July 22, 2021
The teacher I gave my first painting to contacted my Dad right before she passed away asking to see me. When I visited, she had that painting hanging over her bed.
I retired from teaching art after 41 years. I spent 37 of those years in the Old Orchard Beach school system, and four years working with graduate students in the MAT program at Maine College of Art. Growing up, I remember watching my Dad who was a draftsman working on blueprints and being fascinated by them. My Mom always had some type of handiwork that kept her hands busy; knitting, sewing, ceramics or other crafts. She fueled the desire in me to create. Watching both of my parents allowed me to explore and find my own talents and they encouraged me to go with them.
When I was in 5th grade I had a teacher I loved. She noticed that I had a love for art and allowed me to create the bulletin board in her classroom. She sat my parents down at a parent teacher conference and expressed the need to enroll me in art lessons. She supported me which helped me pursue my goals with confidence, and I wanted to be that kind of teacher, like her, who encouraged children to follow their desire to live a life of passion.
I graduated from The University of Maine at Orono with a degree in Art Education. I continued fueling my desire to create by taking adult education classes at Maine College of Art and Portland Pottery.
My career in education has afforded me the opportunity to see many of my former students go on to pursue their love of art as teachers or as craftsmen. Many of them keep in touch and continue to use my lessons that I once taught to them. I mentioned to one very special student that I know I’ll have done my job well when I can share a space at a local sidewalk art festival. That student walked over to me at the Saco Sidewalk Art Festival, gave me a smile and said, “You did it!” Those are the moments that I hold dear.
Support from my family and friends has been a driving force of motivation. I think back to where I started at sidewalk art festivals which was a great way to push myself and receive public and community feedback. It was those venues that really built my confidence and allowed me to continue creating while selling my work.
My Art has come full circle. I began painting in oils but soon wanted to try another medium. I played with watercolors and loved the effect that they produced. After painting many years with watercolors, I decided to push the medium further. I now create watercolor batiks; that is a process that involves covering the surface of the watercolor with hot wax. The watercolor is then crumbled up and put into a dye bath. The wax is ironed off leaving cracks of the dye scattered throughout the watercolor. My work is very representational and reflects my love of gardening in my yard during the summer months. I couldn’t ask for a better venue to paint in than living in the state of Maine with its beautiful coastline and landscapes.
I still think back and am thankful to that caring 5th grade teacher.. Her instinct and support allowed me to follow my dreams and become an artist and educator. I let her legacy live in by caring for my students as she did me.
- Piper Bolduc, Painter