I love sharing your stories, each and everyone of them!
When I started this blog I had no idea where it would lead me or what it would become, I only know it was something I had to do. Little did I know that it would come to mean so much. You guys are awesome! I have bonded a little with each of you and when I see your smiling face in your flower I am reminded again about how special you are. We each have different stories yet there is a common thread.
I've watched the friendships develop and the support you guys have offered one another, warms my heart. As I approach 2013 I continue to be committed to sharing more and more stories. You can be my other set of eyes. Help me find those special creative Late Bloomers with a story to tell. You can refer them to the site or give me their contact info and I will invite them. The more the merrier!
Stay tuned for the next stories to return in January 2013.
From now until then I am transitioning from a PC to a Mac and it takes me downloading all my programs.
I think if I had a choice, I might have considered pressing the ‘please make me a Non-Late Bloomer’ button before descending down the baby slide. I say ‘might have’ because obviously, being a non-late bloomer would have prevented a lot of wasted time waffling around wondering who and what I was most of my teens, twenties and thirties. But then again, taking after my Mom in every way (who is also a ‘late bloomer’ and tremendously successful), I think being a late bloomer is pretty okay, too. Yes I waffled about. Yes I wasted time I could have committed to my passion. But - I probably wouldn’t be the happily crazed, uber-focused professional artist I am today had I not bloomed late.
Growing up, I definitely knew I was a late bloomer. After all, I had been told I was one for as long as I can remember…which I always thought was a really nice way of saying “boiling water may be the crowning achievement of you life.” Though it was nice to be told and reassured that I would bloom late, it left me wondering if I would ever really truly discover my path.
Hoorah for the late bloomers!
At 40, I discovered my passion. Art and creating art! I finally bloomed! Actually, art was a seed planted in my childhood, taking its sweet time to root, grow, and eventually bud. Even though I sorta knew way back in my brain that I was really a visual artist, the late bloomer had to first cull through all the other stuff I “wanted” to be, but was not destined for like: An actor. A model. A marriage counselor. A pastor. A PhD. All wonderful aspirations, but not my destiny. But visual artist? That is the root of who I am, the bane of my existence today. It’s how I express myself, and connect with humanity. It is my true calling, and my true passion which took its sweet time simmering for forty long years. I am creating every day now, and truly have never been happier in my life.
I started drawing in Sept of 2009 when out of boredom I sketched a picture of a chair in our living room. It took me three hours to sketch that chair, but while doing it I felt like I was "in the zone" as so many artists say. If there is a "zone" I was definitely in it because I felt like I had tapped a part of my brain that had never been used before. I had always been in the arts in some way...dance...music...crafts...but drawing felt different, maybe because it had something to do with being in my 40's and having grown children. I am not sure. Four months later I started using acrylic paint after a friend suggested it and I was completely hooked.
My passion? Many things...family for sure...I have only two sons, but a large extended family that keeps us very busy. I spend hours on the phone talking to family and visiting family. I have one son that lives in Montana (we live in Kansas) so trying to stay connected to him and his family is a challenge, but it's so important to me. I also feel very passionate about art..looking at it and making it. Music...I used to play piano and cello...now my iPod is my instrument of choice. You will hear everything from movie soundtracks to Beethoven to Radiohead to Journey at my house. My youngest son is studying classical piano so our house is constantly filled with music. I absolutely love to hike...though it's hard to find the kind of hiking we like in Kansas so we don't get to do it often, just a few times a year. I adore being outdoors so I work in my yard and take daily walks with my Golden Retriever. I love coffee, iced cafe mochas and Barnes and Noble.
You can find me here on my blog and from there you will find links to other places like my art for sale gallery and Twitter and Facebook.http://lisagrahamart.blogspot.com/
I became a late bloomer because I was typically encouraged to do something practical like get married, have babies, and become a secretary like my mom. After five years of being a secretary and really not liking it I went back to school to become a middle school English teacher. Still I had an inner interest to be an "artist." My grandpa made his living as an artist but he died when I was four--though I vaguely remember sitting with him while he created in his Basement studio.
