Did you want to be a painter when you grew up?

boy with axe

Few painters I have known aspired to be painters when they grew up. Many turn to painting because they didn’t do well in school, others because their career plans just didn’t work out. I wanted to be a teacher but when I finished my B.A in English Literature and credential program, I discovered that controlling a class of children, let alone educating them, was a skill set I did not possess; so, I got a job for one year selling draperies door to door. When that didn’t work out I was on the street again with a family to support. Yard work was a temporary fix and paid the bills. I was pruning roses one day when my client asked, “Can you paint too?” “Sure,” I said, never having touched a paint brush. Forty years later I was still painting. Be careful of the lies you tell. Actually, I thrived as a painter. Largely self-taught, I became an acknowledged color consultant, and won first place in the nation twice in decorating contests sponsored by the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA) called “Picture it Painted Professionally.” I was president of my local chapter of the PDCA and I also taught apprenticeship classes for six years. It was a three year course I wrote myself. As such, I certified journeyman painters in a three county area. I actually made it back into the public school system; after receiving an M.A. in humanities, I taught in the communications department at the  College of Marin for a short time. But it was my years as a painter and contractor that I liked the most. The ability to stand back at the end of the day and see your accomplishment is something not offered in a lot of professions; and helping people decorate their home, usually their most important asset and source of pride, is a very special experience.

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