My Background as an Artist: The Early Years

Hello Inspired Friends! I’m back today with part 3 of my story in reclaiming my life as an artist. If you missed the whole story and want to catch up, Part 1 (which talks about my “brave” decision to reclaim my artist self) can be found HERE , and Part 2 (on my background as a writer) can be found HERE.  Today I am sharing my story about my journey towards becoming an artist (painting).  I’ve found that sometimes looking back over your life, and going WAY back to the beginning, can be really helpful on the path of self discovery.  It has helped me gain clarity about where I want to go in life.  I want to get back to my roots and embody all I am and all I want to be.  Art has been a bigger part of my life than writing (until recently) , so I will break this post in to two separate blog posts for you.

 

My Background as an Artist: The Early Years

 

It started in about the 1st grade.  I was a brownie girl scout and Mom was my troop leader.  Mom always encouraged personal growth and creativity.  She is a very crafty, creative lady herself (although she doesn’t give herself due credit in this way).  I feel a big part of my creativity came from her and the sheer amount of time she spent working with me on things, and getting me involved in various things, so I could discover where my talents lied and what I most liked doing.
 
 

Drawing and Coloring Contests:

 

Our troop was part of the Irish Hills Girl Scout Council in Southern Michigan.  The Girl Scout Organization had these postcard designing contests every Christmas and Mom helped me enter them.  This was my first real taste at being an “artist”.  I still haven’t found all the things from my past, so unfortunately I can’t show pictures of these postcards today.  However, I entered the drawing contests and won- 2 different years when I was in elementary school.  When you win, your drawing comes out on the Christmas postcards. One drawing I did was of a snowman on candy cane skis racing down a hill.  The other was of a reindeer.

 

While I can’t find those postcards at present, I did find a school assignment of mine from the second grade where I talked about wanting to be an artist when I grew up:

rebekah ann stephenson as a child

Text says ” I, Rebekah Stephenson was born on Feb.27, 1981. When I was in kindergarten I wanted to draw. I was hoping that I would be an artist someday. When I started out drawing it was sloppy. When first grade came it was looking better. Then there were many contests I entered. I have been to South Carolina to see my grandparents. I have won many ribbons for drawing.

 

 

After the postcards, the rest of elementary school was mostly winning creative coloring contests.  Do any of you remember when grocery stores would have seasonal coloring contests with prizes for the winners?  I remember entering an Easter contest and winning.  I can’t remember what all I won in coloring contests, but I do remember winning a gift card.  The biggest contest I won was a city wide coloring contest in Jackson, MI.  That was the biggest deal to me because there were a TON of entries and I didn’t think I would win. But I won the big prize.  A brand new pair of white roller skates with hot pink laces.  I loved them so much! I used them many times at the roller rink and beyond.

 

 

Fashion Design & Interior Design:

Another thing I remember doing is drawing fashion models in a booklet I compiled in the third grade. My best friend Sarah Brownlow and I spent many hours in our third grade glass drawing girls in various outfits.  I used to think I wanted to be a fashion designer.  Does anyone remember Blair catalog for Women? It came to my mom in an envelope of loose leaf pages with women’s fashions you could buy.  I was obsessed with these and would collect them to get fashion ideas for my drawings.  I also would sometimes try to hand sew clothes for my barbie dolls :) .  Here are some of the drawings I did for my fashion book in third grade (now don’t laugh, I was only 9 ! Click the photos to make them bigger). You may not be able to see the photo gallery below if you are reading this post via email.  You can click HERE to be taken to the website to see it:

 

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I do believe the 3rd grade is where I left the notion of fashion design behind (as I never wanted to do it since).  However, my love for fashion has translated to playing with different looks in the clothing, jewelry and accessories I wear as an adult. Fashion design started switching to interior design, as I loved creating cozy little spaces.  I always wanted a big doll house to decorate, but never had one. What I did to satisfy this need instead was to decorate the interior of shoe boxes and make little houses inside.  I would line them with contact paper and I once made little tables out of empty thread spools for the base with little round wood pieces for the tops.

 

In high school, a good friends mother asked me to come out and paint a mural around the perimeter of her bathroom walls. I did a white picket fence freehand with flowers and hummingbird stencils.  Later on my brother and I painted leaves all over the walls of his bedroom.

 

I liked home interiors so much that I seriously considered going to college for interior design.  The only reason I didn’t is because after talking to someone in the field about it, I didn’t think I could succeed in a small town.  I knew I didn’t want to live in a big city.  That was before the internet was a big thing and people had blogs and such.  Now that I have my own home I am back to creating cozy little spaces outside and inside , like the shoe box shadow boxes I made as a child.  Actually, I am starting a home decor type blog soon, but that is a story for a different day.

 

And finally and most important to my art “career”  – My Foray into Fine Art!

This will be the subject of my next blog post in this series, and I will be showing photos of some of the pieces from my portfolio.  I started selling my art in middle school and then my art drastically tapered off for awhile by high school because of an incident that happened.  Stay tuned for the final installment of my background/journey as an artist and writer….

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