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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.

32 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday #16 – Enjoying Art”

  1. Because I was always hopeless at Art, I learned to have great respect for painters at an early age. Living in London and surrounded by galleries and museums that had free enrty then, I soon discovered the styles that pleased me the most. Rembrandt and other Dutch masters, for that almost ‘photographic’ quality of portraiture. Then painters like Edward Hopper, who portrayed the quiet moments of city life so well.
    Then in my late teens, I developed a love of Art Deco architecture, discovering the painter Tamara de Lempicka in the process. She remains my very favourite, and I have some posters of her portraits.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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    1. Pete, how fortunate to have access to such works of art at such a young age. You can certainly see the cubist influence in Tamara’s work. She led quite an interesting life. Her biography (if one exists) would be an interesting read.

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  2. Maggie, I admire and envy your artistic talent. I can understand why the other children wanted to know how you created your art. It would be a total mystery to me also.
    I appreciate the bracelet you made for me. You obviously have many artistic talents. I can redo “treasures” that I find, but have no talent to make my own.
    I think it’s great that you have had so many wonderful experiences to expand your talents. Is there an art book created by you in your future?

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    1. I never would have imagined creating an art book. I am but an amateur. I always loved getting list in the creative process, though. We each gave talents that others might envy, but think how boring it would be to all have the same talent.

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  3. Being able to free hand draw like that at such a young age is amazing. I understand the embarrassment about being made a fuss over for it though. When I was about 16, I got an assignment in English to take a Shakespeare work and put my own spin on it. I could choose whatever medium I wanted for the writing too. I re-wrote the mad scene from “Hamlet” in play form – did all the lighting and cues and lines for the actors. I didn’t think it was any big deal, it was fun for me actually. But my teacher was so impressed he showed the whole class and said “THIS is what a play write does”…I thought I’d die of embarrassment on the spot. He recommended I look into schooling when I graduated for writing – journalism or fiction or whatever. It’s only taken me fifty years to sort of act on his advice .. LOL I’m impressed that you carried on and turned your talent into something you can be proud of! Kudos!

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    1. Wow, Melanie, that was an accomplishment at a young age. I would have been impressed, too! Life can certainly throw a few detours on our way to accomplishing our dreams. Better late than never I say.

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    1. Peter, somewhere there may be a photo of the work in progress. It was very elementary. At 16 I was no where near ready to take on a mural. If I can find a pic, I will post it.

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  4. While I have never been much good with work on paper, I have always loved art in the form of needlework. There are many ways to enjoy color and I have decided that fiber arts are a form of art after discounting my efforts for years.

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    1. Needlework is an amazing art form and one I could never accomplish. Anyone who has the eyes, patience, and vision for needlework has my utmost respect.

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  5. I agree Maggie you should show us your art, you have so much talent, you draw, paint, make jewellery and probably much more.
    I really enjoyed your post.💜

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    1. My sketchbooks have disappeared over the years. I still have a lot of my figure drawing sketchpads, but the nudes might offend some readers.

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