Updated: Jan 6, 2021
I sketched out a portrait of an elderly woman. It was the first of many portraits to come. I was 9. I'd found a book in the school library about drawing portraits. I actually don't think I'd drawn anything before then. I was mesmerized by the images in the book, which predominantly featured monotone sketches of old peoples faces, hands in different positions, nudes (nothing risque of course), and some people posed in different standing positions. There was nothing really earth shatteringly amazing about this book or its contents. But, I think this was the first for me. Before then I had never really seen art or an art book showing you how to create art.
You see, if I was to go back to the beginning, my early life was not one of valuable experiences, like learning how to draw, or just simply having the opportunity to draw or paint like children do. Instead it was a life of turmoil, fear, hiding, hoping not to be seen or heard, no joy, no healthy play, no functional learning, nothing that most normal children experience. The idea of drawing a house with a family and a flower and the family pet with rough little love hearts, was completely non-existent in my early years. So, when presented for the first time with the idea of drawing people, capturing them in a drawing or painting, and that I could do this, brought something inside of me to life. Before then was darkness. Now there was light and colour.
From that day I started to sketch people, animals, plants and birds. I tried to find every art book I could get my hands on. I trawled through them for hours and hours dreaming of creating such masterful pieces like that of Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Degal, Michelangelo, Monet, Picasso, and the list went on.
I never tired of looking at art. I never tired of drawing. I could draw all day and night.
It took me until high school to really dabble in painting. But, once I picked up a paint brush I was hooked.
I had always thought I'd be an artist. There really wasn't much else. I was good at athletics, but not particularly good at anything else. When it came to my final year of high school it was time to start looking at careers. Okay, so art.. what career does one have that involves art. Noone ever told me that an artist was an acceptable career option, but noone really presented any career options.
I had barely passed my subjects in year 12. I was a ward of the state (in the foster care system), so noone seemed to give a shit that I wasn't doing well at school. In fact, I could miss almost every day of school and noone ever said a word. It was like noone ever knew I existed. I was invisible to all adults. The education system failed me and I didn't know any better.
Despite my rather woeful grades I managed to get a scholarship to study commerce overseas (that is another story for another day in the strange world of Kat Bell).
I embarked upon this foriegn land with the naiavity of a teenage girl. I was 18, an adult and free in this exotic land. Study? I toss my fringe flippently dismissing this concept. Yeah, I really wasn't interested in studying. Well not textbooks.
Again, miracously, I received an advanced diploma of commerce, specialising in accounting and taxation (STOP... I know nothing about accounting or taxation).
So, with this magic piece of paper tucked in my suitcase, my life took an unlikely turn. Skipping forward a decade, many more pieces of paper under my belt, my career path was now very clear. It had absolutely nothing to do with art.
For the next couple of decades I pursued a career in management, climbing the corporate later to executive levels. I was a workaholic, driven to succeed in a world that was never quite the right fit. I masked and shaped and molded myself to fit these roles, always pushing myself harder and harder.
Then, snap. After burning out for the umpteenth time, I was broken. There was no more to give. The corporate pursuit had finally broken me. Well, actually, it was the people that broke me but that is another story for another day.
There I was, a broken mess. Lost. I couldn't work anymore. What was I to do? What could I do? As I sat pondering my life, passions, loves, and searching for those things that made me happy, one thing kept calling to me. I needed to create. I had a mind full of ideas. I could see beautiful amazing things in my mind and I knew I needed to create them.
Bit by bit I started painting, sculpting, lino printing, sewing, embroidering, beading, and so on and so on. I wanted to try every form of art I could. I wanted to use every type of medium I could find. I wanted to create every thing I could imagine. There were no bounds to my imagination. Thus, began "My Creative Life".