Hello, everyone! I’m so happy to be here. This is where I was meant to be. My joy. My journey has led me to this place, a place where I can share with you what I’ve learned with the desire that you will be inspired.
I’m going to share with you how I came to be here…here, with my art. I’m going to share with you my story because I believe that it will inspire you to one day share your story with me and one day – if you haven’t already – you will live the life of your dreams just because you know who YOU are. You know thyself.
Okay, so what do I mean by all that?
It started with crayons...
‘I could sit you on the floor with a box of crayons and some scrap paper, in the corner of the kitchen while I cooked and cleaned, and you’d be happy for hours.’
That’s what my Mom often told me. Bless her soul. I lost her on February 15, 2011. It was my Mom who encouraged my art. She saw it in me, as Moms do, I guess.
Now don’t get me wrong. Being on the floor wasn’t punishment. I loved being on the floor – it was my thing. I guess because I’ve always been shorter so the floor was closer than the table would be – unless I sat on a carefully placed phone book or two on top of the chair seat. But sometimes the phone books would slip and so would I. The floor was just easier. I’m joking, of course.
Anyway, the crayons led to pencil and that led to sending in the drawing of Emmet the Clown and Tippy the Turtle to match the one on the inside of Mom’s matchbooks. They were ads for Art Instruction Schools. Remember those? Well, I can’t tell you how many ‘Emmets’ and ‘Tippys’ I drew and sent them in. I never heard back. It kinda made me sad but even at that young age I figured it was some kind of conspiracy to hold my Emmets and Tippys hostage and any day I’d get a call asking for ransom money. Mind you, these were pre-days of making crank phone calls from the phone booth at the drug store around the corner screaming into the phone “Do you have Prince Albert in a can? Well, better let him out before he suffocates!” Oh, how the creative mind works.
Anyway, I digress…
When I was old enough to not believe that their were boogey men in the basement, my Mom set up a table for me down there. It was a fairly large, rectangular table, Formica-topped. It was gray and white and streaky, meant to look like marble, I guess. Basically, it was pretty ugly and I think Mom agreed, which is why she let me use it as my painting table. You see, this is where the ‘messy’ part began. Mom knew I wasn’t neat about my art. Nope, I was about to make a giant mess so she let me have at that ugly faux marble table.
It was on that table that I learned that mixing all the colors on the color wheel did not produce a rainbow of a lot of pretty colors. It produced one color: Black. So I mixed in some white thinking it would lighten it up enough to uncover those pretty colors hidden within the black. It didn’t, of course. Now all I had was a blob of dark gray paint with streaks of white. Hmmmm….wait a minute….Come to think of it, kinda looked like the color of that table. Ugly. But, heck, I was having fun.
Well, before long, I learned how to mix colors properly and was having even more fun, still painting on that table in the basement. Finally, at age 9, Mom took me to see Ann Basilico. Ann taught oil painting in her basement. It was Ann – I’ll never forget her – who told my Mom when she came to pick me up at the end of a lesson one Friday evening, ‘Your daughter has an eye for balance’. Ah, I gained a bit of confidence that night. She was talking about the still life I painted of three tangerines.
On Saturdays, I’d go see Virginia. Virginia lived a couple attached houses down from us. I met her on one of those balmy nights when all the neighbors would be hanging out on their stoops, talking and basically staying out of the house where there was no a/c ‘cept for the box in the living room window.
Virginia taught ceramics at her kitchen table to the kids in the neighborhood. Ah, I can still smell the greenware. Her kiln was downstairs, in the basement. That’s a very good place for a kiln, don’t you think? I never did see the kiln. I think Virginia was worried one of us kids wouldn’t be able to resist touching it and of course that wouldn’t be good. Either that or her basement still had boogey men. I’m not sure.
Anyway, it was in Virginia’s kitchen I painted a pineapple. It was painted with the kind of ceramic paint that you put on one greyish color and after it was fired, that grey would magically turn yellow and orange. Go figure. I’m no chemist so I don’t know how that works but it was easy. I’ll take it. (Did I tell you I like ‘easy’?). That simple pineapple won me an award and a photo in the local newspaper. Cool!
