With some of my friends, Dani Cade on the right and Kate Goodrich
I was introduced to art through my mother's old encyclopedia back in Bogota, Colombia arouond four years old or younger. I remember clearly she pointing at Francisco de Goya's “La Maja desnuda” and Velasquez's “Las Meninas” and photos of Greece and Roman statues and listening to her every word about the beauty of art.
For all her enthusiasm about fine art it was very ironic she never support my interest in drawing of studying a career in it, she thought that my constant and furious scribbles of faces, eyes and mouths in notebooks and scraps of papers were about me lacking a moral compass much like the people that writes obscenities on the wall of public public bathrooms.
Not to make myself look gifted, I could mimic quite good the figures depicted in comic books and graphic novels. For a nine-ten year old they weren't that bad. Soon came the time when I discovered charcoals, B serie pencils and newspaper clear print and inspired by the realistic Colombian born masters like Omar Gordillo and the many great talent of young artist in the late 70's I began to improve all on my own.
Some neighbors and family members will ask me to do drawings for them like special occcasion cards and posters for birthday parties.
I was told by mother that artists end starvign to dead so I should better focus in school instead and I did just that but never could quit the drawing. I wanted to use brushes and paint but our small family budget would not allow for that and my mother's sneering ridiculing didn't help either. However I could do pretty decent work with color pencils for my school homework and be praised by teachers and pupils alike.
I remember very well one year a Colombian pencil factory came to our all girl school to organize a drawing competition, I didn't have a complete color pencil set so I used regular grahite to draw a couple of doomed lovers. Yes, they were supposed to be nude but it didn't show any body parts mind you.
I won the second place, I was in seven grade! The first place was some abstract color drawing, people said mine was better but the subject may not had been the ideal choice for a school contest.
As time when onI pursued a career in Physics (which I still highly regret) and later Electric Engineering so by that moment I didn't have mucht time to do art work but during the long and never ending classes y will draw classmates and teachers on pen with good likeness and speed. Needless to say people will be offended thinking I was laughing at them so I have to be very discreet, I just couldn't make myself stop.
I will get job assignment here and there doing drawings earning scant amounts of money but for me was all about having the chance to do art and have people to be please with what I did. However adult life kick in soon after I finished my career and had to find regular job and I had terrible time finding one after sacrificing my desire to study art and studying something more “worthy”. The work environment in schools was depressing, poorly paid and with no guarantee of stability or a better future for me. To this day I dread being inside a school building, I don't why its vibe hits me with the most hopeless feeling. Hey, I have really try to adapt and teach in the US and in Colombia but it hadn't work for me. Angry young souls with all kinds of issues, boring teaching stragegies, endless rules, restricted freedom, etc it has proven too much for my psyche.
I moved to the USA in 1998 and my then husband notice what I could do with a pencil and enrolled me ofr a Fall oil class at the nearby college in 2000 from there I started working with oils and brushes. I am thankful for that chance and greatful to live in this amazing land as I had all lost hope I could ever do art. However the path have never been easy. At first , my small efforts at painting were laughed at and rejected on the course of the years by people close to me, strangers and gallery owners alike (well not all the time). However my meeting in 2005 with Eastern Shore artist Mary Ekroos provided me with the breakthrough I needed despite multiple oppositions and difficulties I got the chance to take few of her classes and become a friend with her and thus have some guidance.
After settling in West Virginia in 2011 I joined a local art group and though they have their own opinions of what I was supposed to be doing it helped a lot to view things from a different angle and this opened my eyes greatly. At this stage I had gathered more experience and knowledge, gotten more tools met more artists and won more art contests, learned more techiques and finally practice, practice, practice.
By then I realized that my desire to paint was not what people wanted me to paint that is drawing and painting people and oh yes doing nudes! So as many times before I have people and galleries offended because of artistic desires. But selling my first nude in 2014 after joining an online gallery gave me the strength to keep going on my goals. Winning the 2015 Best of West Virginia Art Show with a portrait when I was told portrait won't win hasn't hurt either.
So here I am turning my head to all the nay sayers and working with feverish desire and energy
before it is too late!