When I was a child I was excruciatingly shy. So shy that I had a very difficult time, going through a check out line at a store. Fortunately, my mother made me do it, over and over, until that problem disappeared. Perhaps the bigger issue that developed as a result of my shyness was a lack of social skills. I had few friends and spent much of my time alone...thinking...and dreaming...I created art at home around the kitchen table with my Mom, but otherwise art wasn’t on my radar until later.
In Elementary school, I hated art class. The teacher was always shouting at us. She rarely taught structured lessons. Instead, she instructed her students to make whatever...with whatever materials could be found around the room. For a shy kid, like me, this was a nightmare. I never wanted to be yelled at and so was afraid to search the room for supplies. I ended up following others in hopes of doing what they did and blending in. As a consequence, I accomplished little and received my lowest grade in Elementary School (a C-). Sadly, I have heard similar, numerous stories from others who had this teacher and were turned off to art.
As luck would have it, I had a great art teacher in Junior High. She introduced structured, but open ended, lessons and was inspiring, encouraging and kind. I began drawing portraits in pencil and soon became rather proficient. I garnered a lot of attention from my art which encouraged me further. I had a role...as the class artist.
From there I headed to University and majored in art (with a concentration in painting) and went on to become an art teacher myself. Teaching took care of most of my shyness issues.
Anyway...because of my shyness, alone time, thinking and dreaming and experiences, I began creating art to communicate what I couldn’t through words. I discovered that not only could I say so much more visually (A picture really is worth a thousand words!) but I could say things through my painting that I wouldn’t dare speak- difficult, psychologically challenging things, that American society deems tabu. In a way my art became a form of therapy for myself and others.
I am what one of my college professors called a painting junkie....addicted to creating....But that’s a story for another post...