Saturday, April 2, 2016

Following dreams...

Break out the overalls and do a happy dance with me, because some blue-haired little old lady is gonna be doin' some painting this summer!  And by the way, I don't mean painting the ceiling of my shed again,  though that was kind of fun.  (My husband doesn't like to trust me with a paintbrush on our house.  I think he's afraid it will end up like my car).  But let me explain about this summer...
Do you ever see opportunities and say "I wish I could do that some day"? We all get so busy with our commitments, and work, and family, and crazy projects, and taking care of our homes,  our cars, our health, and so on, and it's easy for it all to pass by.  Well, since I retired, I realize that "some day" has arrived, and if I don't take the opportunities while I am able, it may be too late. I think the first thing I did shortly after my retirement was tell my college roommate that even though we live on opposite sides of the country and never see each other, we needed to get together somewhere crazy for a milestone birthday.  Neither of us had any real desire to go to Las Vegas, so that's where we went.  It took a little work to convince her, but we are both glad we did. 
But I'm not generally talking about vacations.  I am talking about MYSELF.  Things I want to do for ME.  To me, this is not just laying on a beach, sitting on the dock with a good book, or paddling in my kayak, though I love and do all those things.  I'm talking about genuine learning experiences.  Taking classes; meeting people you've never met, learning a new skill, or re-discovering an old passion. Assessing what I want to do with the life that I have.  For me, being creative is a large part of who I am, so it needs to play a major role in choosing what these things will be.   
I began retirement with a bunch of classes at the Adirondack Folk School.  It is just 1/2 hour away, and it always looked interesting, but gosh, those classes aren't cheap...  So I said "what am I saving for?  DO IT!"  So... in the almost 4-years since I retired, I have woven a beautiful rug out of sock tops (fun!), I learned to use PMC (precious metal clay, which I absolutely LOVE), made lampwork beads (which was a great experience, but in the name of safety, this little klutz will not be using a torch any time soon in my own home), made a bead embroidered purse (quite the endeavor; I'm very proud of it and doubt I'll ever do anything like it again), and made a purse from a gourd (which is very cool but not real practical), and more. 
 I traveled to Santa Fe for the Crizmac/School Arts International Folk Art Extravaganza in July 2014, which I had been eyeballing each  year in School Arts magazine. I didn't know a single person who'd been on one of these travel/professional development opportunities, so it was a gamble, and it was wonderful; worth every dime.
This July, I'm taking another such gamble, and I will leave home/husband/cat for an entire week and go to the beautiful campus of Bennington College in Vermont, where I will be taking an Art New England summer workshop class where I hope to rediscover my love of oil paints (haven't used them in decades, due to time and space and life considerations), painting landscapes in the out-of-doors, weather permitting.  With all the thinking/talking I've been doing about using authentic source materials for your art, and painting from observation (see this recent post), I'm putting my money where my mouth is.  (So now I have three months to shop for all the materials I'll need; the list is extensive and I'm eager to start shopping.)  

I left college with two artistic passions: darkroom photography and oil painting.  I taught darkroom photography for 8 years, until a job cut and I no longer had a free accessible darkroom.  I painted until I got married, more than 28 years ago, and moved into a house that had wall-to-wall carpeting pretty much throughout.  Since that time, I've discovered a lot more, including batik, and acrylic paint, and papier-mache, of course!  (I think that, with a different educational background, I might have become a sculptor, like my grandfather Harry Levine.  But fates didn't lead me that way, though there's still time....)  I still love photography, but the darkroom is a thing of my past, like scuba diving.  But still, those oil paints  were never discarded, and the luminosity of their colors was something I never felt I achieved with acrylics, and I became just an occasional painter.  I'm looking to remedy that, this summer.  Wish me well!

What opportunities have you looked at longingly? Can you find a way to make room for those opportunities in your life?

By the way - if you want to learn more about my grandfather, or about any of those previous endeavors mentioned in this post, from the precious metal clay to the International Folk Art Market and everything else, they've all been posted about before on this here blog.  Just type what you want to know about in the search bar on the right side of my blog, or search for the topic of interest in the "cloud" of labels at the bottom of the blog.  Either way will take you to all sorts of stuff from previous posts over the last few years!  Happy hunting!!!

13 comments:

  1. Damn Phyllis- are you reading my mind?

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    1. If I am, that's great! What are you up to?

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  2. Sounds like you're living the dream, Phyl! Good for you!!

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  3. Good for your Phyl! Will be waiting to hear all about your new adventure.

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    1. I thanks, Janis! I'm sure I will be writing about it..

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  4. Good for you! Sounds like lots of fun. And I'm totally digging the blue hair!

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    1. Thank you! For as long as the blue lasts...

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  5. Whoa, another fun experience! Can't wait to hear all about it!!

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    1. Thanks, Christie! I'm pretty psyched!

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  6. I LOVED your blog and felt so INSPIRED while reading it...I felt an instant FRIENDSHIP and like we were KINDRED SPIRITS. I am only 43 years old, but have been "retired" for four years due to brain injury/ disease,etc.I get up every day trying to LIVE my LIFE to the FULLEST,too. I finally turned my formal dining room into an art studio for MYSELF & my 10 year old DAUGHTER that I have ALWAYS DREAMED of having. We are having the TIME OF OUR LIVES together in there while MAKING MEMORIES. I dyed my very LONG hair, HOT PINK, last October for Breast Cancer Awareness month and because its my VERY FAVORITE COLOR. Two days ago I stopped "just thinking about it"and cut it all off into a very short layered MESSY Bob and everone loves it, more importantly I LOVE IT!!! My HUBBY is going to color it for me tomorrow...a VIBRANT PURPLE, my daughter's FAVORITE COLOR and 2nd on MY list. PURPLE is the color of my Awareness Ribbon for Alzheimers/ Brain Disease. I too, have taken many (FREE) classes at my library and at the local craft store,Michael's, such as JEWELRY MAKING,DRAWING,PAINTING, PORTRAIT DRAWING, and more. I also LOVE to EXPERIMENT with nearly every type of ART I can get my hands on!!! THANK YOU FOR INSPIRING MY BRAIN & SOUL TO "JUST KEEP SWIMMING!!!"(Finding Dory)
    GiraffeGirl

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    1. By the way, I've had the same thoughts about converting MY dining room! But it will take some convincing because my husband is all about retaining the 'look' of the house, even though we rarely have company. (He's an architect who has a special interest in historic architecture; our tiny Victorian is well over 100 years old.

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  7. I just love your comment! Thank you so much for taking the moment to tell me about yourself. My long silver hair is faded turquoise on the bottom and I'm debating -,do I re-do the vibrant turquoise? Or go for a deep purple? Or cut off 5" and then re-think the color? Torn with libra-indecision....

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