As the New Year shines brightly on the horizon and I squint to catch the first glimpses of what lies waiting for me, I stop and feel what is in this moment, the calm protection of strong cradling arms that I imagine once again uplifting me. What is in the past in my life I now proclaim as good. Today is always an opportunity for growth, tomorrow does not really matter. I can remember some of my story. Forgetting the rest can be a gift. “I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills, and the landslide brought it down. ” (Stevie Nicks about 1972)
Although art would have been both my mother and fathers first choice for their own professions, I rarely ever got to see my mother painting, and only saw my father doing it when I was very young. Life changed quickly for them after five children. I fondly remember the smell of pipe tobacco and oil paint. I was only 3 years old, but I can still see in my mind’s eye, that huge oil painting my father was working on in our basement. Looking back 15 years later, but over 30 years ago now, with my first set of oils that I kept in an old wooden artists box that my mother had received as a gift from her father when she was young, I began by copying oil paintings from art books I had collected by Renoir, Dali, and others, who I thought could reveal their secrets if I looked and listened carefully enough. I had no one but those artists spirits to guide me in my choice of color and the supplies I needed. I worked very hard, taking a month or more to complete one painting. I soon felt confident enough to begin painting subjects from my own life. Nothing was too mundane. Every part of my world became my study with paint. I was timid at first about entering shows. However, when I received the top award from the very first show I entered, my confidence grew. Getting up in the morning and setting up somewhere to paint my world always seemed so important for me to do everyday, not realizing that what I was actually doing had a title in the art world, and it was called en plein air.
All these many years later I travel, teach, write, paint, and pray the hours of my life away. Although my style of painting has grown in many different directions, I know my self-taught education is guiding me. I listen intently for those leading’s by the spirit teachers of my past, encouraging me to keep working to develop and grow my own vision as they too did on their journey through life.
The painting at the top was completed in 1979, I copied it from an art book given to me on Artist Salvador Dali. What a great teacher he was for me.
The second painting, Tennessee Springtime was also completed in 1979 and was my first original oil painting to be exhibited in a juried show. The show was in Nashville, Tennessee and received First Place in the Tennessee Art League New Members Show in 1980. Painted with knives, as I still love to work with, I asked then as I still sometimes do when I am at the beginning of a New Year, over 30 years hence, now am I an artist? I think I hear those spirits laughing.
Join me in Ireland 2012