In 1991, I had an epiphany. I mean a real moment of clarity when I was hit by an idea that was like the proverbial bolt out of the blue -- the kind of thing you've probably heard about, but can't fully appreciate unless you've experienced it. "Make art." Okay . . .
Way back when I was an 8-year-old kid, I decided to find out if I could draw, so I copied the picture of Lady from "Lady & the Tramp" that was in a matchbook cover advertisement for a mail-order "Learn to Draw" class (yes, children, those things really existed back then). When I showed the finished picture to my parents, they thought I'd copied it from a comic book. I was appropriately insulted, but had proven to myself that I could draw. Other people confirmed the assessment, even the neighborhood kids who were not easily impressed. I sent the drawing to my grandparents where it was published in their hometown newspaper along with a story about me. My first press!
But, the twists and turns of fate led me in another direction and, rather than studying art, I learned to play the piano and developed my love of music. Then, by the time I got to college, I knew I could write a solid essay, an effective opinion piece, a credible news story. I thought I'd use that talent to save the world, which was what many of us wanted to do in those troubled days of the late '60s.
Over the years, I've had a varied creative career: grantwriter for the War on Poverty, kids' TV and family feature film writer (Hanna-Barbera, Marvel, NBC, Jim Henson, Warner Bros.), now social media manager for a non-profit devoted to "artful aging" (EngAGE) and a radio show producer/host (Experience Talks). In between, I was also an occasional songwriter and a vocalist with a jazz trio. And there was that "make art" moment that resulted in my first juried show a year later, all these years of experimenting with art, and now, my creative focus today.
Most of my beginning art-making efforts were devoted to hand-coloring photographs. After working on some lovely old family photos, I asked a friend to pose so I could work on original, contemporary shots. This led to my first art sale to another friend. When she saw "Communion," she said, without hesitation, "I'll give you $200 for that, unframed!" I was stunned and delighted. I ended up making about a half-dozen original hand-colored "Communion" photos. I think there's one left.
I'm looking forward to sharing images of art I've made over the past 25 years. If I'm really organized, you'll see something added to My 25 Year Art Retrospective Facebook photo album every week on Throwback Thursday. Thanks for celebrating with me! (Pretend there's champagne!)
Here's "Communion" and a bit more info about it:
I love the delicate colors, the ethereal effects of hand-colored photographs. I made about a half-dozen original hand-colored versions of this piece, and years later enhanced the color further on the computer. I was most pleased when it was part of a group show in the early '90s at what is now Providence/St. Joseph's Hospital in Burbank, CA. Each participant in the group show (about a dozen of us) then had a solo show in some part of the hospital. My selection of various hand-colored photos were placed in the reception area and examining rooms of the oncology department. I hope they offered a respite for the patients.