My wonderful kindergarten teacher Mrs. Henrietta Mueller assigned my friend David Bloom to shake me aware when the fire drill bell went off. If I was drawing I did not hear it.
My understanding teacher gave me my own shelf of paper and crayons and said to draw whenever I wanted. She told my mom there was one dedicated 5 year old artist in every class of the 25 years she had been teaching.
I started drawing when I was 4 which is pretty much the time when all obsessed, natural born artists begin. I would copy the pages of my children’s story books drawing the Muppets and Disney characters. My mother asked if I had been tracing them and I told her I had. Actually, I was drawing and did not know what tracing meant.
Suddenly for about 6 months I colored every page black, then navy blue then dark brown. Every bit of the page would be covered in one color. When I ran out of dark colors I would ask for new crayons. My mother was baffled but she let me continue without question.
At 5 I copied a picture of Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket. I enlarged the picture to fit the size of a large poster paper which was many times the size of the original cover of the book. I brought it to my mom and she realized I could not have traced it. She was floored! She asked if I could do it again and I said, “Sure!” While she watched I drew it 2 more times exactly the same. See the photo of me and my drawing below.
I was given all the art supplies I could use and drew every day when I wasn’t wildly running in the backyard with younger brother Mark.
When I was 6 mom asked why I used to color all the pages black, brown or blue. I told her I wanted to make the colors come out solid like in the magazines. She explained that I would need paint. Crayon on coloring book paper couldn’t look solid.
I asked if I could have paint and boy was my first trip to Jerry’s Artarama in Bellerose, Queens an exciting day! Talk about kid in a candy store. This was my favorite place! Luckily for me we could walk there and take home bundles of the best stuff on earth: ART SUPPLIES!
Years later I worked there as a clerk and I still buy many of my supplies from them online. Thank you Jerry’s!