It was never a problem for me. From the earliest of ages, like 5 or 6, when asked what I'd like to do when I grew up I would reply without hesitation " go to Art College"'. I probably didn't know what it meant, but if it meant that I could spend all day making art then that was just fine by me.
I was a quiet bookish type, not at all into sport unless swimming, and blessed with the ability to do well at exams. I was the archetypal best pupil for my teachers and the odd one or two would attempt to divert my interest into something more academic.
They mostly knew better though, that any attempt to move me from my chosen path was entirely futile. My parents, bless them, encouraged me with my drawing although my Dad probably just thought I would leave school, get a wee job and then get married and become a cosy housewife. That was what women of his generation did after all.
One day when I was about 11 or 12 in my last year at primary school, someone came into the classroom and told me to report to the art room.
That holy place in the attic of the school where all the glorious paints and pencils were kept. I remember being curious but excited as I made my way upstairs. What had I been singled out for?
The art teacher ( sadly I've forgotten her name) sat me down at a table and explained that the school had been sent a sample of a brand new art material, something not even yet on the market in the UK, which was to be tried out to see if it was worth investing in. My teacher had decided that since this was so precious a material she couldn't initially hand it out to a whole class, and so I had been specially chosen to spend the entire afternoon on my own in the art room playing with this secret thing. What utter joy.
A small brown cardboard box was placed in front of me along with some sheets of cartridge paper. I was bursting with excitement when I opened the lid. Inside were twelve of the most joyous colours - chalky pink, pale lilac, sky blue.... They were the very first FELT PENS. My love affair with colour started then.
When was this? 1965!
And I did go to art college!
Artist book by Beth Lindner - Virginia detail from artist book by Beth Lindner A few weeks ago, Beth Lindner brought over the book she made about her mother's youth so that I could ...
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