Saturday, November 16, 2013

Artist Statement

Artist Statement:

I was named by my father, Thomas McNeill. He didn’t even tell my mother, just wrote it on the birth certificate! She wanted to call me Katrina Marie. But she liked the name he gave me: Fawn Marie. My father was killed in a car accident while serving in the Coast Guard a month before I turned 3 years old.  So my unique name is like a gift from him for my whole life.  That is why I use Fawn McNeill as my Pen name. My young students call me Miss Fawn, or Mrs. Barr.

I was 12 when I started buying instructional books on drawing and painting. (I lived with an abusive step-father.)  My brothers and I moved to Montana to live with my grandmother for a few months before joining our mother in the pacific islands.  The three of us ended up in foster care. When I was in my second foster home, I won three first place ribbons at the age of 14.  I accepted my first commission my senior year of high school and had my first art show.

I moved back to Montana before getting married and settling in Florida.  Had my first child and gave private painting lessons when I was 21. Then I started teaching small classes the following year. By the time my 2 boys were teenagers I finally took the opportunity to get my BFA.  After focusing on realism, and selling my paintings (as a self-taught artist) for many years, it was difficult to learn that my work was not considered acceptable at the university. (Didn’t they know I was already a professional artist after all?)  They encouraged a broad spectrum of study, including abstract, modern, and conceptual art.  So I struggled through and supplemented my major with educational courses in order to get certified to teach art in the public schools. 

While teaching art at the local high school, I began an on-line business and took the daily painters challenge.  I began working at home full time and explored many styles of art.  I averaged 3 - 4 new small paintings each week for more than a year. My paintings sold quite well until the economy suffered.  So I began teaching more classes at different galleries. This became my passion.  I truly enjoy the after school classes, and I enjoy working with adults as well.

It has all come together now with Fawn’s Studio, my own teaching center and art gallery. (I am also learning a new trade in custom framing.) My hope is that viewers will find a touch from The Creator in my paintings, and encouragement in the spiritual healing that often follows.  One more thing I would like to share: The dove by my name is my way of thanking The Lord for bringing me through such a stormy life, and for turning it around for good.  It symbolizes my belief that I can only accomplish anything by the power of his spirit that lives through me in Christ Jesus. 

Click here for more about Fawn's Studio.