Book: Upsidedown & Backwards - Visual Mysteries of an American Era by Annette Rawlingscategories: Book, The 60s, Adventure, Jungle, Art, Strong Women, Plaza Hotel, David Crosby, Timothy Leary, Louvre in Paris, Patti Smith, Miami, Coconut Grove, Virginia Miller Galleries, Memoir
Annette Rawlingsabout this book: I endured a childhood of poverty, neglect and abandonment. One day I visited a museum and discovered that the pathway to freedom was in the mystical power of art. Today I am a successful artist whose story readers find fascinating and unforgettable. The story told in my memoir, "Upside Down & Backwards", begins when I was born into a dysfunctional Southern family. My mother abandoned me at birth, put me in the care of my grandparents and then reclaimed me three years later. There was no family life. I played in vacant lots and hid in the closet while my father beat my mother almost every day. It was painful to watch her put on makeup to cover the bruises. At the age of sixteen my mother arranged for me to marry. I dropped out of high school and joined my husband in Germany where he was stationed in the Air Force. Repulsed at being with a man I didn't care for, I left the house nearly every day and wandered the streets of Heidelberg. One day I walked into a museum and was captivated by the art that I saw. I immediately became lost in the mystery of creativity, I had found the world where I belonged. Seeing the courage of artists gave me the strength to return to the U.S., where I worked my way through high school and college at the the University of Miami. I also began painting with a passion that was infused by the culture of Miami and by the strong, creative people I associated with, including Patti Smith, Tennessee Williams, David Crosby and Timothy Leary. Still inspired by the art I first saw, I paint with a fever that I hope will embolden others. I realized that I may be on the right track when I recently visited the Louvre in Paris. There at the Louvre were several young people looking at a colorful minimalist painting. The painting was mine. I have been contacted by men and women of all ages telling me how much they enjoyed my book, in fact they couldn't put it down. They were fascinated by art, artists and the human conditions of the period in which I lived, the 60's. They found my story fulfilling on all accounts. They enjoyed learning about my life (and found the stories of my times with my grandparents deeply moving) and amazed at the life I have had. They the story of the progress as an artist equally fascinating and understandable. My memoir flows very naturally, and people have said it is "exceptionally well written" (Jeff Thompson, Director of Library Services) "it is one of the best artists memories I've ever read and I've read plenty". By sharing my story -my self- the reader sees how my art springs from my self. For anyone who is struggling to express themselves to "be" and artist my book is both informative and encouraging. There is much struggle-and work-in my book. Those who have read Vasari relate to my descriptions of my travels through Italy. Those having read biographies and autobiographies of writers, painters and film makers will find that mine tells what it is like to be an artist in the U.S. today.
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