Even though I didn't complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts back in the 1980's, I didn't stop studying. One year I studied stone carving with a Cree sculptor and invested in carving tools - I love the feel of soapstone and rasps in my hands. I purchased jewellery making supplies and took a metal and leather stamping workshop, though I prefer a less noisy creative endeavor and the pieces used to create jewellery are so tiny and require much patience. For several years I apprenticed with potters, purchased a kiln and completed hand formed clay sculptures and functional objects as I do enjoy working with clay though it is difficult on my hands, very drying. I studied fibre arts with a seamstress, creating patterns, clothing, knitted/crocheted projects and art quilts. At one point I studied printmaking with an artist and worked with a dremel tool in wood and with carving tools in lino and then played with monoprinting using a Gelli plate (all of the tools which I'm happy to say now live with my daughter who uses them in her high school art classes). I studied photography with a high school teacher and watercolour and oils with an artist friend. I have played with mixed media (still love altered books for fun) and yet, through it all, I have always, always painted with acrylics on canvas, studying with an artist through the Winnipeg Art Gallery for a year after college and then continuing to on my own.
Though most of the supplies have moved on to support schools, other artists and art workshops, I think that all of this was necessary, like attending a university built just for me. Taking classes, being mentored, visiting galleries and artists' studios, trying different media and genres, this was important to me in my journey as an artist. I needed to try things in order to know what to utilize, when and how, and to find out for certain where my heart lay. And I do believe that all of this experience has taught me to use different tools in different ways and to view compositions with a fresh eye while making connections between seemingly unrelated things. Plus, the photography has certainly come in handy during this digital era. None of my experience was wasted in the least. Plus I have had an incredible amount of fun.
AIRdirondack Art Project