As a kid, I spent a lot of time in a home that looked straight out of Country Home and Living Magazine, with many wicker baskets and an odd number of duck sculptures and paintings. (I counted once and made it to double digits for ducks/items with ducks on them.) I would meander around this home while eating blueberry pie, admiring the immense gallery of artwork that my grandma created over her 95 years of life. Her quaint yellow country home is where my love of art started.

My grandma had been creating art for as long as she could remember. My favorite piece of hers is a charcoal drawing of a sad dog based on a picture in a magazine. She drew it when she was 17 years old because a boy she was interested in broke her heart. She was an exceptional painter who replicated landscapes beautifully. I, on the other hand, have always struggled with the light touch required to create a well-blended acrylic painting. We spent a lot of time together in the sunroom, sitting in comfortable chairs, painting away the weekends in Connecticut, where I visited her. My grandma’s art room blew my mind as a kid. She had boxes of brushes, numerous pads of paper for different tasks, and what seemed like millions of tubes of acrylic paint meticulously organized by color. Grandma Maney taught me about shading and light sources and even brought me to an art class at the local senior center, where I got along with all of the participants extremely well.

Fast forward to my first visit to Connecticut College. During a tour, I walked around Cummings Art Center and saw the student and faculty art on display. I decided that, upon my acceptance to Conn, I would take full advantage of the art programs the College offers. The work displayed in Cummings still blows my mind, and it's extremely rewarding to now be a part of the ever-changing interior of the building. My first art class I took at Conn was Concepts in Three Dimensions, a sculptural art class where we worked with clay, wire, and wood. The class was so interesting to me because most of my experience with art has been in the two dimensional format, so sculpting was definitely out of my comfort zone.

I had some successes, like my clay piece where I sculpted finger bones, and some failures, like my wood sculpture where I had trouble drilling holes the correct size to connect different pieces. Even though my wood sculpture did not come out as I planned, I now have the skills to use many different power tools that would have scared me to use before. We learned how to safely operate a band saw, chop saw, sander, jig saw, and a drill press. This semester, I am in a class called Drawing Fundamentals. My class has worked on arbitrary values, measuring objects from a distance with kabob sticks, and an animation project. When I am working in Cummings, looking out onto the green, I remember the great times I spent with my grandma in her country home—where my passion for art began.