Hi! I’m Rebecca. Most friends call me “Bex”.
I’m a self-taught artist living in a small town in Pennsylvania called Saltillo. We have a gas station, a post office, & a cemetery. Not even a traffic light. A big difference from my younger years, growing up in Baltimore, MD but I’m grateful my journey has led me here.
I teach my public classes in acrylics & use them most often in my work, but also have a strong love of oils & watercolor. My favorite subjects are people. Sometimes I create realistic portraits, but mostly enjoy a more whimsical style with exaggerated features & vibrant colors.
I didn’t plan to be a teacher. I am painfully uncomfortable in large groups of people & am definitely NOT a fan of being the center of that large group’s attention. However, leaving my comfort zone has been so rewarding. I’m extremely lucky to have a job that allows me to share my gift with others & has helped so many explore their own creative sides.
My creative journey…
I’ve been making art since I was a young girl. One of my earliest “artsy” memories is my clothesline art show at Grandma Jean’s house in Baltimore. “Selling” my creations for free to any relatives and neighbors I could get to stop. I never thought I’d become an artist though. I didn’t know any professional artists at the time and that goal seemed as unrealistic as becoming a famous actress or a super model or an astronaut. People did it… but only the truly exceptional. So for most of my life, creating was just a hobby and I was content with that.
It wasn’t until fall of 2010 that a dear friend encouraged me to set up a booth at a local festival and Bluebird Designs was launched. (The “Bluebird” inspired by one of my favorite Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds songs) I still felt like the shy girl with her clothesline. I secretly suspected most of the purchases were pity buys from kind neighbors who felt sorry for me. Two years later, my friend Amanda asked me to collaborate with her on a children’s book she’d been dreaming up. With our 1st book, “An Italian Hand Story” I got to add illustrator to my job title and Betty & Al Books for Young Readers was created. I also started giving private lessons to kids and teens from my home.
Then it happened… in the summer of 2015, that same friend who encouraged me back in 2010 had another bright idea: take my super fun kids classes and gear them toward adults. But with alcohol! I was terrified. But since this friend is a pretty smart cookie, I took her advice once again. I bought 8 easels and 8 brush sets and invited 8 of my closest friends over for a trial run of “Ladies Night at LaPalace”. Surprisingly, I didn’t stink it up too bad, so I decided to take it further and practice on strangers. 8 students grew into 10 and eventually 15. I remember the 1st time I taught a group of 20 I was so nervous, my voice shook and I felt like I was gonna puke! A few months later, I was asked to do a fundraiser for J.C. Blair’s Pink Power Paint Night. That really kicked things into full gear for me professionally. I was astounded by how quickly my business was growing and how in-demand my services were. It was pretty overwhelming for a gal who just kinda jumped into this thing on a whim!
I thought this trend would continue for a few months, then fizzle, and I’d be on the curb next to someone’s old Beanie Babies and a broken Tamagotchi. But here I am. Still at it. Still growing, both personally and professionally. I mean… look at me… I had to give in and create a website! (A pretty big deal for a non-technical dummy like me.) I still feel uncomfortable standing in front of people. I still have days where I’m so sick and anxious, I can barely function. But the love of my job and my customers makes it so worth it to me.
I am truly grateful to everyone who played a role in getting me to this point in my life. I actually became what I wanted to be when I grew up and I didn’t even know it! I am a lucky little bluebird.