Today’s #MarchMeetTheMaker promt is “how you started”. My compulsion to make things started very young, and just never went away. I was just thinking about this the other day— I got really, REALLY serious about art when I was 15. I was so depressed and lonely as a teenager. Art helped me focus on something other than my misery. There are a lot of reasons why I am an artist, but that is one of the big ones. Around that time I started collecting books and taking classes. It became an obsession. It became therapy for me. It helped me occupy my mind and focus on something beautiful.
Painting is not just jumping in and painting, and voila!, it is a masterpiece. Any artist will tell you, there is a lot of prep involved in each project before it is made.
I start by finding a subject. I have a collection of specimens, and if I don’t have an actual specimen, I will spend days scouring the internet and looking through my book collection. I also take a lot of photographs for source material. I need to have a good feel for the subject, and I need to be able to visualize what the subject will look like in the painting. This takes research.
I like to say that I am a little like Larry David. I don’t like to write the script down before I start. An important aspect of my process is improvisation. I have to be able to visualize the subject of my painting before I start. But once I start, I respond to the piece with intuition to create the external composition.
Then the fun starts. Painting and adornment with 23k gold leaf. I will do some process videos in the near future and go into more detail about that soon!
I am often asked at art fairs how long I have been doing this. And I always say, forever. I had an overwhelming impulse to make things from a young age. I think this is fairly common amongst artists. My clearest memory is sewing quilts, and creatures, and things. Then, I tried to work with every material and technique I could get my hands on. I am an only child, and I was always trying to occupy my mind. But the impulse never went away. Except after graduate school for a handful of years, but that is a story for another day.
Other artists out there, what is your experience? When did you start your journey as an artist?