The perils of painting

As an abstract painter the moon calls to me. I revel in its luminosity and shadow.

Exo-Planet, ©2107, Alicia R Peterson. Acrylic on 10” circle form, $300. Photo: Peter Scheer.

Exo-Planet, ©2107, Alicia R Peterson. Acrylic on 10” circle form, $300. Photo: Peter Scheer.

 

April 11, 2017 was a particularly big full moon for me. I had been painting inside my head for days in preparation. Canvas in my studio beckoned, colors whispered.

Well, here’s the side story. Some of my earliest school memories are about being teased because of my thick glasses and orthopedic shoes. I have remarkably flat feet and often they are unhappy with me.

The day of this full moon, had been a particularly ouchie foot time. As I sometimes do (okay, way too often), I ignored my body and declared that I was going to walk through the pain. Painting into the wee hours under the full moon was not something I was going to miss.

Outside my bamboo forest, I danced naked and barefoot under the full moon.

Truth be told, no I was not naked. It just makes the story oh so much better. Yes, I did dance. I dance all the time as part of my painting process.

I felt the tides rise inside me. I stilled and felt Mother Earth and Father Sky inside me. Paint poured out of me and in moments of deep ecstasy, light and shadow danced on my canvas.

I birthed the universe onto my canvas.

Detail of the painting drying in my studio. To my great dismay as it dried it dulled. This has never happened to me before. I will be investigating why. It may have been the cold and damp or the layers of shadow that I applied. A hurt foot and a painting that morphed into something I don't like. Drats! © 2017 Alicia R Peterson, acrylic on linen, work in process. Photo: Artist

Detail of the painting drying in my studio. To my great dismay as it dried it dulled. This has never happened to me before. I will be investigating why. It may have been the cold and damp or the layers of shadow that I applied. A hurt foot and a painting that morphed into something I don’t like. Drats!
© 2017 Alicia R Peterson, acrylic on linen, work in process. Photo: Artist

 

I woke up early that morning in excruciating pain. Unable to walk down the stairs, I butt slid down the stairs so I could eat something before taking an anti-inflammatory.

Well, cut to the chase, I have a torn tibial tendon in my right foot. I am spending weeks in a cast/ non-weight bearing.

Oh no! I have to depend on someone else for almost everything. I don’t have skills in asking for help.

Luckily, my secret admirer came to my rescue. I am oh so supported with love, humor and damn fine cooking. I am staying with him in Brooklyn, so the cityscape will enter my paintings when I can return to my north shore of Long Island studio.

I am sketching up a storm however. I always paint standing up but now I have to sit. How will this impact my work? And I have to be neat!

Yay, I am setting up a mini studio in the kitchen. I will be exploring watercolors. I had to promise not to throw paint. Yes, I am sulking.

Me on my scooter. I am indeed a menace but luckily I have a bell to warn people of my wobbly scooting. © 2017 Alicia R Peterson, Photo: Artist

Me on my scooter. I am indeed a menace but luckily I have a bell to warn people of my wobbly scooting. © 2017 Alicia R Peterson, Photo: Artist

This May full moon, my dear art pal, Sam Woolcott, warned I best stick to howlin’ this time round.

Sam’s paintings stir me and her courage in her work moves me. She kicks and soothes my butt as my accountability partner. We hold flames; well ice for me, to each other’s feet in our journeys as artist entrepreneurs.

As I rebuild, I may be able to dance in my sneakers and my trusty orthotics under the full moon; just no more barefoot naked dancing.

Mars, ©2017 Alicia R Peterson. Acrylic on 12” circle form, $350. Photo: Peter Scheer.

Mars, ©2017 Alicia R Peterson. Acrylic on 12” circle form, $350. Photo: Peter Scheer.

However, I remain steadfast in painting our inner stories.

Share your stories. Do you want to dance under the full moon? Have you ignored your body and then been very very sorry?

I feel like my insides are showing

We filmed me painting outside but inside my studio, I speak to you. Evidently, I talk with my hands, so I was directed to keep still. Oh, that was hard for me. ©2017 Alicia R Peterson. Photo: Artist

We filmed me painting outside but inside my studio, I speak to you. Evidently, I talk with my hands, so I was directed to keep still. Oh, that was hard for me. ©2017 Alicia R Peterson. Photo: Artist

Today is the day! It is a brisk 29 degrees in the north shore of Long Island. My bamboo forest is swaying with the strong winds… and drats, there is no snow in the forecast. I do so love to paint in the snow.

