Bernadette Gockowski, Artist


As the fourth child with three highly successful older siblings, I didn’t have many untried avenues for excellence. I decided early on that I needed to choose one thing that my siblings didn’t do, and focus on it. My parents always encouraged us to draw (my mother was an art major in college), so I stuck with that, drawing so much during the summers that “watching Bernadette draw” became a daily activity for my little brother.

In fifth grade, a visiting artist came to our classroom and taught us to paint a little watercolor with some cheap pan paints. I came home and told my mother that I was going to be an artist when I grew up, and I wanted paints for Christmas.

I got my paints, and I kept painting throughout college, when I majoring in Visual Art and got my K-12 art education teaching license at St. Olaf College. After that, life led me on a series of fortunate (but very non-art related) events, so that I virtually stopped doing art for over ten years.

Becoming a mother to two young children led me to pick up the brush once more. What began as ‘mommy’s alone time’ spread as I began the Colorful Past Project, and continues to grow in my heart and in my life.

I can hardly keep from including the human figure in my work. I try to focus on other subjects, but somehow, the building or flower or landscape is only intriguing to me if there is some element of humanity in it. I tried to suppress that tendency in my art for a time, but now I embrace it, and I find my true passion in the Colorful Past Project.