If you have an appreciation for art, you and I may share parts of our life stories here. Mind you, there’s good stuff here, some of it hilarious, and some not so bad!
Here’s my story of how it all started and I hope this does not bore you too much! After the war, my parents had limited means and we were quite poor as with most families in Britain. Food was rationed so some days we did not eat so scraping the plate was the order of the day.
Fortunately rationing did not last long and the big surprise was my first taste of ice cream at the grand old age of five! Other luxuries followed soon after like potato crisps, sweet sugary stuff and cakes! We sure did eat well and I recall we did put on a little weight. While your life story might share some similarities with mine, you may find definite commonalities that we share, especially if you have an appreciation for art! Now, you might be saying- Jon, how can you make such a generalized statement, just because we share an interest in art?
There were no “luxuries” like art supplies which included drawing paper but I did manage to scrounge charcoal sticks once in awhile.So it started out with charcoal on newspaper—the only thing I could make marks on at the time.
So as a boy in “knickerbockers” (short unfashionable pants) I used to visit the local library where I copied some of the old masters drawings—mainly Durer—until closing time. Yep, I lived there engrossed in the magic of line and form—and what a pleasure to discover there was so much to know about art and how expressive it could be.
It seems I always had a passion for artistic expression, as a form of communication. To me, art was capable of evoking emotional responses from those that understood it or those that understood what the artist was trying to say, although, that’s not a realization I had until I reached my later years.
Today, I love viewing the animals in their wild and natural habitat, from the comforts of my cozy log home, outside of Boulder, CO but I have always found beauty in places that create an emotional response from my artistic soul. My wife understands how our panoramic views and uniquely-special surroundings can be expressed through artistic expression, because her background is in teaching art, too. Artwork might not do this mountainous area the true justice it deserves, however!
Before you start thinking the clean air at these high elevations might be “clouding” my thinking, I just want to make the point that enormous amounts of beauty can be found in real-life things, which can be depicted in art. If you are a young family that has an artistic spirit and children that are interested in art, it might be easier for you to understand why my art experiences started when I was just a few years old and my art education and profession has continued throughout my life!
Back in “the old days”, some modern artistic mediums weren’t available for sketching or drawing, like they are today. Substandard paper and small remnants of lead might have to suffice for precise tools used in my creations. My humorously-drawn renditions and caricatures would have to be more communicative, through their expression, rather than through special effects or graphics programs, like we have today.
To say I earned payment for my early creations might seem like an over-statement, if you consider my classmates offered deserts and soft drinks as payment of their “fees” for the funny depictions I drew for them. In fact, my “works” found an actively growing marketplace, leading to assignments, which I took home in growing stacks, every day. It was after my mother made a visit to the schoolmaster, protesting my “work overload” that my growing “business” quickly went “out of business”, since assignments from class weren’t the kind she originally thought. Needless to say, she felt learning was more important, even though she had always encouraged my creative endeavors. I really missed my “payments” for those early works of art, though.
It wasn’t until I reached secondary school that I was able to re-introduce creativity into my learning experience. After testing for a higher-level learning institution that specialized in art, higher education courses in fine arts and design began, along with a general education. Once I reached graduation day five years later, I set my sights on a more expansive, yet still artistic education, which led me to the powdery beaches and sunnier climates of South Africa. While this relocation might have been related to my desires to leave the never-ending drizzly climates of Britain, it became part of my artistic life path.
My foreign studies opened the door to different artistic mediums and art-forms, landing me an assignment in Johannesburg. It was here that teaching these newly-acquired artistic skills to the mentally-challenged, stirred an urge to share my knowledge of the arts with others. I have to think it might have been this experience that contributed to my desire to develop my own website, complete with advanced video teaching lessons to share the knowledge of art I have obtained through my world travels.
It was with sadness that I left my post because of political unpredictability, but it led me to my family in the United States. Mural-painting on the upper East Coast led to short-term contract assignments in Boulder, which subsequently led me to my wife, who taught art at Colorado University. She shared my artistic passions, (along with some that weren’t as artistic.)
In March of 2009, I decided it would be fun to share my love of art because teaching it is one of my passions, especially cartooning and humorous drawing. While it is still a “work-in-progress”, I really hope you will let me show you how artistic expression can be a form of communication, besides being fun and humorous. If you have a passion for art, we have more in common than you might think, so visit often because I want you to join our “family”! Put your name and email in top right column for weekly alerts and monthly newsletters.