But no matter, true to my form, I just must paint outside so we just must film outside.

I have not slept except in fits and starts in what feels like too long but I am humming with excitement and energy. I am further fueled by my favorite comfort food, a BLT on gluten-free bread cooked to perfection by my secret admirer. Somehow this cultural Jew from NYC has a thing for bacon. Today will be my public painting debut. Dare I hope there will be no painting disasters? Yes, I have had my share of creating work that looks vile. But please not on camera!

Caption: Stop staring at me, I wanted to say. ©2107 Alicia R Peterson. Photo: Artist.

Stop staring at me, I wanted to say. ©2107 Alicia R Peterson. Photo: Artist.

I have declared first to myself and then to my trusted videographer, Peter Scheer, that I am finally ready to let you in on my painting process. Well, at least a glimpse. This scares me to pieces. What will you see? What will you think? Will you “get” my process?

And loudest of all is the old brain tape of “stay small, stay quiet, and stay safe.” With all my might, I am re-wiring that message of old and stepping into the grandeur of self.

I have denied myself painting for 10 days!

I have a daily and often nightly studio practice, so 10 days feels like an eternity for me. Yes, I cheated and sketched but no paint touched my hands! Somehow I think if I am starved to paint, glory will more easily pour out of me.

I meditate and ground. I feel the wind blowing, bringing me to a place of flow. The camera in my face and the two men staring at me fade… Nothing exists but line, color and space.

Share your stories of living loud below.

'Wasband,' Abstract Art and Punctuating Out of the Box

I have always been Alicia R Peterson. It never made sense to me that I would assume another’s name if I married. So, I did not. Yay, I did not have to change back when I divorced. Excuse the diversion. But it’s a story with a happy ending.

“Wasband” my gift to the world.

(Actually, it was a friend who gifted this to me… as a divorced friend had gifted it to her.)

This is the perfect word for the men in our lives who now are not our husbands. It’s an acknowledgement of a past life.

I don’t have a word for ex-wife. Sorry guys. “Waswife” does not work. Please think on it and get back to us. You need one too.

Me (Alicia R Peterson) in my North Shore of Long Island, N.Y. Studio. The paintings on the top shelf are in the contemplating state. Is this work finished? Does it have more to say? How do I change it without destroying the glory that it already has? This process is one I have honed over 23 years of abstraction. I have ruined my share of paintings. It can be a lengthy process; the longest to date is three years in completing a painting. © 2017 Alicia R Peterson. Photo: Artist

Me (Alicia R Peterson) in my North Shore of Long Island, N.Y. Studio. The paintings on the top shelf are in the contemplating state. Is this work finished? Does it have more to say? How do I change it without destroying the glory that it already has? This process is one I have honed over 23 years of abstraction. I have ruined my share of paintings. It can be a lengthy process; the longest to date is three years in completing a painting. © 2017 Alicia R Peterson. Photo: Artist

As a Doctor of Audiology, I always used my middle initial and was gleeful in the many opportunities to see my name up in lights. My first business card, my diplomas, and my first nameplate on the door to an Audiology practice.

When I was called to paint in 1994, I signed my first work and then promptly refused to sign paintings for several years.

It was a long journey to own my creation.

When I finally stepped into myself and started to sign my paintings, I stopped putting the period after the R. The period changed the flow of the signature and jarred my eyes so I left it out.

But back to the name at hand. In 2013, I jumped off the cliff of certainty. Just divorced after 32 years, I was in a life of extreme re-vision. I quit my day job as Doctor of Audiology as I was certain that I must transition into what has become my life’s work…. artist entrepreneur.

But I was oh-so wobbly on my feet!

What do you do when it snows in March? You paint the solace of the snow. © 2017 Alicia R Peterson, work in progress, 18 x 24,” acrylic on canvas. Photo: Artist

What do you do when it snows in March? You paint the solace of the snow. © 2017 Alicia R Peterson, work in progress, 18 x 24,” acrylic on canvas. Photo: Artist

Looking for anchors, I began taking business classes. I met Alyson Stanfield, AKA Art Biz Coach, virtually on the Internet and have been soaring with her ever since.

