This is the second installment of an occasional series on my beginnings as an artist. You can read the first one here. I started with my childhood, which included lessons offered by a local art organization. I was in junior high in the late 1960s when there was not only still an art class at my school, but it was required.
In high school I was focused on meeting the entry requirements for going to the University of California, so I had to concentrate on academic classes, not fun electives, although I was active in the Drama Dept. for my sophomore and junior years (and those are some stories for another day). In my senior year I finally took an art class. along with the class that put together the school yearbook. In the end, I qualified, but never went to UC because my heart was set on Berkeley, but found after researching it that Cal was known for many things, but not its art department. Such is life.
I ended up back in Humboldt County going to Humboldt State University, majoring in art, but I only took one drawing class and no painting classes, instead taking the jewelry and calligraphy classes, which I loved and a screen-printing class, which I hated- too many steps between the idea and its manifestation that, for me, had nothing to do with creativity. I lasted out the drawing class, but got disgusted and bored early on because I was looking for traditional training in fine drawing, but had a teacher, typical of the time, who was only interested in “self-expression” and couldn’t actually draw very well himself. Learning to really draw was something that would have to wait. Around ten years or so.
Here’s a selection of my work from back then.
I still did work on my own at home. Here’s one of three mushrooms I did that are definitely artifacts of the time.
I thought that I would occasionally share some my early artwork. Really early, for starters, from when I was from around eight to thirteen years old.
When we buy art books or go to shows, we see an artist’s best work and that is as it should be. But no one starts like Athena springing full-grown from Zeus’ head. No matter how “talented” an artist is, there is still a lot to learn, motor skills to develop and a personal path to find.
Most of us probably end up throwing away far more of our creations than we keep.
The takeaway, I hope, is that you should just start where you are and keep going. And if you want to try making art, DO IT! Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks or if you have “talent” or if you’re “good enough”. Take joy in the process. Like I did as a kid.
Here’s a sampling of some “historic” works that didn’t get round-filed.