When I was a kid I drew. All the time.
As the oldest of my siblings, I constantly drew pictures for my sister and three brothers to color. A very happy day was when Dad came home with boxes and boxes of white paper with his business’s letter head that had been changed. His boss was going to throw out all the paper so Dad swiped it for us. Besides a small logo in the upper left corner, the paper was blank. That paper lasted us for years!
From Jr. High through High School I took art lessons with a local artist named Sharon Rachel. While she introduced me to many mediums, I took the most to watercolors, which was also her favorite. In her I found not only a good teacher, but a mentor who challenged and inspired me.
In High School, I took personal orders from family, friends, and clients of my Dad for greeting cards, in particular Christmas cards. I’ll never forget my biggest order was placed by our insurance broker. He wanted a hand-painted card for each of his clients totaling in 150 cards/envelopes! I filled the order.
For awhile I made greeting cards, bookmarks, and postcards and sold them at local craft fairs and boutiques. When I was an elementary teacher, I did an art lesson once a week with my students. Later I became a full-time art teacher for the elementary schools in town. My last artsy job was teaching a class at Brandman University.
Then I became a mom. I wanted to make art, drawing, and creativity part of my kids’ upbringing, but I wasn’t sure how exactly. So I looked back on my childhood, cuz obviously my parents did something right there–I kept drawing and painting well past my childhood. They gave me several important tools.
First, time. As a homeschooled kid, I had more time to create and pursue my interests. My afternoons and evenings weren’t filled with homework; they were filled with creativity. This is one of the biggest reasons we’ve chosen to homeschool our kids.
Second, resources. My mom always had our craft cupboard stocked with crayons, scissors, glue, colored pencils, and of course all that paper! I’ve been making space in our home where art supplies are easy to get to, and my kids have a place where they can experiment with them.
And third, support. My parents saw the value in paying for art classes where I could develop my artistic bent. They were also my biggest fans and were always showing people my work and encouraging me to share it. (150 cards was a result of that!) We found Art for Kids Hub on You Tube for Westly (see May 30 post) and art lessons are on our radar for him. When he does his art gallery, we are his biggest customers.
It’s challenging to work in art right now, what with raising three little kids, homeschooling, and being an author. My art journal hack has helped (see May 25 post). I find that if too much time goes by without me being creative, or drawing, or painting, I feel angsty and parched. I think there are deep roots planted in my childhood that now in my adulthood still need water. I find by watering those roots, I am also watering the new tiny ones in my kids.
And that is a beautiful thing.