Contact Us      
         Join today or login
You are using an outdated version. Writing will not be shown properly in many cases. Click here to use the current version.


New Here?
Sign Up
Fast! Three Questions.

Already a member?


8 Words or Less Poem
Deadline: Today!

5-7-5 Poetry
Deadline: Tomorrow!

Loop Poetry Contest
Deadline: In 3 Days

75 Words Flash Fiction
Deadline: In 6 Days

My Faith Poetry
Deadline: Dec 10th


Poet: None
Author: None
Novel: None
Votes: None

 Category:  Biographical Non-Fiction
  Posted: June 12, 2020      Views: 92

Print It
Save to Bookcase
View Reviews
Rate This
Make Reader Pick
Promote This

BethShelby is retired from the printing and commercial art field. She is married and has four children and three grandchildren. She and her husband presently live in Tennessee.

Painting, photography, and writing are her passion. She has ha - more...

She is a top ranked author at the #69 position.

She is an accomplished novelist and is currently at the #8 spot on the rankings.

She is an accomplished poet and is currently at the #56 spot on this years rankings.

She is also an active reviewer and is holding the #10 spot on the top ranked reviewer list.

Portfolio | Become A Fan
This work has reached the exceptional level
Why I chose art as a career.
"The Advantage of an Early Start" by BethShelby

When I was about five-years-old, my mother took me along with her to visit her uncle in a nearby town. His wife, Aunt Lula, was a self-taught artist. Her walls were covered with her paintings. My mother was so taken with her art work that she couldn’t enthuse enough about how amazing they were. Right then and there, I decided I was going to be an artist. No doubt, my motivation was just the hope of hearing her rave about my work. Perhaps, I had no natural talent at all. Still, it was an idea I couldn’t shake. I did like attention, and this seemed one way to get it.

Back home, I asked for pencils, paper, and crayons, so I could pursue my freshly chosen career. I did enjoy the feel of a pencil in my hand. I was in ecstasy when Dad, who worked in a grocery store, would bring home a white poster size sheet of unwrinkled packaging paper, which gave me a lot of drawing surface. When I started to school, my artistic skill was perhaps a degree better than my classmates. I’d had more practice than them. Sometimes, they were impressed enough to ask me to draw or color something they could claim as their own.

When I was about twelve, I became fascinated with the fine art section of an encyclopedia and decided in order to be a master of my craft, I needed to paint in oil. There was no art store in our town, but there was a hardware store that sold paint. In order to mix their paints, they carried tubes of color to tint the base paint to the shade the customer needed. Having experimented with watercolor, I realized that red, blue, and yellow could be mixed to produce almost any other color. It was years, before I would learn those three were called the primary colors.

The problem was these colors were too intense, so I told my dad to buy me those three colors and a lot of white. The white he chose came in a small can and was very heavy. It was more like a paste than a liquid. It was called white lead.  No one knew the dangers of lead at that time. Since I wasn't a neat child, my hands, face, and clothes were usually covered with paint when I got creative. I’m amazed I’m still around  and not totally insane with all the lead exposure I had in those days.

When I started painting, I painted on cardboard, Masonite shingles, the backside of oilcloth, or whatever surface I could find. Those early painting were, by no means, masterpieces, but I got the reaction I wanted from my mom. She oohed and ahhed and hung everything I painted. The best part was I found I could get out of picking beans, mowing grass, or doing housework by saying I had planned to paint.

By the time, I was in eighth grade, I was going through a shy spell. Other than my pen drawing of body parts in science class, no one knew of my artistic leanings. Our school librarian was promoting an art contest on the subject of Americanism and planned to hang pictures all over the library. I couldn’t bring myself to ask if I could participate, but I wanted to badly.

She was a scary lady who wore a scowling face and was always signaling for students to be quiet. My passive/aggressive way of introducing my talent was to carefully draw a picture of a seascape on the back of a sheet of homework, marked with an A+.  Actually, if I remember correctly, I fabricated the homework and the large A+. Of course my name was neatly written on it as well.  Miss Edwards couldn’t handle trash on the floor, so I accidentally on purpose, let it slip, knowing she’d be around to retrieve it and possibly scold me for dropping it. My plan worked. She picked it up and studied both sides of the paper.  
“Is this your paper?” she asked.

“Oh, I’m sorry. That is mine. It must have slipped out of my notebook.”

“Did you draw this?”

“Yes Ma'am, it’s just trash. I’ll get rid of it.”

“No. It’s very good. You have talent. I’m sponsoring an art contest for students who have artistic talent. I want you to enter the contest. Will you do that for me?”

Would I ever?  I was on cloud nine. I went home and painted a minuteman with an American flag in the background. I won that contest and was called up on the stage to claim my twenty-five dollar prize. Mrs Edwards gave me a private office off the library, where I was assigned to make posters promoting new library books and football games. I was asked to do a cover sheet for the school annual. Word got around the town, that if you needed someone to paint a Christmas display for your yard, I might be the one to do it.

After that, I did the Draw-me girl, advertising an art course. The salesman called, and my grandmother paid for the course. When I enrolled in college, I majored in art.

When I joined the work force, it was the commercial art field that I preferred. It wasn’t the most lucrative field I could have chosen, and often, it was only part of the work I did.

Did I really have talent, or did I just develop some skill in that direction by starting early? I don’t know. I enjoyed the work I did, and I’m not sorry this was the path I followed. Still, if Mom had admired a famous writer instead of an artist, I might be collecting royalties on some of my best-selling novels. We may never know.


Share Your Story contest entry

Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Share or Bookmark
Print It Save to Bookcase View Reviews Make Reader Pick Promote This
© Copyright 2016. BethShelby All rights reserved.
BethShelby has granted, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.

You need to login or register to write reviews.

It's quick! We only ask four questions to new members.

Interested in posting your own writing online? Click here to find out more.

Write a story or poem and submit your work to receive reviews on your writing. Publish short stories on our book writing site and enter the monthly contests. Guaranteed reviews for everything you write and you will be ranked. Information.

  Contact Us

© 2016, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms under which this service is provided to you. Privacy Statement