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Hello~! I was born in Brooklyn, part of New York City, NY.I began drawing at age 3, doing my first mural~ my own rendition of cartoons & was watching that I sketched lifesize on my bedroom walls~
I am 3rd to the oldest of 14 brothers and sisters. We were always a tight knit family growing up. My family members are all talented artists and/or musicians, but also most are members of NYPD & NYFD and all survived 9/11 [even though one brother was just on his way there for work that day~ God has been so good to my family..:)
At 5 I began school & at 7 I began taking after school art lessons. My first art tutor, Thaya Van Eros, an Austrian Art Teacher, invited me to participate in an afterschool group art class but in 2nd grade began giving me private lessons as well.With her mentoring & teaching me techniques I later went on to receive the Freshman Art Award from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC when I was in 9th grade.
During the summers, as I was growing up, my family would vacation in Maine, traveling along the New England coastline, where I developed a love for lighthouses and painting seascapes. I also loved going to the countryside in Pennsylvania and gaining inspiration to do rural scenery and then displayed and sold them in NYC.
I received my Grandfathers drawing board when he died back in 1968. He was an artist all his life and supported his family during the Great Depression by doing sign work , mostly price reductions for stores and window displays. I followed in my Grandfathers footsteps, doing signs, murals and paintings all my life as well.
My next art teacher was on Staten Island, Mrs. DiGuiseppe, who invited me to after school art club activities.
Around Autumn 1968 I was invited to show and sell my artwork at the 'Annual Sailors Snug Harbor Annual Art Festival Show & Sale'. I entered about 30 paintings & sold out in just a few hours. With 100's of other artists there showing & selling, I thought 30 would be enough to keep me going the whole weekend there, as the show lasted 2 days.
I had paid for both day's entry fees, so I felt disappointed to miss out on the second day, but I had nothing left to sell, so my parents saw no reason to bring me back the next day. I wanted to stay up all night and paint more pictures, but using oils at the time, they never would have dried in time.I also missing the closing ceremonies which I wished I could have attended.
From that point on [at age 15] I then began taking commissions from teachers, doctors, lawyers, stock brokers and store owners... I began selling my art, sketches, watercolor paintings & oil paintings.
By 16 I began doing sign painting as well as mural work, which I have continued to do until present..
My first large outdoor project was to repaint several 'above the store signs' in my town[requiring using a ladder & sometimes scaffolds] as I developed my own style of painting and was able to do so without stenciling. I could freehand lifesize letters & images onto any surface.
I called it 'Coney Island Styled sign painting' [ since I used to watch sign painters freehand the sides of buildings & on the boardwalks, arcades & shops of Coney Island, where I was growing up at in Brooklyn NY].
I could look at something, eyeball it and then paint it any size the customer wanted.
I used to have a very steady hand and could draw or paint nearly perfect lines and shapes as well as do portrait sketches when I was still in elementary school.
I lived in Brooklyn til I was 10 yrs old before my family moved to Staten Island, which meant I then had to find another art teacher to work with.That didnt happen until I was in high school, when I met Mrs. DiGuiseppe, who opened doors for me to other art enterprises after school.By then I was working after school for a dentist and began doing commissioned works for him and others.I also did paintings for teachers, which was kind of cool to be getting paid to paint pictures in school that I also received grades on.
Best part to me was that I got to use school supplies to do my paintings and that I had them sold before they were finished. Mrs.DiGuisepped began to complain that I was painting too fast and using all her supplies, so I began to bring in some of my own. She later made customers wait until after the display shows were over, sometimes at the end of the school year.This caused me to begin to paint at home and not get graded on some, so I could meet the demands of my customers and satisfy my insatiable urge to paint.
I would no sooner finish one sign or painting when someone ordered another~! I then was asked to repaint all the South Shore Little League Baseball's sponsorship signs in Tottenville on Staten Island which proved to be a challenge as the old sign boards had to be totally scraped off, peeled & backgrounds repainted , sealed & then lettered using oil based paints. I worked out of my parent's garage. Later on, I began painting in doctor's offices, restaurants, business offices & even bars.
When acrylics came out & they had the ability to mix with latex house paints, I gradually ended using oils, opting instead to use the water based paints as they didnt smell as bad and they dried faster.
The only drawback too was that they dried too fast,lol, so if I wasnt done with a section of a painting, chances were that I would have to redo an entire section over again later on. I soon learned to paint faster, lol..
