Throwback Thursday #16 – Enjoying Art

Welcome back to Throwback Thursday.  Lauren has the reins this week and wants us to think about our early exposure to art. Check out her post for the rules and some suggestions and also to read the contribution of others. 

This week’s prompt is: Enjoying Art

My first foray into “art” was when I took a red crayon and wrote my name along the top of our couch on the living room wall my mother had just spent her vacation scrubbing. I got a spanking and vowed to never ever make another mark on the wall.

Art has always been a big part of my life. I remember when I realized I possessed the ability to replicate something I saw onto paper and that ability was not a skill everyone seemed to possess. We were in grade school and were asked to draw a picture of something in our house. I chose to draw my grandmother’s stove. Instead of a typical child’s flat drawing, I drew it in three dimensions. I remember feeling uncomfortable when my peers asked me how I did it. I did not know how to respond because I had just drawn what I  had seen.

One day when I was home sick for school, there was an advertisement for an FBI poster contest. I entered without telling my parents. I won second place, had my picture in the paper and have a congratulatory letter signed by the infamous J. Edgar Hoover.

I loved to draw and always doodled. Family friends adopted two little boys and I remember drawing posters of Snoopy for their room. In my late grade school years my parents bought me a subscription to the Famous Artists School – a remote art program advertised in magazines. It was less than successful for me and I never progressed well – maybe my parents ran out of money.

My mother was an avid reader and would often sit and read for hours at a time. I often sat and sketched her hands as she read. 

In high school, my father decided he wanted a mural on our living room wall. He had it all worked out in his mind and told me to ask my art teacher if she would paint it. She swiftly said no, but that I could do it. She came out to our house and encouraged my father to allow me to do it. I spent the entire summer painting a 20 foot long mountain scene on the wall. So much for vowing to never make another mark on a wall!

I have taken art classes on and off throughout my life. I spent several months taking portraiture lessons from a woman in Maine. I frequently drew portraits of my children but they quickly tired of posing for me. Later in life I took classes in basic drawing, portraiture, figure drawing, and oil painting.

When I lived in Alaska, I took oil painting classes from a woman who painted gold pans as her livelihood. She often sat in the lobbies of stores around Christmas, selling gold pans, often personalizing them with family names to send home as gifts. She was self taught and very talented and was very well respected. I recently learned that television personality Bon Ross painted gold pans when he was stationed in Alaska while serving in the Air Force. They are very collectible.

I still have projects my children created in school, and always hang the childhood Christmas ornaments they made on my Christmas tree. At this moment, I have artwork from my grandchildren on my refrigerator. I always try to do some sort of art project with them when they visit. Last weekend when two of the grandchildren were here we painted Christmas ornaments.

My house has artwork in every nook and cranny. We often attended plein air art events (before Covid) and purchased many original paintings. We have a few sculptures as well. They all bring us joy. I have a great appreciation for the years of training and practice required to become a working artist.

Of the contemporary artists whose work I would someday love to own – the Rembrandt-like paintings of David A. Leffel and the tribal paintings of BC Nowlin would be on the top of my list. Both are very accomplished and VERY different artists.