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The truth is, I've always been creative, musical and artistic. But, I'm a late bloomer. I showed mild interest in art when I was a kid but only participated in the typical projects and classes that were given to everyone. I suppose I was too afraid for a period of time to express myself, nor did I realize what my artistic abilities were.
In high school, I was editor of our literary magazine, called the Autograph. I recall drawing a small illustration for one of the essays that I had written. Primarily at the time, writing and piano were my artistic outlets, although I never really felt that I excelled in either one. Painting wasn't something I did at all, except for during an art class that I took as an elective in 11th grade.
In college, I continued expressing myself through writing, but short of an elective art history class, I did nothing related to drawing or painting.
At age 23, I met a girl who helped me realize that I could actually sing, something I had also never done in my life but had always secretly wished I could do. Once I discovered my latent talent for singing, I never looked back, but went full force into developing the voice that God has given me. I went to seminary and studied voice and theology. I even recorded numerous albums, mostly around Christmas, and have at this point performed solo concerts in churches and other venues throughout the Southeast. This is something that continues to be a part of my life.
It was May of 2005 and my grandmother Kitty, whom I had known and loved my whole life, passed away at the age of 93. Being that hers was the first really close experience I ever had with death, I took her passing with a lot of difficulty. Over the following month, I felt that there must be something that I could do both to memorialize her and to overcome the crushing grief that I was feeling so strongly. Call it a whim or even a nudge from God, but the notion of doing a portrait of her landed squarely upon my mind.
That very day, I drove to Michael's Art Supply store and purchased my first set of oils and painting supplies. Of course, I had no clue how to paint, so I also purchased a couple of instructional books about painting with oils.
From there, the rest is history. The portrait (to the left) of my grandmother Kitty Hamersly is my first painting. Each stroke that I made on that canvas was healing to my grieving soul. Eventually and to my surprise, I saw my grandmother appear before my eyes as I painted. In the painting, I placed her in a red dress (her favorite color) and decked her out in gold earrings and necklace. In my mind, this is how I envisioned her now in Heaven. When the painting was complete, it was as if I had a window to where she now resided, in the hereafter. Through painting her, I was able to release my grief and find peace after her passing. This also began my fascination with the color RED, but I'll get to that in a moment.
It's a valid question and one that I hear a lot. If you look at my paintings, you'll see a good bit of red in most of them, some more than others. The truth is, I started using a red background when painting, intuitively. Honestly, I don't have a really good answer as to WHY I use a red background, other than it just works for me. I love the effect that it has in harmonizing my paintings. Many painters use colored backgrounds to flavor or set the mood of their paintings. For me, I see red, mostly.
If you came to my house, you'd see red accents everywhere. My kitchen is painted red too. There's just something about red that shakes you up and is powerful. There's a lot of history and psychology behind the color, but I won't bore you with those details. The great thing about red is that you can use it in your paintings to punch the viewer in the face or to subtly make things dance a bit as they're being observed. Some people may not prefer it, but I find that most really like it and don't even know why. You be the judge - it pervades my paintings, even if you don't know it. Now, you do.
These days most of my spare time is spent painting, quite frankly because I love it. One day, if things continue to go well, it may be all I do. Meanwhile, the bulk of my time is spent as a Holistic Health Practitioner and Life Coach. If you'd like to read more about this, you may do so HERE.
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