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.
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.
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!
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!!
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.