In 1973, fifty years ago I began my artist’s journey. Since I’d majored in music during my Junior and Senior High School days, playing the trumpet and conducting, I hadn’t taken any art classes. It wasn’t until my youngest son went to pre-school that I began stretching my wings.
My first step towards discovering that my life’s work would be an artistic journey was buying a Jon Gnagy, Learn to Draw set and experiencing a sensation that the charcoal was an extension of my hand, my arm and my body. It was thrilling!
After completing his entire set of drawing lessons, I decided to take painting classes at the local YMCA where I lived at the time in Queens, NY. So, I arranged for a babysitter, signed up for the oil painting class and made my first foray into Jerry’s Artarama art supply store with my supply shopping list in hand. How electrifying to be exposed to so many wonderful and exciting new products, widgets, thingies, colors, brushes, papers and canvas. Oh, the possibilities!
And that began my art supply addiction ;-).
Along with the small tubes of Grumbachers, some brushes, canvas boards and mediums, we were instructed to bring some pictures from calendars or notecards that we could use to copy. My first calendar photo was of a brilliant orange sunset with the silhouette of a house at the bottom. I still have these early paintings, some on walls, some tucked away.
The second oil painting I ever did I copied from a placemat that I had borrowed from a neighbor.
I so loved the image, not knowing at the time that it was representative of the golden age of Dutch still life painting from the 1600s. I had no formal knowledge of art history but, being Dutch, and having spent time in Holland as a child I had been exposed to the art hanging in the homes of my extended family. That still-life image spoke to me in a way I didn’t understand at the time. It spoke to me of family, of my history, of roots, of connection. It is also part of my art journey, not just another painting but the beginning of a 50-year adventure with all the ups and downs, zigs and zags. An adventure that, I’m happy to say is still unfolding!
This is my studio wall from some years ago with artwork covering a piece from many decades. Some are now in storage, some have moved to different walls. All of them speak to me of my life and artistic journey of these exciting 50 years of creativity.