Reminiscing, part 2

I’m still peeking at my old photos when I should be labeling their storage boxes. I can’t help reminiscing when I do. (You can read Part 1 here.)

I see old photos of an entrepreneurial boy trying to earn quarters. Quarters were important pieces of silver to us kids because we could buy a long-neck bottle of our favorite soft drink, a candy bar, and a comic book with each. My first job that earned me quarters was selling the Grit newspaper on weekends. I was 9. During that time, I sold greeting cards for a company that advertised on the back pages of my favorite comic books. I made enough money to buy a bicycle and a pair of roller skates. I used the bike to help me deliver newspapers faster. I shared the skates and several comic books with my unemployed younger brothers.

My earnings also allowed me to buy some colored pencils and drawing paper. With them, I made my own greeting cards—Merry Christmas, Happy Easter, Get Well Soon, etc.—and gave them out for free to my newspaper customers. Years later, I met one of my customers who had kept some of my cards and framed them. They hung on her living room walls.

Even later, when I became an adult and began my career as an artist, I gave away a lot of my art as gifts. An acquaintance told me it wasn’t a good business venture, and wanted to know how I thought giving away my art could be profitable. For me, being an artist isn’t always about making money. My profits were the smiles on people’s faces when I give them my art as gifts.

When I was learning to paint realistic looking animals and landscapes, I gave away my early attempts to anyone who wanted them. One was a deer painting (“Road Traveler,” shown below) that I gave to my younger brother in 1985. His friends saw it and word got around that I was a wildlife artist. They and their friends became some of my frequent customers.

watercolor/gouache painting of deer
Road Traveler, Watercolor and Gouache, 1985. Copyright © 2023 Steven Leo Campbell at – All rights reserved.

Not profitable giving away art? I suppose it’s how you define the word.

Sometimes those giveaways were advertisements that led to commissions. For example, I did a pastel drawing of a whitetail buck in January 1988 for a birthday gift.

pastel deer drawing
Buck Portrait, Pastel, 1988. Copyright © 2023 Steven Leo Campbell at – All rights reserved.

A local dentist who was an avid hunter saw my drawing and commissioned me to do another buck portrait, painted in oils this time.

oil deer painting
Buck Portrait, Oil, 1988. Copyright © 2023 Steven Leo Campbell at – All rights reserved.

Other photos I’ve peeked at this week are local wildlife studies from the 1980s and 90s and the time I went through fifty rolls of black and white film and shot all sorts of scenery at night. Below are three of my most favorite photos of those times.

The red-tailed Hawk is one of my first honest-to-goodness wildlife photos that turned out decent. I didn’t use a blind but lowered myself to my stomach and kept very still in the grass.

red-tailed hawk photo
Red-tailed Hawk, Photograph. Copyright © 2023 Steven Leo Campbell at – All rights reserved.

I shot the pair of black and white night photos downtown (shown below), just blocks from where I live. The statue in front of the church was very spiritual and moving at the time, which prompted me to shoot upward for dramatic effect.

church statue photo
Holy,” Photograph. Copyright © 2023 Steven Leo Campbell at – All rights reserved.

The street scene is a time-lapse photo taken at a traffic light and railroad crossing. Some of my friends called this shot “Passing Through.” I used that as its title at an art and photography show and it stuck.

street at night photo
Passing Through,” Time-lapse photo. Copyright © 2023 Steven Leo Campbell at – All rights reserved.

That’s all for now. I really need to label my storage boxes and check it off my To Do list.

Thanks for reading.

Peace and love to all my readers.

Steve, 2/15/2023

This post “Reminiscing, part 2” copyright © 2023 Steven Leo Campbell at – All rights reserved.

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3 thoughts on “Reminiscing, part 2

  1. I really like “Road Traveler”… I like the texture of it. I always wanted to draw and paint but I didn’t have it. My best friend had it…and I do think it’s a God given gift. Don’t get me wrong…you guys work hard on getting better but you are gifted…at least that is what I think.
    The passing through almost looks like a painting…the feel of it.

    Liked by 1 person

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