Monday, May 09, 2011

where am I?

When I was a teenager, I had dreams of becoming a professional artist. By the end of high school, I had already taken two years of art at high school, a summer session at the Honolulu Academy of Art, and had studied sumi-e while I lived in Japan. My mother was an artist but I don't have many memories of her involvement in the arts except for her years of being a student in sumi-e.  She eventually received her teaching certification and taught for many years. She had done a lot of oil painting before we first moved to Japan and that is when, in 1954, that she began to pursue the Japanese art form. I took lessons with her for a while but found that the very studied use of brush strokes was not really to my liking.

Early on, a lot of my work was abstract. I made the decision to go to Trinity University in San Antonio, TX to study art. A wonderful school...smallish...about 2200 students and an outstanding liberal arts program. The arts complex included art studios, music studios, and our big theater which housed several smaller theaters also. It was a fun place. Students in the arts frequently crossed disciplines. I took drama lessons, drama students took art lessons and music students took art lessons. A very creative place to be.

After my sophomore year, my father retired in Berkeley, CA and was working for the University of California. Since he was employed there, I could attend with minimum expenses so I transferred. I was excited, this was a big school (22,000+) with a large art department. I learned how to weld there and really enjoyed taking metal sculpture classes. But I found that I just did not fit it.  I am not quite sure why, perhaps because I lived at home and attended school, it was hard to meet other students and develop relationships as I had while living in the dorms at Trinity. I also found that I was not sure how I was going to make a living with art. I fancied architecture but really didn't have the math for that field, considered interior design and passed on that, was too snooty to consider teaching for a living (you know, those who can, do, and those who can't, teach) and, although I was selling my work and going to various art fairs around the area, I figured I should consider something else.

So I went in to Social Welfare, which was actually a good fit for me and a year after graduation finally found a job in the probation department where I remained for the next 30 years until I retired in 1999. During all of that time, while working full time, being involved in Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts (big time) and teaching at work, I was able to become involved in quilting. I started machine quilting early in my life of quilting, when it really was not the thing to do.  Years later, I was teaching machine quilting to those who turned up their noses as my work....ah well, life is interesting!

When I retired, I finally had the time to begin my art full time. During the last year of my employment, my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. She lasted just two months after I retired. I was glad that I was retired in the later stages of her cancer as I was able to spend a great deal of time with her and to support my father. Several months after her death, I made the decision to return to art on a full time, professional basis...that is, an artist who works at selling their work.

I began creating work all the time. Once I had enough work on hand, I began entering quilt shows and also art shows. I was doing well. I hired a high schooler  to be my assistant and kept her busy filling out show entry forms, filing returned slides, labeling slides, etc. to help keep me organized. She also kept my data base up to date for me. I was busy. I had begun to teach, although I had decided that being a studio artist was more important to me than being a teacher. But I enjoyed the teaching and it helped with my income.

 I was doing well. IRS was very happy.  I even made a profit!

But I found that I was pushing all the time. Making work, finishing it off, doing all the work my assistant had done as she grew up and went off to college.  I was getting tired. It just seemed to be too much to enter several shows a month and to keep track of everything.  So I stepped back and that was two years ago.

Burn out on the career had hit. So for the past two years I have not entered any shows, not even my own guild shows. I haven't been sending out work, I haven't followed through on my goals to obtain further gallery representation after the gallery I was with closed, and I had not really connected with any art consultants although several had sold my work for me before.

So, where did that past two years go?

enough for tonight....I will continue with the update and the move forward.


Jeannie said...

It is so good to read your words again. I look forward to "the rest of the story".

Donna Becker said...

Considering all you've already accomplished, it'll be amazing to see where your heart takes you next. I'll be staying tuned!

71square said...

I really WAS wondering what had happened to you... It's good to at least have an idea... Can't wait for the rest of the story.