Thursday, July 11, 2013

Back to the Future

It has been a very busy last couple of weeks.  
Family, holiday week and party preps.  I have not been able to paint in the last two weeks.
And I think summer is like that for most of us.

So I thought I'd add a short post about how I got into this whole fine art world.

I was a greeting card illustrator.  First for Hallmark Cards, Inc. in Kansas City, Missouri and then as a very busy freelancer with card companies all around the country and beyond.  And I was very happy with this career.  It was not bad money and I got to paint full color and see them in stores.

One of my first cards painted for Hallmark.  It was their number one best seller that year.

And then the age of the computer hit with a vengence!  Suddenly people weren't buying so many greeting cards anymore.  The greeting card industry took a huge hit on this.  Companies, even Hallmark, scaled back their staff while quite a few other companies closed up all together.  And eventually my assignments began to dwindle.

By then I had two small children and deceided to settle happily into motherhood for awhile.
After the kids were in high school and college (they are in their late twenties now) I went back to school and completed graduate work for teacher certification.

I taught art for ten years at a private school in Philadelphia.  Great kids and many fun projects.

As a teacher I had to take continuing education classes to keep my state certification.
And one night I walked into a watercolor class at my local community college.  I had not painted in many years and never in watercolor.  I thought it would just be an easy class to earn my credits and off I would go.  Well, I was hooked from the first brush stroke!

I brought this holly twig in, laid it out on a white napkin and this became my first painting from that class.
After the class I went back to my classroom but on my days off I read everything I could about watercolor.  I watched you tube videos, read all the art magazines and just played with the materials.
Finally I deceided to get serious and found this old photo I took in my garden and began.

"Blue Moon", Watercolor, 12" x 16"
My first complete real watercolor painting.

Although now I see many things I'd love to improve on this, at the time I was pretty excited.   Honestly, I didn't think I'd even finish the thing!

So then there was another and another and here I am.

My point in this little narrative is that you can become anything you want if you work at it.  I know we adults say that to kids all the time but how often do we say it to ourselves or each other?

Last year I retired as an art teacher.  I guess I could have gone on with teacher for a few more years.  But I had done every project imaginable, twice, and I wanted to see what I could do as a painter.

Painting is not the kind of career that you retire from and I hope to keep working at it and improve into old age.

I'll be back next week with a new painting.  Can't wait to walk into my little studio with coffee in hand and start all over again!

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