I was recently asked by some young students, where I got my start in art... Where did it all begin?
For that, I had to think a little... and then it became rather easy to explain.
I have always enjoyed color, coloring, crayons, drawing, and from a very young age remember drawing and painting in the kitchen when my mum was cooking or doing whatever it is mum does when a child is drawing. I distinctly remember putting my paintbrush into a glass of Orange Juice instead of the water beaker because I was using Orange Paint and they both looked the same. I must have been about 5 years old.
Art and Music go hand-in-hand in our family... In 1976, the Local Artist, Laurence Lowry passed away, and a song in his honor was played on the radio. For my birthday my mum requested the song on the radio... I jumped like a giddy monkey to hear my name...
I recently worked on a teaching project based on Lowry... and admittedly am very fond of his work and am drawn to the idea of a local, Northern English Painter being a source of inspiration for me.
Here are some Images of Lowry, and his Work...
At the age of 6, my family moved from Northern England to Sunny Southern California. So my environment and cultural influences were now quite a contrast to what I started with. Fortunately, the roots to England have always been strong and my parents made sure that I was well connected. English Roses, English Teacups, and Proper Table Manners were always part of our normal routine.
Artistically.... my parents made sure that I had my fill of museums, tours, travels, and whatever culture was available. Locally or internationally, we travel, we explore, we tour.
In California, in Los Angeles, there's so much to see... so many places to go... and it's just a matter of time to get to see it all.
The Huntington Library and Gardens must be one of the first local museums I can remember as a child. There you've got a vast collection of Art from Various Collections. "Pinkie", by Sir Thomas Lawrence, and "The Blue Boy" by William Gainsborough,
We had prints of both of these in our house while I grew up, along with a print of "Spring" by Alma Tadema, which I believe resides at the J.Paul Getty Museum...
At the age of 10, our family took a trip to Hawaii. It was during this trip that I had my first encounter with Plein Air painters. A group of painters were having a get-together, and were positioned on the Right Side of a very narrow path, which overlooks a beautiful misty mountain. I can remember the smells, the sights, the sounds... and my parents were having to call me to hurry up, but I was watching the painters and really enjoyed watching them paint. I remember saying.... "I want to do that"... so Plein Air Invitational, Maui, or Big Island of Hawaii.... Yes, I'm hoping to visit one day....
We had many visitors from England while I was growing up. Granny Calvert, Granny and Grandpop Brown, and various Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. Sunny Southern California was a desirable place. In the 80's, we would often take day trips to nearby sights. The Redondo Pier, around the Palos Verdes Peninsula, and the Ports O' Call Village in San Pedro. It was bustling with activity, and I have memories of being with both of my grannies at the same time, wandering through art galleries saying, "One day I would like to have my art here"... Flash Forward 30 years, and I am happy to be a member of the San Pedro Art Association, and have had my art on the walls in the Ports O' Call Gallery, and now in the Chamber of Commerce for the past few years.
Here's my image of "Berth 77" painted at Ports O' Call, September 2014
Of course, over the years, and more on my own than in formal classes... I have allowed myself to read, learn, and re-learn a variety of artistic techniques. I watch other artists. I watch video and demonstrations on-line, and I practice. I have recently embraced the act of PAINTING OVER AN OLD CANVAS, or coming back to an old painting or piece of art and re-working it years after it was first started. I also am learning that I am improving with each piece I create. I am learning how to use the brushes... learning how to clean the brushes... and learning how to adapt and create images quickly due to deadlines, or changes in environment.
I am fortunate that I am a "varietal" painter. From watercolor and acrylic, to pastel and crayon, and oil and mosaics, I am trying it all.
For my modern influences,... I turn to people who I trust. Not because we are buddies or best friends, but because as artists, I see their struggles as much as their successes. I learn and observe their difficulties and challenges and watch to see how they solve their dilemmas.
I teach my own students that there are no mistakes in art, just opportunities for creative solutions. I do my best to not use and eraser as a crutch, but as a tool...
Here are a few of my favorite "other" artists... Jennifer Beaudet Art, Lori Putnam, Hans Wolf, and Greg Vineyard Illustration
So... Thanks to a few people for prompting me to write a few things: Colette, Thalia, and Marietta for nudging me a little more!!!
Please visit my FB page and Twitter @ArtbySuzanne and Instagram @SuzanneArtist