In Alyson’s Art Biz Lift Off class, she discussed branding and it became clear that yes, again I could claim my name: Alicia R Peterson.

But I declared no period after the R!

Since I signed my paintings without the period, it made sense to me to brand myself that way. I just don’t like the punctuation mark after the R!

So, four years later, I am tired of politely telling editors, shows, curators, etc., “Please take out the period.”

Inevitably, it would re-appear.

Then recently I felt a sinking feeling as a colleague respectfully listened to my too long story of why I punctuate out of the box. I then realized (FINALLY) that the better visual flow of punctuating made me seem unprofessional. Without knowing the backstory on punctuation, it would look like a mistake.

Version 2

March snow painting. Oh, there was evolution as I continued to work on the painting as it dried. I did not use a medium to flow the paint. I used Mother Nature; the surface was covered in snow. It was an awesome experience! © 2017 Alicia R Peterson, work in progress. Photo: Artist

So here I am, do I renege? Give up my ban on periods after an initial? Was this a battle worth fighting?

And now how do I appear? Like I can’t make up my mind? Like I don’t know how to punctuate?

Well, that does not look good! Oy Vey!

I am thinking this is punctuation that I must embrace. Not on my paintings…you will always see the flow of my signature but perhaps I need to stay in this box. That makes me a little cranky.

I remind myself that “mistakes,” may we call them “off the beaten path moments,” are a life long journey. Sometimes, out of the box works, sometimes it doesn’t.

But getting out of the box is always a worthy endeavor.

Shout out your opinions on the R. and share your stories of out of the box experiences. And what is the equivalent of Wasband?

Shades of Change: A Painting Speaks

Shadesof Change©Alicia R Peterson, acrylic onpanel, 18x 18inches,$450 for sale at theJeanie Tengelsen Gallery, Dix Hills, NY 2017. Photo: Peter Scheer.

Shades of Change ©Alicia R Peterson, acrylic on panel, 18 x 18 inches,$450 for sale at the Jeanie Tengelsen Gallery, Dix Hills, NY 2017. Photo: Peter Scheer.

The shades of change are upon us. In our world, in our lives. How do we weather change? How do we impact change? How do we find common ground?

I answer, “Through art, the universal language.”

I raise my voice.

Shades of Change was birthed in chaos in 2015. I was immersed in painting on square panels. If you missed the story of how square I am, click here

2-dream

I rarely use brushes; instead I use mediums to flow the paint across the surface. I mix colors wet-on-wet on the canvas. I drip, sling and flow paint. I paint with my hands, using gestures I have honed for the past 22 years. Square Dream, ©Alicia R Peterson, acrylic on panel, 12x 12,” $350. Photo: Peter Scheer

 

With squares, instead of my go-to linen, I used canvas panel. Linen has give, there is push back from the material. It is soft and subtle. Panel is hard and solid. There is no movement of the material save when I tip the panel.

Paint flows differently on panel; there is an edge that cannot be crossed, the paint stops.

Version 2

The back of a linen painting and a canvas panel. In my studio, materials present a constant adventure. Their limitations and advantages push me further in my creative process. ©2017 Alicia R Peterson. Photo: Artist

I was entranced by the challenge from 2015-2106. It stirred me to paint on panels for long stretches of time, ever pushing to create movement where there was none.

Flowing past apparent boundaries and finding expansion is my daily work as an artist. I share this with you in Shades of Change. How do you plant seeds of change? Comment below and let us hear you.

I am doing a happy dance that Shades of Change was selected to be part of the 58th Long Island Artist Exhibition at the Art League of Long Island. Of the 667 images submitted, 60 were selected, so I am feeling special. Please join me for the opening on February 26, 2017 if you are local. If you are afar, you can share the fun visually at our next conversation. I have the best secret admirer who photographs me in all my art adventures.

58th Long Island Artists Exhibition
Jeanie Tengelsen Gallery
February 18 – March 21, 2017

Art League of Long Island
107 East Deer Park Road Dix Hills, NY 11746 p: 631 462-5400 `

Opening Reception: Feb. 26, 2017 1:00-3:00
Free and open to the public.

