My artistic grandson one day asked me more specific questions. His curiosity was more to the point, when did I get started in art and why?
A drawing by my grandson, Tyler
These bold questions can make a fellow take pause for a moment and look at the sweet innocent face asking these profundities. Ahh, an opening for me to share all the unsaids about this career. Here was my chance to imprint a little of myself on this fine young specimen.
I got started many years ago when I observed my father finding relief from his own hard physical work through painting calm scenes. I observed his process of setting up his handmade easel, laying out the paints on his handmade palette, and creating right before our eyes. The paintings were just for him, when they were done many became a patch or other in his handmade factory of producing cement blocks. What I learned most from my father, the artist, was the pure joy of creating. He was not hindered by critics or financial gain.
The image of my father painting remained with me as I experimented with pure-joy-creating in various artistic ways – photography, sculpture, sketching. I learned so much more in college with a series of art experiences on my credentials. Then I learned that it is very difficult to raise a family doing art, though I have close friends who worked hard at their sculptures and have made a name for themselves in the art world. For me, I chose education as my day job. Career transitions come with time and I was provided with a good amount of time to experience the pure joy of creating. Unlike my father’s choice of retaining the moments of creating his work, I decided to also share the work and I have thoroughly enjoyed that part of being an artist. So my dear grandson, I am doubly happy to have chosen to be an artist.
After that quick exchange of arty conversation, we moved as all good conversations do to other subjects like philosophy and music and the combinations of the two. I learned some things about his progress and curiosity in art and the role it plays in his world. This could be a beginning for us. I know I am just a link in this great big journey of time and hope good can come from it. We’ll keep the color pencils, words of encouragements, and a little guidance flowing in hopes of insuring the next generation of artists.
Joel (www.joelellisart.com )