Sketching and drawing have always been as natural to me as breathing, but I didn't do much painting until I was an adult. In my early 20's I taught in a Chinese university in Taiwan. There I studied Mandarin and tried my hand at calligraphy and Chinese brush painting. That was my introduction to painting!
After my return to the States and with no formal training, I was encouraged by an artist friend to dip into oils, which I did until the demands of parenting and career put my creative efforts on hold for more than a decade. Eventually, however, around the edges of my paid job, I stole a few hours each week getting "down and dirty" with pastels. Pastels were the perfect medium at this time because they were so accommodating when I had to fit them into a very busy schedule.
It's only been the last decade (since I retired from my academic career) that I've had the luxury of working and learning from other artists and wandering wherever my muse might lead me. Today it might be a plein air landscape in pastel; tomorrow, a portrait in oil; next week, a Chinese mountainscape. . .or maybe another watercolor skeleton. The spontaneity that I allow myself is joyous - I think it massages my soul.