Begin at the beginning – Why Folk Art?

The best way to re-introduce myself to you all on this new format is to tell you a little story of how I became passionate about painting in the folk art tradition.

Several years ago, about 1988, I went to a Folk Art Show on Marco Island, Fl. Living in Naples at the time, Marco is just a hop, skip and a jump from Naples -or it was at that time before things got a little crowded in those parts. The show was on a folk artist whose name eludes me now, but her pieces were several thousand dollars. Now I always enjoyed puttering in the arts, so I said to my self “I can do that”. But like most of us, we always say things like that when we see something we think we can do. Yet this time was different. I did something immediately. I went to the local craft and shell store on Marco and bought supplies to get started. A little guide to painting folk art; some canvas board and of course a little paint. And so it began.

Honestly, I was so dedicated to accomplishing this feat, so disciplined to work every eve. After my day job, after the kids were fed and put to bed, I went to work. I joined the art guild, the craft guild and began doing the local Naples shows back then. It was wonderful and successful as a side income in addition to my day job income. Helped pay for a lot of extra goodies, like college tuitions etc.

In 1996 we moved to the mountains outside of Asheville and again, I went to work learning about shows, galleries, coops, etc, in the area. I did not take a day job but worked hard developing an income and even by 1999 was selling well on eBay. And still will do some eBay now and then.

I am an untrained, unschooled artisan but I did teach myself to do some, I am told by my clients, pretty good work.

I began painting on canvas board, then canvas, floorcloths or floor cloths, gourds, wood bowls, trays, furniture, tin, metal, and so many more things. If I find it paintable, if I can properly prepare it for paint, I’ll paint it.

Well that’s my story, I’m sticking to it and know that you too, can do the same. It just takes some serious dedication, discipline and a willingness to do what it takes to do what you love. It’s not so much about talent as it is about listening to one of those “golden whispers” that play somewhere inside you, oftentimes like a record you play over again, listen to what is going on inside and you’ll frequently know what you were meant to be doing outside.

All right, that’s enough for now. Keep coming back and I’ll show you how to start painting, cleaning and prepping gourds or wood items for repurposing in the days and weeks to come.