What a great thread.
My story is a long and winding road. Without non-artistic primary school teachers covering all types of creativity activity I would not have had any exposure to The Arts at all - except some colour by numbers, colouring books and how to draw animals books I snagged as Xmas presents. Makes me think others saw what I was unaware of!
I was sports crazy. One of my coaches started giving me her sons old university texts, art and history were my favourites. It wasn't until I was diagnosed with Lupus and several other auto-immune diseases in 1992 (after 10 years of slow decline) that I thought art could be a godd recreation activity. Two summer schools at the local university -UWA, and a book Drawing with the right side of your brain later, painting was a compulsive habit.
When my father saw some of my work he very casually said, You know your Grandad was an art? As it happens, he was a professional portrait artist, until the gold rush grabbed him. And an Aunt travelled to Paris, from Perth West Aust, in the 1950s to study art. Sadly there was a family divide and I didn't see her after 1960.
I enjoyed watercolour, and was artist in residence for a private college preparing students for university entry. As the medications began to work, art took a back seat and I regained the ability to follow my career - teaching and department head in Computing Studies, and managing IT networks. At the same time. The bonus for me was I could teach Spreadskills through art based activities, introduce digital design and photo editing without jumping too many hoops. I think I was speaking a foreign language to them, so the answer was always OK, if you think it's a good idea
I was very lucky.
In 2004 after a promotion that required moving to a remote coastal town, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Disease. I didn't manage to get it under control until 2012. Three years after I has retired to a small farm about 8000km from Perth.
One fateful day, I stomped into an art supply shop to buy some very bright liquid acrylic paints (I am still friends with this lovely lady) when I noticed an advert for an acrylic Worksop run by a well known Brisbane artist. The short story I went, I was hopeless, and I was hooked. Again.
Many workshops, and weekly painting sessions and I became president of the not-for-profit group. My work was different from everyone else's but I kept trying to create fine art. Three events changed my perspective. One, an online MoMA NY in American AbEx. I was hooked and home. Two, a Qld gallery QAGOMA/GOMA had a Gerhard Richter and Yayoi Kusama combined exhibition. It changed me. Third, I discovered Art Le Brut, a place that accepted my art. This is when I got serious about painting and drawing everyday.
There's been lots of learning ... acrylics without a paintbrush. My hands determined that, but I don't think I would have mastered brush anyway. Inks, with nibs, an old interest revived. Just for fun. Then I rediscovered Wetcanvas, and eventually the OP forum. While I create using many mediums and tools, I Love OPs.
This is me today ... preparing a proposal for an art exhibition in a very well respected Brisbane gallery. No chance I'll be chosen to exhibit, even though I was asked. However, it has been the perfect time for some reflection.
Hope it wasn't too hard getting here. Thanks for reading.