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How I Became a Live Painter

People ask me all the time- how did I become a live painter? I'm always struggling to answer this question in a succinct way because the whole story is complex and spans almost my entire life.  The thing is, I've always been heading in this direction. I was lucky to be one of those people born with a natural inclination to the visual arts and I was lucky to attend a public school system that gave me a solid foundation in the principles of fine art and design.  As a child art was my safe place and my way of being seen. I would retreat to drawing on my own for thousands of hours as a kid. In school when I drew in class, kids would always ask me to show them how I drew things. They wanted to watch how it was done. I was a mini live painter even then. I could also perform. Starting as early as fifth grade I was cast in lead roles in school plays. In high school I did the drama club and I performed in community theater as well. I initially wanted to study acting in college, but life led me to study visual art instead at Mason Gross School of the Arts. Mason Gross was a conservatory which meant I could swap some liberal arts credits for art credits. Drawing swapped for math? I was all over it!! At the conservatory I learned about ancient to modern to post modern to modern day art. I relearned the foundations of drawing and painting and then I learned how to push the foundation. After college life shifted for me. I spent time working as an art teacher and I also worked on Fashion Ave in NYC in design, production, and sales. But these jobs were not deep enough for me. I felt a calling to learn how I could help people in a way I had never done before- and I went back to school in my mid twenties to become a registered nurse. Registered nursing was a noble day job, but I had difficulty finding a way to keep my art practice going. In January 2018 we had two young kids and really needed some extra money. I had done caricatures at parties as a side job in art school by getting gigs from a party company, and thought it might be fun to open a business if my own doing this.  Like many people I had not yet even heard of live event painting. One day, shortly after I launched my caricature business, I was scrolling through Instagram and I happened to see an artist I followed that lived in the southern states was painting weddings live.

I've had several distinct moments in my life where I saw someone do something and immediately said- I'm going to do that. It's like love at first site followed by stubborn and unrelenting determination. Within 2 months I had transitioned my caricature business to live event painting. Painting live events combined both my love of art and performance, I was able to sell art work that was meaningful to my clients while I had the satisfaction of knowing their paintings would be cherished family works of art for generations to come. I'm honored to attend so many major life celebrations and capture those moments from my own paint of view. And if you watch any of my VLOGs you can see the joy on my face as I paint and perform. So when people ask over the din of a crowd and thumping music how I become a live painter, I always pause for a moment, thinking of the long journey to where I am standing in front of them. Then I look at them and say "I've been an artist my whole life, and one day I decided to do this." And I smile because I know I have the satisfaction of working one of the coolest jobs ever.

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