After having my daughter and finding out I have lupus, my heart told me life is short, do something that really calls to you, so I started painting when she was about one year old. After about 8 years of teaching my kidneys had serious trouble related to my lupus and while away from teaching and on during chemotherarpy treatment for my kidneys, creating helped me relax and gave me great joy. Three years ago while home on disability I read many books, some creative, some just inspirational, and I put myself out there and opened an etsy shop, quit full-time teaching, started doing art shows (just a few a year) and now my kidneys are in remission. I work part-time at the school I used to teach at, \in a less stressful capacity--as the library aide. I credit the chemo, painting, following my heart and working part-time for my healing.
My passion? Oh I have so many! Flowers, vibrant ones. Water--lakes, fountains, the Caribbean Sea. My daughter Isabella--she's taught me to savor moments and be a more patient person. Painting--it brings me joy and happiness , I wa inspire others with my creations and their messages. Reading--I LOVE books...I've often said "if I could get paid to read books all day, good ones of course, I'd be in heaven."
Thanks to Linda. She is helping me share the stories of some incredible women who are proudly proclaiming to be a creative Late Bloomer. If you are a creative Late Bloomer I'd be honored to share your story, too.
This painting is by Linda.
Isn't is awesome?
Linda Kinnaman regularly posts 3 times a week ~ she has Mixed Media Mondays + Wet Paint Wednesdays + Fighting Fear Fridays. Each post is a good read and I always leave with a smile or something to apply to my life.
I have always made art of some kind of another and loved writing all through my life,
but I never fit the mold of the "artist".
I chose wild color and chaos, not perfect portraits or pastoral landscapes.
When I made my art it gave me such a sense of inner calm and happiness that I just kept on painting wild and collaging bold. In 2009, when I was 53, I really needed something more in my life, a personal journey that would fulfill me on a more spiritual plane. I began blogging to connect with other women like myself, to see what kind of art other folks made and to enjoy the visual eye candy of the online world. I began to find some fantastic women who became my virtual friends, and some my real world friends since meeting and greeting a few of them. All the while creating my wild and bold work and becoming happier but still seeking something.
On a whim I went to a workshop at Creative Juices Arts in Oakland, CA, across the country from where I live and I found my heart. I came home from that workshop and signed up for the teacher training and have never looked back. In that first 5 day workshop I gave myself permission to be sparkly, and the name of my studio was born; Sparkle Days Studio. As an expressive arts facilitator I believe that I am a creativity cheerleader and a big rock obstacle mover. I try to create a place not only to make my own art, but to allow others the sacred space to "follow their heart and not the rules" and make the kind of art that speaks their true voice.
Each day I struggle with the same things we all do, the inner critic who gets in the way, the excuse making of not finding the time for art, but I try and put my cheeriness forth in my blog on my site and find that my friends resonate with the positive and enjoy my chaotic bold art. I am deeply touched that the online community in this blogosphere has welcomed me so positively and encourages me daily to keep making and being who I am. If I can make one other person feel the same way I do, then I have given something of value to the world. I strive to do that every day.
My grandma and uncle were artists and my mom had artistic leanings. I used to spend my childhood painting and drawing and baking, but most of all, I was a voracious reader. Ironically, doing well in school actually pulled me away from the land of art. I was on the college-prep path without any spare time to think about creative endeavors. However, I remember peering into the high school art room as I walked to my classes, wishing I had time to take a class--it seemed like magic was happening inside there.
I started college at the University of Illinois as a Russian major and finished as an English major (with a brief sojourn to San Francisco during my sophomore year in hopes of becoming a chef.) After graduating, I worked as a technical editor at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) writing computer manuals and interviewing scientists for articles. I had a great job that allowed me to travel, but I just “didn’t fit.” I was unhappy, and didn’t know how to find what would make me happy. My roommate was an engineering major and another friend was a speech pathologist. I used to “interview” them, trying to figure out how they KNEW what it was they wanted to be without ever waivering from that path. I always felt something was wrong with me that I didn’t have this knowledge—that I still felt like I was floundering. I knew I was smart, but I couldn’t find my “place.”
