Amy, age 5.
My Childhood Art
Some of the people reading this may know me very well, in which case they will have heard all this before, but for those of you who don’t know me, I thought I would share a little bit about who I am, where I came from, and my journey as an artist. For lack of a better idea, I shall start with the beginning…
I cannot remember the exact moment when drawing entered my life. According to my mother, it was at the prime age of 2 that I first picked up a pencil (and held it correctly, mind you), so it seems fair to assume that my artistic journey began roughly around 1985.
I was largely home schooled prior to 8th grade and this allowed me ample opportunity to incorporate art and drawing into my school projects. I also took private art lessons with a local watercolor artist for several years. My favorite thing to draw was horses, followed by other animals, and then perhaps dinosaurs. When I was a little kid I wanted to grow up to be a paleontologist! (Looking back I find this hilarious.)
Visiting the horses at UConn. Also, age 5.
In 8th grade, our first major science project was a bug collection. The class was instructed to catch various insects and place them in a jar with a cotton ball soaked in finger polish remover. If possible, we were then supposed to display the remains using the very traditional pining method that you might see in natural history museums. I approached the teacher after class to ask if I could draw the bugs instead. As to be expected, he said, “no”. Well after watching a tiny white moth slowly suffocate to death, that was it for me. There was no way I could do that again (I am guessing now at the number) twenty or so more times. The next day I told the teacher of my distress and begged to be allowed to do drawings for my project. To my great relief, he relented. It was also at this time that I became fascinated with drawings by John James Audubon. This greatly influenced my approach to drawing at the time and is more than likely a good part of the reason my art became so detail oriented. We did a leaf collection as our last project of the school year, this time I was requested to do drawings instead of gather leaves. I would love to show you what some of those illustrations looked like, but I never got either of my projects back. As far as I know, they are still in the possession of my 8th-grade science teacher!
During high school, my love of animals influenced a lot of my decisions regarding class selection, which landed me in pretty much every science class I could take. I spent most of my time after school at the horse barn, working and caring for my horse, which meant a lot less time for drawing. It wasn’t until my senior year, and after struggling through Chemistry and Bio-Chemistry, that I finally took an art class. Needless to say, my ideas about a career path were somewhat misguided. Even at that young age, I didn’t think that there was any future in pursuing art as a profession. Little did I know that this perspective would haunt me for years to come.