The Unexpected Artist or Who Knew?
I come from a long line of teachers, including my mother, who was a public school art teacher. She was also MY art teacher in elementary school. I was never very interested in whatever the project was, it was weird enough having Mom in the classroom! I liked art class well enough, but music was my creative outlet. In addition to singing, I’ve played the piano, bassoon, electric bass keyboard and a very short stint with a trombone! Once an adult, I never felt the desire to progress beyond performing for my dog!
I was the oddball. I pursued a degree in Dietetics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, or IUP (my family’s go-to university for higher learning) rather than one in music or art education or business, like the rest of my family. I enjoyed the creativity of making healthy food that looked as good as it tasted.
Then, after graduation….I married a soldier and life was a whole new adventure.
The New Adventure
I’ve known my husband since I was 10 years old. We spent the next 35 years with the Army, moving 22 times, both in the states and overseas (Germany and South Korea), raising two wonderful sons and enjoying the experiences that military service can provide a family.
Throughout those years, I had many different jobs, all of which involved teaching. Yes, I know. Why didn’t I START OUT in education? Eventually, while stationed in South Korea, I earned my teaching credentials. Through the years, I taught Basic Education Skills to soldiers in Germany, parenting skills to women in Kansas, Weight Watchers classes in Georgia, Conversational English to Korean Military Academy Cadets in South Korea and Biology, Physical Science and Home Economics classes in the Department of Defense High School in Seoul. (Hmmmmmm…..our sons had a familiar experience. MOM was teaching in THEIR school!)
Then, in 2014, my husband retired from the Army. This transition was quite an adjustment for a woman who spent most of her married life as an independent, self-sufficient (basically single) parent, who knew her lifestyle was due to her spouse’s job. Now what??
Our sons are grown and on their own, my husband is working from home (I went from intermittent sightings of him to seeing him 24/7) and I wanted to do something I would enjoy! So, I grabbed a box of Crayola Colored Pencils and began doodling. That doodling turned into watching YouTube videos about colored pencil techniques and practicing as much as I could. I tried many different subjects and various mediums but knew my heart was with drawing animals with colored pencils, especially dogs. My supplies are now of professional quality and it makes a difference. My favorite part of the process is drawing their eyes and making them look lifelike. People say the eyes are windows to the soul. I think that applies to animals as well as people.
Better Late Than Never
So, that is how all of this began. It took me almost 60 years to discover what I love to do. But, as they say, better late than never! I hope you enjoy your pet’s portrait as much as I enjoy creating it for you.
“Pets provide companionship, comfort, love and humor to our lives and no two are alike, which is why detailed drawing is so important to me.”
BARBARA MARTZ • PENCIL DRAWINGS