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The Beginning of the Affair

4 Jul 2012

We had a run of some pretty severe thunderstorms in the New York City area recently, and as a father of three, that's terrifying. Nothing can be worse than three kids under the age of five locked up in a house for a day, especially when the thermometer is telling them they should be running in the sprinkler. In an attempt to occupy them for at least a little while, I pulled out an old set of watercolors and got them all watercolor painting. It went over way better than I expected, and lasted way longer than I thought it would (HOORAY PAINTING!). It also got me thinking about what first sparked my interest in making art.

Playing with my first art materials led me to dreams of being a comic book artist, which led me to discover illustration, which led me to discover fine art.
Playing with my first art materials led me to dreams of
being a comic book artist, which led me to discover
illustration, which led me to discover fine art.
From the Editors of American Artist magazine
I was six years old, and my aunt gave me an art kit for Christmas. It was in a giant black box that looked like a briefcase and it was full of generic-brand art materials: markers, colored pencils, watercolors, charcoal, and even pastels, but no crayons. That was big for me. To this point, they were my main mode of art-making. For some reason, it made them seem more serious. I couldn't even bring myself to take anything out of the kit at first. I just stared for a little while. When I finally started drawing by putting pencil (and marker, and charcoal, and pastel...) to the drawing pad my aunt had also given me, I was hooked. Playing with those materials led me to dreams of being a comic book artist, which led me to discover illustration, which led me to discover fine art. That path has served me well. I'm far from calling myself an artist, but I've been an art magazine editor for nearly a decade (and counting) and that's not too shabby.

Who knows if this past rainy Saturday afternoon will be that moment for one of my kids. Maybe they'll lump it in with any other day when we all spent time coloring, which would be fine. Who doesn't love coloring? But maybe, that instance will rise above all the others and be marked as the moment they started to really love art. And wouldn't that be pretty great?

What was your first art experience? Leave a comment and let me know.

--Brian

Brian Riley is the managing editor of American Artist magazine.

 


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Comments

KatPaints wrote
on 5 Jul 2012 5:58 AM

I was six years old and in the first grade when we took a field trip to the art museum. (Either a couple weeks before or after, my father decided we should all go visit the art museum. woo hoo!) I remember being blown away by what I saw and some part of my little brain understood what I was seeing. I recall thinking "people (just like me) created this stuff!" I didn't visit the museum until 11 years later, but it was amazing how many individual art works that I recalled. After my exposure to the museum as a first grader, I knew that that's was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Bitbud wrote
on 6 Jul 2012 1:46 PM

My first experience was learning to draw cats and bunny rabbits in the dirt with a stick somewhere between the ages of three and five.  My mother and I would walk to the end of a road to our mailbox and wait for the mailman.  I was amazed that some circles and triangles or long oval shapes and snake shapes could make animals.  It was magic and I was hooked.

Pat, a 75 year old who is still learning to draw.

watercolor41 wrote
on 2 May 2014 9:50 PM

When I started first grade, I saw all those pencil, beautiful colors & later came the Prang watercolors. It seemed that I had the experience of drawing & painting before. Oh! What a marvelous feeling. I've been hooked ever since!!