The Beginning of My Art Journey

Art vs. Science

Drawing I did in middle school art class.

Growing up I was always doodling in my notebooks or occasionally drawing on a sketch pad. My grandmother had been a hobby artist, so I think a part of me felt connected to her when I did art. It was never my primary focus however; I was more interested in science ever since I was little. Around the age of 9 my favorite TV show was “Crossing Jordan”. I wanted to be a medical examiner just like Jordan when I grew up. I had this singular mindset for most of my childhood and into my high school years. While I took the required art classes, I never thought of art as something I wanted to do as a career. Even when my art teacher suggested I take some more art classes, my answer was always, “No I don’t have time for that.”

I later went on to get my Bachelor of Science with dual degrees in Forensic Science and Biology. While my views on being a medical examiner had changed, I still loved science and research and was looking forward to a career in the field, although I hadn’t yet figured out what I wanted to do. After my undergraduate degrees, I decided to get my Master of Science in Cellular and  Molecular Biology. I have always loved working with DNA, and did some research in whole genomes and the effect they can have on human susceptibility to disease.

During my graduate degree I had the opportunity to student teach, and found that I fell in love with teaching. As much as I liked doing research, I could never really see myself working for 8 hours a day in a lab. Once I had the experience teaching, I knew it was the right fit for me.

Where does art fit in?

Now you may be wondering, okay so how does art fit in to all this?

During my senior year of college, I was diagnosed with hip dysplasia. I found out that I would need multiple surgeries on my hips, starting with a PAO, which is where they have to break your hip to surgically reconstruct it. For these surgeries I had a long recovery time, where I couldn’t do much but sit on the couch.

One of the first portraits I did when I started drawing again

After my second surgery, I started reading The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. In these books the protagonist is a young artist named Clary Fairchild who goes on to become a shadowhunter and a hero. I can’t say why exactly, maybe because I was stuck at home, but reading these books gave me the idea to start drawing again.

I went out and bought a cheap sketchbook and set of pencils and got to work practicing my drawing. In the six weeks that I was unable to put weight on my leg I drew every single day. I was amazed at how much my skills improved during this time. I also found that I loved doing art so much that I knew it was something I wanted to one day turn into a career. I finally felt like I found that missing piece of my life. I had always felt lost when it came to deciding what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, and I think this was why. I needed that balance of art and science to keep both parts of my brain happy. Being an adjunct Biology professor and an artist is such a great balance for me, and I wouldn’t want to give up either.

How my Art Career Started

I continued to practice every day, and after about a year I felt that my skills had improved enough to start taking commissions. I found that I improved so much with each new drawing, and I started experimenting with different mediums and styles.

My first drawing of Ovie

Over the last four years I have realized that my favorite style to work in is realism. It just clicks with me and I love being able to bring people and animals to life in that way. I am still on the journey to finding my own distinct style, but I am finally feeling like I am at least partially there. I continue to try out new techniques and mediums, hoping to find the one that fits me best. So far, I really love working with graphite, colored pencil, charcoal, and pastels. I hope to learn more about painting with oils and acrylics too. It is all a journey for me, and I am glad you have decided to join me. 😊

My original cow drawing, still one of my favorites!

The thing I love most about art is that there is no real end goal. There is always room for improvement and new things to learn. I look forward to seeing where this journey takes me in 5 years, then 10 years, and so on.

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