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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Oil Painting Dream

You hear everyday in America to "Follow your Dreams!"  When I was a kid I wanted to be an archeologist like Indiana Jones, an editor because I was constantly reading, a writer because I was constantly writing, and then a famous painter. I really thought it would be just a few years before I would be "discovered." I would have a huge loft studio where I would do encaustics and need a ladder because I was using such huge canvases. I might at times live in Paris or New York. Yep, my fallback plan was to be an art historian.  I would probably dabble in some restoration and write a few books on the way to stardom.  Then, I started doing more craft type arts. In college, I switched from art history to art education. I loved teaching. I took classes in weaving, printmaking, jewelry casting, drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, and ceramics. At home during the summers, I started making candles, soaps, body products, stamping, scrapbooking, and paper making.  I was consumed by teaching art.  After college, I worked in activities at a nursing home.  I started subbing at area schools.  I loved it..  I wanted to teach so much I could taste it. I went back to school to become an English teacher.  I got into book making and calligraphy.  I was now doing everything mixed media.  Then, I left the country and collected three years worth of beads, coils, jewelry, fabric, paper, and photographs.  Teaching art was a dream and a nightmare.  The cleaning was unending.  I was spending so much money on extra supplies. In Cairo, I would buy bags of plaster off the street with the help of my classroom "helpers." In Dhaka, I taught ms and hs kids how to do Japanese fish prints with real fish.  I saw art from all over the world and I never stopped dreaming of the day when I could devote myself to art. 

I always knew that I needed a big house for all of this. I thought of myself on a farm. Yes, I would homestead.  I would keep bees, grow my own herbs, make a fortune selling my soap and diy stuff.  I would have big looms with wool from my sheep. (Ha, okay, maybe I didn't go this far.)  What really happened is, I came back, subbed, and got hired and for the next decade devoted myself to school. I did a lot of art and crafts for gifts, scrapbooks, parties, but most of what I did was for school. For ten years, I put all my creativity into teaching. Next came the day where my curriculum was replaced by a scripted program. Gone was my ability to create. I couldn't really carry out anymore fun, interesting ideas. No more using my Cricut, laminating, or using my glittery scented pens to write a journal response to a student.  My journals were gone. I guess a part of me died. But I started to have time.  

I guess I had to rediscover myself.  I had started sewing.  I started thinking about what I wanted to do.  Of course, I was still spending a lot of time reading young adult lit.  I spent some time baking and working on things for my writing club.  I spent a lot of time trying to find things for this reading group I had.  However, it seemed like all of that fell flat.  I played around with technology and gamification. But I started to feel something...


My dreams were coming back.  I needed to paint. I always had on and off.  This time I couldn't even find my oil paints.  Sure, I had watercolor, acrylic, even gouche, but I needed to paint in oil.  I went out and bought new paints, mediums, and canvas.  I printed out pictures of things I wanted to make. I make collages, I started and then...
The clutter of the house got to me.  Oil paint stinks and is very messy.  I tried to paint in my sewing room, but I didn't have the room. I would then move everything into my dining room. When the kids would come, I would jam everything into various rooms.  Painting lay unfinished.  Everything was scattered. I started to declutter and everything got moved to my garage.  I tried to just "be."  But I can't stop thinking of painting again.  I think of when I was 15 and started to paint.  I think of the times I tried to quit, but it called me back.  Art will not let me go. I have to let out my creativity somehow.  It is not an option.  I found my OLD oil painting stuff in a box in my garage.  Some of those paints are from 1993.  I have canvases spread all over the house half finished. Now that I think of it, I haven't really finished a painting since 1996.  My life has been a work in progress. I want to start finishing things. I want to start painting, not looking for my stuff all the time.

The whole time I've been decluttering, I've been asking myself, "What am I making room for?"  Was it a man? (Nope, not unless he is a handy man!)  Was it just the peace of a near empty room?  Was it to go paperless and digitalize everything?  Was it for the kids? They are getting bigger and have more toys.  Also, I can't throw much out because the baby might want those toys when she is older.  Hmm, will she really want to play with this giant rusty old truck that even Jackson never liked? (I wanted to give that one to my cousin's son.  Nope, my brother wants to keep it.  Who's the hoarder?)

So now I am making room to do what I love to do. Paint. Make. Sew. Glue. I will never be a famous artist.  Heck, I'm not even a good painter.  But I can't stop.  Now watch, maybe they will tell me that I need to create a new curriculum and I'll never have time to paint a single stroke! That would be the irony of my life.

I wonder though what I can cut out from the rest.  Will I really make soap again with real lye?  Do I want to deal with the hassle of using my old Cricut Expressions 2?  Do I need all that rubber stamping stuff? Does anyone even use stamps anymore?  The worst hoard I have is my scrapbooking stuff.  With a new baby in the family, I would feel terrible if I didn't make her at least one album. Jeez, every second of Jackson's babyhood was documented!