Q-A

What is the first art that you made outside of a class assignment? When did you commit to making art? CC

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5 thoughts on “Q-A

  1. As told to me…..When I was 4 yrs or so, on the very remote island of Aruba, my mom found some modeling clay at a store. Such things were a rarity, so she grabbed it up. She showed her simpleton son how to do the snake/coiled basket thing and sent me away with clay and a tray to stay out of her hair. A few hours later I was back with the tray covered in an entire circus of characters including an elephant with a peanut in its trunk. She claims she said in exasperated amazement, “What am I trying to teach YOU anything?!!!” So it was from the beginning, so to speak….

    I’ve always thought of myself as an artist, evidently from before I can remember, and lived with it as an integral part of who I am. My formal commitment to a professional existence in the arts did not occur until a few years ago. I returned from my last trip to Australia (in 2008) with lots of pressure to pursue art seriously. I’d met Dr. Sally Butler of UQ the prior year at an aboriginal art exhibition of the Lockhart River Gang she was curating in the US. She’d given me high praise based on chance photos of some recent paintings of the bush; then continued with more when we met again in Brisbane and she had a chance to see originals in my mate Murray’s collection. Sally was insistent that I give it a serious go. On same trip to Bris, I was strong-armed into selling my first painting. So that barrier was crossed. On return to the States, I submitted an Australian landscape of Moreton Island to the National Watercolor Society’s international competition, basically to be rejected and get this silly notion out of my head. But alas, not only was I accepted, but they requested additional paintings to review. So there I was, flying to California to be inducted as a Signature Member in the NWS on my first go. The only previous competition I’d been in was when I won top prize in my High School as an 8th grader, 40 years prior. NWS was quickly followed by a solo show and I’ve not come up for air since. All that wonderful-me-ness aside, I find myself constantly reconsidering this path. Professionalism changes the game significantly. Throw in a poor economy (yes that was my fault, with the collapse coming as soon as I turned pro), and I question how much I want to do all this. But for now I’m committed and approach my return to Oz with high anticipation of good things, one way or the other.

  2. Art Angled in. My father is an artist and was an art professor. He neither encouraged nor discouraged my big sisters or me to make art. Two things that he did do: forbid coloring books in the house and he made sure that we had reams of newsprint. I never did become a hoarder of coloring books. Perhaps if I didn’t make art?

    Dad is also a cartoonist and that I considered heroic. Charles Shultz was my first Master. I was allowed to watch dad work on his painting/collages in his studio, but that was play. Cartoons I applied myself to. I was also a big fan of Creepy and Eerie magazines – sort of 1970’s “Tales From the Crypt.” I never missed Looney Tunes on Saturdays. Art and art books, I include The World Book Encyclopedia, were all over the house. When I was around eight I stared at the Beatle’s Sergeant Pepper record sleeve and inset on and off for hours. I loved to assemble model plane kits of WWII fighters. The best part was painting details on the pilots with double-oughts and painting the free-form camouflage!

    I was a cartoonist on my High School’s newspaper. My ambition upon entering the University of Florida was to be a journalist like my Mom, or an editorial cartoonist. Never one for five year plans; I started on a fine arts track from the start. At some point I must have felt that making sarcastic jibes at my fellow man’s foibles in cartoons was not a thing that I wanted to cultivate. When I started painting I rediscovered a LOVE for paint. All that “playing” in my father’s studio began to assert itself on canvas. Yet I never remember committing myself to art – the family business – until recently.

    I have painted on and off for more than thirty (!) years now, but much of the creative drive was channeled into the museum fabrication; models, environments and the like. As the administrative side of my museum career took over, I felt the need to get back in the “studio” (read the back yard, garages, guest rooms) on a regular basis. I can’t remember the last time I drew a full-on cartoon.

  3. I have quite the memory black-out of some early childhood years… but I do remember my beautiful mum being chastised at the local shop for buying me yet another set of colouring pencils because I’d worn down the last set pretty quickly. There was no strong art influence in my family but it was supported and encouraged from the get go, so there was always drawing.

    Another strong memory is being young and going into the city (Brisbane) on the train with my dad. A pretty rare event. At Coles I got to pick out a big set of felt pens. The. Best. Day. Ever. Funny how my strongest memories are not about the ‘doing’ but about the gearing up. I do love materials. Or maybe they’re really about remembering the support.

  4. I have two strong memories, but these only from the classroom. First is my 15 minutes of fame. In grade one I made a small figure of a person on an island, resting against a palm tree. The plasticine was multicoloured mainly dark green. It was very small…about 5cm high, but it had a lot of detail. My teacher was so impressed with it, she sent me to the class next door so I could parade up and down each aisle of admiring children, with my small creation on a timber board and me with the biggest smile ever!

    The second memory came a few years later about grade 4 or five. After pinning up my latest drawing of a horse, I was horrified to come to the realisation that all my horses looked like cows!!!

    I did improve on that!

    It was not until my mid 30’s that I took up my art practice….the perfect time for me. cx

  5. Christine, Adrienne, you reminded me of my brush with artistic fame! When I was about 8 years old a deli-restaurant called “Wolfie’s” held a contest: “Draw Wolfie’s Wife.” The Wolfie logo was, most imaginatively, a wolf. My felt tip pen rendering won in my age group. I think the prize was a chocolate shake, my first entry in a “group show” ( hung in the restaurant,) and a picture in the St. Pertersburg Times which still have somewhere. My older sisters each drew much more accomplished spousal portraits. They felt more constrenation than pride. Thanks for that. CC

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