[Here’s the thing.]
When you look at a work of art you are getting so much more than raw materials and a pretty design.
You are seeing the heart, soul, history, perspective, guts, love, and toil that an artist has put into their creative work. An original artwork has a heartbeat and non-duplicable story that radiates out from within.
[My art story.]
My path to becoming a full-time artist has been indirect to say the least. However, I wouldn’t trade my time of being an “artist interrupted” for anything.
The longer road with all of it’s detours has really paid off in terms of rounding out my life experiences, making me more focused, determined, and extremely grateful for the opportunity I have in the studio right now.
Waiting is a great motivator.
[This is why I didn’t go to art school but got a college degree in marketing instead.]
Flashback to a 17-year old girl (me) having a conversation with my parents about pursuing a career in art. It went like this:
Them, “How will you make a living as an artist?”
Me, “I have no idea.”
End of conversation. Art school was out.
At that very moment, my life trajectory was being set in the exact opposite direction of where I wanted to go.
[Thank goodness for determination and bullheadedness.]
When I got to college, there was no way anyone was going to keep me out of the art building. And for the record, I did manage to sneak in every single art class possible until I ran out of elective hours.
Despite being initially herded away from all things art, I was able to gather all of the fundamental color theory, drawing, painting, sculpting, and design classes under my belt.
[The “AHA” moment.]
This is where the seed of being an abstract artist was launched & permanently lodged into my soul.
The class was Abstract Painting. I went into it blindly and knew absolutely nothing about this style, the artists who developed it, or the thought behind it.
Honestly, I didn’t know what to think of it myself until I started working on my first canvas.
It was like a bullet hit me. I FELT something connect.
The brushstrokes, lines, and dabs of paint made only with movements, gestures, and marks made complete sense to me. I simply understood the way to move paint, arrange surfaces, and how to express from the inside out. Purely expressive painting was natural, authentic, and intuitive for me.
I recognized it as my own and knew this was my art language.
But, I had to lay down my painting vision for many years while working in the corporate visual display industry. I had traded my paintbrushes for managing large projects, servicing clients, and juggling the rapid-fire demands of the working world. Although I learned incredible life lessons like tenacity, perseverance, and mad strategic skills, I was living and working on the opposite side of life where my creativity lived.
BUT, that seed was still in there.
When I came home from work each night, I was greeted by one of the large canvases that I had painted in college. It was like looking into the mirror and seeing my true self in the colors and brushstrokes.
Having those paintings in my space kept a tiny spark alive and were reminders that I was an artist.
[Fast-forward through the story.]
Several cross-country moves from Cleveland to Chicago and now NW Arkansas with my husband & rescue greyhounds is finally where my “art seed” had the opportunity to be planted and take root.
During the past eight years, I have worked full-time in the studio developing and honing my work and am fortunate to have shared and placed my work through shows and projects throughout the US.
And in 2011, the world-class Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opened (literally in my backyard). I was even able to get an intensive art history download while training to be a gallery guide.
This filled in some of the gaps that I missed early on and introduced me to trailblazers in the art world that propelled movements such as Modernism and Abstract Expressionism.
These artists inspired me with their fierce spirit and stories.
So there you have it – my art story. If you actually read the entire piece – thank you. I know it was long.
I always prefer happy and hopeful endings when I hear a story, so I’ll leave you with this.
Following your heart, inner vision, and passion can lead you to do the very thing you love & cherish, even if it takes a L-O-N-G time.
And know this, when an artwork ends up on a wall in your workspace, home or the places where you relax, laugh, and play…it is the culmination of those MANY straight-from-the-heart hours of creative output from my studio to you. :)
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