Art school, drawing, painting, sketching was a very big part of my daily life.....for a time. But then, life got hectic, and I didn't have quite as much time to spend on it as I had in the past!
During those years, I started taking pictures.....photos of family, friends, but mainly flowers and places I had been. I kept telling myself, "Someday, when I have more time, I am going to paint that." So, I would take my best shot. With no formal training in photography, my love for nature and the elements I had learned in Art may have helped; color, composition, balance, positive/negative space, etc. I was just doing it for fun, but I also wanted to capture all those special moments in a way that spoke to me as an artist. My eye was especially on the composition, as I tried to frame everything just as I would want to paint it later!
|Along the coast of Maine......|
For this photo, I was climbing over these massive rocks with a heavy camera (a refurbished Panasonic), and trying not to bounce the camera off them as I crawled over them. I was also trying not to ditch myself into the freezing sea beneath me!
My collection grew and grew...... I didn't know at the time, that I was actually finding another side of myself that would emerge more fully later. I wish I could tell you that I went back later and painted them all! LOL. But, no I didn't. Most of them just became fond memories of adventures once taken.
One of my favorite subjects even in the beginning was, (probably no surprise here :) yes, the Jersey shore!
I still remember the first time I stood in the sand and looked out at the ocean, its vastness that just stretched as far as I could see, the sounds of the waves, the smell of the sea, and the gulls crying all around me. I was in Ocean City, New Jersey. It could have been anywhere. One look, and all my senses just came alive in a different way than ever before. So awe-inspiring! But I didn't paint it yet. Once again, I took photo after photo. For a long time.
And then, I had a little more time on my hands. My original love for art started to re-surface again. This time, I decided to study what other artists had done in the past. I had never really appreciated art history....(or any kind of history), until I studied art history on my own. Not dates & blah....blah....blah history, but I grabbed every art book I could find about various artists and studied their paintings & techniques.
Why??? Okay, movie note here :) Remember Julia Roberts in "Runaway Bride" with Richard Gere? Remember the part where he told her she didn't even know what kind of eggs she liked, so she went and cooked up eggs benedict, scrambled eggs, eggs with hollandaise sauce, etc. and tasted them all so she could figure it out? Well, I didn't really know yet what kind of art I really loved or wanted to do. There were so many subjects to paint and so many ways to paint a picture. I had experimented, but nothing really clicked. Nothing fit just right. Until, I started studying the French Impressionists!
Monet's beautiful waterlilies!
Degas's ballerinas, "Two Ballerinas"
No, unlike Julia Ormond, in "Sabrina", I did not "find" myself in Paris......but you might say I did "find" myself in France, at least artistically speaking! :) I studied Monet (my all time fav!), Degas (oh, those ballerinas!), Van Gogh (Starry Night!), Renoir (such tiny swirling brush strokes!), Sisley (loved his cloudy but pretty landscapes), Berthe Morisot ("The Housekeeper" with that cute little cat in the dining room :), Pisarro, the list goes on and on...so many more! (And many great impressionists on this side of the "pond" as well.)
Yes, I finally knew what I loved and what I wanted to do! My fascination with light, texture, color.....water....it all fit. I loved Impressionism! Not the "what in the world is that" kind, but the "this is my impression/feeling I have about (whatever the subject may be)........painted LOOSELY, HAPPILY, with glorious COLOR, LIGHT, TEXTURE, and PASSION!
Next step......Part III........off to New York City!
See you there :)