My interest in art was encouraged from “the beginning” . And whenever you begin– at 2 or 72– that encouragement, having supplies to work with, is key to developing your art. My parents were appreciative of what I created, so the support was there, along with easels, crayons and paint.
My family moved from Eastchester New, York to New Canaan, Connecticut, where as a child I got to take art courses at Silvermine School of Art – a bona fide art school where I teach today. My high school had a terrific art department with professional artists who taught – Albert Jacobsen, ceramacist, Al Fabry and Bernice Hall in fine art and design respectively.
I headed to Smith College, where I studied with the respected print maker Leonard Baskin. Then transferred to the University of California, Berkeley (FSM movement, protests, etc) to finish my degree in liberal arts, with a fine arts major, taking a few post grad courses at California College of Arts and Crafts. ( Big take away from post grad etching class–stay away from band saws forever!)
After graduation, my husband and I moved to Toronto, Canada, which turned out to be a hotbed of community minded organizers, many of whom were American women expats. I was fortunate enough to be an early member on a groundbreaking children’s book press – Kids Can Press, still thriving today, and to publish three books: two of them– Harriet and the great Bike Robbery and The Peanut Plan —as author/illustrator, and as illustrator for “The Green Harpy at the Corner Store”, written by Rosemary Allison.
I had the opportunity to be principal illustrator for the Women’s Kit as well – the first multimedia kit on women’s issues for teenagers, produced at OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education). Leona Chase and I developed Creating Together, the first city wide art program for pre schoolers and their parents. My conclusion today: you’re most likely to do well in areas you’re fascinated by, and where you have some people around to collaborate with, grow and share with in a trusting way.
We moved back to CT, continuing on as a working artist and instructor at Silvermine School of Art, where I had learned so much as a young person. With the help of a changing parade of adult students, I developed for the Absolute and Utter Beginner courses into two books: “Drawing for the Absolute and Utter Beginner” and “Painting for the Absolute and Utter Beginner.” These continue to be popular source books for new artists.The drawing book has now be translated into five languages, Czech ( Zaciname Kreslit, Zakladni kurz kresby pro zacatecniky)!, Polish, Italian, and Russian.( Putin needs to read it…NOW!) Both books are now available in China, translated into Mandarin.