If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know that usually means that there's a lot happening... that I can't blog about. Well - I DO blog it - but only in my head. I write incredibly long, very thoughtful posts. ;-) Sometimes, there are even pictures or drawings to go with them. Someday, I will be THAT kind of person who is brave enough to say what she thinks and not give a flying fig newton what anyone else thinks. (Oooo... fig newton.... See? I still care.)
I would like to tell you about some interesting things I learned about myself - and other people - this summer. And what I have learned from all these classes I took this year. Can you believe it is November!? At the beginning of this year, I decided that I needed to go back to school. I researched online options for MFAs - nothing excited me. So I put together my own program with Surface Design, Illustration, Mermaids, Fairies, Inktense pencils, writing, nutrition, and relationships... I'm missing a few in there I think? But you get the idea. And every thing finishes up next week. I made it. Almost. I did what I set out to do. Now I have to process it all. Then figure out how to show you what I learned.
Back to flying fig newtons...
Art is hard. What I do may not seem like a "real" job to some people, but it can be even harder since there is no easy path to follow. There are stereotypes hitting you from one direction and the economy from another (Art may be the first thing cut when times get difficult, you can't eat a painting. But Art is the only thing that remains when a civilization disappears). And then there are the internal debates - trying to please the client, altering your style and values to fit the demand, fear of failure. And job insecurity...
It's easy to forget our personal goals too. I found myself judging my accomplishments and thinking "I haven't published any real books this year - what have I been doing with my time?!" I had to list the places I had taught and the ebook and the trading cards... and then I remembered that my goal had been to LEARN this year! And not everything I learned this year came from a class - but I definitely gained knowledge!
I've been pushing myself and trying on different hats - some got flung across the room - and decided I don't like hats... and agonizing over assignments and people and places and things. And what I have come back to is that I suck at all that stuff. But when I slurp up everything I see and then percolate and then just toss it up in the air - I am happy.
Example: Planning an excursion out "there" with my kids is hell. Walking in the dark, holding hands with my daughter... dumping all the Halloween candy on the floor, picking the best of the best (with a glass of milk) and snuggling while watching E.T. - that is bliss.
Example #2: Sketching and sketching and researching and scanning and wracking my head to come up with a clever solution to an illustration homework assignment... Hell. I remember why I quit.
Walking around the entire outside of my son's High School desperately searching for an unlocked door... in the dark. Finally sneaking in as a student ran out... then slipping into the auditorium just as a bunch of red-dressed flapper girls take the stage... ah? Ah. Just stop, Sandy. You don't need to be anywhere else. Yes, Alex, I am happy to wait another half hour while you rehearse... besides, I see something that I would LOVE to draw...