t was a long time before I finally got to the place where I truly believed that writing books was going to be my "for-real" job. I was so shocked that someone was going to publish my first book, time stopped, and I forgot to think about the future! I wrote my first book, Heart of the Home, and the next two books, sitting at the dining room table of my first little house on Martha’s Vineyard.
t was Joe’s idea (when he finally came into my life), that I should get an art table! Oh boy, an art table! (If you think this is bad, you should have seen the confusion on my face the first time I had to fill out my IRS forms and write in…what? author? artist? How could this BE?)
e moved into our "new" old house in 1989, and I took a small wood-paneled room, where the previous owners hung their fishing poles, for my studio. I worked there for a couple of years, spilling out all over the place, with art and supplies and file cabinets, until we were tripping over it, before Joe said, "You have this big house, and you choose the smallest, darkest room in it for the place where you spend almost all your time!"
"Hey, yeah," I said, "What’s this about??? …. and moved into the front room of the house, a big sunny room that was called "The Music Room" by previous owners. Which gave me another good reason to call my house "The House of Creativity," being that I can still hear the echoes of the music played there in the olden days (my house was built in 1849).
his is my studio today; a place for everything and everything in it’s place (at least when I’m taking pictures!). From my chair, I can look out the window and watch the seasons go by; the window looks out over my picket-fence garden that’s as pretty in the snow as it is in the summer, when the garden smells breeze right in past those curtains and lure me outside. Two of my best girlfriends (who live a couple of doors over on both sides of me) have to pass by this window to get to my kitchen door, so I’m always on alert for movement…they also go through my yard to each other’s houses, so from my chair, I have a bird’s eye view of all that matters, taking every advantage of serendipitous opportunities for procrastination. I have books written by all my heroes in my studio, inspiring me every day. I think I’ve left enough creative DNA in this room to last another lifetime. I carry my tea in there in the quiet early morning, and a huge cloud of something like contentment spills over me, and I just look up and say, Thank you God.
‘m often asked what I use for my art…the answer is I use Rapidograph pens with black India ink to do my writing. The paintbrush I use the most (and go through like water, wearing them out), is the Windsor Newton University Series 233 England (they are red), size #1 (the one with the 3 hairs). For paper I like cold pressed D’Arches watercolor blocks, or 100 lb. Bristol. For paint, I use everything from children’s watercolor sets to paint in tubes; I love having lots of colors.
f you’ve never tried to paint, you could be like me and have a big surprise waiting for you when you do. I didn’t try painting until I was thirty years old; before that I never painted a thing. Then one day, because I was given a gift certificate to an art store, I bought watercolors and painted the geranium that was sitting on my kitchen table. Everyone I knew was shocked because it looked like a geranium! Especially me! It changed my life.
was inspired to write HOW TO DRAW in my Summer Book, thinking there may be others out there, like me, who might not know what they have up their sleeve. If you have my books, you can see the difference in the art in my first books, compared to ones published more recently. That’s what happens if you fall in love with something and do it every day. Practice really helps.
robably because I didn’t do it as a child, I still look at the art things in my studio (studio!) and think, "who could these belong to?" — Oh yeah, Me! Yay!
f you need help with creative confidence, and who doesn’t, I loved the book The
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