A Short Story About How I Got Here

As a kid, I had two obsessions: drawing and horses.  I wanted to be a jockey or an artist.  But, my parents told me there were no careers (well, none they thought worth pursuing) involving either of those passions.  So, I remained “undeclared” until my senior year in high school when I had two really fantastic science teachers who Blinded Me With Science. I was smitten.

"Good heavens Miss Sakamoto - you're beautiful!" You’re welcome.

My Ph.D. advisor was a brilliant, gentle soul who was an outstanding academician and artist.  On a stroll through campus, we were gobsmacked by the beauty of a huge persimmon tree bespeckled with brilliantly orange fruit that contrasted perfectly against the bright blue sky.  Byron remarked, “I’ve always thought of myself as a scientist by training, but an artist at heart.”  My innards leaped when he said this.  You mean, making art is more than an indulgence? 

It never occurred to me that creating art could be an essential part of who a person was.  Maybe it was even an essential part of me.

Art met science when Byron encouraged me to take Scientific Illustration, which was my first formal art course. 

Scientific Illustration introduced me to techniques such as stippling.  

It was pretty wonderful. After finishing my Ph.D. came a postdoctoral fellowship at The University of Texas in Austin. 

But academia wasn’t the right fit for me for lots of reasons.  According to friends who have remained in academia, the systemic problems I experienced decades ago are still alive and well. Then there was the way academia required sacrificing everything I craved in life.  I decided that living a balanced life was more important to me than being an academician and then stepped off the treadmill. 

No regrets.  At.  All.

Once liberated, I tried all sorts of jobs.  I was a feline behaviorist for a while (“Why is the cat peeing on my bed?!” Ohhhh the stories I could tell…).  There were a couple of years as an environmental consultant (lunch breaks napping in tall grass, blue sky overhead, breeze rustling the leaves in nearby motts—heavenly!).

I mowed lawns, walked dogs, helped a master carpenter, and became the maintenance person for an apartment complex (honestly, with YouTube I could learn how to fix most everything the complex could throw at me).  Best of all, I raised two happy, healthy humans who have enriched my life beyond measure.

But my creative side wasn't being fed nearly enough and began to demand more of my attention.       

                                         I had an idea...        

        Looking back, I was almost certainly inspired by my son’s colored dinosaurs that he made when he was four. 







I wanted to make a horse, similar in style to my son’s paper mosaics, but using stained glass.

 After experimenting with adhesives and layering for durability I completed my first stained glass mosaic...

...a horse and butterfly frolicking together.  ​





This was the beginning of something really good.

[to be continued...]