In the sixties and seventies, I had the opportunity to join other young artists at weekly 3-hour studio sessions in a quaint storefront building on 10th and Boston, in Seattle. Children’s Creative Art School had a few requirements: Young artists had to create and never copy; applicants had to be accepted by the esteemed director, Stella Condon; and girls had to wear skirts. This was a studio experience, without instruction and with simple materials: Tempera paint, clay and colored pencils. Immersed in this hothouse of creativity, I flourished as a young artist.
When I was 19 years old, I was invited to exhibit work in the Polly Friedlander Gallery, in Pioneer Square. I was naïve about the art world but loved being part of a group exhibit among more established artists.
Practical imperatives led me to study journalism at the University of Washington and education at Seattle University. I taught elementary students in public schools for 30 years. I was fortunate to work in some creative learning environments with administrators and teachers who shared my love of the arts. I promoted visual arts in public schools, even as public education shifted its focus to testing and adherence to standards. I kept painting in watercolor, showing work in galleries in Mendocino; Scottsdale; Toulouse, France; and Seattle.
When I retired from teaching fulltime, I was offered a contracted art teaching position in Snoqualmie Valley School District. This afforded me a rewarding transition from my career as a teacher of all disciplines to a post as “art lady” in the public school where I taught art to kids in grades K-5. With school closures, this gig ended. The gift in this juncture was that I began to realize my early dream of being a fulltime artist, in the company of inspiring fellow artists. I also moved from watercolor to oil paints. I’m on a learning curve with oils. It’s an amazing experience, truly epiphanic, working with a medium that allows an artist to capture emotional and aesthetic depth.
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