Thankfully and fortunately, the curriculum of the public schools I attended included art, music, acting and dance. My first memory of painting goes back to Kindergarten when once a week, I stood before a small easel. The five primary colors were in jars and each jar contained a long brush. The sheets of paper in front of me seemed gigantic and allowed large applications of each color which I would apply and
watch joyfully as the colors dripped down the pages. It was experimental, fun, easy, carefree, liberating and just plain different than the subjects of the rest of the day.
My father was the art coordinator in our home. There were copies of oil paintings above our sofa. One large one was hung above the middle of the couch and two small paintings were on each side of the large one. The scenes were variations on landscapes, bucolic scenes of country life which included wheel barrows filled with hay, wagons, someone tending a garden and always a beautiful home in the background. My parents left Eastern Europe and were forever grateful to be here and these country scenes were reminders that life can be beautiful.
I studied life drawing for two years in Cambridge, Mass. It was an interesting foundation and beginning of my experience in art. Fast forward, I attended The Art Student’s League of New York and was assigned to a painting class with my all time favorite teacher, Knox Martin. He is now 95 years of age and although retired from the ASL when he was 92, he is still painting acrylic abstracts on a large scale. He lives with family near the Cloisters in New York City. He encouraged me to continue my expressionistic paintings, to sell them and how to price them. He was gifted in his ability and heart to connect with each student and their style. At the end of each day with Knox, we were happy and grateful campers. He taught at the Art Students League for fifty years.
I’m thankful to my parents, for my public school education, to the Universities where I completed my undergraduate and graduate studies. I’m also thankful to my tenth grade English teacher, Kenneth V. Jenkins. He was another teacher whose classroom felt like home, a safe haven.