Pictured above: a photo of Lovetta, an award winning painting from the 1980s, and a current favorite of mine suggesting an old-fashioned Christmas .
This is the second time I have done this, this being a blog dedicated to an artistically gifted friend. (Scroll down a few blogs and read “A Visit with Ellen Lisle” after you finish reading this one). You may be wondering why I do this, and the answer is simple. I like to do what I can to draw attention to persons with talent, especially friends, and this is the best way for me to do it. I have been a writer of fiction and non-fiction for almost 30 years, and know well how hard it can be to get published and obtain even a modest recognition.
But Lovetta Miles, a friend, neighbor, and creator of beautiful paintings who lives just a couple of miles down the road here in Overland Park, has done very well without any assistance from me. When she agreed to do this blog, I asked her for some background information, and was kind enough to provide enough to pretty much write the article herself. So, I will let her share her story, and then there are few questions answered which you may have thought of yourself.
In her own words . . .
My love of art began at a very early age — like 2nd or 3rd grade in elementary school. I grew up in a very small village in the middle of Kansas, and we only had an Art teacher for maybe 2 years. But those 2 years had a profound influence on me. I loved shapes, colors and how to put them together to make pleasing & expressive (to me at least) works!
I was a music & sports fanatic in High School. Since our small school had no art teacher, my artistic side was expressed in different ways! Helping design homecoming floats, yearbook logos, etc. And I have had a lifelong love affair with music. All genres.
Fast forward several years. In the mid 70’s I walked into an Art Shop and noticed a sign that said Tole Painting classes being offered by a local artist and I thought, Wow! I’m going to sign up for this class and just see if I can do this!
May I just say, I no longer remember that instructors name, but she instilled in me such a love of color, technique, eye for detail and love of expression, that I use it to this day!
One of her quotes that has stuck with me thru the years was “After this class, you will never look at clouds, trees, water, the sunset, an apple or anything of beauty with the same eyes.” She was absolutely correct.
That class started a series of classes in Oil, Watercolor and Acrylic. While I LOVE Oil and Watercolors, I work almost exclusively in Acrylics now. The colors have advanced to be as vivid as oils, they are far easier to control than watercolor and they dry MUCH faster!! Each of these mediums require practice, skill and patience to master! But they are all beautiful in their own way.
I added Art History classes to my curriculum at the local college, studied under several different private instructors and sold my first painting in the late 70’s. Also entered some local art shows and won several awards for color & composition.
Then life stepped in and I got very busy raising a family, working in our business, etc, etc, and as a consequence, my paint brushes remained packed & unused for several years, until this past year.
My children are raised and on their own. I still work full time and recently bought a home with a wonderful basement that I can use as a studio. So one day, at the urging of my sister & children, I unpacked the brushes and started getting the “feel” of it! Almost instantly, I was hooked again!! And I now have the time & place to accomplish it! Timing is EVERYTHING!! LOL!
My initial thinking was, if I can just sell enough to pay for my supplies and ads, I will be happy! But after a few months of getting my “feel” back and getting the ads out, my work started selling, started receiving requests for paintings, etc, and here we are!!
Some Differences: Things have changed so much from the early years! It is now so much easier to sell paintings online! We used to have to load up and take them to art shows, fairs and other venues! There is a learning curve to selling online, but once that is mastered makes it much easier to connect with potential customers!
I have discovered also that maturity has a somewhat “freeing” effect! At least it has for me. I can paint and let my mind and brush explore areas I was hesitant to go into in the past! I like to challenge myself — and enjoy painting in variety of styles. Contemporary, Abstract, Impressionistic are my favs.
Lovetta, to my knowledge, is not a writer, but perhaps should be. She told us a lot, with not too many words.
Now, a short Q&A session:
Q: Are you planning on painting full time in retirement?
A: Yes, I plan on painting full time after I retire. Really looking forward to having the time to paint as much as I would like! Also, I believe it’s important to stay productive and involved in a creative & learning venture of some type after retirement! It keeps your mind and heart actively involved in life! Painting, or really, any kind of art form does that!
Q: Is there an art form on canvas that you would like to explore?
A: Art form on Canvas I would like to explore? I have explored several mediums on canvas, but the one I want to work & learn even more and hopefully, gain more ability on, is watercolor! I love the soft, pastel feel & flow of watercolor! I find that acrylic satisfies the bold, dashing color part of me and watercolor, the softer side. So yes, once I am retired and have more time; that is the area I want to explore & refine.
Q: What is your favorite thing to paint?
A: I love to paint a variety of things, but I think my very favorite ones are flowers & peaceful scenic landscapes. We live in a very hectic world, and it helps me at least, to observe, appreciate and savor the beauty in it, and at least for a while, forget everything else! I also enjoy the free-form flowers. Experimenting with the form and color is very satisfying!!
Q: Are you interested in sculpting? I have always considered that a portrait painting is a sculpture on a flat surface.
A: No, I have never considered sculpting! I became so enthralled with “color” at an early age that nothing else ever called me! I appreciate the beauty and skill of sculpting, but never was called to try it! It’s taken me years to get to this point with my painting, and you NEVER stop learning & refining, honing your skills! I still have MUCH to learn & improve in my painting! We artist types are always our own hardest critics!
Q: Are you ever going to have a showing?
A: Yes, I intend to have a showing next fall. It’s difficult to spend the amount of time preparing adequately for a showing when one is working full time, but I am working and looking forward to doing just that! Will keep you posted! (I have gone to many showings! Am always amazed and so appreciative of the talent one sees at these shows! Artists of every level, so interesting to view the world around us thru another’s eyes).
Q: Are there others in your family with artistic ability, or did you inherit all of it?
A: I have a niece who does some painting and a sister who is very gifted with floral arranging (another art form, which I discovered is NOT as easy as it may appear)! But to my knowledge, I am the only one who has wandered into the art of painting — at this level anyway! I’m sure they will correct me if this is not the case!! LOL! Our family is rather scattered around the country, so it’s hard to keep up sometimes! I also must add, there are many art forms to appreciate! I come from a family of many gifted musicians and singers!! So MANY in my family have shared & appreciated that particular talent!!
Q: Have you considered teaching?
A: Yes, I have considered teaching and will possibly add that to my plan following retirement. There are many tutorials out now on YouTube, etc. that one can utilize, but I believe it is critical to have hands on teaching to learn the basics. Fortunately, I had a wonderful teacher who taught those basics; composition, technique, form, color, etc. Once you have an understanding and have partially, at least, mastered those, then you can learn & grow on your own. So yes, at some point in the future I would love to pass on what I have learned to other aspiring painters!
So . . .
All of this is very interesting to me, a non-artistic person as far sketching and painting goes. I feel like I have been to an art class simply by preparing this blog entry.
You can find Lovetta and her work on the following pages: