Change Is In the Air

Next Stop Avery House, 8×10, oil on panel, © Nelia Harper

I have some incredible news to share with you.  In fact, it’s so exciting, I can hardly believe it’s true.  

As many of you know, I came to art later in life.  Although it’s something I always enjoyed, creativity wasn’t allotted much time, as I focused on pursuing a ‘serious’ career.  In fact, It wasn’t until I was in my mid-30s that I followed my inner creative voice, making handmade cards, working with paper and ink, making some of my own clothes, and designing knitted projects.  

Starting around 2010, a dear friend and I would get together regularly at her home to create art.  We focused largely on paper, collage, and mixed media, working primarily in ink and watercolor.  One summer, her Aunt Katie came to visit and we spent an afternoon creating together.  At over 80 years old, Katie put pencil, pen and watercolor to paper, making simple images from her mind and memory.  Small paintings magically appeared on her paper. In that short week, I saw the door to an art career open for the first time.  It was just a crack, but there was enough room to let the light shine.

About 2 years later, my friend Shirley passed from cancer, and I knew it was time to make a change.  I enrolled in a 6 week acrylic art class with a local teacher, and I was hooked on painting.  

For the past six years, I hobbled together an art education through drawing classes at the local community college, workshops with various instructors, self-study, online classes, almost daily drawing and painting from life, studio work, plein air painting, and a mentorship with Deborah Paris.  My focus has been on landscape painting with some still life, portrait and figure drawing and painting added here and there.

Where Is This Going?

Well, after much deliberation and reflection, I decided to take a leap, and applied to the Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art.  I’m so thrilled to share that I have been accepted to attend this fall.  I feel elated, intimidate, excited, scared, and just about every other feeling you can imagine.  

Mostly, I feel hopeful about where my career will go as an artist, and the discipline and skills I will develop in the years to come.  This path is not easy.  I’ll be working part-time to pay for living and travel expenses and attending classes Monday-Friday from 9 am – 5 pm with breaks for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Spring Break.  

Needless to say, I cannot thank you all enough for your support and encouragement on this journey.

How You Can Help

Over the next week, I will be photographing and posting new artwork, hosting an online sale of all prints, greeting cards, and artwork.  If you are looking for early Christmas presents, here’s a great opportunity!  Or, if you have been thinking about requesting a commission, I have room in my schedule for 2-3 commissions before the holidays.

And, for the minimalists out there, you are welcome to donate to the cause.

While the journey will be long and challenging, it is also exciting.  You are welcome to join me on Facebook or Instagram as I share updates on this journey.

Thank you for your love and encouragement along this path!

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