My Journey in the Visual Arts: Part 8 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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Things get a bit fuzzy and start to overlap around this time in my mind. I know I was very involved with that cultural organization in the Northeast part of the city and was in charge of organizing an outdoor art show in the spring of, I believe, 1987. I took the opportunity of collecting artist’s business cards whenever I visited another outdoor show. The show was a success as far as events go – we had a lovely park setting on the grounds of a local hospital, a wind ensemble, and lots of people but not necessarily lots of buyers. I actually did sell my first piece at this show, a pen and ink drawing of a gazebo. Once again, I felt a bit guilty because the image was part my own and part inspiration from ads I saw for gazebos. I told this information to the woman who bought it and she said that did not bother her at all, she just liked the artwork.

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It was also around this time that I started to enter small juried shows. The first one on the grounds of Cliveden, a historic site in Germantown, Philadelphia. This was an in person jury so I had to bring several pieces for the jurors to look at. I remember one juror that sort of intimidated me but then I over heard him saying he liked my work, which was at this time, mainly charcoal and hard pastel drawings, and a few pen and inks most likely. The funniest thing about this “intimidating juror” was that many years later, we served on a board together and I was always having to wake him up because he would nod off at the meetings!

Drawing from a photograph of my sister when she was a child of about 8
Drawing from my sketch book around 1988

The other juried exhibition was an indoor show through the an arts group in Lansdown, PA which was right outside the city. I entered a charcoal drawing of one of my husbands dress shirts that was hanging on a closet door. It really was a striking drawing and I remember him saying he didn’t know how I would ever do anything better than that drawing (which was meant as a compliment). I agreed it was the best thing I did at that point but I also said that if I never do anything better I am in big trouble!!

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There was also a community arts group forming in the neighborhood of Frankford, which is where I was originally from. I attended a few meetings and eventually got very involved with them with some public art projects as well as teaching.

A woman from the Frankford based group worked in color pencils and I wanted to learn more about them. I saw that a workshop was being taught in New York over a weekend by a very accomplished artist in this medium by the name of Bet Borgeson. We decided to go up so I could attend the workshop. It seemed, for me at the time, a great adventure. While I was in the class, my husband rode around the city on subways and such with our daughter and the diaper bag visiting stores and other sites. Everyone seemed to have a good time.

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