Yes, that is a Yorkie on my shoulder and one on my hip helping me feed a baby ~ they continue this help while painting too. Relationships!
My name is Penny Robichaux-Koontz. My mother just put “Penny” on a huge pickle jar, along with a Gerber baby picture and started saving her money to pay me off at the end of her pregnancy in 1949. She planned a perfect little girl who would be a perfect child and that child would live happily ever after.
She got most of that right. At 3 I had polio with a devastating prognosis and many years of surgeries, therapy, and prayers. I loved to color and to draw (though not very good at drawing) and would tell anyone who would listen that I would grow up to be an artist. While pregnant with my first child and on my companies mandatory pregnancy leave, I found myself very bored. My Aunt came to visit one afternoon bringing everything I would need to paint on porcelain. When I complained that I was too young to paint roses on china, she laughed and said, "I thought you would like to paint clowns for the baby’s room." She had me, and then, the art had me. I became the youngest registered International china painting teacher. At last, I was an artist, a wife, and a new mother the year was 1969, and we lived in California. I continued painting on porcelain but was asked to teach art at a public school for adults, which included painting in oils and watercolor.
I moved to Texas in 1977 and entered a career in the health and fitness industry traveling throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe but did not allow time for teaching art and only stolen moments to paint for myself. I used those moments to paint watercolor in the botanical style.
1991 I opened a homeless shelter and established it as a non-profit (I preferred calling it a living center) which included a division for homeless children. We opened a welding shop, a resale shop and an antique shop that included a bookstore and yes, art in painted furniture, porcelain, watercolor originals, a line of note cards all under the name of Treasured Possessions.
2003 I became a widow with three young adopted children to tend ~ 2005 we moved to Missouri where I taught art in their private school and opened Treasured Possessions that included a clinic. I was so grateful to have a huge studio to teach in with bright sunshine streaming through a 35-foot wall of glass but was surprised to find out that God wasn’t finished with me yet, and raising the three children was not the end of the story.
2008 I opened a non-profit, for children in Missouri on a beautiful ranch with two log homes and lots of promise including a wonderful husband, Dan, and daddy for my 3 and all the kids who would come. I closed my studio and moved to the ranch which had the worst lighting and much work in order to be established in a new state. My paints had been boxed up for six years until a room addition with southern exposure and French doors allowed the sunshine to pour into my room. It only took me a minute to unpack my supplies, take distance learning from artists I admired making a commitment to paint something every day. My botanical training gave me a “good eye” for detail, but my love of people and pets added animal portraits in pastels and watercolor to my line of favorite things. Thirty years later we begin a new season serving our community in Bristow, Oklahoma which will include a school and store.
What have I learned? God is faithful, being flexible with a good sense of humor is critical on the journey, you are never too old or too broken to learn new things, that dreams do come true. It helps if you are an artist but if not, find some art you admire and surround yourself with creations of beauty. Remember, sweet relationships, people & pets, make it possible to live happily ever after. Thanks, Mom.