I like the term “Sunday Painter.” The dictionary.com site defines it as “a nonprofessional painter, usually unschooled and generally painting during spare time”—the perfect definition for the dabbling I do with art. I draw and paint as a side hobby and enjoy it even though I’m not especially gifted in that arena.
Research has shown that artistic activities are good for people. They give individuals creative outlet opportunities and pleasure, and art provides a mental rest and relaxation, helpful in our fast-paced stressful world today.
I used to paint and draw much more than I do now. In my early school years, I was praised for being “good at drawing” and those talents in art developed and were recognized even before my writing talents. In high school I won art awards and took classes with adults and college students at a nearby arts center. I went away to college later on an art scholarship but soon saw I was not “Rembrandt material” and changed my major to something more practical.
Later as a mom, and as an professor and marketing and sales rep, I continued to enjoy drawing and painting on the side. I worked my way through my masters course work as a production artist for the college newspaper and I ran a home production art business out of my home when the kids were small.
I like to paint realistic, simplistic scenes—birds, butterflies, and flowers like those above. My favorite medium is watercolor, although I have worked in oils, acrylics, chalks, and charcoal. My work looks like sweet little greeting card illustrations but that’s okay; it’s what I enjoy painting.
Other subjects I like to paint are country homes, interesting buildings and outdoor scenes. I often sketch and draw houses, blueprints, and maps for my novels, too, and I created the black-and-white illustrations in our hiking guide THE AFTERNOON HIKER. It’s fun for me to paint pictures, too, of places I’d love to visit, like this little street scene in Paris.
The artistic gift I wish I carried more of is the ability to draw and paint people well. I’d love to illustrate some of the many children’s book I’ve written, all piled in a box in my office, but my efforts at drawing and painting children simply never came close to the Eloise Wilkin or Tasha Tudor standards I yearn for. However, sometimes I do paint a character I admire, like the old man below.
Creative people often have artistic talents or gifts in more than one area. My main gift is creative writing, but painting and drawing have brought me a lot of pleasure over my lifetime. It’s a talent I’d still like to grow more skillful in.