The musings of a landscape painter, art teacher, and art history lover
How Do You Know if You are an Artist?
I've been making art all my life, I just can't stop! As far back into childhood as I can remember, I was making art. When I'm not making art, I'm thinking about making art. As a child, I would sit in my room for hours drawing tanks, soldiers, birds, people, whatever. My parents noticed, of course, and started getting me my own art supplies and even a drafting board to work on. That was it, I was hooked.
As I got older, my grandparents began taking me around to the galleries of Scottsdale, Arizona. They collected watercolor paintings, so I got to go to a number of show openings and meet the watercolor artists. I felt like a big shot, mingling with the professional painters! Soon I was teaching myself to paint with watercolors. I began with Zoltan Szabo's Landscape Painting In Watercolor book and worked my way through the exercises. I still own that book, as dog-eared and beat up as it is, and refer to it as I teach my current students.
When it came time to decide on a career, it was a no-brainer. I was to be an artist. I went to undergraduate school at the University of Arizona as an art major, then moved on to graduate school at the University of Delaware. Soon afterward, I found myself working as an artist in Portland, Oregon and teaching art at Willamette University. I was showing at Portland's Blackfish gallery and teaching art. Life was good.
Today, I live back in Phoenix, Arizona with my wife Marla and son Liam. We value family and wanted to be closer. I teach art to junior high and high school students and love my job. Teaching young people is the absolute best. I also practice painting every day and exhibit my work.
My recent paintings are abstract watercolor paintings that derive their inspiration from calligraphy. I have limited myself to a series of dashes of color moving across the page to mimic words and letters. In addition, I have been adding in my own personal symbols. The paintings are spiritual feeling and are meant to be calm and reflective. I call this my "Written Picture Project." Learn more about it HERE.
So, when did I know that I was going to be an artist? It was Christmas1975, and I was five years old. I got a real set of watercolor paints and brushes. Not the Crayola stuff either, these were the real deal. Awesome!
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Author: Bruce Black
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