How I Became a Painter / My Journey to Becoming an Artist
Welcome to my blog! And if you’re new here, I’m Bethany Joy. I’m an abstract painter, focused on sharing joy through art (and now, through writing too)!
An artist and a blogger? I would have never dreamed I’d end up here one day. Yes, I’ve always been creative and love making things, and I’m usually more reserved, introverted, shy, and not one to open up unless we’re close friends. Sharing my art with the world never seemed like anything I would ever be brave enough to do.
Growing up, I dreamed of being a teacher, perhaps a second or third grade teacher. I even had a corner of my bedroom designated as my “classroom” where I taught my two childhood dogs (and best “students”) Loosie and Dazy. I had a big white board, a fancy gradebook, tons of math workbooks and school supplies for my dear students. I really looked forward to teaching my sweet, patient pups each day after school and could only ever imagine teaching one day when I grew up too.
As I grew older and went through some tough life experiences however, I realized how much I loved to make things and create...drawing, crocheting, making jewelry, painting...you name it and I wanted to learn it! Although, with no time in my schedule at school, I never prioritized these things. That is until college.
You see, somewhere along my path in high school I realized that yes, I most definitely want to teach, but maybe, just maybe, I could teach something more fun than...math and reading... Art! Questions swirled in my head: Do people teach art in schools? Is that still a thing? What will my family think if I decide to be an art major? Do I have the skills and knowledge to even be an art major? I had only ever taken elementary school art classes after all.
After touring several colleges and falling in love with my Alma Mater, Brevard College (thanks to my awesome tour guides and that dreamy paint studio) I realized I’d have to choose a concentration art. Painting of course!
Not so fast though...I actually chose photography.
However, since I chose to study art and education (to receive my teacher licensure as well), I had to take a variety of art courses including graphic design, painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, photography, art history and more. Thank goodness!
After taking two photography courses (in the dark room) and using a film camera with manual settings, it became apparent to me that perhaps I wasn’t quite cut out to make this photography stuff into my career. You see, I have astigmatism in my right eye (the eye I use for the camera) and using the manual settings was definitely NOT working for me. All of my photos were turning out blurry! I couldn’t believe it.
But remember how I had to take a variety of different art classes? I happened to be taking my first ever painting course that same semester and was really getting into it. I mean, the studio was just lovely and I got to mix colors and be messy and create textures and paint over my mistakes and it all just felt so good. My amazing professors took notice and actually encouraged me to possibly change concentrations. Could I do that?! That was not what I had planned for. And I happen to be a stickler for sticking to plans.
Boy am I glad that plans changed. Yes, I love taking photos (on manual mode) but painting...painting is just magical!
It didn’t come easy to me though. Many of my art classes proved to be a huge challenge for me. It seemed as though all the other students were breezing through the courses with flying colors because they had a foundation of high school and extracurricular art classes before coming to Brevard. I felt so behind, so unprepared. And I was a good student so those feelings drove me nuts! You know what though? I think that ended up being a huge blessing, because it made me work even harder to learn new skills and try new things. I might have cried a few tears after project critiques and almost failed a few tests. But I am oh so grateful for the lessons those experiences taught me that I can continue to consider even to this day while I’m painting.
So, now you know the short version of how I became a painter! As for the business side of things and how Bethany Joy Art came to be...well, I’ll save that for another post. Just know, that I truly couldn’t imagine not painting after college. And had to figure things out from there!
Oh, and as for my dream of becoming a teacher...well, that came true too! Just not in a traditional sense. More on that later, too.
I hope this little story can help inspire you to dream, evolve, learn, and grow. And I hope this new blog of mine will be a great source of joy for you!