Why do I make art?

That's a good question...

This drawing is a part of why I make art. Though it wasn’t a straight path from then until now.

When I was 14 my father’s family organized a trip to a cottage. This was something that had never happened before. I brought a friend and we hung out with my cousins. I remember it was just a week but in my memory, it lasted for the whole summer and it was a ton of fun.

One of my aunts had an Art of Robert Bateman coffee table book. She was copying one of the paintings in charcoal. I joined her.

I had been an artistic child like anyone is, but at age 14, I wasn’t drawing or painting at all. That day, maybe because I was bored – I don’t know – I decided I would copy a painting of a fox. This fox to the right.

I got a lot of praise for that piece and it launched me into drawing all the cats from a cat encyclopedia that I owned. Eventually, I was painting (mostly people) in acrylic.

Charcoal drawing of a fox.
Charcoal drawing of a fox that I made when I was 14.
Acrylic painting "Into Dust". Girl in a gasmask walking through dust holding a gun. A man is lying on the ground.
'Into Dust' an Acrylic painting made in my early 30s.

I took art classes throughout high school but when it came time for college I wanted to go into acting – unfortunate, considering I can’t act. And so, I didn’t go to college. Well, I took a tiny art fundamentals course but I was officially uneducated.

What happened then? Life happened. A child and a variety of jobs happened. I’ve been an esthetician, a seamstress, a banker, and a mail deliverer.

As it turned out, this assortment of jobs was beneficial to me. I learned to be adaptable, to be courteous, and punctual. I learned how to listen to someone else and how to face mistakes.

I didn’t completely abandon art over those 15 or so years, I drew and painted, occasionally. Then, something changed.

My father died. It didn’t seem like something that would change my life – well, not in a good way – but that event showed me that life wouldn’t go on forever and that I should do something more with it.

I was 35 when I made a webcomic with a friend. It was really bad, but it was an important turning point. This was when I decided I would pursue art, it would be a lifelong thing and it would be my focus.

That’s when I became a parking lot attendant. It’s not a glamorous job but it gave me the spare time I needed to learn.

I was essentially at a high school skill level, so, I drew from anatomy books, went to life drawing, and I took online and in-person classes. (Maybe now I can say I’m educated, a little anyway).

Why do I make art? It’s a dedication to lifelong learning. To become proficient in the execution of the art but also in making that connection with the viewer. And maybe, a little bit, I like to make cool things that people like.

I’d like to share all of that with you.

Signature at bottom of page saying Sam.
Painting of a crumpled comic book on the ground amid debris.
A page from a webcomic that I made when I was 35.
Photo of Samantha holding a tabby cat.

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