I started drawing and painting when I was a young girl. I remember the excitement and pleasure of picking out new art supplies for every long plane ride or road trip my family was about to take. I loved assembling my backpack with new colored pencils, stencil pads, and workbooks. Drawing, painting, and sketching is how my sister and I passed the time in periods of life that were at a lull, whether in transit or at home. My sister and I were not allowed to use the word B-O-R-E-D, as my parents did not believe in a world where there was simply nothing to do. I remember my mother telling me it was not her job to entertain me. She said there was always something my mind could imagine or create. My mom (who is retired now), is a forever teacher. She spent twenty-five years teaching high school English and eight years leading a “Gifted and Talented” program. She evoked speculation when her English students were extrapolating meanings from Shakespeare and encouraged inspiration when her “Gifted students” utilized their strengths and designed their independent studies. She always works to better her mind and those around her.
My mother encouraged my sister and me to be present, aware of our surroundings, and have the ability to both entertain ourselves and to interact with the family. We were not allowed to listen to music in walkmans (yes…we had these when I was young), play game boys, or anything else that would individually consume, monopolize, or divert our attention away from our family scene. My father, a pediatrician, worked incredibly long hours, was “on-call” for the hospital on weekends, and had far too many “middle of the night” work emergencies that became too regular to count. Thus, when the four of us were together, me, my sister, mom, and dad, family time was precious…period. When we were engaging in “family time,” we needed to be available. That is why art supplies became so vital during these periods of calm.
But most importantly, my mom had the fantastic ability to make every art supply run special! I never remember WANTING electronics. I just remember my mom’s encouragement of each drawing, painting, or sketch.
Fortunately, my sister and I were able to continue this spread of creativity in many watercolor workshops with one of my parent’s artist friends. We would sit and paint in nearby orchards during fall, and then have a sleepover at her house later with a couple of our other friends sipping hot apple cider and making lasagna. She was like an Aunt during these times and was part of many family vacations. Her watercolor painting of one of our times in Jamaica of beautiful magenta and sun kissed Bougainvillea and swaying tropical palms still hangs prominently above our living room fireplace.
I have experimented with different artistic mediums throughout the years. I have taught myself layering techniques and bold brushstrokes of oils and acrylics, the mixing of watercolors between the two, and the placement of words and thoughts, woven as poems into these colorful canvases. I have never thought of myself as a learned “artist”/professional. I’ve only sold one piece in my life, a sketch I did on a class trip to a local museum in third grade. An anonymous buyer wished to purchase my drawing for $100. It was the sweetest and most unexpected earnings I have ever made. Instead, I’ve always thought of myself as an artistic explorer with a grand amount of admiration and affection for style and craft.
Professionally, I have honed-in on food as my medium to create and produce revenue in my life. I am still forever that explorer, who quests for raw beauty, metamorphosis, and pleasure. I will always be a student of the arts who looks to further my skill, knowledge, and technique. And, I am a teacher, just like my mom. Like her, I am proud to encourage, harness, and fosters other peoples’ creativity and capabilities. I want to teach people to find the artistic medium that speaks to them, use it, continuously work on it, and have it spark their drive, allure, and passion.
Be the kind of person who is never B-O-R-E-D. Eliminate it from your vocabulary and give yourself the freedom and the ability to create!