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

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

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

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

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

© Alicia R Peterson, Crazy. Acrylic on linen,
20 x 24 inches.  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, 30×40 inches.  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.


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.

Copper Landscape
© Alicia R Peterson, Copper Landscape. Acrylic on canvas, 12 x 36 inches.  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.

Alicia in grade school
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.  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.


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