Hello my name is Rebecca Wachtman and I am referring to myself as a Protean Artist. But what does that mean, you ask?
Well, it's kind of a fancy way of saying I regularly use a wide variety of mediums to make art. Sometimes I use them individually (such as painting a watercolor painting or silk painting), and sometimes I combine many of them together (collage or hand-made journals, would be an example of that). I love it all and can't seem to limit myself to just one (or even two!) mediums. The various mediums and all of their lovely supplies, entice me with their siren-songs of color and texture.
I realize that makes me sound a bit flighty, but the reality is more along the lines of making up for lost time. You see, I spent most of my life thinking that I couldn't possibly be an artist. Creative and crafty? Sure! But an "artist" was something that special, talented people were. I had no idea that it could be me!! In fact, in my late 30's I had started a small business upcycling goods into things to sell (examples include: necklaces crafted from old
vintage buttons; wrist cuffs crafted from thrifted leather belts, and lamps & lampshades crafted from vintage world globes). I had gone to small craft fairs and farmers markets, and really enjoyed meeting with customers and talking about my work (and even managed to sell quite a few items). But even as my business started to grow, I grew weary of making the same items over and over again.
Then one day, my lovely step-momma invited me to join her artist retreat. It felt a bit odd going and not being an artist, but the ladies were lovely and so much fun to talk to! They were so accepting of me, I felt so welcome! Then one of the ladies offered to teach a little class about how to paint on silk, and invited me to join. She assured me I didn't have to be an artist to do it, and I could just have fun learning and playing with the dyes. So I did - and you know what? I not only enjoyed it, but I seem to have a natural talent for it. I absolutely LOVED how the dyes moved through the fabric and seemed to instinctively understand how to get the dyes to move and blend. I was hooked and Silk Painting became an immediate obsession. Within weeks I had stopped working on the crafts I had been making, and instead started focusing on painting on silk.
Do you know what one of the best parts of making art is? It is that I wasn't making the same craft item, over and over (which I now refer to as production work). I discovered that while I LOVE coming up with new ideas and solving problems on how to make things, I HATE production work! Making art lets me do both - be creative, and solve problems, without that production work issue.
I spent a great deal of my free time learning as much as I could about Silk Painting. I watched videos, read books, and painted as much as I could (I do have a muggle job, plus I'm a mom and a wife - so my free time is a bit limited). In spite of my lack of art training, as well as my lack of free time, I managed to create paintings that I was rather proud of!
In fact one of my first sellable paintings won an honorable mention award at a show at the Hellen Norris Open Art Show at the Sidney Art Gallery in Port Orchard, Washington!
Fast forward a few years, and life had gotten complicated a new muggle job with longer hours and more responsibility, limited my free time. And then the darned pandemic hit. To be honest, the pandemic pretty much freaked me out! In an effort to keep myself distracted (and sane) as we all started to quarantine in our homes, my friends and I started taking online classes from a wide variety of sources (including: Sketchbook Revival, Women Unleashed, Art is Magic, and quite a few others, which led me to find some incredible artist/teachers). I probably spent a great deal more for supplies than I should have, but I had so much fun! I learned so much and feel so blessed to have found that I enjoy creating in so many, varied mediums!
All of this has resulted in a lot of personal growth and an expansion of the media I work with. Now I can't get enough of Acrylics, Mixed Media, Fiber Arts, Watercolors, Silk Painting, and Collage (and the list will probably keep growing - hence my decision to call myself a Protean Artist)! Trying to fit my artist life into my old blog/website just wasn't working, hence this new site. Please be patient with me as I continue to build and change this site to better fit my goals. And please let me know if you have any suggestions - I would love to hear from you!