Jurors:
Elizabeth Denny, Owner and Robert Dimin, Director of the Denny Gallery 261 Broome St., NYC

The Walk of the Blob: Inside the Head of an Abstract Painter

They stop in their tracks and stare…

What is it?

Look at that BLOB!

No, it’s not a bad horror movie… Welcome to my world as an abstract painter.

Well about that Blob… In 2015, I was honored to be in a juried exhibition at the Art League of Long Island. At the opening of the show, I was near my work… okay, yes I was lurking. I will admit to you that I positioned myself close to my painting and tried to look oh-so nonchalant as I attempted to hear and see what the reactions were to my work Universal Flow.

A couple did indeed stop in their tracks as they approached my painting. They paused in front of it and drat, I could not hear their discussion. So I sauntered up to them and introduced myself as the artist of this work. We had a lovely conversation until they asked why I would leave that BLOB of paint on my work?

NO, I did not kick them in the shins, but I would have liked to.

The painting that was called the blob. © 2014 Alicia R Peterson, Universal Flow, acrylic on linen, 36 x 24” $1100. Photo: Peter Scheer

The painting that was called the blob.
© 2014 Alicia R Peterson, Universal Flow, acrylic on linen, 36 x 24” $1100. Photo: Peter Scheer

 

I was at a loss as what to say. Every work that I deem complete undergoes a difficult and lengthy vetting. First, my internal critic goes to town and she is one tough cookie. I am then committed to my practice of external critique. I seek eyes on my work from many sources.

I have studied with the eminent painter Stan Brodsky since 2013. My times with Stan are one of my most treasured times as a painter. He and my fellow “Stan Clan” artists had given this painting a big thumbs up.

So what do you say to someone who asks, “Why did you leave that mistake (the BLOB) on your painting?” My answer was to describe my creative process.

So what is inside my head as I paint?

NOTHING! The world falls away as I ponder a blank canvas.

I am outside my studio set up in a wooded area with a bamboo forest. I feel the wind, hear the rustling of the bamboo, and the birds calling. I feel my feet on mother earth and I ground myself. I empty my head and fill with line, color and space. My work pours out of me.

 

Caption © 2017 Alicia R Peterson. Very scruffy me in my winter painting coat. Photo: Artist

© 2017 Alicia R Peterson. Very scruffy me in my winter painting coat. Photo: Artist

I reject external reality as a painter. I have since I first picked up a paintbrush in 1994. Actually, I haven’t picked up a paintbrush for over 15 years. I paint with my hands, I flow paint across the canvas, I sling paint and I pull and drip paint off the canvas.

© 2017 Alicia R Peterson. I revel in all parts of painting, even the snow drips. Photo: Artist

© 2017 Alicia R Peterson. I revel in all parts of painting, even the snow drips. Photo: Artist

On canvas, I create a spontaneous expression of the inside story. A story that I hope speaks to you and resonates with your story.

Have you found your story in art? Let us hear your comments below.

Opening Night of Life

Crescent Full Moon,© 2015, Alicia R Peterson, acrylic on linen 36 x 24 in. $1100 Photo: Peter Scheer Crescent Full Moon evolved from my kinship with Mother Nature and was painted outside under a cloudy full moon night.

Crescent Full Moon,© 2015, Alicia R Peterson, acrylic on linen, 36 x 24 in. $1100.  Photo: Peter Scheer
Crescent Full Moon evolved from my kinship with Mother Nature and was painted outside under a cloudy full moon night.

I am waking up in the middle of the night with dread. There is the tinge of stress in all my steps.

I walk into my studio and say to myself, “My paintings are not good enough. 

It must be opening night.

The dichotomy of my life is so clear at this moment. I have just completed an intensive 6 months creative burst. My new work stops me in my tracks. So where is that artist? Where is that voice now?

In 2013 after quitting my 29-year life as Doctor of Audiology, I jumped off the cliff of certainty and into the chaos of artist entrepreneur.

I did not know if my feet would touch the ground. But I was certain I had to jump after 2 decades of keeping my voice silent. 

