One of my favorite things to do when I have some downtime on vacation while visiting my parents in California is to look through my old art shelves. There are dozens (maybe hundreds!) of my old paintings there, and that’s not even all of it! A lot of my work from high school and college was sold during those years. But there’s still plenty to look through.
Most of the time when I pull out an old painting I am both highly underwhelmed and highly amused. In my memory, a lot of those pieces were really great! But in reality, they make me cringe the same way you cringe when you read your old diaries from when you were in middle school. Completely relevant and appropriate for its day, but obviously dated in the present day. I remember painting each of those masterpieces! But seeing them after all these years makes me laugh as I am reminded of the long learning curves I went through.
I do have favorites; some have always been my favorite, and others have only recently become my favorites. They’re usually the paintings full of memories, like the time when my mom stayed up until 2am with me so I could finish the rooster that “I had to finish”; or they’re paintings that I still see myself in. Sometimes I cannot get over the small resemblances of my paintings then to my paintings now, and I’m really glad about that.
These paintings are all from when I was between the approximate ages of ten and thirteen. I didn’t have much experience then (I had only been painting for a few years.) I hope to share more of these early works and talk more in depth about them because there are so many funny and great stories to go along with them, but for now I’ll just choose a few of my favorites to begin with.
I remember this painting being one of the biggest I had ever painted up to that point. I think it was 16x20in, and it felt huge to me. My guess is that I was eleven years old when I painted it. I sold one very similar to it, a little smaller though, for $35. It was the first painting I ever sold. A very kind and supportive family friend wanted to buy it, and I was so overjoyed and flattered. I can’t remember if I painted the one I sold first and missed it so I painted this one, or if the friends wanted to buy this one and I wouldn’t let it go, so I painted her another. Haha! It’s possible one of the two paintings could have even been the third of this rooster painting, because I vaguely remember painting this rooster with my Aunt Juliet on her patio one day. Unconfirmed. I really liked that rooster!
This painting on the left is so funny to me. I had my mom take a picture of me reading a book in my favorite chair (it didn’t look like that) because I really wanted to paint someone reading a book. I really struggled with this piece though, especially because I was trying to make it look like me (it doesn’t look like me. At all. haha!) If you look at the original, the eyes have a LOT of layers of paint on them. I titled the painting “Imagine That!” and now really I wish I knew why. This was part of a children’s show I entered when I was 12. It was fun seeing it on the walls of the library where the show was held. I’ll forever be grateful for that art community and the opportunities it offered.
Lastly, the painting on the right, I remember spending forever on the initial drawing stage! I wanted that shovel and rake to be perfect (and I’m pretty proud of them still, mind you…) But when I think of the hours of careful drawing I spent, I remember feeling like it was a really tedious, complicated piece! I was so pleased with it when it was done. The wobbly bricks are so sweet to me, but I also really love the white pot–I’m taking some notes on that for future paintings, because I really do love it. I remember painting it, but I cannot remember when I did this piece. Part of me thinks I did it when I was a bit older with my favorite and first art teacher, Victoria Brooks, but it may have also been when I was 11… maybe it’s dated on the back. I’ll check next time I see it.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this funny throw back with me!