I come from a family of artists, and took lessons at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston when I was a kid. But in adulthood I felt that I had a good eye and a whimsical style but not a ton of talent. Embarking on this website has been totally eye-opening for me. I’m capable of more realistic paintings than I realized, and I have loved diving into it. Over the last few years that I have not had a job, I went from rising early with my perky preschooler to laying in bed not wanting to wake my dozing first grader. Starting the day reading and playing on my phone for sometimes two hours because the kid needs her sleep and bolted out of bed as soon as the floor creaked was not the best for me. Luckily my daughter’s obsession with reading has caused her to not only sleep later, but now I can actually get up, go downstairs, make coffee and come back up to my little office without her waking up (usually). Starting off with an hour or so of painting most mornings makes me feel so much better and gets the productivity ball rolling. And once it’s rolling, it’s so much easier than trying to start after she gets on the bus around 9am.
Part of my improvement is just devoting time to it, rather than blasting through as many species as I can over the course of a free afternoon. Part of it is likely due to an online course I took a few weeks ago. It was a beginner course, and totally free, through the University of Newcastle (Australia). Even though I didn’t take the for-credit option, which would have provided more personal feedback, the instruction and exercises were beneficial, and I am continuing to improve, it feels like almost daily.
The tough part is, I am going to have to go back and redo a lot of the first species I painted! I don’t mind so much, but I’d like to start sharing this site with others, and it feels like it will never be ready!