My Journey in the Visual Arts: Part 6 of 10

This is a series of short posts that will piece together how I ended up in the visual arts. I don’t recall an Ah-Ha situation where I knew from a particular moment that I wanted to be an artist. It just sort of crept up on me. It has now been over 35 years since I pursued art as, at first, a serious avocation then a profession. Along the way I have been very fortunate having experienced many facets of the visual art world. During that time I have also made attempts to leave that world only to be pulled back in somehow. You can read the first post in this series here.

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We moved to New Jersey and I ended up going to the local community college for (finally) Dietary. I will just add here that I did spend several years in the Dietary field but decided that it was not for me. Nobody listens to advice about their diet no matter how sick they are, and advancing in the field would require advanced degrees heavy in science. However, this program did help me very much because from it I learned that I liked to teach and interact with the public. It also helped me to land a very good job years later with the Salvation Army where they not only needed a recreation director but someone who could run the community lunch program in accordance with specified dietary standards.

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I was pretty involved in my school program so I cannot say I devoted a lot of time to making art; however, I did purchase a new slant top drafting table for $35 which at the time seemed like a fortune to me! I framed up some of my pen and ink drawings and did make some drawings in color pencil and watercolors. I drew cartoons of/for my friends and imaginary scenes. My sister (number 3) actually has two of the drawing/watercolors I made around that time. The one of the clock has some glare on it from the photo she took but the large beam of light from the window in the painting is part of the painting. The other drawing is called Cafe Closed but that made my sister sad so she changed the name of the drawing to Gone Bowling.

My parents were always very supportive of my art. My mom loved gazebos so I drew a pen and ink gazebo for her. My dad surprised me one day with some canvas covered panels and a brush holder/water well, which I still use (see photo below). I remember after trying the panels that I was not crazy about the feel of canvas so that was useful to learn at such an early point.

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An acquaintance of ours suggested I submit some of my line drawings to the New Yorker. I figured I had nothing to lose so I selected a few to submit. My husband and I went to New York pretty regularly so I thought it best to hand deliver them. It was a pretty ambitious move on my part because I am sure whatever I submitted was probably pretty bad. However, I remember the receptionist being very cordial and not feeling like an idiot for having done it.

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Actually, I can remember one piece of significance from this time frame. One day we were sitting in Washington Square (in Philadelphia) on a bench and I was watching the pigeons on the sidewalk. I was really intrigued by their feet – the shapes and the different color pinks. I painted a small watercolor of the pigeons’ feet, not the birds themselves, just their feet. My husband liked it. I guess it was my first attempt at something a bit on the abstract side. The reason the painting was significant has nothing to do with the picture itself but what it foretold. Many years later, I had a solo exhibition called Dirty Birds which featured several depictions of pigeons. The show was favorably reviewed by Victoria Donohoe of the Philadelphia Inquirer. But that is many years away from this point in time.

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One thought on “My Journey in the Visual Arts: Part 6 of 10

  1. I remember that great show. I bought one of them and it still commands the view in my kitchen, where I look at it many times each day. Thus art becomes part of the fabric of your life…
    Anders

    Liked by 1 person

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