When I was a kiddo my mom had a certain bed sheet that I coveted. It was a gift from her brother and since she no longer slept in a twin size bed, I figured she didn’t need it anymore. It always felt like my birthday when it would cycle through the laundry and end up in my room. My earliest memory of it was being four or five years old, getting sent off to bed and pulling the sheet tight over my head, gazing at every crazy, colorful detail. Later on in my adolescent years I would use it as a backdrop for silly music videos my friends and I created to offset the boredom of summer. I would then take it to college, California and then kept it folded safe in my linen cabinet because I no longer had a mattress to display it. It was unfortunate when the sheet disappeared in my adult life, but apparently someone else fell in love with it too and needed it for some inspiration. The artist of the sheet, Peter Max.
this is the sheet…just not my sheet 🙁
I never saw any other work produced by Mr. Max growing up, but his name resonated in the back of my mind, as he was officially my first favorite, famous artist. In my late 20’s I decided to break out of my comfort zone and take a painting class offered through our adult education program. The teacher asked us to bring in a picture to paint for our main project. I had recently doodled something while on a very long and painful phone call with the telephone company. She glanced at it and said it reminded her of a Peter Max. I was shocked and honored. I had never copied his work or style consciously, so for it to show up and be recognized in my piece was really awesome. She followed the comment with “you are going to need a really big canvas to paint that on.” My ego was quickly deflated and replaced with a feeling terror. I had never painted anything successfully and this seemed like a tremendous challenge. It would take me almost 10 years, maybe more, to finish that painting but the whole experience was empowering.
Then one day a friend and local business owner asked if I would paint something to spruce up their outside porch area. Of course I accepted only to retreat inside my space and wonder what had I just gotten myself in to. I had never painted anything for anyone else for actual money. It was pretty scary. And if you must know… there have been very few paintings that I actually planned what I was doing. A lot of them just kind of happen. Maybe it is safety thing…you can’t mess up something you didn’t mean to do 🙂 It had also never occurred to me that I could sell my art. But I did it, did not die and even sold another painting on the night of the reveal. I made a comment to this first buyer of mine…that I hoped to be famous one day, that way his painting would be worth something.
This was commissioned by my wonderful friend Carol and used to decorate the Beachouse Beanery 🙂
First painting I ever sold 🙂
Fast forward to the present. I can now call myself a struggling artist, which has honestly been a difficult phrase to utter. My confidence lacking sometimes because I was never trained in fine arts and feel incompetent compared to other “real” artists. Also, the pictures I choose to paint are very subjective, so I never know if they are actually any good. It’s not like I’m painting an apple and it either looks like one or it doesn’t. I guess the important thing is if I like them…which is not always the case. 🙂 Recently I picked up a new technique from a painting video by artist Flora Bowley. I did a few pieces and got a tremendous amount of positive feedback. I had to chuckle to myself as the paintings I had been creating would take ….forever…. for me to complete. These new ones I could finish in a couple days. But with everything in my life it seems I do things in cycles. I was able to spend a couple of weeks painting up a storm and feeling like I was starting to improve and then “stuff” gets in the way and I have to stop. Making the next, first time I pick up a brush feeling like I am starting all over again. My life as an artist.
So what next? I dream that one day I could make money just by dipping a brush into some pretty colors but is a hard road to travel and I don’t know if I have it in me just yet. Until then I’ll just keep practicing.
Here’s a small pile of some of my favorites :
Many thanks to the folks who have purchased my work and supported this dream!