As I wavered on the edge, some of my fellow creatives suggested that I imagine parachutes to break my fall off the cliff.  Some reminded me of their support in all my choices to soften my fall. And some put a foot on my butt and tried to push me off the cliff.

I give heartfelt thanks to all those feet nudging me into the great unknown. 

This is not my first rodeo, I mean opening. What I have come to realize is that my life as an artist mirrors our lives in many ways and like the seasons, spring will surely come. I have been telling myself to accept this ebb and flow of anxiety and self doubt like the tides. Flow in, flow out…can you tell I have returned to my meditation practice?

Anxiety, uncomplimentary self-talk…. Can I become friends with these? 

What if my doubts are universal and like my shadow, part of my make-up? I recently heard a veteran, very successful artist proclaim, “I don’t know if I can create anything worthy again.”

By the time you get near the top that voice of “I can’t” is supposed to stop right?

Well, no I guess.

And the kernel of the idea that I must make friends with all my colors in art and in life started to grow.

Perhaps the conversation with the voice of “I can’t”  should go like this: “Hello old friend. What do you have to say? And can you leave now?”

P.S. The opening was grand!  Yes, not just the artists came to the opening. Yes, I got prime wall space. Yes, Balance Motion was in motion.

 

Opening Night at Inspired By, “Balance Motion” © Alicia R Peterson, acrylic on panel, 18 x 18 inches, $450, for sale at the Long Island Museum. Photo: Long Island Museum

Opening Night at Inspired By, “Balance Motion” © Alicia R Peterson, acrylic on panel, 18 x 18 inches, $450, for sale at the Long Island Museum.

Photo: Long Island Museum

The Show Must Go On!

Inspired By 
Open through January 29, 2017
The Long Island Museum
1200 Route 25A
Stony Brook, NY 11790
Info Long Island Museum: 631-751-0066

Are you friends with all the colors in your life? Tell us your story below.

Painting with a Beginner’s Mind

©AliciaRPeterson,Shadow. Acrylic on canvas, 18 x 36 inches, NFS. Photo: Peter Scheer

©AliciaRPeterson, Shadow. Acrylic on canvas, 18 x 36 inches, NFS. Photo: Peter Scheer

I have not made one line on my paper in twenty minutes. It is still glaringly blank. I am at the Atelier at Flowerfield in St. James, NY  in a lovely studio, on a warm summer night in 2016. Talented artists hard at work surround me. This is my first class with Kevin McEvoy, a renowned realist painter. Kevin is the Director at the Atelier and one of the teachers, and I highly respect him.

So what is wrong with me? I have been painting for 22 years. “Alicia,” I say to myself, “get a grip, and make a mark!” The timer rings for the end of the 20 minutes pose. There is a model in an interesting position, well lit and just waiting for me to capture him on my paper. But no, I feel paralyzed, unable to put pencil to paper. Kevin comes by and says,“Nice work.” After a comedic pause and a sphinx-like grin, he mentions that he says this to the children he teaches to make them laugh. I am thinking this is his gentle way of saying that he understands the freezing up, but is trying to humor me out of my I can’t do this daze. By the way, no one else has blank paper. Maybe I’m in the wrong class.

I am surprised that I am struggling to start again from the beginning. Isn’t that what I expected? As a martial artist, my teachers have always talked about the beginner’s mind. That each time you come to class you empty your cup so you may fill it again. So where is my beginner’s mind? It is overshadowed by the fact that once I started to put lines on paper, they looked like distorted stick figures and I got brain freeze. “Stay the course,” I tell myself like a mantra.

© Alicia R Peterson, Possibilities. Acrylic on linen, 16 x 20 inches, $650. Photo: Peter Scheer

© Alicia R Peterson, Possibilities. Acrylic on linen, 16 x 20 inches, $650. Photo: Peter Scheer

But why am I now studying classical painting techniques? Since my first painting in 1994 of odd colored, barely recognizable flowers, and a larger than life question mark shaped sun. . . I have rejected external reality.

But now I am longing for “three perfect lines.” I want to be able to capture the figure in simplicity and in a form you will recognize. Am I forsaking abstract painting? No! What will the melding of the abstract and representational look like on my canvas? I don’t know. And based on today’s blank paper, it will be a long and, I hope, wondrous journey.

