Monday, June 25, 2012

1. Kaweah School

SOMETIMES I think I became an artist because of all the people throughout my life who either told me I would be an artist, or told me I would never be an artist. This woman, Mrs. Chappell, was of the former group.

I SOLD my first painting to her in 1959. I was 7 years old and she was my 2nd grade teacher. I attended Kaweah School, which sat alongside a ditch lined with Eucalyptus trees, and included 3 classrooms and a tool shed converted into a cafeteria. It was here that I fell in love with blue-bellied lizards, snakes and birds with broken wings; the smell of new books; and finger-paints and scissors.

I PAINTED a stuffed donkey one day, which she deemed good enough to enter into the county fair. When told I was too young to enter, Mrs. Chappell was furious, and bought it from me.

I IGNORED most of the lessons Mrs. Chappell tried to teach me in those days, but praise sticks like bubble gum, and, 50 years later, I am still grateful.