Friday, November 04, 2005

My Art story: 1991

I have been contemplating my art story for several months, even years! Today, one of the artist blogs that I read regularly talked about the ultimate story. She talked about how, as an artist, YOU are the ultimate story. So, I am finally going to tackle that subject! I've decided to start with the beginning of my art career and write about one year per day. Today is dedicated to 1991!

March 1991 to be exact. But first, a little background. According to my mom, I started drawing as a child, but doesn't everyone draw as a child? My memory of being an artist goes back to 9th grade and my first real art class. From that year on, I took every art class available at my high school. I wanted to major in commercial art in college. However, in my junior year I gave birth to my first son, Bryan, and my life took an unexpected twist. I dropped out of high school in my senior year, because I was married with a baby, my husband joined the army and ended up stationed in Hawaii! That move put a slight hold on my school plans. So,.....back to 1991!

While my bio states that I have always been an artist, March 1991 is when I started seriously considering a career as an artist. I was 21 years old and going to school to become a CAD drafter. My oldest son, Bryan, was 5 years old and my second son, Jeff, was 7 months old. All I really wanted was to be a stay at home mom. As is usually the case, money prevented that from happening. I was working the graveyard shift at the front desk of the Comfort Inn. Most nights I sat and watched TV in the lobby. One night, I sat through an infomercial for Tony Robbins.(I know, pretty funny, huh?) Being the person I am, I thought to myself, I don't need to buy some guy's book to know what I need to do. So that night I decided to start using my dead time at work for drawing. It had been some time since I had worked on my art. Many factors played into husband told me my work sucked for one! Not to mention I had been up to my eyeballs in diapers and baby puke for some time.
The first drawing I did was of a covered bridge in Kentucky near where we lived at the time. I had postcards printed and my husband started selling them to people at his job in a local convenience store. Don't remember how it all came about, but he hooked me up with the local Historical Society and I started doing drawings of all the local historical homes, churches and buildings. I participated in the local historic homes tour, selling matted prints and postcards. Out of that tour came many commissions for local homes and churches. I eventually left my drafting classes to pursue my art (encouraged to do so by my drafting teacher!). After seeing how well my art was selling, my husband decided to quit his job as well. He became my sales rep and changed his view of my work! I also did some drawings of Civil War Generals, which were very popular in the south. I enjoyed more than anything, researching the history of the south and the Antebellum architecture. Beginning in this year, my husband went out on the road to sell my prints to shops in Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama and Georgia. During this time, I spent my days at home with the boys, drawing whenever I could fit it in. At this point all my art was done in pencil. I had worked in watercolor in the past, but still didn't feel confident enough in my abilities.

Next up, 1992!


Anonymous said...
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darligraphy said...

This is have really inspired me to blog about my art beginnings too (I found you on Etsy by the way :) Darla

Paula Manning-Lewis said...

Thanks for visiting my blog Darla! I'm glad I inspired you! Happy Holidays!