It was the early 1960’s. I was young, just around three years old… my mom was expecting my baby sister. We were living in a charming little rental house, up high on the south side of Camelback Mountain where only a few homes could be seen scattered about. My dad was painting for a living but getting ready to begin a career designing and building homes in the valley where his art forms would become visible in his incredible architecture.
I remember the big patio on the front of the house where my dad’s easel stood during beautiful weather, which were most days in the Valley of the Sun! There was a stately Saguaro that grew close to the house, so close that the overhang had a hole carved out to make way for the top of the cactus to poke through. The house was surrounded by desert with creosote galore…the summer sunset views were spectacular! It was on this desert patio where my art career began.
There were many fun outings to Simmon’s Art Supplies in Old Town Scottsdale where my dad would let me pick out a small canvas and some acrylic paint colors that I liked (not many 3-year-olds were lucky enough to play with acrylic paints… they don’t wash out easily!) Then back to the patio we would go … I would stand next to him with my big paint shirt on, sleeves rolled-up, ready for business. I would watch carefully as he mixed his paints, held the brush and applied the paint to his canvas. My canvas was so little and so was I, but I felt big standing there next to him! I was an artist! He just let me dip my paintbrush into those colors and paint away!
A few houses later and into my early elementary years, I attended various art classes. One that stands out was a class taught by artist, Earl Linderman, known for his flamboyant cartoon-like figures. This is where I learned and understood that no matter how or what I created, it was right. It was during the bowl of lemons still-life session that this lesson was made very clear to me. I clearly remember staring at that bowl of lemons, scared to begin. I remember Mr. Linderman walking to my side and gently asking what I was thinking. “I don’t know if I can do it right,” I told him. His response, I will never forget, “How you see that bowl of lemons is how you need to paint them, there is no wrong way to do it.” I recall the fear leaving my young body. This art teacher had just given me the freedom to be me, without judgement…what a life gift that was!
There were school art projects and contests entered. There were college drawing classes attended. There were greeting cards created for local stationery stores and craft fairs. Fast forward, there were stage props created and Art Masterpiece classes taught in my daughters’ classes. Then, it was time to get serious about putting my art out there. I was ready to become a working artist! Yikes! It had all been for fun but this decision changed everything! I had made the choice to share my work with the world and put a price tag on it!
I purchased a beautiful wooden easel and a set of acrylic paints & brushes. It was getting seriously real and honestly I was full of doubt. I loved to create so why so much pressure? How are people going to receive my work … remember the lemons , remember the lemons kept running though my mind. Am I going to be compared to my dad, how could I ever create like he did…. remember the lemons, remember the lemons. I set-up my well-lit painting area, all my supplies neatly placed upon my painting table, just waiting there for me to begin.
I dove in… that was 2008 and in 2012 I had my first art show. I rented an empty space, a perfect fit for a showing, with big, blank, white walls and great lighting… it was meant to be. I wanted to be in the space by myself as I prepared for and hung the show …I thought about my dad. It was emotional for sure and at the same time freeing. I wasn’t truly by myself, I felt my dad there with me. The two beautiful nights in October of 2012 were amazing, humbling & emotional. It was my debut….I was now officially a working artist!
A website was created, a blog section was added… my love of writing emerged. Commission paintings were created, art was shown in various venues, intuitive art classes formed and the story continues…. and every time I go to my easel I think about that little artist standing there next to her dad, creating away, feeling like a big artist. I think about those lemons, honoring the artist within me & my teachers along the way….creating & painting, just as I see it! And that is how it began.
Abstract -Age 3