My father always said I was born with a crayon in my hand and I'm pretty sure it was the one called Prussian blue. By second grade, I had turned my art skill into a business. For five cents, the price of a Baby Ruth candy bar, I would draw a picture of a pony, with a custom colored mane and tail. I had a catalog, color swatches,order forms and a price sheet. Since that thriving little enterprise, I went on to produce art work for greeting cards, picture books, game boards, class room readers, achievement tests, stickers, window clings, and coloring books. I taught art in public schools from Pre-K through 8th grade. I created a series of step-by-step guides for young artists called 1 2 3 Draw and I am about to launch a second series called Draw Plus Math. All of this work was satisfying, frustrating, rewarding, stressful, goal-oriented and time pressured. Most of the people I worked with were wonderful. With the few not so wonderful ones, I kept my eye on the prize, happy with the check that eventually came in the mail.I went from drawing and painting on paper to learning Photoshop. I went from chasing the UPS truck down the street with packages for editors to emailing all my files in electronic form. I went to conferences and trade shows. I blogged, I networked, I tweeted.
Then I turned 60.
I know that certain birthdays should be considered 'just a number' but somehow this one sat me down and said 'Howdy'.
I was stressed. I wasn't eating right. My allergies re-invented themselves. My weight went up. I wasn't sleeping. Or I slept too much. My heart raced for hours at a time for no medically discernible reason. I was picking at my feathers like a maladjusted cockatoo. And I was unhappy with the work I was doing. It had long ago stopped being fun.
Then there was a recession. The work I considered no longer fun, no longer existed.
So, I had less money but more time. I started taking walks at the Botanic Garden. On a whim, I enrolled in a botanical illustration class at the horticultural school. I started to draw and paint again with no other purpose in mind but the pleasure of seeing an image appear on a page. I met other people with similar interests. I found several wonderful teachers.I had always loved flowers but now I began to be fascinated with depicting the elegant way plants are organized. I spent an entire week drawing a pineapple. There were no art directors. There were no contract negotiations. There was just music on my CD player and the scritch scratch of my crow quill pen. Time flew by untracked. And I felt better.
The link to my blog: www.polkadotpie.blogspot.com My website: www.freddielevin.com