Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Carol Bray


From my earliest memories I was always drawing, painting and creating.

My mother eventually guided me to take home economic classes and I went on to pursue a degree in home economics education.  Family and life got in the way of my creativity until around 1986 when I took a basket weaving class.  I quickly became quite addictive to the entire weaving process.  So much so that I quit a teacher's aide position that I was currently employed in.  From 1987 until 1998 I traveled around the country doing art shows with my baskets.  Stenciling on baskets was quite popular and when I couldn't find the right stencil I wanted, I branched out and started painting freehand on my baskets.  I was amazed at what I was creating.  It got to the point where I all I wanted to do was to paint and not weave baskets any longer. 

In 2005, my husband retired and we started spending our winters in Florida.  We were staying at a great RV park that offered lots of activities.  I discovered that watercolor was being offered, but I had heard it was a very unforgiving medium and very hard to work with.  Finally around 2008 I got the courage to sign up for and invest in watercolors and I've never looked back.  I was drawn to it like a bee to honey.  All the classes were taught by volunteers in the park and I was mesmerized by all the wonderful techniques I was learning.  Just a few weeks ago I was one of the volunteers who taught a class on how to paint a red fox.  I couldn't find any information for me to learn how to paint one, so I just did my own from an actual photo.  It's one of my favorites and I named him Ever Watchful. 

My husband has been so very supportive of my art.  So much so that many nights we've eaten our meals on our lap while my paints and papers covered our small dining table in our RV.  I may be a late bloomer, but the one thing I'm enjoying is the fact that I can paint and create all I want and have no stress about it.  I just became Medicare eligible a few months ago and I figure any sales I make from my paintings is extra cash for traveling adventures.  I know so many younger artists feel more pressure to succeed at their art so they can make this their full time profession. 

My word of advice is to JUST DO IT!  That's what I did back in 1987 when I quit a job to pursue my dream and I have never regretted it.  Just remember, no one is ever to old to begin something new.  EVER!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sounds like solid advice to me.  Come back Wednesday to read her story.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Joanie Springer

I have always been artsy craftsy, but an artist?  Hardly.  
My daughters laugh now in remembrance of how I drew 
stick figures on their lunch bags.

At age 54 I was dreaming of one day retiring and what that would look like.  Immediately I knew that I would take a painting hold a brush was the dream.  Since I had chosen a career as an online entrepreneur there really was no retirement in clear view, and no pension as backup. So dream on, I told myself.
But I wrestled my way through all those negativities and decided to give myself "permission" to take a 4 week acrylic painting class through Park and Rec. dept.  It was magical from the first moment I dipped brush into paint, I was transformed by the experience.  And with my characteristic enthusiasm, I thought I better teach myself to draw, knowing that would make me a better painter.  I joined EveryDayMatters yahoogroup and started painting every day, many times a day.  I remember spending entire weekends just drawing every single model on every single page of my Vanity Fair magazine.  Simple outlines, contour drawings with a micron pen.  Eventually I bought some watercolors and was ecstatic to add color to my little ink drawings. 

One day I received an email from a fellow EDM artist and he commented that he liked my style!  I was over the mean I even have a style????  That was a boost to my confidence.  

The Love of drawing has stayed with me, and I often employ ink with my gouache paintings.  Which leads to....why gouache?  I went from acrylic
(too fast-drying and kills brushes), to watercolors (somewhat fussy and disliked preserving whites), to oils (smelly and messy), to watersoluble oils (still smelly, but less messy) and then discovered opaque watercolors...or gouache, and that was LOVE.  I now get to employ all my oil painting techniques with gouache and then I discovered that by waxing my paintings, I had a nice hard finish that rivaled oil paintings, too, and didn't require glass to display.  People look at my work now and think they are oils, that thrills me. All the opacity and elegance of oils with the ease and thrill of watercolor, finished off with that lovely organic wax sheen.   

I have declared 2013 My Year of Gouache...which means I intend to use it exclusively.  The more I stay with this media the more it teaches me.  All the media do that as well.  Gouache continues to thrill and inspire me.

