Most of us had BIG DREAMS as children. We were going to be ballerinas, astronauts, doctors, firemen. I was going to be an artist. I loved to draw and paint. My grandmother gave me a little paint-by-number set when I was a young girl and I thought I was Picasso! I was going to paint and design dresses and be famous. Then my father took me aside for a reality talk. “Art is fun, honey, but you can’t make a living at it.” I wasn’t quite sure if he was telling me that artists in general were all starving or that it was obvious that I would! I never asked him to clarify. And I’m not saying that I quit drawing then and there. But I have to be honest and tell you that it did indeed plant the “seed of doubt”. I didn’t personally know any artists. The ones we studied in school were dead. My aunt sketched and made ceramics, but she did something much more mundane for a salary- she drew highways. So, I decided that art had better be my “plan B”, something I did for fun, for a hobby, and I looked around for something else to support me. My mother was a writer and we got by on beans and potatoes, so I knew my words weren’t likely to make me wealthy. I didn’t want to farm or be a farmer’s wife. I wasn’t pretty enough to be a dozen other things I thought about. Then I looked around at all the well-dressed, educated people I knew. Teachers! I’d be a teacher. But “plan B” always hovered in the background.
I managed to take a lot of art classes over the years. There were community education classes, junior college classes, and finally university classes. I sketched and painted when I had time. I created a few “decorations” for my walls and gave some paintings away to family and friends. I never thought about changing my plans and trying to make a living with my art. Just as well. I’m not that good. But I enjoy it!
I think we forget sometimes about doing things for the sheer joy of doing them. I like to sew and knit and crochet and paint and draw. I’ve finally begun to realize that I don’t have to be equally gifted at each task. I don’t have to impress anyone. I don’t have to “earn my keep” to justify the expense of a hobby. I can just do what I like! I think that’s a lesson I’ve learned from my kindergarten students. They do so many things just for the joy of doing them!
Along with this new freedom to enjoy myself, I’ve stopped “editing” so much. Many of the things I paint and sketch aren’t like the things other people do. I used to worry about that and compare my work to what classmates did. No more. I’m either wise enough to know that isn’t important or “too old to care” anymore. Whatever. Here are a couple of my favorite paintings. There are more in my photo album. Enjoy…or not. I’ll keep painting anyway!