One of the ironies of my career change to teaching English and Special Ed is that, while I feel that an English teacher should be writing with every spare minute of time (and feel more confident about writing than any other skill), in the few minutes of each day that I devote to creativity, I end up drawing.
It is what the heart wants, even if the head is saying I should/need to write. Part of me wonders if one of the pitfalls (or blessings depending on how you look at it) of a career that demands so much emotion and thought and writing is that, at the end of the day, there is only room for the emotional release that is drawing or painting.
I recently came across a letter from Vincent van Gogh to his brother Theo. He had just received oil paints from his brother, and, during the year of waiting for the paint, had devoted himself to drawing. In the letter he mentioned how grateful he was for the time to draw, it helped him see the beauty in the paint so much better.
For my part, this last month of drawing has helped me see the beauty in my students and my life even better. It is not writing, but it is still a conversation with life.
I don’t know if the next season of creativity will feature brushes or strokes on the keyboard, but I do know that the main goal is to keep the conversation going, one way or another.
Day 4 – Freeze
Day 5 – Build
Day 5 – Husky
Fun fact, when you buy art off of my site, you’re getting used art. Most of the time when I do a painting, the piece ends up on my bookshelf until it’s time to go to a show or fair. When show season ends, however, the painting doesn’t, and, having a fairly small studio/office, ￼I hang the surplus art in our halls and rooms, and it lives there until Etsy makes the little cash register sound on my phone.
￼Sometimes I feel a little sorry for my husband. Sure, plenty of wives come up with redecorating ideas here and there, but living with an artist, he often comes home or wakes up to a new house. On good days, it becomes a rotating art gallery, and every bit of wall space is fair game. On the more chaotic days, there may be plans brewing for a better way to use that guestroom at the end of the hall (a bigger studio? or maybe not).￼
Whether the chaos is a small rotation or a major room organization, my husband’s defining goodnatured smile will appear, reminding me of my mom’s observation, “You found yourself a good man.”
I’m guessing that next to a lot of productive artists is someone with a good natured smile.
Back in November, not being able to convince my husband of the wisdom of adding a new wall between our kitchen and dining area, I up-cycled a bifold closet door by painting a mural on one side and some herbs on the other to make a screen.
Fortunately for everyone else’s sanity, I was elbow deep in a teaching certificate program and didn’t have time to act on the logical next step-painting actual doors around the house (and step risers and furniture and…), but a seed had been planted.
For some reason, teaching full-time has reignited a need to paint, and that little seed has been sprouting, despite the best efforts of my common sense to smother it. The painting spark is setting back fires that get my easel out every night and leave in-progress paintings hung in the bald spots on the walls around the living room.
It’s summer — art fair and farmers market season — so the paintings are never there for very long. The only one that doesn’t rotate out of the lineup is the screen.
A few family members innocently have suggested painting screens to take to the art fairs, turning a middle-aged artist’s thoughts to all the impromptu canvases in the world still waiting to be painted. But I think I’ll just start with a single screen (with a promise already made to the husband not to sell the one that started at all).
Oil on Canvas, 18” x 24”