Art of the Wild
As a small child, I have always been crazy about wild animals. I began my experiences with wild critters when I was about seven then, I spent a lot of time playing alone in pastures and woods. My parents always kept me in sight except when I slipped away for a few hours. I was dealt with, and this behavior was called "Slipping Off" by my folks, which I often met with loss of privileges, or a spanking. You've got to remember that this was in the fifties before Dr. Spock, and all the theories about appropriate punishment for misbehaving kids came about.
To me, it was worth an occasional trip to the shed or doing without riding a bicycle for a few weeks. I was out in the wild, of a blue sky, watching birds of every description. or watching a family of Grey squirrels chase each other around an Oak tree. Wild ducks and geese were all over the place. I saw bobcats and possums and an occasional deer in the woods. I sometimes tried to give chase to the critters and learned quickly that I could not even come close to catching them.
I found small creeks and went fishing and caught frogs or crayfish on many days during the summer. There were plenty of snakes and turtles to try and catch. My dad taught me how to avoid the poisonous ones at an early age. Some of my excursions were with my dad. He was really responsible for introducing me to the wild outdoors, in the beginning. When I was in school I got to draw some of my wild animals and birds, and thrilled some of my teachers when I produced art that ,for my age, was pretty good. My mother got messages from some of them along the way that I had a real talent in my art ability. Later, when I was able to get chalk and water colors and other art supplies, I was really able to enjoy drawing and painting a lot.
My grandfather was a minister and one of his hobbies was painting. I used to sit and watch him create some of his most beautiful paintings and he really inspired me to want to follow in his footsteps. As I got into higher grades in school my art ability improved quit a lot. When I was a senior I decided to try art school and actually went to a big school in Florida. There I found that because I had not had formal art training, I was unable to produce what the school wanted from me in art. I later attended college and majored in art and education and became a teacher in a junior high school. I never lost my love of the outdoors and the wild life found there. I was constantly going out on trips into the wild.
I went hunting and fished quite a lot. Most of my hunting trips were in order just to get away and enjoy my environment there. I continued to paint and draw wild creatures and entered art shows and exhibited my work. Over the years as I continued to teach school and work with special needs kids , I used my art ability in working with the children and made a lot of improvements in their lives at school. They shared my art appreciation and I used it in every way that I could apply it in education of these kids. Many of the children who had learning problems and behavior problems that formally prevented them from learning, could now participate and make better improvements. My art work has been a big part of my life and inspired kids that I taught along the way.
My home is filled with my paintings of wild life. On every wall is a number of paintings that I have done over the years, and lately as well. My continuing trips into the wild are still a part of my life, and I always experience the same great thrill I have always had on my time spent in the great outdoors. When I am able to capture the animal or birds on canvas, then I get a feeling that for one special moment, I can hold that creature of the wild in my hands. I'm able to capture its likeness on my paper or canvas and hold it there for as long as I want and enjoy its presence with me and all those who want to share. The essence of the wild has no greater equal in my eyes and I will always feel a part of the creatures which abide there.
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