Many of my best friends were artists, and I remember thinking, I wished that I could start over and be an artist. Once, I sent a bunch of pages I had copied from a novel about artists in the 1920’s to a graphic designer friend, and she said, “you sent me all these pages, and you would have one word highlighted on a page—artist.” I would buy tons of magazines and books, but later would realize it was because I loved the illustrations and wanted to just study them. You see, my heart was trying to send me a message, but I still couldn’t—or wouldn’t hear it. I wrote constantly, so I thought perhaps that was the pathway I was supposed to take to the land of creativity. I had come across Natalie Goldberg in the 1980’s with her book, “Writing Down the Bones.” Later, when I found out that she also was a painter, and created crazy, off-kilter paintings, I thought to myself, that’s how I draw--I can do that! I always appreciated “fine art,” but nothing pulled at me like Outsider art or children’s art.
Still, I plodded in a different direction--graduate school in Library and Information Science at University of Texas in Austin and Indiana University. Marriage happened and another corporate job in an accounting dept. I felt like my soul was being sucked out of me. I had that “empty” feeling inside again. I never could figure out why other people seemed fulfilled with their jobs, but I didn’t. I was always searching for the answer. I read all of SARK’s books and Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way,” and I started going to more and more art fairs. I wanted to be one of those artists! That overwhelming feeling led me to finally, at 32, begin to draw and paint again. I painted murals on our patio, on our living room wall and our kitchen cabinets (for which I appeared in the paper). After people saw that, they started seeing me as an artist. I was asked to paint chairs for an annual charity auction.
Things moved on at this pace for years. I continued to paint. I joined an art group; I was part of some gallery shows; I even painted some large “Abraham Lincoln” hats in 2008 for a public celebration (similar to Chicago’s “Cows on Parade” in 1999). Again I was in the paper, and two of the hats were on display for 3 years. However, several times, I would be in shows, and my art would be passed over. I would be crushed. I felt that no one saw me as a “true” artist, because I didn’t have the degree or didn’t paint landscapes or a stereotypical portrait. Little did I know that those times or rejection would actually help me later.
Over the years, but especially beginning in 2010, I started finding evidence that my “style” of art was indeed art! I came across a famous children’s book author and illustrator known for her wacky style. I saw someone who had published a book of drawings on post-it notes. I had been doing that for that last 9 years at work! I stumbled upon graphic novels and illustrators’ websites. Here were people that drew like me who were making a living at it!!! Perhaps more than anything else, these discoveries finally helped ME to see that I was an artist. I finally understood that perhaps I just lived in an area that didn’t appreciate my style—it didn’t mean that I wasn’t an artist, because here was tons of evidence of people being successful in the same wacky manner of art! Also at this time, my journals were filled with pages of me writing “all I want to do is draw, paint, and write.” It was as if God finally said, “Stop messing around. I’ve given you your answer. You’re an artist.”
Remember when I said, the art rejections by others actually were a blessing in disguise? Well, I was so used to people not liking my stuff that I didn’t care anymore (well, at least not as much) if they didn’t like it—it no longer mattered. I knew my style of drawing and mixed-media paintings had its place in the world so I just made it. I didn’t worry if people liked it or not. I just put it out there more and more. In a sense, my life was changing as well--some friends were heading in a different direction than me and health issues forced me to scale back on tutoring Spanish and French. As a result, I found myself with more time to make art. I committed myself to buying a tent, being in shows, and painting and drawing as much as possible. I still remember one day when I was walking my dog, I stepped over a mud puddle, and the thought came to me: I never was successful or happy at all those other jobs, because that wasn’t who I was or the path I was meant to be on. I am an artist. I finally know my place in the world.
I'm only 43 and to be honest with you, I am not entirely sure that I have actualy "bloomed" yet,
but each day I inch ever closer!
