Janet Lee Carey-Dreamwalks DreamWalks Janet Lee Carey Award-winning author of novels for children and young adults

Confessions of an Artist

Dearest Dreamwalkers, this lovely article by Margaret Kellermann — first published in Senior News, Eureka, California — is Dreamwalker gold. Can you relate?

Admitting: The First Step

Hi, I’m Margaret, and I’m an artist.

I’ve had this… addiction … for 50-some years. It started in my family of origin. My mom — a recovering kindergarten teacher — started me on my habit. I was 5. She taped waxy white paper to the kitchen table and produced dazzling fingerpaints, encouraging my brother and sister and me to make a mess. It was weird at first, hearing that from her. But soon I just went wild.

(Janet fingerpainting age 3)

My siblings washed the paint off their fingers, hopped down from their chairs, and went on with their non-addicted, “normie” lives. But I stayed long after the primary colors had turned gushy brown-green, the color of land from space. I kept mashing paint onto paper, scraping it away. It was like playing in mud, but indoors, with music on the hi-fi. I was singing along, creating the earth again.

Soon after, Mom asked what I wanted for my birthday. “I don’t think there’s a w-word,” I stammered pleadingly. “Something I can use to m-make stuff.”

“You mean, art supplies?” she asked.

Ahhhh! I heard angels singing. Art supplies! Yes. I wanted color. I wanted to express the beauty I saw in all creation. I wanted to put my hands into everything Art Supplies. My obsession raced along. In my teens, I retrofitted kits of beads and strings for my own designs. By my 20s, I was weaving blankets on my 36-inch floor loom, with wool yarn I’d carded, spun and hand-dyed.

From there, I went on to the hard stuff. Art workshops. International conferences. Degree programs. Through the years, friends and family responded to my relentless gifts of art with quiet despair. They saw how habitual it had become for me, yet they couldn’t stop a runaway train.

When I was 40, a well-meaning relative admonished me, “I knew you liked art as a child, but I didn’t know it was going to take up your life.” By then I was throwing and dipping raku pots, firing them in garbage cans on city streets during art nights. Finally, I admitted it. I’m… an artist.

Since then, wherever I’ve lived, I’ve created a dedicated space to paint. Sometimes when I’m deep into my painting, I toss aside tools and get into the paint with just fingers, swirling colors around, as when I first found my compulsion, my passion. By admitting I’m an artist, well, that’s the first step. Except I’m not going to quit.

Margaret has shown her work throughout Northwestern California, including Strawberry Rock Gallery, Redwood Art Association Gallery, and Ferndale Arts Gallery.
Learn more at bluelakestudio

(Paintings “An Hour Before Sunset” and “August Afternoon”)

(Ferndale Arts Gallery current MK show through September. And bowl “It’s time for a conversation”)

(“Waiting for News” painted just this week!)


Click HERE for Margaret’s latest book, Annie California


7 comments on “Confessions of an Artist

    1. LW—yes, I have a wonderful mom who still asks, “Are you painting these days?” Go buy some art supplies for yourself today. Blessings

  1. My favorite gifts as a child were crayons and paper, o other things where I could craft. “well meaning” friends and relatives always thought my penchant for art and books was charming, but not worth pursuing as a livelihood. Glad you stuck to your childhood passion.

  2. Little Willow, Laura, and Margaret
    I love seeing the cross-pollination on Dreamwalks. Little Willow – author and actress, Laura Moe – author (who might pick up some art supplies soon). Margaret -painter – author – songwriter. We are all well met.

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