Saturday, January 13, 2007

I Told You I had Better Things to Do...

..than cleaning, didn'tI? One of those things is painting pictures. I have been interested in art since I was a little girl. My mom was a very good artist, and I wanted to be like her. I had a Jon Gnagy "Learn to Draw" set, and I drew a lot from that set. I can still see some of the pictures in my head. There was a head of a dog and a couple of scenes that are a little more vague in my memory. As I got into junior high, I had concentrated my landscape drawings to beach scenes (because that was always where I wanted to be) and my people drawings to fashion models, almost always in the same pose, just wearing different clothing. At one point, I painted an acrylic still life for a school project, but then I kind of got busy, and the drawing faded to the background of my life. Studies and basketball games and parties replaced the drawing. That remained the case for MANY years. I got married and my artistic tendencies turned more to crafts such as embroidery, crocheting, sewing, and knitting. You can tell I am a Gemini. I did many things adequately, but none expertly.

My mom continued to draw and paint, and it was still fascinating to me. I loved the impressionist paintings she did, but I never felt I was as good as she, so I concentrated my activities elsewhere. Finally, about 15-20 years ago, fabric embellishing became the fad. I picked this up right away, faithfully cutting out flowers, affixing them to shirts, and embellishing them with paint. I grew tired of this, and began using iron-on transfers, which I painted myself. This became too much like coloring in a coloring book, which I enjoy, but it didn't seem to show any talent, so I started doing my own designs on fabric. Everyone I knew received shirts and tote bags for gifts for a few years. I found I was pretty good at this, but my job as a teacher kept me too busy during the school year to do much. My hobby became a summertime pastime. And then I lost my biggest fan and cheerleader. My mom died about 10 years ago, and with her, my muse disappeared just that fast. Mom was my artistic partner and my inspiration, and without her encouragement, I simply didn't feel creative anymore.

Over the next several years, I made sporadic attempts at painting, but I was never satisfied with anything I did. Then I retired after the 2005 school year. Serendipitously, there was a notice in the local paper about watercolor classes being offered at the public library. My husband suggested I sign up, and I did. I have now been to several watercolor and acrylic classes there, and my muse woke up. I have found that my favorite subject matter is still landscapes, and beach scenes are the best things I do.

I tend to paint from photos and other pictures rather than real life, and I really like using Alissa's photos as they are so striking. I'm sure you can tell which image is from her work. We make a good team. She takes the beautiful pictures, and then I paint them. I will just have to get her to the beach so that she can shoot me some beautiful sunsets from there! Meanwhile, I have sent for a bunch of travel brochures from different parts of the country for inspiration.
I have found that I really enjoy painting again. My mom surely sees the pictures from her vantage point, and I have new fans, who seem to keep appropriating the pictures I paint, which is fine with me. Maybe I'll start a picture right now!


Alissa said...

Hey, that top one looks familiar... :-)

They look good, Mom. You should frame some of your spares up and give them as birthday presents.

That wasn't a hint or anything.

Susie said...

Alissa is right, they would make lovely gifts. I treaure the painting my grandma did. I'm so glad you shared this part of you!

Anonymous said...

Nancy, they are great. Helen

Anonymous said...

I'll take the beach scene! (hehe) The paintings are beautiful! I'm guessing doug hasn't seen them yet or it would be on our wall at home.
but you know us, were suckers for free pictures!! Love Kellie

Natalie said...

Nice paintings! :) I remember the book you are talking about where it shows you step by step how to draw the dog. I remember drawing the same dog while at Grandma and Grandpa's! :)

Alissa said...

I think you should frame one in a double frame with the original photo. Wouldn't that be neat? Like a 4x6 photo, and then the larger painting?

Hootin'Anni said...

Beautiful art work! I love to sketch myself, but never seem to find time. But now, after getting acquainted with you and your motto....better things to do than clean....[good thinking] I may begin to draw something once again.

I came here from Susie's place and wanted to say hi ---I'm always very happy to meet someone who blogs and is my age!

Happy sunday.