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!!!