Pineapple won me an award and a photo in the local newspaper * Art by Joyce Auteri, Folsom ArtistAs the years went on I tried many different mediums and dabbled in some crafty things such as porcelain dolls, carved Faberge-type eggs, Washi eggs. I loved them all. As if suddenly, more years went by and I got busy dating, being married, working full-time. I was a secretary and then an outside salesperson for many years. I even went back to school at age 43 to finally earn my degree in Radiology. I never felt that I had the time to do my art. I had shelves and shelves of art supplies in the garage. I moved several times and carted them with me everywhere. I’d sell furniture, give away clothes and kitchen wares, but I wouldn’t give up those supplies. They were dear to my heart. Still, they just collected dust because I just didn’t have the time for them. I kept saying, ‘When I’m retired…’ Sound familiar?
Well, one day in the Fall of 2011, long before those social security checks would start, after I lost my Mom and did much soul-searching, I made THE BIG DECISION: bring the supplies into the house and JUST DO IT. Just start. Now. For all I knew, I’d get hit by a truck the next day so NOW was the time to start, not later. Not when I was retired or when I ‘had the time’. NOW.
I didn’t know what or how nor did I consider myself very talented but I knew I enjoyed creating so I took the time to make the time and just started playing. I began to experiment with all kinds of mediums and texture gels and ephemera. I played on canvas, on wood boards, on matte paper and glossy paper. I played with transfers and stencils and old photographs. I played with everything I had collected over the years and then some.
And then I fell in love. With ink.
I love the vibrancy of the colors. I love the way the ink moves, how it kind of takes on a mind of its own. I call this art ‘Interpretive’ because each viewer sees something slightly different in each piece revealing a part of that person’s soul.
What do you see?
“Art Through the Eyes of the Soul”
I feel free now. I’m finally doing what I love and my art is making a lot of people happy. It’s even selling. It is the Summer of 2012 as I write this and I’ve sold pieces to individuals in other parts of the country as well as in California. I’m happier than I’ve ever been. And this is just the beginning.
More than anything, I hope my story has inspired you to do what you love, whatever that is. Don’t wait for the ‘perfect’ or even a ‘better’ time. The time is now. Take the time to make the time. And believe that what you think about you bring about. Think abundance. Be abundant. Be joyful. Be soulful. Do what you love.
Thank you for sharing this journey with me.
To contact me, please call (916) 996-5184 or even better, friend me on Facebook!
I’m there as Joyce Nina Auteri (Personal page) and Joyce Auteri (Fan page)
Footnote (and some details):
I mentioned that I lost my beloved Mom. Yes, my Mom passed on just a few months I discovered Mixed Media art. Really, I felt my Mom wanted me to do my art again. But, you see, I had a LOT of questions at this time. She hadn’t given me a sign that she was still with me, like I was sure she would. I had questions such as, ‘What are we here for anyway? You live, you die. Then what? SO what? I mean, what’s the point anyway? To give to others? Well, they’re going to die too.’ I know this sounds harsh, but I really didn’t understand. I suddenly didn’t understand. Everything I had learned about God and creation and heaven and hell…well, it just didn’t make sense to me now.
If you’ve ever lost someone very close to you, you probably know what I’m talking about here. My mom was just GONE.
And I was lost.
So, I started reading about life and death and angels (I’ve always believed in angels) and religions – all kinds of religions. I’m a big thinker so nothing seemed too far-fetched. What really resonated with me, though, is the idea of Soul and what happens to the Soul after one leaves this life, which leads me to Mom's sign.
Well, remember? Since I was a little girl, it was my mom who inspired and encouraged me to do art. Her passing prompted a series of events which started with my questioning the purpose of life and what I really wanted to do with mine. That lead to learning about Soul, which lead me to understanding my Soul Essence ... Soul Essence... that which has been a part of you all your life. For me, it is ART.
That’s when I pulled out the dusty art supplies from the garage, brought them in the house and started playing. Within six months, my art found its way into a gallery. Within two weeks, I sold two pieces.
What is your soul essence? What is your dream? Follow it. One step at a time.
Yes, Mom is still with me. THIS is her sign.
Thank you, Mom.
For more information and much more artwork of mine, please go to: http://www.joyceauteri.com