A Little History of Me

Welcome to my blog!  My name is Brenda, and I am an artist living in a small rural town in Northern Illinois (population 425).  My earliest memories of art involve a newsprint sketchpad and attempting to freehand a drawing of Rudolph the red nosed reindeer out of a Golden Book.  Pretty much all of my early art involved cartoons.  I spent many an afternoon with those thick puzzle/activity books working on the graph puzzles.  (The puzzles with the numbered boxes containing designs that you would have to draw in the corresponding box on the next page.  Then magically, all the boxes would piece together to form a new larger drawing.)    This exercise can now be found, years later, in Lee Hammond's Lifelike Portraits from Photographs.  Little did I know, those graphs would be the building blocks for rendering photographic realism  in the art world.

During my high school years, my love was drawing in graphite from photos of professional football.  The folds in the fabric and accurately capturing the number distortion on the jersey brought hours of drawing pleasure.  Even better, I found that helmets covered their faces and made them virtually unseen... no portrait work! ;)  My last semester senior year, I signed up for my first art class.  It was then that I began to wonder if there might be a future for me in the art world.  So, I attended Rock Valley College and was awarded an Associates Degree in Art.  It was my final year at college that I met my husband.  A year and a half later, we had a little bundle of joy that has kept us on our toes for the last 20 years and counting!

As for drawing over the past 20 years...  My art/drawing supplies have been collecting dust.  I am not saying that I turned my back on creating art completely.  Art has always been a part of my life in some fashion.   My early years were spent taking orders for ceramic decorative pieces and tole painting on wood cutouts.  (My tole work and miscellaneous interests/adventures  ;-)  can be seen on my new blog Pumpkin Hollow Primitives .)  I painted freehand designs on shirts for a company that supplied stores in the Caribbean.  For the last 14 years, I have worked for a local ceramic/antique shop.  And a couple of years back, I was an art contributor to RAGS Magazine which was based in Arcola, IL.  I created the artwork for the tshirts and logo at one of their annual festivals celebrating Johnny Gruelle (creator of Raggedy Ann and Andy).  The rough sketches for the work at RAGS (final work was watercolor, pastel, and ink) were what brought me back to thinking about my first love, graphite art.

So here I am present day...  My son has graduated high school and is in college.  I have read through a couple dozen art books and armed myself with the the new surface of Bristol board (which I have only used once with colored pencil's for a school project),  bought a bunch of mechanical pencils (also new to me for drawing),  and am diving back into photo realistic art.  I am looking to have great challenges and hopefully some successes!   Please feel free to leave a comment,  ask a question, or just say hello.   I look forward to making new friends here in the blogosphere and am open to doing comissioned work.   So please come and enjoy this journey with me...