let’s chat!

answering your questions

This was “dusk,” on day 53.

Today, I am answering the questions that readers asked me a little more than a week ago. There were just two of them and they both had to do with art! So, without further ado, here is the first question, which was asked by Nonnie Vivian:

How has your artwork improved so quickly in such a short period of time? And your art work was super good before!

Answer: Before I give a direct answer, I will tell a story about me. When I was about fifteen years old (which is now a very long time ago), I suddenly decided that I had no talent and that I wasn’t going to do any more art. Well, as you can see, that didn’t work. I had a mother who nagged at me so relentlessly about doing art that I gave in, and started drawing and painting and taking classes. In one of those classes, I met a woman who said that talent was overrated. she said that practice and effort had more effect than talent. Most people aren’t born with a whole lot of talent, but, if they practice a lot, they can improve their skills.

And so, I think that is so with me. Lots and lots of practice. In the past four months, I have been drawing and painting every day, exploring a variety of mediums and art styles. And then, late in May, I was told about the “Daisy Yellow Index Card A Day” challenge. Apparently, it’s been an annual event for the past fourteen years. I had never before heard of it. It sounded like fun so I decided to do this challenge. I have found this challenge to be a real opportunity for growth as a creative person and as an artist. Each day, I get a prompt to interpret. The prompt is always a single word. For example, “yellow.” I wondered what I could draw if I had a black marker in a yellow world. Sort of like Harold and his purple crayon. And I came up with this. A city street scene with different kinds of buildings and even a patio for customers who like to sit outside.

A yellow city (day 35)

And then, there were the characters. Bears, a mouse, the sun, a toy, and me. For me, creating characters motivated me to practice more and more because I need story and not just images. So I think that practice and story were the biggest part of my recent growth as an artist. I hope that helps, Viv.

Here is the second question, asked by Martha: “Was there something that sparked your interest to get started in painting? I love all your drawings, especially the bears!”

Quite honestly, it was someone, rather than something. Two someones, to be exact. The first was my mother. She kept nagging me, saying, “You need to take an art class.” I let her know that I was totally lacking in talent and that an art class wasn’t a plan. My mother, however, was relentless. She didn’t take “no” for an answer. “You need to take an art class,” said my mother, sounding suspiciously like a broken record. Finally, she wore me down. “Okay,” I said. “I will sign up for an art class.” So I did. It was a very fun art class that met once a week from about 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There was a lunch break, and we would all go eat in a cafeteria with the people who worked in the building, which was then a government building. Prior to being a government building, it was a school. It is no longer a government building. In fact, there is a theater in it, where I saw my friend Thomas perform in “A Chorus Line.” But I digress. However, not too much.

Thomas’ mother, Ellen, was the second someone. Her approach was a little different than my mom’s. She invited me to come visit her one day. When I arrived, she directed me to the dining room and offered me a seat. She then placed a vase of cosmos on the table, as well as some paper and colored pencils. “Draw the flowers,” she commanded. I always wanted Ellen to be happy so I started drawing. When I was done, she let me know that I needed to spend much more time drawing.

And so, I did. Fast forward a few years. January 2015. I had given myself a challenge: to draw or paint a bear every day for a month. That was when I began to create stories to go with the bears, and I started creating the characters, which included Bearnacle Bear, the sea faring bear, who faced many obstacles, including some very terrible humans. Since that point, I have had a variety of ideas in my head for retelling my original bear story and for including more bears and telling more stories. And I am starting to think about compiling the bear stories (and the mouse stories) in a book format.

Thank you for asking, Martha! You never know what’s going to come next!!!

6 thoughts on “let’s chat!”

  1. I’m so glad you listened to you mother and continue with your beautiful artwork! Ellen was super to to see your hidden talent! I remember when you started drawing your bears! Putting your bear (and mouse) stories in a book format would be awesome! Lia loves seeing all your bears!

    1. I have been very fortunate to be surrounded by people who believed in me, especially when I did not!!! I will never give up on art again!
      Also, I love making Lia happy! Her delight and enthusiasm make me happy, too.

  2. I agree with the comment about talent being overrated. I love hearing about your background in art and what a great idea to blog about answering questions.

    1. I wish that more people would try art or anything creative, for that matter. They might realize that it doesn’t take some sort of magical, inborn talent and that they can be as creative as they like!
      I like answering questions and should probably do it more often!

  3. Alice, your drawings and paintings are beautiful. I really like the Bear. So adorable. You really should do a book! btw, what type of medium did you use for the bear above? Just curious. I am not an artist by any means, but it’s fun to play around with different pens, crayons, markers, etc. Thanks for sharing.

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