Trained as a commercial artist in college, I worked for years as a graphic designer while continuing to do independent study with various artists. I would draw and paint with conviction in my home studio but eventually as our three children’s homework load grew, they commanded my small art space. My husband caved to my constant moaning about the state of the studio and helped me find my first room outside of our home to lease in a newly renovated building in the main street of our small town. I have never been so happy in the solitude of my very own domain sipping my morning coffee after school drop off and contemplating my new paintings.
With-in the first year the country took a dive into financial depression and all of the businesses around me moved out leaving me all alone at the back of the building. I began to panic, no one was buying art anywhere, the days of plenty were over and everyone tightened their belt buckles. Many came to admire my studio openings and gallery shows but few bought anything beyond the occasional sketch or inexpensive print but I wasn’t about to give up my space.
It occurred to me I needed to re-invent myself and look at expanding the occasional art class I taught. I talked with my supportive landlord to move my lease to the empty, larger space upstairs in the same building that had a beautiful North light-facing window. There I could begin to build my classes and workshops that would help substitute my art sales and give me an income that I could continue to afford the studio lease. Over time I was introduced to other artists who were highly trained and we shared a passion for the classical arts. Soon we were hiring models and hosting life drawing and painting sessions and more artists seeking to work in the traditional realist style came to the studio. In 2015 I changed the name to reflect what the studio had become, an Atelier which is the name given to an artist's studio stemming from the Italian Renaissance where a master painter opens his studio to a select group of dedicated students.
Today I have been joined by some of the most passionate artists and highly trained instructors who have been eager to offer their knowledge and skills to the Atelier's students of all ages and backgrounds. My kids have now grown, only my son's school desk still stands in the corner of my home art studio but there is plenty of room now for me to have an easel and still life set up for days when I am not in the atelier instructing or learning from one of the other teachers something new. Through this experience I have learned that it is never too late for anyone to learn a skill and follow their passion and obstacles can become the catalysts for creative thinking.
Through this blog I will share my experience with other artists as we explore traditions passed down through the centuries together.