I suppose I've spent most of my life believing that in order to BE an artist you had to have a REALLY special giftor else you were just some crazy girl that spent a lot of free timedoodling and coloring things. I spent an incredible amount of my"grown-up" time asking the Universe what the heck it wanted me to be when I grew up, because although I've had a few successful careers, notone of them ever felt like a good fit. The only times I was ever trulycontent was when I was sitting quietly with a big blank journal and piles of markers. Something always happened in those moments thatallowed me to feel more connected to myself, I felt completely happyjust allowing the words and images to spill onto the pages.
But thenthere was THAT voice... I call her NOna, and she is the scratchy littlevoice that pushes me to compare what I do with every other "artsy" girl.She is the one responsible for telling me that I was not good enough, notcreative enough, that I just didn't have that magic touch. For areally long time I let her be the deciding voice in my world, if shesaid NO, I listened, if she said "forget about it," I did. For a longtime I allowed her to control just about everything and got verycomfortable with the idea that I just didn't cut it...and then one dayout of the blue, everything changed.It was Wednesday December 22, and just another ordinary morning in ourhome.
I woke up and was quietly sitting in the living room doodling anddrinking my coffee, asking, for the millionth time, what the heck I shoulddo with my life, when out of nowhere a new voice popped up and she wastelling me that "it was time..." For a few minutes I thought I waslosing my mind because the voice was as clear as a bell, and it soundedalot like me! I immediately knew what "she" meant and almost withoutthinking I started writing down little sentences about myself and doodlingsome sketches to go with them....that was the day that changedeverything. I can't tell you for sure what it was but something magicalhappened that morning that prompted me to temporarily stop all the self-sabotaging banter and give myself permission to just BE. For aweek or so I sketched, wrote and ultimately created a little line ofgreeting cards called Wednesday Wisdom; quirky little ladies that takeall the insanity and observations running around my head and allow me toput them out into the world. Card after card just kept coming and forthe first time I wasn't afraid of being judged and it feltamazing....until the day my husband coaxed me into opening an Etsy shop.Until then it was just me and the little ladies and I was perfectlyfine with that. But for years hubby had seen the piles of writing,sketchy pictures and knew that I wouldn't be happy until I finallymustered the courage to put it out there. Come what may, he convincedme that it was time to do SOMETHING with all these little creations. So, I loaded a few of the cards and prints onto the site and within aday or two, I had my first order, and then my second and they just keptcoming! That was the day I thought maybe, just maybe I might be anartist, not a VanGogh or Renoir, but a Heather Hanson, and that suits me just fine!
My best days are the ones when clients wander into my shop, VISIT IT HERE,
pick up oneof my cards without knowing I'm the one who created it, and theyactually laugh out loud. It's like a tiny little miracle every time Ihear it and a sound I never get tired of. I'm in the process of creatinga new line of cards and products that I hope beyond hope will give everywoman the ability to silence her own scratchy NOna voice long enough tofind her own version of bliss. I believe that each and every one of uscomes to this planet filled with the MOST amazing gifts, the trouble isthat we spend far too much time listening to the NOna's of the world andare rarely ever able to hear what's in our own hearts instead of thenoise around us. Today I am happy to tell you that although NOna isconstantly fighting to be heard, her voice gets a bit quieter every day. With any luck, one day soon she will pack her bags and finally hit theroad for good!
Well perhaps if you want to consider that I have 3 children in their 30’s, 2 grandsons and I’m working on developing a second career, then I guess you could say my world is “ blooming” a little late.
I have always been creative. The smell of a new box of crayons makes the neurons in my brain tingle and I just want to color all over the page. I actually studied art in college but then made other choices and life began to get in the way. I was busy raising a family where there really wasn’t time to dedicate to fine art work. I did fun creative projects with the kids and on my own but nothing I would consider fine art.
