Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It's All About Me

I was fairly unsure about what to write today. A little bird told me that Blisschick is posting an interview with me, so I wanted today's post to be good. A sigh escaped me. What to write?

I turned to Zoe to ask her thoughts on the matter. I'll bet you can guess how that went.

"Ah, hello?" she said with a flip of her ears and a fast and mischievous wag of her tail. "DUH!" She turned her back to me, but not before suggesting a title: "On the Importance of Rabbits"

Zoe, suggesting her idea.
She really does have good ones.

Don't tell Zoe, but I'm ignoring her idea today in favor of Blisschick's suggestion, which was to write about how I got started as an artist and why.

In my opinion, rabbits are way more interesting, but here it goes.

An early portrait of the handsome Ernie.
We called it "Ernie's Birds," and it was one
of the first paintings I ever sold. Occasionally,
we run into the woman who bought it,
and she always gives us an update on the painting.

I come from a family where The Arts were important. Growing up, I remember my Grandpa painting and drawing all the time. We used to spend hours talking about music. It's still one of the main things we talk about.

Then, there was my mom, who used to take me out into the woods to draw trees and leaves and just whatever. And, my dad who likes to "MacGyver" everything and instilled in me a love of making things and trying new stuff just for the sake of it.

I was encouraged to try everything that falls under the category of The Arts, and I pretty much did: drawing, painting, building things, taking pictures, writing poetry, playing instruments, singing, listening to all different kinds of music from pop to Latin to jazz, to opera to classical to show tunes to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass (that one deserves its own category).

This encouragement and allowance to roam where I pleased within any art and to try everything freely without pressure or judgement was my first step as an artist.

And, I thought everyone was like this. I thought this whole art thing was just what I did for fun.

It is what I do for fun. But that's not really the point.

Enter the Blisschick (a.k.a. Christine). She gave me the perfect combination of love, encouragement, confidence, and constructive criticism necessary to make art more than a hobby. She helped me to see the doodling and sketching I always did as a whole new thing.

Another early painting of North Park Row in here in Erie.
This one now belongs to the owner of the restaurant
with the red awnings in the center of the painting.

When Christine's niece, Abbie, was born in 2000, we went to visit her. While we were visiting, Christine's sister asked me to paint a little something above Abbie's crib. Right on the wall.

When they moved a couple of years later, Christine slyly said, "You should paint something for Abbie on canvas this time. You know, in case they move again."

(She, like Zoe, often has good ideas.)

And that is exactly what I did. I painted a little baby in a leafy sled thing being pulled by a team of butterflies mushing through a night sky past a big, fat moon.

I was in love with painting.

It seems that she created a monster.

Since that, I've gone through a lot of "periods." I started with buildings and animals, then I progressed to animal portraits. Then, I went on to whimsical and fantastical animals and sometimes whimsical and fantastical people. Then, I went back to animal portraits, but with decorative elements.

("Note," Zoe just said in between sips of water, "a certain theme of animals." Yes, yes, Zoe. I think everybody got that already.)

A decorative and representative Zoe
on a tabletop at the Whole Foods Coop in Erie.
(Zoe wants to point out that she is not actually
blue in real life. She'd also like to point out that
she likes the way the painting shows her all pimped out.)

I feel blessed and thankful for so much in my life: for Christine who helps and encourages me and gives me so many ideas; for the beautiful place where I live and the beautiful people and animals who surround me with constant inspiration; for the fact that I was taught from such an early age to see the world in my own way and as a place where things are not "just as they are" or as they "should be" but as a place where I see what I want to see.

A place where I create my own world with my own imagination, my own art, my own music, my own words.

Some people might call that a fantasy world.

I'm fortunate to call it my life.


Kavindra said...

Goodness I love your art, I really like your cityscape here. And your writing is so fantastic and whimsical and deep and true too. (What can't you do?!)

Anonymous said...

your use of color is amazing...

Anonymous said...

Wow - these posts were a double treat today. I love the stories in both of them! I'm glad you two give each other the nudges you need to create all this wonderfulness!

Shell said...

I enjoyed your interview at Blisschick. I totally agree with your Yoda quote. Miss Zoe is adorable. Glad your living your life the way you want to. Shows that life can be whatever we wish it to be.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog via Blisschick, which was via Linda's Yoga Journal... and I have to say I'm impressed! With both this and Blisschick's blogs.

Love Zoe, love the cats and the birds. If I had a house, I'd want you to paint on the walls for me. :)

carlikup said...

" ... for the fact that I was taught from such an early age to see the world in my own way and as a place where things are not "just as they are" or as they "should be" but as a place where I see what I want to see" ~ beautiful! I love that way of thinking; it is such a beautiful legacy to leave a child!

Thanks you so much for the beautiful post and the wonderful interview with BlissChick!

Carla :0)

Jessica Dawn said...

I love your use of colors. They are so vibrant.

I read blisschick all the time. You are very fortunate to have the life you do.

Marcy said...

thanks, everybody, for the kind words. i know how fortunate i am to have this life full of color and love. it's nice to be able to share it.