyed any opportunity to draw in class I could get! Perhaps it gave me the encouragement to continue. It was from that point on my parents called me an artist.
I doodled on all of my schoolwork. To this day, I still doodle on meeting notes or whatever paper's in front of me.
After years of growing up, drawing classes in high school and starting my grown up life - I had an indescribable urge to paint. I had never painted, I just felt like my drawings lacked a certain vibrance that I imagined could be capture with paint. At the time I worked part-time as a gardener for the town mayors wife who did oil painting. One day I expressed my interest in painting to her and she gave me a few oil paint tubes. I was so excited to try them out!
That weekend I decided to just go for it. I had no idea what I was doing...I had no canvas, no brushes or knowledge of painting basics - and, I wasn't even worried about it. I found a piece of matting board, sat at my kitchen table and decided to use the tip of my right ring finger to paint. I thought, why not?
My first painting in 1995. 15 x 18 inch oil painting on mat board.
It was a
to do it
Second oil painting in 1995 - 15 x 18 inches on paper
The painting was oddly interesting to me...and, I was left with a very painted ring finger that was doomed to stay that way even after seemingly hours of scrubbing. I know now the purpose of tools and how important it is to take care of your tools so your tools will take care of you!
Even though I had no idea what I was going to paint, I was pretty happy with it all. The feel of the paint, the way the oil blended with all the colors I put on the surface was a surprise every time I moved it. I thought, I'm NEVER showing this to anyone. I was happy with it, for myself and more so my experience.
It was only a few days before I decided to start a new one. Now looking back I can't tell you how interesting it is to start learning how to paint with oils. Ha! I can't help but to laugh that my first two paintings are on paper.
Years went by and I kept painting. I still felt uncomfortable with anyone and everyone seeing my work, so I hid it. My friends would say things like, 'Oh yea! Heather's an artist! Talk to her!'. This was so awkward for me. I didn't feel this way. I still felt like I was just enjoying making a blank paper or canvas into a colorful piece of space.
About ten years later I started donating art to non-profit auctions on a yearly basis, worked with a handful of wonderful skilled artists and did several contract pieces of work. I created a website, sold my first painting from my website before having it entirely set up - which was crazy to me! I continued painting in the privacy of my home until I had an open studio in downtown, Corvallis where I would paint and show my work.
Since then, I've surrounded myself with creative people, doing art shows and painting exploration classes. I don't recall the exact moment I started comfortably calling myself an artist, I just know that because of these experiences I'm confident about what I do and I've decided for myself - YES! I AM an artist.
So! You can see some of the art I've done on my website and you may notice there are some different styles. I haven't decided on a definitive style and I don't know that I will. I just know that I'm drawn to color, people and stories. Whether it's obvious or not, here are stories throughout my paintings. We ALL have our stories!
While I appreciate all kinds of artists, I'm mostly inspired by Pollock, Frida Kahlo, Picasso and Salvador Dali - not in that particular order.
Something that I've changed since starting painting is (I think perhaps obviously) sharing it. What I find most challenging now is explaining it. It's a piece of me and there's a story to every one.
Today is the first time I've painted since moving here to Texas from Oregon. While I've felt anxious to paint I've felt the need to make sure my immediate surroundings were in order. It's like (for me) cooking in the kitchen when things aren't in place.
I look forward to sharing the first piece of work for my Texas collection! Until then, enjoy your space!