From continuing education student to full-time artist
CCAD’s pivotal role in my life trajectory
After many years working as a communications and nonprofit professional, I changed careers to begin life as a full-time artist. I don’t have an art degree, but to say that I am a self-taught artist would be a misnomer. I’ve had many excellent teachers, thanks to the invaluable offerings for non-degree students at the Columbus College of Art and Design.
When it became clear that my daughter had a passion for art, I began taking her to the CCAD Saturday morning art classes. I had taken similar classes in downtown Pittsburgh when I was young, and knew she would love it. While she was in class, I took CCAD’s Saturday adult classes. The faculty members were skilled instructors who encouraged my development and introduced me to the work of other artists. Just being in the studio buildings made me happy. After class, my daughter and I would eat lunch in the Short North arts district. Those classes set my daughter on her path as an artist and museum educator.
Still, art was just a hobby for me. Until the day I had an epiphany at an outdoor (en plein air) painting summer workshop offered by CCAD in 2015. Two things happened: it was the first time I had combined my love for the outdoors with my love for making art, which was euphoric; and the instructor shared a video of a professional plein air painter, which was a career I did not know existed. As I stood at my easel, capturing the light and color with paint, I had this life-changing thought: “I can’t believe people do this for a living. Why not me? I can do this.”
I began spending all of my free time developing my drawing and painting skills. Soon I was making commissioned art on evenings and weekends, and selling original work in exhibitions. I left my day job three years later to make more art, and illustrated a children’s book called Tired of Naps by author Molly Davis. (We’ve already begun collaborating on a second book.) My most recent CCAD workshop was to learn more about designing for textiles, which again opened a new art world to me.
If you want college level professors to help you reach your potential as an artist, look no further. Why not you?