Isn’t that such a terrible title? I apologise, but I had to use it.
And you know why? Because I don’t think it is possible for an artist to actually pick a day when they said ‘Yeah, awesome. From today I am an artist.’ I think it’s practically impossible in fact. I think you grow in to being an artist, experimenting through various mediums and techniques.
There was a moment however, quite a few years ago now where a small spark was lit. And I remember it so vividly, I don’t even have to close my eyes to picture it, that’s how strong this memory is for me.
Allow me to paint that memory for you now.
It was 2003, I was 15 and in year 10 of high school. I think it might’ve been term 3. Our art teacher had just told us that we would be the first year ever to stretch our own canvas and use oil paints. Never before had I even thought about using oil paints, let alone stretch my own canvas! To be honest, I’d never really put much thought in to it. I was such a basic, straight and narrow user of art materials. My art experience stretched to as far as using a single H lead pencil (all the time, for everything!), the occasional coloured pencil and maybe the odd dry pastel and it was always on simple A4 or A3 sketchbook paper. Like I said, really basic.
The notion of being able to stretch my own canvas blew my mind! Seriously, people did that? Who knew! I thought there was nothing more awesome. And then to use oil paints. It was truly brilliant. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and I find this quite hard to explain to people, but for some unknown reason to me, I took to painting like a duck to water. I absolutely loved it! I’d just never worked with anything so fluid and vibrant. To my naïve self they were they best art materials I’d worked with.
There was one major downside however, oils are messy and in my hands it was an absolute disaster for my parents house!
During this term, I created my first ever oil painting and whilst I look at it now and go ‘What on earth was I thinking?’ At the time, I was completely chuffed with it. I stared at it for days and even months. I proudly hung it up in my bedroom and couldn’t believe that I had created it. From scratch. Even building the canvas.
I distinctly remember thinking ‘Gosh I could do that for the rest of my life.’ Did I actually follow through? Not a chance. In fact it would be over a year before I touched the medium again and after that it would be years before I created another art piece.
At the time I met an Australian artist who probably had no idea the profound effect she had on me and to this day still inspires me and taught me one of the best lessons in colour I ever learnt. I would love to tell you more about her here but I feel that she deserves her own post, so that will be my next goal!
And what was that early painting of, you ask? Well right now, it is somewhere in my parents house. I try and keep it hidden because of slight embarrassment but instead of describing it here, I’ll get a photo and share it with you as soon as I can.
If truth be told, when I do stumble upon it there’s a small part of me that is still a little bit proud. It started something huge for me and even though the subject is utterly ridiculous (you’ll understand when you see it), I always come back to this memory when I question why I do what I do.