My favorite thing to draw and paint is and has always been horses. As long as I can remember I love horses. In fact, I've seen pictures of my baby crib that my dad had made. It had a horse on it. Yes, really.
I always liked to draw and paint, did a lot of drawing and doodling.
My brother had books on art and I remember going to borrow his book on how to draw horses. I didn't really have any how to draw books that I can remember. I did have coloring books, and quite a few of them. Although my mom and dad were very supportive of anything I did draw, I felt still that the spotlight was on big brother. At the time I chose to focus on horses (and whatever necessary schoolwork).
Remember I said I loved horses? I first rode a horse when I was about 4 years old. There were a few pony rides too after that and I always wanted to start learning at a riding school.
I asked my parents if I could then when they said no, I said well how about when I'm 8 (giving them enough time that they might think I'd forget but not right away since they were determined on the no still)? They were like, okay, whatever... and so when I was about 8 I reminded my parents what they had promised.
My parents let me start going to riding school and I went to the stables as often as I could. We lived quite a bit from there, so it certainly wasn't as often as I would have liked. Like daily.... more like once a week, sometimes twice. I spent most my time around horses, riding, competing and just spending time with the horses. Later I also leased horses for longer periods of time as I saved up money to do so.
I drew some during this time, but most I can think of that stands out during school years was the one teacher we had in art class in high school. He didn't seem to have much formal training and didn't teach us much about drawing that I can recall. He was a pretty good teacher still (i.e. he let me drew what I wanted, that is, horses).
I remember the grade for that art class. The teacher was like well um... you don't really draw people too well.... and I slapped the horse drawings I had with me on his desk. He went on to respond well you do quite well with the horses, okay here's a B... it wasn't an A, but I got the B for that class because my horses were A quality... :).
We didn't really have much art classes at all when I was in school, that particular class I remember because I could draw as many horses as I wanted.
My family always had dogs and cats and my sister even had some birds. I love animals and growing up around them really helped me connect with them and understand them. My first dog was a lab mix and she was a real sweetie. After her I got my first newfie. No one wanted to let their dog play with him although he was a very nice boy. So, when he was about two, I got a second newf. Did they get along? Yep, they got along fine. Did they play? Yup! Did the younger one learn some mischief from the older one? Of course! lol.
Becoming an Artist
So what made me become an artist? What makes anyone become an artist? I don't really know... this question isn't really easy to answer to say the least. For years I spent time with the horses which was a wonderful time and I didn't spend too much time focusing on my art, but I did keep up with it.
I wanted to see more of the world than just my home in Sweden. During a fair they had in Gothenburgh, I spoke to a representative from Hawaii Pacific University. Yep, that would truly be an adventure... English was my best subject at school, but I didn't know anyone over there, I would be on my own.
Again, I just kept at it with the drawing horses here and there. School was busy. College was fun but of course a lot of work too. Even got a chance to check out horse trail riding a few times when the money was okay.
I met hubby during my stay in Hawaii, and yes that is how Swedish girl me ended up living in the U.S., not just for school. We lived in Hawaii for a few years then he wanted to move back to PA.... and we even moved back to Hawaii one time when we saved up enough. Unfortunately, it was too expensive and we had no choice but again move to PA (as much as I wouldn't have minded living on cereal and maybe the occasional Ramen noodle pack if it had come to that, that would not have been okay for the kids).
Then one morning I wanted to draw again, and I wanted to focus on it best I could.
I looked up some free tutorials on the web. I started on drawing some dragons of all things (yes I love dragons too). Hubby saw me drawing and he looked at the drawings. Then said, never stop drawing. We didn't have much money to spare, but he insisted to try and get me a book to study from. Later that day he took me to the bookstore. We walked there, it was close and besides, we didn't have a car anyways. He bought me my first real art book, on drawing dragons.
Besides the you know life gets busy and you don't have so much time to draw, I didn't stop drawing since then and I also started learning more about painting.
So in summary, what made me become an artist? Who knows... I would say it's a combination of life experiences that made me become an artist, not just a creative person who loves to draw and paint.
Hawaii? Can't WAIT to move back there. I can understand why the mainland is appealing to many. However, for me, I prefer the islands. Just this time, we need to make sure we have a proper plan and enough funds to start with.
Yeah... hubby is big on cats and during our time in Hawaii we got a little black kitty named Missy. She is adopted from the Humane Society in Honolulu. They had found the little kitten by herself in an alley in Honolulu, her mom nowhere to be found.
For my birthday the one year hubby took me to pick out the cat, I got to pick because it was my birthday. The calm (haha!) little kitten sitting in the middle of the room just licking our fingers... such a sweet little thing. We thought she seemed calm, right? Yup... when we went to fill out the papers they said, oh by the way she just had her spay surgery the other day.... so she is a calmer than normal.
Missy has been to the islands and back with us. We take our animals with us. She and Cleo aren't the best of friends but they do get along most the time. Cleo is good friends with Missy, Missy not so good friends with Cleo.
Cleo the Newf
Several years went by without any dogs. We were broke and stuck in PA, still. Then my hubby (who loves animals but at the time not so much dogs), one day said maybe we could get a dog? He didn't really say but I'm really thinking it had something to do with I was pretty miserable being stuck on the mainland and he couldn't afford a horse. A dog was about the only thing that could cheer me up.
We actually tried to adopt a dog at a shelter, but anytime we tried to adopt a dog bigger than a chihuahua (ok, that's how it felt anyways), they would say oh no.... big dogs, bad for people with kids. They would not listen to the fact that I had experience with big dogs and knew that most of them are very good with kids.
FInally, I said you know what.... I know we can't afford a $2,000 newf. I don't want to buy one from the paper but they just won't let us adopt any bigger dog from any shelter we go to because we have kids. I looked in the paper and my eyes fell on the ad for Newfoundland dog puppies.
We went to look at the puppies. They weren't no AKC at the price we'd pay. I was hesitant. I took a good look at the puppies. How were their bonestructure? attitude? general health? etc. The puppies were out in a barn. The mom was in the house. I thought it was a bit odd but perhaps they let the mom get a break while people looked at the puppies.
I wanted to buy all the puppies... There was a couple of brown girls with a bit of white and then Cleo (we named her on the way home) with her brown and white gorgeous landseer colors. She was the biggest. She ran the pups, even the boys (already sold) they said. She was a tough one. Stubborn. First to check things out.
She sounded like a re-incarnation of my first newf. He'd been a handful at times but what a wonderful, amazing newf he was. My mind was made up. I wanted Cleo. Hubby agreed he liked her best too.
I had wanted to buy an AKC newf but this was the newf we could get, and when the seller said "You're the first one to actually LOOK at the puppies. Other people just pick one and go." That was what truly made my mind up. Like I said, if we could have afforded all the puppies I would have got them all.
With her newftastic personality, hubby now loves Cleo and other dogs too (mostly newfs though of course). Cleo is a cutie!
So, if we could move to Hawaii again, would Cleo like it there? I'm pretty sure she would! Cleo LOVES to swim. She would love to live close to the ocean. As much as she loves the snow and cold, she loves water and swimming more. She is part of the family, so she would move with us if we were able to move back there.
During a dog show at the Blaisdell Center, during my years in Honolulu, I spoke to a lady who bred newfs. I was a little hesitant to how well the newfies would really do over there. She said they did fine, they did shed a lot (and yes people that is compared to how they shed in cooler climates), but to take them out mornings and evenings rather than during the day.