I believe my mother’s artistic gifts and my father’s ability to make things grow manifested itself in very unique and different ways among their six children, but my sister Veronica’s abilities revealed itself very early on in her life. Here’s her perspective on her talent.
C Dyann: How old were you when you picked up your first paintbrush?
Veronica Adams: I imagine I was probably in elementary school when I picked up my first paintbrush. I don’t exactly remember the first time painting, but I did a lot of drawing with my brother, Mark. I really loved the Marvel and DC comic book series. I was fascinated by the colors of the comic book covers. I was mostly inspired by the colors red and blue, which I find myself using a lot in my own artwork. But my most memorable experience with creating art was going to an appointment with my Mom. I just remember the nurse or secretary showing me how to draw a stick figure. After that, I was hooked on drawing and coloring.
I became more interested in painting when my parents bought me an oil paint by number kit for Christmas when I was about eleven years old. I was a little intimidated with painting, but to my delight the picture turned out beautiful.
C Dyann: What advice would you give your younger self right now?
Veronica Adams: I would tell my younger self to stop being such a perfectionist about my artwork. I would tell myself to just have fun with art. I remember always getting frustrated if my art didn’t look exactly like the object I was painting. I would drive myself crazy with the self-critique of my artwork. You know, I still have to catch myself now when I am creating. Yes, I want it to look great, but I need to allow my artistry to shine through. That is still a struggle to this day!
C Dyann: Describe your style and your biggest inspiration.
Veronica Adams: I think that my painting style is photographic. I paint from photographs, so I emulate what I see in photographs, but I try to put my own expression of the subject in my paintings. My biggest inspiration, I would have to say is the human figure, period. I love to paint faces, I love to paint movement of the body, such as a basketball player, a singer, a child tying their shoe, etc. The human figure is by far the most inspiring subject for me to paint. Music, sports, and working with children are my greatest loves of life. I draw inspiration from these three things, as well.
C Dyann: What’s behind the themes in your artwork?
Veronica Adams: The themes of my artwork come from things that I love; music, sports, and children. I get inspired by music. I love to listen to old R &B tunes when I’m painting. The music helps me to visualize and create. I love basketball, jazz, R&B, inspirational music, and working with children. I try to incorporate these themes into my artwork. I have experimented in the past with portraits of prominent people in society such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. I also created a portrait series when I was at UC Berkeley on famous musicians. Marvin Gaye has been a recurring subject in my artwork because he is one of the most famous R&B icons of all time.
I have been flirting with the idea of writing and illustrating a children’s book, so I painted a picture of my daughter tying her shoes. One day I will get to the story behind that picture!
C Dyann: Do you have a routine that gets you prepared to create?
Veronica Adams: My routine that gets me ready to paint is actually just listening to music, or watching a basketball game on television. I kind of like to be doing something while the television is on, or while I am listening to music. I don’t like to sit idle; I feel like I am wasting precious time. When I start painting, I sometimes stop to sing one of my favorite tunes, then I am able to focus on one particular aspect of the painting. Singing helps me to step back and focus on light and shadow, or the proportions of my figure.
C Dyann: Is painting your only medium of expression?
Veronica Adams: Painting is not my only medium of expression. I also sing and write song lyrics. I’m working on reading and playing music on the piano. I really love singing. It is very freeing to my soul. All of my tensions and stress are released when I sing a song by my favorite contemporary artist, Anita Baker. I also love songs by Barbra Streisand, George Michael, Whitney Houston, Hall and Oates, Fleetwood Mac, Sade, etc. I have a wide variety of tastes on my playlist. I am an alto, so I love singing songs by artists that are in my range.
One day I was playing around on my guitar with some easy jazz chords, and I just developed some lyrics. I just kept fooling around with it for about a week and before I knew it, I had a song. Within about three months, I wrote lyrics for twelve songs. I am currently working with a musician to develop one of the songs. I love it, but it’s very time consuming. It’s also a little frustrating not having the ability to write music notes fully. But I love the process of songwriting as much as I love singing.
C Dyann: If you could become famous for your most cherished medium of art which one would it be and why?
Veronica Adams: I would love to become famous for painting portraits. Painting portraits is what I love to do most. I get a great sense of satisfaction in knowing that I created something beautiful to look at. A lot of people marvel at my work, and I marvel at them marveling at it. I sometimes feel like what I created was not that great, because I am very critical of my work. But when people say what they love about it, then I start to see what they see. It sounds crazy, but I need time to accept it for what it is and then cherish the fact that I created it as a means of my expression.
C Dyann: Where can we find your artwork?
Veronica Adams: My artwork can be found on Etsy.com. My shop is RonnieLaArtista. I also have a website that I am in the process of building: ronnielaartista.com. Please check it out!!