Sunday, April 6, 2008

How I started drawing pictures....

Michele asked me to write about what got me started doing creative projects and of course I have been thinking about it since she wrote that request. So here we go….

I come from an extended family of doctors, and medical practitioners…except for my mom, who was a singer, and an ‘artistic’ person. Mom married out of the faith, and we kids were subject to constant reminders that Mom could have married this or that Doctor or dentist, and if only she had how wonderful it would have been. It was instilled in me by my extended family that Art was NOT something that you do for a living. And in the way of children, I set out to prove that Mom’s choice of career and marriage was validated – my brother and I were set to do science from day 1. He’s a Doctor and I’m a Clinical Chemist. Good children.

Despite family influences I had an artistic inclination and tried art classes through my school years, and loved them all… but it “wasn’t a career” so I just played. After college – nothing really, no time!. Too busy getting married, building a career, buying and fixing up a house etc, etc.

So what got me started on this recent road? I still don’t know the absolute trigger, but there were a number of small things that built up.
1) My dog of 15 years died and we didn’t rush out and get another one, so I had nothing to care for and take for walks etc. Lots of free time.
2) My dear friend Isabel died of larynx cancer. A terrific artist and designer she was always encouraging me with fabric arts, and a general artistic environment. I missed her inspirations.
3) I broke my leg in 2005 and was incapacitated for 12 weeks and permanently limited in some ankle movement, which limited my desire and ability to take long walks or go to some of those active gym classes.
4) My sister in law died in January 2006 - another big hole left in my life.
5) We moved to a new house and I finally had some space. Old house was tiny, less than 900 sq ft of space aside from bedrooms and a basement that had dirt floors and stone walls. New house has big room, and a full dry basement begging to be used.

It was after my sister in law died that I really got started with art projects. Here I was with no dog, missing close friends, a gimpy leg and a lot of time on my hands. I was at Michael’s art store and saw a book about decoupage, and cigar boxes. I bought the book and supplies and was off like a shot.
I loved decoupage, and went out and bought lots of books and supplies and made boxes for friends, and family. Everyone loved them, or said they did and I loved doing them. I painted birdhouses, and decoupaged them. It was a short hop from decoupage to collage and then to drawing and painting. I was like a crazy woman and wanted to try it all – so I did. I figured that I’d been working my whole life, and it was time to indulge in a little bit of passion. With no training, I had no idea how to use supplies, so I tried them all. I spent a fortune at Michael's! I tried every medium aside from oils. I did research on line about art. I found out about blogging, and started reading art blogs. I found Portrait Party and Illustration Friday and IFN (this was my favorite post that I did for IFN) and EDM and WetCanvas and Monday ArtDay. I found magazines and ZNE’s about paper art, and on and on. I found a whole new world, friends, encouragement, honest opinions, and started learning how to SEE (Note: I can't find the post where Fern had recommended pressing your nose against a tree and looking at the colors, but it made a great impression on me! ). I started quilting, actually something that I had started years ago, but had no space to do.

It has all settled down

So today, I am more settled with some specific passions. Little drawings, ATC’s, colored pencils and continued learning. I have SO much stuff that isn’t useful to me anymore, and it’s all going to the Goodwill. Lot’s of sparkles and glitter glue (don’t laugh).
Embellishments and other crap. I feel more comfortable with drawing, but still don’t call myself an artist. I have a lot to learn, and feel comfortable enough to sign up for classes now. I am constantly thinking of ideas, and writing them down. I have started two books, and that is harder creative work than anything else. I draw on the weekends and doodle or sew during the week. I would love a week away with just art to learn and do. Maybe it’s years of ideas just flowing out, maybe I just have ADD. I don’t know…and don’t care. I’m happy.

Did this answer your question Michele? It was fun to research and write so thanks for the inspiration.


Debra Kay said...

I loved your story. And I really love finding Art supplies at the Goodwill. I view them as passing of the flame so to speak, so it really isn't wasted money when you donate-it's going where they are needed most.

Quilting is becoming for me the non numerical version of accounting-organizing patterns into something meaningful. Only there are no SCC or Auditors looming to say "Oh you're wrong"...

Mim, I didn't know you had a gimpy leg too. I'm sorry that you do, but I actually love you more because of it, I'm not the only gimp in the group!

Mim said...

Deb - A friend told me that quilting was like rotary cutting construction work but nicer in that if you made mistakes the house didnt' fall down, you just got an interesting piece.
Yup, gimpy leg! Broke my ankle first day with a new bicycle. I still have 12 pins in holding it together and want to have them out..but another 8 weeks of non weight bearing? might be more than I could handle.

Forever Young said...

yes this is a fascinating story. you have always come across as being such a positive, happy cheery person and nothing gets you down. this seems to show that again. am looking forward to meeting you soon...oops must write you an e mail. hugs. the boxes are so cute.

Michele said...

I love your story as well. Thank you so much for sharing. When Deb and I had a booth at an antique mall way back when, I was always thinking of cool things I could do with treasures I found at junk stores. Painting old chair, doing a mosaic design on an old table, etc. And the funny part is all fo that stuff sold and it sold quickly. I really miss those days. Your story is a good inspiration for me to get back in gear and start creating again. But I have to stay away from Michaels ... that place is dangerous : )

sukipoet said...

Mim Thanks for your comments on my blog. Finally I have gotten here to yours. I just love this story of how you came to be an artist. So inspirational. My friend F was a botanist for many years and now is a watermedia painter to some success.

I come from a medical family too however I did not follow in their footsteps except for a brief time on a very low level hands on caregiving situation.

Interesting how we evolve and change.

ElizT said...

Thank you for your story. And I think we benefit from coming to it late.

Nancy Bea Miller said...

I liked hearing your story! There's a lot of interconnection between the medical arts and the fine arts for some reason. Must use a lot of the same brain space...intuition etc. Case in point: my mother the nurse met my father the artist when both were taking night classes at the Art Student's League in NYC!

Fern said...

Loved this chapter in the Book of Mim.