After a long career in the educational arena as a teacher, administrator, professional developer, director and assistant superintendent, spanning over thirty years in three different states, I decided to return to my first passion…ART.
I retired in 2015 and in 2016, I published my first book, Learning Unleashed – Reimagining and Repurposing Our Schools. (Rowman& Littlefield) That was the first item on my bucket list. While it is not a best seller, it was extremely gratifying to write and share with those who value learning without all the state and federal strings attached. I still find a few folks who are like minded and enjoyed reading my book.
I hold out hope that parents and teachers will realize the sheer joy of facilitating learning rather than force feeding a set curriculum to the masses that still think public education is the only answer. This pandemic has opened more than a few eyes to the endless possibilities of how one accesses learning.
Item number two on the list is painting.
While clearing a collection of clutter accumulated when you’ve clocked over 65 years, I discovered a few art supplies that hadn’t been used for a very long time. I dusted them off, sat down at my dining room table and began to sketch and paint Shab Row on East Street from a photo I took when I arrived in my new town. It was rudimentary and a bit off kilter, but gave me enough momentum to try a few more.
I drew and painted our City Hall building, a window view from a trip I took to Spain, and a favorite family spot at the lake and beach. Six or seven paintings later, I decided to try something new.
In 2017, I drew and painted my own Christmas cards from photos, catalogues and Pinterest pages. I sent these to family and friends. Yes, it was a bit time consuming but so much fun and a personal gift for those I love. After a second year, (2018) of generous feedback and at the urging of my children and grand children I decided to share and sell them locally in 2019.
I sold over two hundred and fifty cards then the pandemic hit in 2020 and no one was interested in stocking their shelves when they were shut down. Although a few local businesses opened to a limited number of customers, my hopes of selling locally dwindled to my art supply store and hair salon. It didn’t matter because I just enjoy painting them, so I did a whole new batch for my immediate family this year. I preferred not to go the online route for sales because of the expense and bother.
Here are a few examples, mistakes and all!
It’s amazing how much sketching and painting puts me in a happy place. It’s envisioning, creating and using materials to make that happen. It’s trial and error, lots of error. It’s seeing something that you never saw before. It’s exhilarating, satisfying and wonderful to give as a gift to yourself and others.
We are all born with something to give, something to share and something to make us and others happy. I think I found mine. How about you?
2021 is waiting for you to discover what lies within you. Look for it, it’s there!
I’ll be looking for item number three on my bucket list.