So, I'm going to be 60 in September and these past 5+ years since I took that first painting class have been nothing short of awesome.  If the life we are given can be divided into three acts, my first act was a great childhood and lots of creativity - though music and theater were my creative outlet at the time, the second act (my 30s-50s) grueling and difficult - included schooling (B.A. and M.A.) divorce, single parenting, corporate jog, lifeohmygoshlife, not much time to create, and now that my third act has begun I'm creating anew.  And I feel like I'm making up for lost time.  I'm on my way to achieve a new late-in-life dream of being a full-time and self-supporting artist.  It is NEVER too late to dream our way into a new life. Is it easy?  Heck no, but no amount of hard work will keep me from my dream.  Meanwhile, I've begun teaching locally and privately and absolutely love sharing my art process and inspiring others.  As well I am creating tutorials that I will be offering online, too, so stay tuned!

Blessings and Gouache On!

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Monday, March 18, 2013


Hmmmmm....I wonder why she says to call her Queenie?
I know how you can find out - come back on Wednesday to read her story.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Linda Kittmer

  For me, 
 art is the answer...
no matter what the question!
I began as a self taught traditional quilter in 1999.   Although I used some patterns, I quickly discovered that I preferred creating my own unique designs.   Being a prolific quilter, I quickly ran out of beds,  sofas and cribs to cover.   This was also the time when I discovered that the traditional quilt guild was no longer meeting my creative needs.  

In the spring of 2006 a friend and I started a fibre art group, ‘The Group of Eight Fibre Artists’ or GOE (rhymes with toe) as we refer to ourselves. In spite of the name, the group currently has ten members who meet monthly, encouraging and inspiring one another.  Our first group show was in January 2011 and we have  six shows and  a speaking engagement lined up for this year.
I now use much of my own  hand dyed fabric and I create unique pieces using various surface design techniques such as mono-printing, marbling, rust dyeing, etc.  

In addition to my fibre and mixed media art, in the last year or two I’ve had a growing passion for photography and art journalling.  I have a blog where I post about these three artistic passions.  For me, art is therapy and I make every effort to spend time in my studio each and every day.  For me, art is the matter what the question!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sewing is about put pieces together.
Come by tomorrow and see how she did it.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Arlene Holtz

The idea of me being an artist never occurred to me at all 
until about 15 years ago when I was around 50. 

I had acquired some skills for making stained glass windows and ornaments and even had dabbled some with fused glass in a kiln, but only thought of myself as perhaps an artisan or crafts person.  I decided to take a drawing class at the local community college so I could learn to draw my own designs better.  The course was split between people taking drawing and others taking oil painting within the same room.  As I watched the other students creating beautiful paintings, I wanted to spend all my class time watching them and was itching to try out the paints.  The next semester I tentatively enrolled in the painting part of the class, wondering what I was doing and if I would ever learn how to do this. 
Ever since then I have never looked back.  I absolutely LOVED painting, and immediately became addicted to it!  Who would have ever guessed I would have some talent in this?! 

Other than that initial class in Arizona and some excellent online workshops, I have not had any “formal” art education.
Last year, I was even certified by Grumbacher Paints to teach beginning acrylic painting at Michaels Arts and Crafts stores.  In order to do this I had to create quite a lot of demonstration paintings for my classes in all kinds of areas.  This gave me lots and lots of good practice and helped build my confidence.  I have since come to believe that people don’t necessarily need to have some inborn “talent” in order to paint.  It can be learned and we do get better with practice and some guidance.  You just have to love it!

About four years ago, I had a burning desire to learn to paint portraits and took a few online workshops.  I learned from every one of them.  Painting faces is now my passion.  I’d rather paint a face than almost anything else.  They are all so interesting and unique!  It just never gets boring.  
I feel I have only just started learning to become a good artist, and I am having such a great time doing it!

Monday, March 4, 2013


On Wednesday we will be sharing another great story of a creative Late Bloomer.  Be sure to mark your calendar and return on Wednesday.