Saturday, July 31, 2010


California native Roxanne Padgett knew she wanted to be an artist when she did her first art project at age 4 - it was a mixed media piece with gumdrops and a dishtowel.  She has been teaching art to kids for over 30 years and has worked with the Museum of Children's Art for 13 years.  She says "It's rare when I don't have some kind of notebook or journal with me;  you never know when random acts of inspiration will happen".  Roxanne currently resides in Hayward, California with her husband and two dogs.


RUNNING WITH SCISSORS STUDIO:   Morning person or night owl?
ROXANNE:  I have become a morning person because of having to get up early to teach art in schools, so now it’s more habit than inclination. But I have to admit that I’m not very creative after 10:00 at night anyway. So, maybe I’m a day person.

RWSS:  Formal training or accidental artist?
ROXANNE:  I would say neither, really. I have always created and made things, my earliest memories are of the things I created as a very small child. It was always just what I did and still do.

      RWSS:  Do you have a dedicated studio space?
ROXANNE:  Yes, I have always had some place to work. When I was a kid, it was my bedroom closet. When my kids were little, it was the kitchen table and a shelf. Now I have turned the living room into a studio, and part of the garage and bits and pieces of space through out the house. I think every person should have a small private place that is dedicated to them, whatever they do, no matter the size of the space.

      RWSS:   Favorite quote?
ROXANNE:  I love quotes! I collect them and write them down in my journals. Many a journal page or a piece of art has been inspired by words. My favorite right now-
“Artists are people who play hide-and-seek, but do not know what they seek until they find it” H.W. Janson

      RWSS:    Best advice you’ve ever received?
ROXANNE:  Probably, it was my husband that suggested that if I organized my materials that I would have more time to create. That was over 20 years ago, even now when I get stuck on a project, I start to clean or organize my materials and then usually something will come to me. The other piece of advice is the one I tell myself everyday, you can’t get away from yourself now matter how hard you try, so don’t try, just let what is in you come out. And if the work is only interesting to me, well, I can live with that.

      RWSS:  We love the vibrancy and freedom that your journal covers possess – can you remember what prompted you to make your first one?
ROXANNE:  I have always been attracted and inspired by visual images. When I was 4 or 5 years old I began a systematic process of cutting out all the color pictures out of my parents Encyclopedia Britannica set and pasting them into my hand made books made from scrap paper. I always put the best picture on the cover. I did that for a few years until my Mom caught me and then gave me National Geographic to cut up. I just developed the process over many years. I love to add lots of color and layers of materials, paper, scraps, fabrics, sewing, painting, and drawing. I love to see what new ideas come from the layering process. Today, I rely much less on magazine pictures. But I still like to go through old mags and books and collect images, just a meditative process.

      RWSS:    Do you work with a planned course of action or prefer to be spontaneous when you create?
ROXANNE:  I do both. I usually start with a general idea in my mind. I can usually visualize the project in some form, but the important thing is to leave room for the unexpected, the stuff that you didn’t know was there. I think that is one reason why I never get tried of creating. I don’t want to totally control the process but I do think it is important to be able to know how to use your tools and materials and be able to react to what is happening.

      RWSS:  What is it about Frida Kahlo that inspires you?
ROXANNE:  What doesn’t inspire me about Frida? Her art, her passion, her personal style, I think she has become such an iconic symbol of the powerful woman artist.
Some people say that she started to do art because she was confined to a bed. I think she did art not because of her accident, but in spite of it, perhaps the accident was merely the catalyst.

      RWSS:    Who or what has influenced your style the most?
ROXANNE:  Colors in nature, art, books.

      RWSS:   Any indispensable tools or equipment?
ROXANNE:  Sewing machine, scissors, paint, stencils, water soluble crayons, camera, books, books and more books.

      RWSS:  You currently work for the Museum of Children’s Art.  Could you tell us a bit more about your role there and what it means to you?
ROXANNE:  I have worked at the museum for 13 years. I began teaching children art during the school day. Young children are creative and fearless and are a great source of inspiration for me. As children get older they start to think that they are not creative or an artist, that art is only for the special few who can draw. It is my mission and passion to keep students engaged in the creative process. I began to realize that the classroom teachers were no different than the students. They too, somewhere along the line decided they were not artists or creative. So, I shifted my focus to teaching classroom teachers how to teach art in their classrooms. And that begins by having them doing art themselves through professional development workshops. I think I can affect more children having art if more classroom teachers are comfortable with art themselves.

      RWSS:  Do you feel exposure to art plays an important enough role in grade school?
ROXANNE:  Wow, how much time to I have to write about this subject? When I went to school in the sixties & seventies we always had art once or twice a week, we even had an art teacher. I don’t think I could have tolerated school without art classes, it was so much a part of my identity, and I wasn’t very good at anything else, it was where I got my confidence. There is very little art in schools right now, testing and stats seem to rule the day. To have art in school is not just about making beautiful things, but is about the creative thinking process, problem solving, communicating and understanding the world. Having art in the school setting is not just about creating artists, but about creating well educated human beings.

RWSS:   What do you enjoy most about being a teaching artist? 
ROXANNE:  Sharing the creative process with others and getting them to believe that they also are creative, in whatever form that takes. Plus I get lots of inspiration when I watch kids paint; their combinations of colors are fearless.

      RWSS:   If you had to choose another career what would it be?
ROXANNE:  That’s a hard one, anything creative, a photographer, or a writer.

      RWSS:  Best part of your day?
ROXANNE:  Getting up in the morning to my first cup of coffee, thinking about all the creative things that I could do that day.

      RWSS:   What is the one thing that most people would be surprised to find out about you?
ROXANNE:  I love to dance to 70’s disco and funk music. I have also been known to don a sumo suit and wrestle with my sister.

RWSS:  Who would you most like to meet and how would you spend the day? 
ROXANNE:  I would love to meet Georgia O’Keefe; we would walk in the dessert and collect bones, sticks and rocks. We wouldn’t even have to talk much. But we would discuss the subtle colors in all that we observed. We would notice the day sky turning into evening, the visual texture of a cactus, the smell of sage brush… Maybe we would take photos, to be used as inspiration for a painting. She would take me to her quiet spot where we would meditate…………..ponder the stars.

            RWSS: I’d be lost without……….
ROXANNE:  My family.

      RWSS: Favorite dessert?
ROXANNE:  Vanilla Hagen Das with fresh raspberries and raw sugar. In fact my Grand Daughter calls me Raspberry MiMi.

      RWSS: Any words of wisdom?
      ROXANNE:  “Fear No Color
      Try something, even if you think it won’t work.  Be fearless, what’s the worse thing that
      could happen? In the end, it’s only a piece of paper or canvas or (you fill in the blank).

Roxanne is currently featured in the Summer 2010 issue of Sew Somerset magazine and
will also be one of the instructors at JournalFest 2010 in Port Townsend, Washington.  As a teaching artist, she offers fiber and visual journal classes for adults and has a great blog titled Art House 577


  1. thanks so much for featuring roxanne! i've liked her work for awhile now and this was a fun and interesting interview. i saw some art that i hadn't seen before and learned some things about roxanne that i didn't already know.

  2. Thank you so much for having me on your blog.
    It looks great! Roxanne

  3. I love this interview. So interesting. I love the journal its very creative.
    --Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward. ~Soren Kierkegaad

  4. I just love blogging and as i get spare time from busy schedule i start working on it. Wonderful post, I really enjoyed reading it!