The beginning of my Journey to become an artist is much simpler than you may think: it was born out of creative frustration and artistic stifling!
In the Fall of 2007 I was working around 60 hour weeks between the office and the construction site and felt sort of ‘stuck’ while doing mostly construction administration: It felt as if I wasn’t getting enough of a ‘creative outlet’ to keep me smiling and relaxed, I was almost always stressed and frustrated. Spending time with friends, going out to movies, restaurants and just hanging out wasn’t cutting it; and neither was the overcompensation of sleeping as much as possible on the weekend to ‘get my energy back’.
So, I started thinking that I simply needed another art-related outlet to quell all the frustration and stress. But my writer’s block was still in full effect and the poetry that used to flow from my pen with ease at one point in my life was either completely none existent or incredibly painful to read back. So I thought I just needed to get the ‘right tools’ to get back into the flow of writing and I ventured off to the ‘mecca’ of writing supplies: Pearl Paint, on Canal street — after all, what good is it to live in NYC if I don’t take advantage of one of the most amazing stores I’ve ever been in, right?
While I was strolling thru the tight aisles at Pearl choosing between felt-tip pens, refillable cartridge pens or more architectural rapidographs, the proverbial lightbulb over my head went off: why continue forcing this whole writing thing? maybe it was time I picked up a paintbrush instead? And I remembered my old community college mentor, Tom Rogo. He was not only my Architectural Design Professor during my two years at Southwestern College, but also the one that spent those same two years telling me how I “needed to get over my fear of color” — his suggestion? Painting! Of course, as most 18 & 19 year olds, I pretty much ignored that advice: I did only all that was required to get thru my architectural hand rendering courses with the highest possible grades and then forgot all about the whole ‘fear of color’ thing!
But while I was standing in the paper pads and sketchbooks aisle, I remember Tom saying once “I really think you should explore painting”, and so I headed upstairs and bought myself a set of acrylic paints (basic primary colors and a few others that I remembered from my color theory classes as being ‘essential’) and about half a dozen canvas boards of various sizes, and I was on my way to being “an artist”!!
But once I got all my new creative “tools” home, I had another problem: what the heck am I going to paint?? I now had all that was needed to start the new ‘hobby’, but I really had no idea of what my subject should be. I started going thru some of my art books and remembered that my favorite artist, Salvador Dali, was basically the father of Surrealism and that there was no shot in hell that I could ever be THAT good… so that still didn’t give me a starting point. Then I thought that maybe I should think about this first painting as a gift to someone: if I knew WHO would be hanging this ‘art piece’ on their wall, it would surely be easier to find a ‘topic’, right? So, who better to gift a painting to than my grandmother?? After all, we are talking about the same woman who STILL has all my architecture school models on display all over her living room: so, even if whatever I ended up painting turned out to be hideous, she would accept it with a smile and proudly display it in her home and announce to all her friends and family that I painted it!!!
All the pressure was suddenly lifted and now I had my first target audience, my grandmother…. but I still didn’t have a subject!… Until I remembered how much she loves flowers. I mean, how hard would it be to paint a few flowers, right? I started to remember my still life drawing classes at SWC and did some quick online searches for images of Grandma’s favorite flower: the calla lily and so an artist was born!!
The first piece was “Blooming”: