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November 30, 2014

Where Did Art Start For You? - Lynne Grillmair, Visual Artist

In the days leading up to GivingTuesday on December 2, 2014, we are sharing stories from artists in the ArtStarts community. We asked them, "Where did art start for you?" It's a question that asks us to reflect on our own lives in order to see where along our journey our passion for the arts was sparked.

What is GivingTuesday?

GivingTuesday is a movement for giving and volunteering that takes place this year on December 2, 2014. Taking place each year right after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, GivingTuesday is proof that the holiday season can be about both giving and giving back. GivingTuesday is the perfect time for the world to come together and show how powerful humanity can be when we unite to give on one day.


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Read visual artist Lynne Grillmair's story below and share your own story at

Where did art start for you?

Where do I begin? Awareness of "making art" started very young for me. My mother was an amazingly creative woman, fashioning play clothes out of father's suits, creating Hallowe'en costumes out of adhesive tape and black velvet to make Mickey and Minnie Mouse masks ( who knew about patent protection in the hamlet of Princeton?), encouraging me to draw and colour. Working with our hands was a given and I went down that path, creating clothes for my cut -out dolls, making mud pies, decorating cookies, painting a picture of a Chinese Village in grade 6 that was framed and hanging in the principal's office ( still there after 30 years when I re-visited in 1977) getting a "job" in grade 7 painting Christmas scenes ( with my mother's help) found in the Encyclopedia Britannica on large plywood panels for an outdoor display in a rich man's yard. To get me through some difficult teen years I was given oil paints and so I continued to make art , albeit not very well informed. I was not encouraged by an art teacher in high school so I abandoned any idea of pursuing this course as a way to make a living and turned my interest to perhaps teaching Home Ec which encompassed foods, nutrition, design, textiles etc. In the end I found a job as "cook and bottle washer" for a fledgling heli-ski operation where I worked for 20 years.

Upon an early retirement and living in an isolated environment I searched for something that would "feed my soul" and maybe with perseverance I could make some money and create at the same time. I love colour, creating my own images and experimenting with different materials to challenge myself painting "pictures". I have been lucky to be able to live a dream even though it has taken a while to fully understand and appreciate this "gift" of pursuing an innate love of working with my hands, expressing my attitude toward colour, design, integrating surfaces, and exploring the medium of acrylic, and its compatibility with many other materials often adding a very tactile effect to the work . Actually I often think about blind people being able to " read" my work through physical touch. It has been a great journey but not an easy one. Now I have been teaching others, young and old, hoping that my love of art making will light some fires. Getting the idea that " Rimsky_ Korsakov  didn't put a tape recorder into a bee hive to create the "Flight of a Bumble Bee" inspires me to try to ' think outside the box" and pass on this mantra.

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