Then as all parents come to find, the nest was empty and I longed for a deeper connection to my creative ties. I began taking some painting classes and workshops and I loved that one night a week was mine to go and be creative. Watercolor was my weapon of choice and still is for that matter. And boy was it exciting to watch that paint and water mingle together on the paper creating vibrant new colors and patterns, even though it didn’t always do what I wanted it to do. I studied with some great teachers and absorbed all that I could. I joined local art organizations and became involved in the art community. I would suggest this to any new artist out there. These groups are a wonderful resource and I have made true friendships along the way.
As I continued painting and during my travels I noticed that I had been taking many photos of doorways and architecture. The doorways were intriguing to me. Each one interesting in their own way. Homeowners coming and going through those doors, year after year, oh! the stories that could be told. I started incorporating these doorways into my artwork and as I painted I imagined a story behind each one. Friends and family would send me photos of doorways they would find on their trips or ask to have their special home painted. That’s when I realized I could expand this love of architecture, homes and doorways and share it with others
I have always had a creative side and experimented in various art forms sporadically over the years but I have never really thought of myself as an artist. However since retiring 2 years ago and beginning this next chapter of my life I have had time to explore the world of mixed-media and art journaling. It is funny to think that 34 years ago I had planned on enrolling in art school full time after taking some summer school classes in silk screen at Emily Carr School of Art, but then we bought a house, my life changed and financially it wasn’t the right time to go on an art journey.
I was fortunate to meet a new artist friend Violette and she had just published her book ‘Journal Bliss’which I purchased inspiring me to move into the world of art. Then I discovered Pam Carriker, ‘Art at the Speed of Life’ and Donna Downey they have all been a great influence in my artistic growth.
I challenged myself to do an art journal page each day for 30 days to keep myself growing artistically. I explored various artist blogs, bought books on mixed-media and joined a few on-line communities, participated in on-line workshops and all of that has helped me grow and become a mixed-media artist. I also discovered taking my scanned art pages and using them in digital collage, which I love – there is no mess to clean up! I am delightfully surprised when I compare my creations now to a year and half ago and how art brings so much joy into my life.
I created my blog that I could record my journey in the art world and post some of my work. My dream and passion is to create art that relays affirmations for kindness, living from the heart, the power of positive thoughts and to believe that there is magic in your dreams.
Each day is a new creative adventure and I am excited to see where the road leads me and who knows along the way I may inspire others that is never to late to discover their artistic side.
I became a late bloomer creatively when I was about 37 years old.
I was working in the Real Estate industry, but felt like something was missing from my life. I was on my lunch hour one day, and wandered into a jewelry store. The owner was there, at his jewelry bench, and I spontaneously asked him what one had to do in order to learn how to make jewelry. And all of a sudden, I found myself confiding in this complete stranger that my life didn't feel like it had any meaning. I started to cry, and was astonished by the emotions that were spilling out of me. He listened, and said, "You start bydoing it. You will figure it out, but I have to get back to work now," or something along those lines. It was one of those moments in my life where I heard exactly what I needed to hear--no more, no less.
I made a trip up to Seattle the next weekend to see a friend, and she took me to a bead store. I bought some beads after the owner of the bead store showed me how to form a loop in a headpin and attach it to an ear wire. I grabbed onto beads like a life preserver, and was content to make beaded jewelry in my spare time.
About a year passed, and my husband and I decided to sell most of our possessions and our house, and we went on the road with his business as a computer consultant. We were living in Singapore, and one day, as I was walking around the Arab part of the city, I ducked into a perfume shop to get out of a rainstorm. As I was poking around a back room, I found a box with some old tribal jewelry from the areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. In one brief moment, I found my passion in oxidized metal. I told myself that I would learn how to make metal jewelry one day, and on that day, my life changed forever I couldn't get the way that jewelry felt to me emotionally out of my head.
I was determined to learn how to work with metal in a meaningful way.
After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, we were transferred to Metairie. While back in the States, I saw an article somewhere about Lynn Merchant's wire work. Her jewelry made my heart pound like it did in that shop in Singapore. I found a jewelry supply store and began my creative career in metal. I attended my first craft show where I sold my work and never looked back.