I suppose that drawing developed at an early age. Before grade school, I would take pencil in hand, find a book from my mother’s shelf, and scrawl on the blank pages at the front and back of the book. This artistic progression continued until one day, in horror, she discovered that I was putting my incipient talents to work. My artistic progress was, alas, halted.
Throughout elementary and secondary school, my fortunes were no better. There was no art program in Cordova Elementary School until after the year I finished the eighth grade; at Germantown High School, there was no art program until after I graduated. Feeling somewhat insecure about my development as an artist, I opted to major in English rather than take classes in art.
However, there must have been something in the genes, as my late uncle (also never lucky enough to take classes) was a first-rate master of drawings and paintings; his pen and ink and watercolor caricatures of family members were legendary.
I taught at Christian Brothers High School for thirty-six years, and during that time, I practiced drawing pencil portraits of the girlfriends of my students. Once word escaped that I could do this fairly well, requests were frequent.
For a brief time, I practiced art at the Memphis Park Commission (later “Sue Hick”) Hobby Center . . . and was especially grateful to Mr. Jesse Cauthen for his invaluable hints and advice.
In 1984, I ceased painting, as I had no further room in my house to store canvases, etc. Besides, I found pen and ink quite satisfying . . . and inexpensive, as well. During my last few years at CBHS, I would often work alongside the art students in classes taught by the talented Ms. Dawn Kelso, who also provided me with pads, paints, and pens.
Retiring in 2007, I met fellow Bartlett Art Association member Ann Jones, who invited me to join a group of artists working at Bert Ferguson. With their encouragement and help, I have found myself busier than ever. I now undertake commissions of pen and ink drawings of others’ pets, and I have exhibited a few of my paintings at St. Francis Hospital in Bartlett and at Perkins Restaurant on Germantown Parkway. I have been very encouraged by the compliments and recognition I have received.