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Clarity in Chaos and a Shameless Plug

Flurry, 12″ x 12″, Oil on Canvas – SOLD

I’ve been holding back on sharing too much of my newer work. It is much more abstract than I’ve ever done. I am completely prepared for the reality that people who liked my old stuff, may not like the new stuff, but a mentor’s advice to keep the thoughts of any potential audience out of my head while I’m working — to just create art, for art sake with no thought of sales or like – has been driving my work lately.

It has been a really good experience, helping me find my voice, and integrate my other self — the teacher – more and more into my art.

For the last four winters that other self has dominated my life, sometimes crowding out painting, and even making me question my life as a painter. This fall, however, has been different. This fall, adopting a daily discipline of painting, even when I don’t feel “in the mood,” creating even when the demands of school seem to push everything else aside, has helped me see that teaching and painting don’t have to be two sides of my personality. They can be overlapping facets.

Teaching, like painting abstractly, can seem chaotic. There’s a lesson planning, the paperwork, the communications with parents, and, of course, meetings. And, if you love it, if you really love it, there’s the learning.

The deeper you get into learning about all the things that can derail a kids future – – and I see a lot of that as a special educator – the more invest if you become in learning about the best ways to get them back on the tracks that give them their best futures. For me, I was led to countless courses and webinars and graduate work, and it has led to thinking about where I want this blog to go.

As I embark on another course load and a research project looking at the disparate resources for students who struggle with dyscalculia (a math, learning disability), I’m realizing I can’t not write about education. And I can’t not write about art.

One gives my life purpose; the other gives it perspective, and I’m not always certain which does which.

If, like me, you are passionate about education and making sure every kid can read, or if you can’t stand the new art, feel free to vent in the comments. And, if you have enjoyed and keep enjoying the posts and art (good, bad, and hilariously ugly), please consider making a small donation using the link you’ll see in the sidebar of any post. 100% of any donations will go to funding curricula, and supplies in my classroom.

Original art will be on my website (www.Rachelbarlow.com) and 25% of sales will also go towards fundraising for my classroom and