I did a 12 ft mural for a pediatrician's office that had 38 children of all ages depicting the stages of childhood development from birth til adulthood, situated in a country scene, painted onto 5 large interlocking canvases which were later framed out together to create a mural in Dr.Jitendra Sukhadia's office, who had hired me and also bought me my first top quality huge, acrylic paint set with an very large assortment of paints & brushes that lasted me for years~ [Before that I used to buy small sets but mostly individual tubes as needed].
After I was married & began having children, I went back to college for one semester & took a 1/2 my semesters credits in art classes along with some science class prerequistes for pre-med classes that I had hoped to take later on as I wanted to become a doctor and already was working as a home health nurse.
Those plans ended after my 3rd pregnancy and then the accident~ I later had 2 more children while living at the farm upstate NY.I have 5 children altogether [and 12 grandchildren with #13 due in October 2011~!]
During moving in 1984, I fell through a window in May and severed my right forearm. The surgery to re-attach it failed so I went out of business overnite and gave up on art [for a while.] I moved away from NYC and settled in upstate NY on a farm, focusing on raising my children. The scenery around me was so beautiful that I had to start painting & drawing again, but my arm had been reattached crooked and I had lost 85% use of my right hand.
My art business was gone overnite. I lost my shop & home, I lived in shelters with 3 of my kids while pregnant with #4. I decided to leave NYC for a more tranquil life and settled in the country to raise my kids.
As I got limited use of my hand back, I developed other illnesses leaving me permanently disabled, but able to function somewhat on a volunteer basis and able to remain relatively independent.
With God's mercy and several additional surgeries, I began to get some more limited use of my hand back and over the years & would use masking tape to attach pens or brushes to my hand and slowly learned to draw again with pen & ink. While I was no where near able to work as fast as I once did, nor could I do portrait work anymore, I was able to begin to do scenery and as I became accustomed to working using my arm at a different angle, I was able to begin painting again as well.I cant paint a straight line as well as I once did. I now have to use tools and lean on things to keep from trembling.I may have to repaint or redraw something several times before I get it right, whereas before my accident I could paint fast and accurately, now I am much slower, over the years I found I can paint land and seascapes easier,so thats what I focus on doing in art.
After I had my 5th child, we moved from upstate NY to Pennsylvania in 1988. In 1990 I hurt my back & had to go to an orthpedic specialist for m y back but who evaluated my hand and offered to improve it by microsurgery.Dr.Robert Supinski promised he would not make my hand any worse than it already was, but felt confident he could improve its function so in 1990, he operated and almost immediately there was improvement!
He gave me more than 50% use of my hand back~!! I could now hold a pen or brush without using tape and though parts of my hand are permanently damaged, I was able to compensate more after the surgery.
I am now semi-retired and I have since moved away from Pennsylvania, after briefly living out west and am living for the time being in Minnesota and am continuing my art as I can. I am living with my youngest daughter & her family so I spend a little less time online and more time with my grandchildren, which has been better for my health as well.
My hand developed some neuromas & a large cyst over the passed couple of years, so I hope to find a good surgeon to repair it without furtherlosing any of my ability in art. I am being very careful in seeking the right doctor to repair my hand so I can get back into painting full swing again.When my hand isnt hurting too much I like to do Pen & Ink illustrations and pencil drawings, when the mood strikes, but lately I tend to do more digital paintings than anything else. Several years ago, before my hand started hurting again, I began doing 'volunteer art projects' for schools & churches, no longer was considering myself a professional[ as I couldnt paint as well or as fast as I did before my accident] but I could paint well enough to do better than most amateurs.
I began painting the local Little League signs as part of my volunteer work when my kids were in Little League. The more I painted the more I improved and was able to paint smaller items and eventually could paint small scens on pebbles again~! Although I have tried to paint some people, the only person I can paint that looks good is Jesus~ While I no longer do portrait work, I do paint Jesus in scenes for churches on occasion.
Around Autumn 2005, I was asked to do some scenery for a large church play and the project was 2 stories tall and about 75 ft long and took about 5 weeks to complete . Then I did another smaller project a few months later and a couple of years later I did a mural up in the rear peak of a church in Pennsylvania.
I had begun getting nerve regeneration in my hand after 24 years of it having no feeling on one side and tingling feeling on the other side. I can only thank God for this improvement and so I began to paint more and started selling my art online.
It is a pleasure to be developing this site and I hope to share and learn from the other artists here as well as hope to meet some people who would be interested in my work...
My youngest daughter gave me her desktop computer when she got married, so now I had more time to devote to my art & online endeavours.
