Artist Anita Williams presents a glorious, light-filled collection of landscape paintings. See more of her work by visiting her website.
I have been making art since I could hold a pencil. As a child, I found the best art supplies for me were pencils and note pads, often left for me by my grandmother. I wasn’t a fan of coloring books because I couldn’t stay within the lines.
I went to a Catholic school which did not have formal art classes, but I did have some teachers (including nuns) who recognized and encouraged my artistic ability in the second and third grades.
By middle school, my drawing habit got me into trouble. I preferred to draw in the margins of my textbooks and notebooks instead of paying attention in algebra class. In high school I had actual art classes and loved them. Although my art teacher encouraged my artmaking and wanted me to attend art school, I had heard a lot of mixed messages from friends and family about a career in art.
My father arranged for me to “shadow” some commercial artists in an advertising agency. The “artists” in the agency hand drew Yellow Page ads—they were all male with girly posters in their offices—I wanted nothing to do with that!
Instead, I went the business route and took courses in typing and shorthand. I ended up moving to New York City and working as a secretary where I found great work and made decent money. I moved to Philadelphia and continued my secretarial work. At the time I met my soon-to-be husband, who was an educator, I made more money that he did.
During this time, I continued to make art by taking evening classes. We eventually moved to York, Pennsylvania, where I discovered art classes at a local art association. I did take a couple of secretarial jobs but they didn’t pay as well as New York or Philadelphia. I got my insurance license and worked in that field, but quickly began to hate that business.
I became determined to find some work in the art field.
After a little research, I found that if I took a secretarial job at a college, I could get free tuition. I took a job at a community college and took as many art classes as I could. I then transferred my credits to a state university to get my degree in art education.
After graduation, I became a public school art teacher, working in that field for fifteen years. After a while, I became disillusioned with public school teaching. I decided to go back to school to get my MFA degree in a unique program for visual artists and choreographers. My thesis was on movement in painting.
Since then, I retired from public school education and found a studio above a wine bar in York. I have found a lot of support in the art community here where I now paint full-time and teach adults at two to three art associations.