Painting is an entirely new pursuit for me! I finally have the time to dedicate to being a student of craft that is so much more elusive than it appears! I have this opportunity after retiring from an extremely rewarding career in education where I worked initially as a classroom teacher and later, after graduate school, for the Neag Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development at the University of Conneticut in Storrs. I completed my 38 years in public education as a teacher-trainer, curriculum developer, and finally as a math and science supervisor for a regional school district in Western Massachusetts.
For the past ten years I have participated in Flying Colors plein air workshops in the United States, Mexico and Guatemala and have had the good fortune to study with Mel Stabin, Judy Wagner, Judy Morris, Don Andrews, and more recently, Bob Burridge.
After moving to Cataumet four years ago, I began to attend weekly watercolor classes with Andrew Kusmin at his studio in Plymouth. Anxious to paint outside in order to achieve more spontaneous and impressionistic paintings, I organized several plein air workshops with Andrew that featured Andy Evanson, a recent Silver Medal winner of the American Watercolor Society competition, as the demonstration artist.
Having always appreciated the effects artists achieve in oil, I was lured to the lovely paintings of Hillary Osborne and took several classes with her. Perhaps my greatest thrill as an amateur artist occurred several years ago when a patron who has collected Hillary’s work for years, purchased a small piece that I painted which she purchased at the West Falmouth Library summer art show. Interestingly enough, it was entitled: “Hillary’s Pick.” It featured a small Chinese vase with a handful of daisies that were lopsided, arranged in a way that looked quite childlike. Hillary had set this still life up specifically for me when I became frustrated attempting to paint a beautiful bouquet of roses she had arranged for the class that day! The patron who purchased my work loved hearing how the title came to be!
The Falmouth Artist Guild offers many opportunities to expand ones’ interest in the arts. After admiring Terry Dunn’s oil paintings, several years ago I joined the legion of admirers who paing weekly with her. In additon, I have studied pastels with Betsy Payne Cook and sold the very first piece I completed at the “Class Act” Show last fall. Inspired by a photograph I took on a trip to Georgia O’Keefe’s Ghost Ranch, it was a peice that truly ‘painted itself’!
Painting in any medium has become and addiction! I actually dream about in and find myself leaping out of bed, anxious to get to my studio. Successful paintings, however, are much more difficult to achieve than I ever thought. It takes tenacity as much as it takes talent. This is a lesson that I preached to teachers for years. We are all born with certain gifts but true talent takes more than creativity or intelligence. It takes dedication. With wonderful teachers, however, retirement allows me the great gift of time to develop my interest in the visual arts. What a blessing!