Personal Growth

Emerging Artist

By Patti Richardson

Life presents us with many surprises!  Modern science has brought about longer life spans so there are opportunities to reinvent ourselves numerous times, which earlier seniors didn't enjoy.  What to do?  Never really thought about it until recently!

Growing up I don't recall ever even visiting an art gallery, nor were there any paintings on our walls at home. I took no art classes at any level in my schooling career that is until I became a college student after I had four of my five children.  My degree program required an Introduction to Art class. Several years later a friend convinced me to take 6 weeks of art lessons with her. I did complete several paintings, but dropped out due to time and money constraints. I also felt I didn’t have “the art gene” to continue this activity.  My only other exposure to an art form was through my mom, an accomplished seamstress.  She sewed almost all of the clothes my two sisters and I wore, along with knitting occasionally.  I did take homemaking in high school, sewing a few of my clothes.  I had three daughters whom I sewed for. Oh yes, I did paint the walls in my house.

Dormant abilities spring forth from unusual sources. For example, if anyone had told me that I would be a passionate artist in my twilight years I wouldn't have believed them.  Not me!  Especially when I recall the negative comment, “phew!” my college biology professor wrote on my drawing of what I observed under the microscope. Thinking back at his insensitivity it's amazing that his remark didn't squash any potential pursuit of art I might have had.  That's where community can and in fact influenced me.  One of my grandsons demonstrated an interest and proficiency in art and needed help in preparing a portfolio to submit for entrance into a performing/visual art high school.  Since I was going to be driving him to and from lessons I decided to sign up for a few lessons myself.  

Well the rest is history! After 25 years of marriage (a union that ended in divorce) and 32 years of teaching (2 years working in Japan) these varied experiences had exposed me to a wide world of possibilities.  In creating art I found that I did have something to express and while I might not be Grandma Moses there were others, my family in particular who liked what I did and even wanted to hang my creations on their walls. In fact it was more amazing that I even sold several paintings.


I found under the tutelage of my current art teacher that “I am an artist!”  He like, my mother, inspires confidence that “I can do anything!”  He provides a warm creative environment for all students.  Not only is he an accomplished artist, but is a nurturing, supportive teacher assisting his students to achieve what they might feel is impossible, creating works of art.  He gives a helping hand to students of all levels to successfully completing any of their chosen projects.  I've worked with acrylic, oil, mixed media, and there is the possibility of doing sculpture, water colors, charcoal etc. The sky is the limit!!!!  

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