© Alicia R Peterson, Orange Depth. Acrylic on linen, 24 x 36 inches, $1100. Photo: Peter Scheer

© Alicia R Peterson, Orange Depth. Acrylic on linen, 24 x 36 inches, $1100. Photo: Peter Scheer

I take a deep breath and just start.

Share your stories of new directions with us below. 

Mud is not a Color on the Artists’ Color Wheel

Caption © 2105 Alicia R Peterson, Diagonal Angsty, acrylic on linen, 20 x 16 inches $650 Photo: Peter Scheer

© 2015 Alicia R Peterson, Diagonal Angsty, acrylic on linen, 20 x 16 inches $650 Photo: Peter Scheer

Before I know what’s happening, the teacher rips my canvas out of my hands, exclaiming, “You are doing it all wrong!”

No, Not Again!

During my first painting class in 1996, I had a stand off with my teacher… I wanted to paint abstractly and she wanted me to paint what I saw with my eyes. Click here if you missed the story and see who won the staring match.

A mere 14 years later, a new class, new teacher, new me.

I thought, “Surely this will work.” But I have another “incident.”I am filled with enthusiasm. I have a list of questions for the teacher and in my usual pose of keener, I am early for the first class. The class starts out viewing some of the teacher’ s work, as he is an accomplished representational painter. I am thinking, “Uh oh, am I the only one here who paints with their ‘ inside eyes’?”

I declare to myself that I will “fit in” this class. The teacher asks us to make a start by painting from photographs. Hum… I have never done this.

© 2015Alicia R Peterson, Underneath, acrylic on linen, 40 x 30 inches, $1300 Photo: Peter Scheer

© 2015 Alicia R Peterson, Underneath, acrylic on linen, 40 x 30 inches, $1300 Photo: Peter Scheer

Over Painting = MUD

No matter, I am determined to learn. But, since I am so not used to painting in front of people my anxiety leads to a classic painting disaster…. MUD. I know the work I am producing is not good but I keep adding paint…not the best approach. What emerges on my canvas is a putrid color. All the colors congeal into a very distasteful mud color. Before I know what’ s happening, the teacher rips my canvas out of my hands, exclaiming “You are doing it all wrong!”

No, I Don’t Throw Paint (this time) but I Want to

I am stunned and happily do not listen to the urge to throw paint. I sit and try to find my inner peace. I believe that there is knowledge to be gained in this class and I dig my heals in and start again. I spend a morning and afternoon moving paint around to no good results and with nothing new in my art brain except discouragement. I take my all-wrong painting and do not return for the second class. I go back to my studio and paint on the “Mud” canvas. A new work, Art Class Drop-Out, appears and this painting I like. I return to painting in solitude in my studio.

© 2008, Alicia R Peterson, Art School Drop Out. Acrylic on panel, 9 x 12 inches. NFS, Photo: Artist

© 2008 Alicia R Peterson, Art School Drop Out. Acrylic on panel, 9 x 12 inches. NFS, Photo: Artist

Tell us your stories of making mud when you tried too hard in the Comments section below.

I've Got the Music in Me

I am doing a happy dance to music on my canvas. My painting Balance was accepted into the Long Island Museum’s I’ve Got the Music in Me juried art competition.

Painted with gestures and flowing paint while listening to music. What do you hear? What do you see? © Alicia R Peterson, Balance. Acrylic on linen, 18 x 24 inches. Photo: Peter Scheer

Painted with gestures and flowing paint while listening to music. What do you hear? What do you see?
© Alicia R Peterson, Balance. Acrylic on linen, 18 x 24 inches. Photo: Peter Scheer

Please join me at the Opening/Awards Reception on Sunday, September 18, 2016 at the Long Island Museum’s Visitors Center from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Admission is free.

I’ve Got the Music in Me
September 17 –October 23, 2016.
The Long Island Museum
1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook NY
Museum Hours: Thursday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Sunday 12:00-5:00 p.m.
631-751-0066
And don’t miss all the splendor of the rest of the museum.

You want me to paint what I see with my eyes?

© Alicia R Peterson, Crazy. Acrylic on linen, 20 x 24 inches. $750 Photo: Peter Scheer.

© Alicia R Peterson, Crazy. Acrylic on linen,
20 x 24 inches. $750 Photo: Peter Scheer.

