This post is to share my story of how I became a painter. It was quite the journey and I feel that I can finally write about it since it has come to a conclusion (albeit a messy one). I’ve been struggling in finding the right way to tell this story, to share the pain and heartache that this journey took me on. There may even be a video of it, to further explain, but that might be at a later date.
So, let’s get the show on the road.
I’m very lucky to have had a lot of formal training during my school years, but painting never caught my eye amongst the different artistic avenues. I took the classes required for my BA and that was that.
Then, in June 2017, I found myself waist deep in painting supplies that were “bestowed” upon me after my aunt’s passing. She had passed during that summer and my mind, still in a whirlwind of emotions, hadn’t the foggiest idea what to do with it all. There were old canvases, brushes, palette knives, inkwells, sketchbooks, paper, half-finished paintings, and a massive easel. A couple decades or so of supplies piling up in my already cramped apartment.
My dilemma? I had to do something with it all!
It turned out that my aunt was an amazing artist (despite her rather…undesirable personality quirks). She had left tons of notes of her future projects, jumbled and jammed amongst books and sketchbooks and loose-leaf paper. With no other route to start with, I sat down and combed through them all.
While I was in the process of sorting, I started small by buying the itty bitty canvases. This would help with experimentation and getting use to my new supplies. In all honesty, painting with my aunt’s supplies gave me a ton of anxiety. It made my heart heavy to create art with brushes I had taken. Still, painting helped in the process of taking my mind off the worst summer of my life. I needed something to start with and the feeling of nostalgia geology gave me provided the right motivation to begin small. And by small, I mean small images of gemstones I gifted to a dear friend of mine. I chose gemstones because they were a thing of beauty for me. They connected me to my paternal family and made me remember hikes with my aunt and cousin.
I was also anxious to paint because it was never my strong suit. Again, I adored drawing. Charcoal was a part of my calling as an artist. Painting familiar objects took the tension out of my fingers from holding such a (figuratively) heavy brush. From there, I began to blossom.
I moved to sunsets, sunrises, skyscapes, etc. I had friends and family send photos of any scenery they could find or found beautiful for references. In the midst of it all, I found myself a part-time job as a gallery assistant in Historic Dublin, Ohio. I suddenly went from doing 8×10 canvases to 30×30 landscapes for clientele. I had the chance to learn from my boss who had been painting for over 10 years, and I tried to learn as quickly as I could. This also helped hone my skill to multitask. I had to crank out several paintings while also organizing gallery exhibitions, classes, and managing the social media for said gallery. My relationship with the artists and staff developed as well as my skills in painting. It gave me so much experience and friends that I wouldn’t trade for the world.
Unfortunately, I had to leave the gallery, but I still continue to paint. I’m still using my aunt’s supplies to help create new works, and I’m much more comfortable with experimenting now. I’ve even gained a commission or two for huge paintings that will take a while, but that I’m more than willing to tackle. I can’t say that I ever expected this slight detour in my life, but I am forever thankful for the skills it’s taught me. I hope to keep expanding it as I continue to work on my current commissions, and I hope to receive more in the future.
I can’t wait to see where this takes me. I can’t wait to see what I’ll create with it. I’m excited to provide so much to the world of creativity, no matter how small. Despite my rocky relationship with my aunt, she continues to inspire me after her passing. I’ve been able to reconcile some of my feelings about her with our mutual love of painting. My only regret is that we couldn’t have these conversations when she was alive. If it weren’t for her, I never would have found a new calling. I’m grateful that our love for art was able to heal us both.
Want more of my aunt’s work? Check out the gallery below for more!