How I Became an Artist

I don't know, maybe every artist is the same, when they were a kid they knew they wanted to be an artist. That's how it was for me.

I was in kindergarten. I remember we made art every day and we often painted with melted crayons. We had plug-in heated metal tins that kept the crayon wax melted. Adults were much cooler back then about letting kids do fun activities that could maim us if we weren't careful. Melting crayons is still one of my favorite scents today.

The teachers didn't hang our work as a general rule. There were too many of us for one reason and there wasn't a lot of available wall space for another. My nickname at home was Pam the Lamb. One day I painted a white fluffy lamb in a green pasture with a bright yellow sun. I remember being very clear in my mind that this painting was for my mother.

When we were done painting, my teacher asked if I would let her hang this painting on the wall - a very big honor indeed. But I said, "No way! This painting is for my mother."  My teacher smiled and said I could stay behind and paint a second lamb and decide which one they could keep to hang.

That was my best day in school, painting another happy fat lamb in the empty quiet room. And I'm pretty sure, while I painted the second painting, the rest of my classmates were taught how to responsibly manage money later in life because I had to learn that one on my own...

I do remember thinking, when my teacher told me I could stay behind and paint another painting, "I want to be an artist when I grow up. This is great!" There's something so special and humbling about creating a picture of something that's never existed before and then someone else says, "I want to see that in my home or office."