In 2000, I left a full time government job and immediately had ideas about a collage I wanted to make. The result was a disaster! I took a few beginning classes in art such as elementary drawing and design and that helped get me started. After a while, I wanted to hone my skills so I enrolled in a certificate program in Studio Art at the Berkeley Extension. While I didn’t complete the program, I took a wide variety of classes, and still take classes here and there to learn new techniques.
I don't have a set process for developing the themes in my work. I might read something in a book that gets me thinking about something, like the 32 distinguishing features of the Buddha. Sometimes it comes from doodling or a song I hear. Once I have a theme, I decide what I want the focal point to be and start laying down background elements. Beyond that, it is different every time. My main goal is visual interest, rather than a "statement" (unless the piece is specific to a themed show). I want to create layers, as well as depth, which I achieve by painting shadows around certain objects.
After 20 years, my work can be quirky and evocative; some of the consistent threads include color palette and organization. I've left behind a certain level of worry that my work is "good enough." As I prepare to turn 60 (!), I realize I don't fret over what other people think – the only person I want to please is me. As a result my work has gotten freer, more prolific.