I have no formal art education.  When I was old enough to hold a pencil, I would draw.  I grew up in an unsophisticated milieu in a small town in North Dakota.  The schools could not afford an art teacher.  I enjoyed sketching portraits of students in high school.  When I heard the boys were throwing darts at my own self-portrait , I decided the likeness must’ve been recognizable.  I have not done another self-portrait since!! When I was a teenager, an 80 year old sign painter ordered a set of oil paints for me from a catalog.  He advised  me not to touch them until he had time for me. Two weeks later he died.  I tried to learn painting by myself on old file folders.  In 1969, I did a painting of a deaf child.  I had used my fingers instead of brushes and an 18x20 piece of cardboard.  Someone encouraged me to enter it in the Annual Jamestown, ND, Art Show.  That painting was invited by a judge to travel to “the first International Art Exhibit” that was held at the International Peace Garden between North Dakota and Manitoba, Canada.  It went! Since then, of course, I discovered  canvases and have won a lot of awards.   The first painting instructions I took were from Vivian Marie of Oak Harbor, WA, in 1986.  She taught Old Masters’ techniques to a small group of senior citizens.  She let me join the class.  I am currently attending classes taught by Edi Olson of Vancouver, WA.  Professional Artist, Stan Capon, is my neighbor who advises me upon request.  I am a member of four art organizations and serve as President of the Gresham Society of Artists, as well as Judging Chairman of the Portland Fine Arts Guild. Carol Bitz Copyright 2018 NW Oil Painters Guild