Raised in Pennsylvania for the first 10 years, with summers in Marshfield, Massachusetts, the middle child of three, all of us could not be much more different, but equally opinionated, intense and colorful, it's a wonder my mother did not have a break down or at least send us to camp.
We moved back to my parents home area in Massachusetts, where I became interested in art through visits to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. My first friend there, Lucy Keough and I took the train to Boston alone to spend the day there during the 5th grade. I loved being out in the world alone or with friends and made several forays into Boston to go the galleries and museums every year after that. I knew professional artists by the time I was 13 and often met them in the city for outings to the Boston Public Library, with discussions over coffee in coffee houses. My brother David Hartwell often took me with him on Saturday nights to hear blue grass music or go to plays or something. I got to going out with older guys, getting away with acting sophistocated and being sure of myself.
By the time I actually went to art school in Boston, I was ready to get more involved with the art world, but instead turned to getting an MFA and focused instead on teaching for a living. I doubted my ability to support myself on the sale of art works, and as it turned out that was a wise insight. I would have starved to death early on, but instead I got a job teaching printmaking at Florida State University and have been happier there as time has changed both it and me. For instance, I love being warm, working in the garden and swimming during the heat of the day to take a break from work. My studio looks out at the pool and plants. All of the thick vegetation here, I planted. My greenhouse is full of blooming orchids and rare tropical plants, it stays warm all winter. My studio faces south and gets winter sun, and I am a daylight worker in general. I really love my home / studio, but when the days get short, I am off to Miami to visit friends. If it were not for my friends there, my life would have been very dull and depressing. I keep in touch with many of my ex-students and find that to have been the truly big reward in teaching.
With my retirement coming up in 2007, I will finally graduate from college and focus on showing and selling some of this art work. My art storage room is full and although I keep making things and learning new techniques, I realize that it is a necessity to unload some of my gathered collections, so that will be my new challenge and focus.