So far what I have made in internet sales, has covered my materials and printing needs. I am gradually building this site and my other sites into a family friendly internet art business by putting in everything I make back into it and working long hard hours learning everything I can about selling art online and helping other artists to do so as well.
I have 12 grandkids myself with 1 more to come in Oct 2011. Now that I am free from raising kids, I devoted all my time to my art and networking art pursuits as I lived in a little farmhouse off a dairy farm in north central Pennsylvania. [Cant beat that 'dairy air:' [except with a mask, lol]]
Since moving to Fergus Falls, Minnesota in October 2010 and now residing with my youngest daughter & her husband who is a US Marine Sargent and their 2 babies, a girl & a boy I now spend less than 1/2 the time I did online as I did in Pennsylvania.
I will visit Pennsylvania when I can, to see my other 2 sons. My oldest son lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife & 2 daughters and my oldest daughter & her husband & 8 children live in Missouri.
Back in Pennsylvania, I had been online at least 20 hours a day listing and selling on Etsy & Ebay and later on Plunderhere, ArtbyUs, Ebid, Webidz, Artwanted and a few other POD sites. I saw the need to learn how to do promotions & advertising so began to research and compile here on this site before going public.
Last year I bought a new computer with 500 GB Hard drive & 3GB ram. My old computer was just a 40GB with 1 GB ram~! so I can do alot more online now.
As I was doing my research & finding new places to sell online at, I began to join art social sites and soon was sharing what I had learned with other artists and found that many couldnt even do simple html and hadnt a clue how to sell online~!! As I have been learning, I see other struggling artists that haven't gotten as far as I have yet, so I like to help them along so they can get further faster & not have to repeat mistakes I have made along the way, so I am willing to help anyone who needs it to share what I have already learned and look for others out there who will share with me what they have learned,
I had one minor carpal tunnel surgery done that helped a little but 2 years ago I began getting increasing pain in my hand, severe enough pain and had an MRI done to find out that a neuroma had increased in size but also a deep embedded cyst wrapped around my regenerated nerves had begun to take over my wrist. I need to find a competent surgeon to do the microsurgery to remove the cyst & neuroma, so I can resume painting, hopefully pain free.
Well as my hand gets worse I paint less, so I research more about promotions and ads & building my network better.
I can still use my hand sometimes but I saw a doctor who said he couldn't do the microsurgery because he could do more damage than good.
After having spent nearly 6 years unable to use my hand after the accident, I am not going to let just any doctor work on it. So, I rarely paint or rarely draw now, but I have begun focusing more digital painting & working on my network.
Although I have been away from the sea many years I still like to do seascapes along with my landscapes..Now I have been digitally repainting and creating new scenery & seascapes that I have listed on my network site.
I have self taught myself to do digital art and printing so I make my own giclee prints and have now acquired 5 printers thanks to deals on Ebay, where I buy all my materials too.With Digital Painting I started by experimenting with camera software and have done alot with it, as it is not as hard as trying to paint with a partially crippled hand.
I now do printing for other artists as well.
Together we can all make a difference and become more successful online without having to pay high promotional fees that agencies look for..I couldnt afford promoters so I learned to promote myself and now others I meet.
Meanwhile working on my network site will helping other artists to present, show, promote & sell their art, while for now, I sell only prints of my existing works.
When I moved to Minnesota, Sept 2010, I spent more time with my grandkids and a little less time online, but keep up with my network site and am dedicated to making my site work for other artists.
In April 2011 I bought a house in Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania, for my 2 youngest sons, so I drove and and rented a U-Haul to move them in when my youngest son had a near fatal accident necessitating him to be life flighted to the trauma center in Erie. After 3 days they determined he had no permanent brain damage but needed shoulder surgery and a lacerated kidney[that heals on its own] along with a spinal injury, so my time online currently is very limited as I had to stay in Pa to help out at the house and to take him to his doctors appts.
I dont have my work computer with me but am going back to Minnesota in July to get my office works & bring them back here to Pa.
Meanwhile I get online as I can here and there to keep my site growing.
I have alot of work to do on reorganizing my network and lining up its promotionals that keeps me busy at the moment but once done I will be planting my tree onsite along with some other new features :)
On an artist note, I have begun dabbling with my pen & inks a little and am nearly finished with a new picture that will soon be online. It is a tree by a lake that I want to print up as pen & inks and then paint into the 4 seasons.
I am dedicated to making a difference before I get offline or die, so I will have something to leave my children and grandchildren to make them proud~!
Thankyou for reading this. God bless you and have a great day! Ave