Just call me “5.” That is the designation given to me by my autistic son, Ian. He is my muse and the catalyst that launched me into the world of watercolor painting 8 years ago. Because of his disability and the need to always be near and watching him I started playing with his Crayola paints at our kitchen table and my curiosity and passion grew from there. It amazed me that he could get such beautiful color combinations and designs from a child’s paint box and I set out to try my hand at reproducing some of his amazing blends. Of course it was impossible to copy what he had done because he was, and is, totally uninhibited. But observing him gave me a leg up to start my own watercolor paintings where I strive to be somewhat controlled yet as free with color and uninhibited as my son. I’m hardly there yet, but I’m on the path and enjoying the process as well as the product.
My first introduction to art came from my mother who went back to school for an art degree when I was in high school. The rare bits of formal art theory and techniques appearing in my artwork are from discussions of classwork she shared with me as she worked toward her degree. Since I began painting, my formal art education has come primarily through practice and reading, supplemented by my attendance at an ongoing class with a good friend and accomplished artist. I also took a week-long workshop with Don Andrews that was really inspiring and instructive. Because my schedule is so restricted and my free time quite limited, I cannot devote the time I’d like to painting, but I keep at it in hopes that someday I’ll have more time for art. My husband and I also own a screen printing and embroidery business of which we are the sole proprietors and sole workers too!
My formal higher education is still unfinished, but for three years I pursued a dual major in mathematics and English. My first love has always been writing, but with the nature of our son’s disability, coherent, orderly thought in our household is noticeably lacking. Sometimes I think we’re living “Through the Looking Glass.” So, I figured if I can’t paint with words, I’ll paint with paint.
I live in Conway with my husband, our middle son and our cat, Jack, with frequent visits from our other two children living in Boston and New York.
Artist of the Month Nov/Dec, 2007