 

I was first called to paint in 1994 with no framework and no training. I just put paint on canvas. I was compelled by an inner voice commanding me to paint. Oh, what a wise voice and wise me for listening to myself. I took a leap of faith into line, color and space.

© Alicia R Peterson, Line,Color, & Space. Acrylic, glass bead, fiber on linen, 30x40 inches. $ 1300 Photo: Peter Scheer

© Alicia R Peterson, Line,Color, & Space. Acrylic, glass bead, fiber on linen, 30×40 inches. $ 1300 Photo: Peter Scheer

So where is the art degree? That’s what I asked myself when I first started painting. Nope, not a single art class.

Hear This

I have three advanced degrees, well 3 ½. First, I received a BA in Women’s Studies at the State University of NY at Binghamton. Then I changed course to become an Audiologist. I went back to school to take the coursework for a bachelor’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. In 1984, I then earned my master’s degree in Audiology from Northeastern University in Boston, MA. After working 19 years as an Audiologist and ever pushing myself to be the best I could be, I returned to school in 2003 receiving my Doctor of Audiology 3 years later from Salus University.

Caption Oh, I was so proud and honored to enhance my profession as an Audiologist

By the Way…How is Your Hearing?

But when it came to painting, I was so wobbly on my painting feet that I painted in solitude.

© Alicia R Peterson, Copper Landscape. Acrylic on canvas, 12 x 36 inches. $750 Photo: Peter Scheer

© Alicia R Peterson, Copper Landscape. Acrylic on canvas, 12 x 36 inches. $750 Photo: Peter Scheer

Two years into voracious painting alone in my combination home office and painting haven, I declared that I was going to study painting. My touchstone has always been school so I returned. I had admired an artist’s work in a gallery in Tidewater, Virginia, where I was working as an Audiologist at the Virginia School for the Deaf, Blind and Multi-disabled. I signed up for her painting class in 1996.

Now in regards to school, I have often been called (taunted sometimes) “teacher’s pet” and “Miss Goody Two Shoes.” I behaved, I always did my homework (early) and I did every extra credit assignment.

Me in grade school, oh, I was a “keener”

Me in grade school, oh, I was a “keener”

 

And if you still want to learn more about being a keener, click here for instructions.

In my first class we were presented with a very pleasing arrangement of flowers in a vase and the teacher proceeded to demonstrate painting this arrangement. I was impressed with her skill and when she asked us to attempt our own, I jumped right in.

My first efforts were, of course, awkward. What I realized very quickly was that I did not see the logic in painting the duplicate of what was in front of me. So I painted my next attempt with the flowers upside down. My teacher came by to look and she did not look happy. She asked me to paint right side up.

I did, but I then messed with the colors of the flowers making them unrecognizable from their original form. Again, my teacher came by but this time there was serious frost in her dealings with me. I was feeling bored and uninspired, so I painted the arrangement in various sideways perspectives.

Well, in the third class there was a standoff. I kept getting Dragon Lady looks from my teacher but I steadfastly refused to paint realistically.

One day in class after looking at my work that did not resemble the flowers we were to paint at all, in exasperation, she declared, “Alicia are you a line painter?” I still ponder on this comment when I critique my work and thank her for this gift.

Are you a line fan as well? Click here here to view “Finding Ground” an exploration of lines

© Alicia R Peterson, Earth Flow Transitions. Acrylic on linen, 24 x 36 inches. $1100 Photo: Peter Scheer

© Alicia R Peterson, Earth Flow Transitions. Acrylic on linen, 24 x 36 inches. $1100 Photo: Peter Scheer

After that rather intense staring match with my teacher, I did not finish the semester. For the first time as a student, I misbehaved. Gasp! I dropped out! Where was “Miss Goody Two Shoes? “

I returned to painting alone feeling that I just did not belong in the art world.

I did not know at the time that my passion was abstract art and that my calling was a rejection of external reality. I was to paint the inside story. I also did not have the wisdom and discipline to know that there was much that I could have learned from this teacher if I had stayed the course and painted what I actually saw in front of me.

What stories do you have on “lessons learned”, being a Goody Two Shoes, or being the one who misbehaved? Comment below so we can hear you.