The next inspirational artist I grew up on I'd like to mention is Barbara Cooney, illustrator of many books, my favorite being one she also authored: Miss Rumphius
I love love love this book! The colors and details are the best.
There is an interesting article about Barbara Cooney on the penguin website. Barbara talks about her mother being a painter, and the support she received from her mother as a child:
"She gave me all the materials I could wish for and then left me alone, didn’t smother me with instruction. Not that I ever took instruction very easily. My favorite days were when I had a cold and could stay home from school and draw all day long.
She was an enthusiastic painter of oils and watercolors. She was also very generous. I could mess with her paints and brushes all I wanted. On one condition: that I kept my brushes clean. The only art lesson my mother gave me was how to wash my brushes. Otherwise, she left me alone.”
This reminds me of my own childhood. My Mom supplied my sister and I with many high quality art supplies and all the free time we wanted for drawing. Back then I didn't know how lucky I was to be able to use Prismacolor pencils and Liquitex paints, but I can very much appreciate it now. Those nice art supplies make it that much easier to achieve the desired result in art, even for a 9 year old! It does matter! Now I work primarily in watercolors but I hated them when I had only tried a pan of Crayola, then I was introduced to Winsor & Newton tube paints and I never turned back.