I sold my first painting when I was 12 years old. My parents had taken me to a spa for vacation, and I had brought my easel and oil paints, having had only two lessons from a family friend who was an artist. I sat under a tree near a pond, painting what I saw, and a man and his family approached. “Look, an artist!” he exclaimed. I was amazed. How could I be an artist with so few supplies and almost no training? He asked whether the painting was for sale. “It’s not finished yet,” I replied. “It will be done tomorrow. We made a deal. Thirty-five dollars! I was astonished and elated.
I did not sell another painting for many years, since my artistic life centered on my writing. But I did take occasional art classes, and I constantly thought about painting as I examined the world of nature and architecture through the artists’ eye. I admire artists who take chances, like Dali and Chagal and Magritte. I love Van Gogh for his use of color and movement and how he makes ordinary moments sublime. I never tire of studying Picasso, with his limitless energy.
In the past few years I have re-started as a serious painter, but with a different set of rules. I begin with color, shape and balance, using many different media. Each painting is an adven- ture, a discovery, a gift to myself. I don’t “plan” a painting in the way that I plan a story. I let the rhythm of the process take me as far as possible, reminding myself, “Let go. It’s only paper. Take a chance.” With this attitude art becomes a joyful, transforming experience. I usually begin with calligraphy ink or water color, then I add various media, chalk or charcoal, water color or acrylic. I use various materials to create an interesting texture or a speckled or variegated effect. I love to play with possibilities, to see what will develop. Some of my paintings are pastoral, some are experimental, and some are a whimsical combination of reality and fantasy. What counts for me is the creative experience, and the hope that others will pause and contemplate and enjoy.