It started with a pencil, the parents who provided it, and a loving grandpa and sweet aunt who showed me what they knew. From then on, it was an up and downhill journey of practice, experimentation and learning. I grew up in the Midwest, surrounded and connected to family - Ukrainian and Italian people whom I love very much, as well as one real sweet dog. At a young age I decided it was OK to call myself an Artist. I knew God made Artists, and I figured I should be one. I was one of 2 or 3 kids in my class who figured out that if I looked at the edges of things, and compared parts, I could draw something that looked like the thing I wanted to draw. That lightbulb went off after a drawing of the map of Brazil. No really, Brazil. I was drawing on the right side of the brain before I knew what that meant. One very good Art Teacher in High School, Mr. Weatherford, gave a shy girl some autonomy, a video camera, and a good dose of freedom. And so it began.
College: University of Utah. The craze was Abstract Expressionism. I was NOT an Abstract Expressionist. Dr. Nathan Winter sparked my love of teaching and I will be forever grateful. Fell in love, graduated, got married one week after graduating, worked for a crazy French chef doing illustrations and moved through other art-related jobs/freelance work in Utah, continuing after we moved to Washington state. Then kids, two, (not at the same time). Personally I see them as my greatest Art project. They might dispute that.
Do you know how hard it is to find Art teacher jobs? My door opened literally the day I was finished with a small graphics job. OK, laid off is more accurate. I came home, holding back some inappropriate words (the kids, you know), and our daughter said "mom, the district called, they want you to come in for an interview." Nailed it, started teaching Jr. High and then moved on to Central Kitsap High. I have no doubt that's what I was supposed to do, because really, we know that when a door is closed God opens another, right? How often does it happen on the same day?
Being an Art teacher means being versatile in several mediums. Variety is the key and I will always be a teacher in some capacity. I've worked with some amazing kids, and the best kept secret is that most teenagers area really very sweet. Except for the ones who aren't. You know who you are. You will grow up. And be nicer. Saying some prayers for that.
Retired from my Art Teacher job and am building up my body of work, participating in shows, classes, have been accepted onto a major art licensing site, experimenting, and having a great time taking the leap.