The art of Dee Hartman

Dee Hartman is a local artist and recently stepped down as a substitute art teacher in Hollidaysburg school district. Her degree is in elementary education. She creates wonderful works inspired by nature and the humor she finds in life. From working in digital art to oil pastel to caricatures, she’s made a mark in Altoona. Not to mention she is a singer as well! You can find a sampling of her work on her facebook page, My World of Art.

I asked Ms. Hartman some questions about being an artist and she kindly answered: I was recently asked by Emily Dimov-Gottshall,“Why are you an artist?”

My answer is, I think I was born an artist. I have had a natural need within me to be creative and to be able to put down on paper or canvas something that represents something that is appealing to me.

It’s like I have a strong drive within me that continues to want to express myself with lines and colors. It seems to be ingrained in my mind. I find that it brings me satisfaction and joy. Art is simply a part of me that I do not want to live without. It brings me contentment, making me feel like I have accomplished something not just for myself, but for others, too. Yes, it gives me purpose.

If I do not draw or paint for a few days, I feel like there is something missing in my life.

Everyone has talents and I have developed good eye-hand coordination which became my developed talent, with a pen, pencil or brush in my hand… I love mixing colors and can see all these lines, shapes, spaces and colors in the world and I enjoy duplicating them on canvas as I see these things.

As far as style is concerned, I do like being a realistic artist, but I have dabbled with all kinds of mediums, including pencil sketching cartoons, caricature sketches, oil and acrylic paintings, sculpture, watercolor, chalks, computer generated art with mixed media….all are appealing to me. (I even like to make designs with food on a plate! LOL)

I have lived a life with many changes, and art has been one of the few constants for me. I have gone through the loss of family members and friends, coping with a sad, broken heart, and art has been here to help me through those bad times.

Yes, it has been almost like a therapy for me, in addition to being a creative outlet. Through the chaos in my life, It has helped to bring joy when things are bad.

I discovered this joy early in my childhood. I always had pleasure with the final results of what I was creating, even when others didn’t take notice. A highlight of my art as a school student was when I received first place in a contest by painting a store window downtown during Halloween. I also remember making many, many posters for school, too.

In college, I majored in Elementary Education with a second major in art. Art connected me to other students who were artists and this made life a happier place to live. One student, Brian Beagle, was in a few of my art classes. We got together and had a two person show in the Smith Building at PSU Altoona Campus. This was exciting to do and was fun.

I guess you could say one of my greatest experiences as an artist was receiving two President’s awards at the PSU Altoona Campus’s Art Festival. I later experienced my greatest claim to fame, receiving first place, internationally in an art contest, where my work was unveiled by Ela Gandhi, the granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi. There in Washington DC, we had breakfast together and enjoyed some favorite spots in our Capitol.

So, anyway, when I am asked why I’m an artist, I need to answer that it is not something I chose to do. It is something I need to do. Art is what keeps me happy, so it has become a permanent part of my life.