I did not come to being an Artist in a conventional way. I spent my early years in Switzerland. My father was our US Diplomat to Geneva and we were being cared for by a Governess who was very artistic. She taught me to sketch as a baby. Bunnies and cats mostly. When I was eight, my father left the Foreign Service and moved us all back to his home town, Providence, Rhode Island. Our Governess, Maly, came to the States with us.
My parents enrolled me in a private school that emphasized the Arts. I was considered a "phenom" in the school and by the time I was eleven, I was attending classes at Rhode Island School of Design. I was still participating in my regular curriculum at school, but my grades were suffering. By the time I was fifteen, my parents were told I could never attend a conventional college or university. I had the math and reading skills of a fourth grader.
French was spoken primarily in the home so when we moved to Rhode Island and I enrolled in school, there was already a language barrier. I was pushed along for years because of my art skills, but little attention was paid to my academics. My parents placed me in a special school that concentrated only on a strict curriculum. It was run by a man and his wife who gained fame for preparing thirteen and fifteen years old to attend Harvard and MIT. There were thirteen students in the whole school and only three sophomores. I was the only girl in my class. I was told my first day to put art behind for good.
We attended classes from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. We were in a two room school house, so when other classes were taking place, we were at our desks studying. We were allowed two bathroom breaks and ate lunch at our desks. There were no vacations and we went to school six days a week. If we were sick, we would have to make up the day on Sundays. When I graduated, I could attend any University I wanted. I spent my senior year at Oxford University, St. Michael's Hall, and was even offered a Rhode's Scholarship. My mother insisted on an "American Education" and only in the South were I could polish my manners. That only meant Tulane University.
Since then, I have built two successful businesses and sold them at the height of productivity. When we moved to California for my husband job, (john Mathews - Head Sculptor at DC Comics, Warner Bros.) I began a career as a Sales and Marketing Director. About three months ago, I had an uncomfortable and uncontrollable urge to paint. I had never painted before. Only sketched so this was particularly bizarre. It had been thirty-six years since I did anything artistic.
I cannot stop. I have created over 30 pieces and they are just coming faster and faster. Thoughts are pouring out of me and I get very little sleep. I don't understand it, but have accepted it. I just don't know where to go from here. I do know I can't go back. For better or worse, I am an Artist and I have learned it cannot be contained. It is a force bigger than me. It may lay dormant, but eventually, it will find it's way out.