The last day of 2021, gives pause for reflection as well as looking forward. I ordered six 30 x 40 canvases for the new work I am ready to create. As a matter of fact, they were delivered yesterday. Unwrapping them this morning, the familiar smell of wood and gessoed canvas took me for ride down memory lane.
Growing up an only child, I discovered a place that was full of magic and all mine. That place was the world of creative expression. No matter where I was, I could lose myself joyfully for hours upon hours, coloring, drawing, or painting. Moreover, not much has changed to how I experience art making today.
When I was in high school, I was blessed with a college level art teacher, Michael Mulhern. Consequently, Mr. Mulhern was a true mentor for me.
He had us draw the same items repeatedly in different mediums. We groaned about having to draw that beat up old shoe or plaster head again and again. However, the lessons were beyond valuable and as a result, are the foundation of my art practice today.
Learning croquis from him was one of my favorite take aways. India Ink, a brush and actual newspaper to draw on, left us free of attachment to capture the gesture of clothed models in these 10, 20, and 30 second drawings. Every so often, he piled the few of us who were serious about art into his white Ford Pinto to head off to the Philadelphia Sketch Club, at night, to draw the live model. The important practice of drawing nudes wasn’t available in high school. Therefore, Mr. Mulhern thankfully took us where it was.
He entered one of my drawings into a contest and I won a free class at The Main Line Art Center in Haverford mainlineart.org. I landed in a life drawing class with another wonderful teacher, Bob Finch. Being a young teen who didn’t drive yet, my Mom took me to and from my Wednesday night classes. I could be sullen and full of teenage angst when she dropped me off. Inevitably, when she picked me up, I was lit up like a Christmas Tree. The mere act of walking into that building and hearing the creak of hardwood floors beneath my feet as I climbed the stairs to the spacious studio, smells of paint, turpentine and the musty old building, breathed life into my spirit.
And so, I delight in the possibilities that lie upon the surfaces of those canvases and the promise of more magical moments of creation. I can’t imagine being anything but an artist. Art forever.
Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year, filled with your own brand of magic and delight!
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