What I Wanted to be When I Grew Up

Recently there was a post on one of my art groups asking what we wanted to be when we grew up. I am still growing up, and still refining and redefining my dreams,but they have not changed much since I was a child.

From the very first sniff of colored pencils and crayons I was hooked. The color, the texture, the smell, the magic of art. My earliest memories involve art and gave me comfort then, as they still do now.

I went to Catholic school where we did not have art, but the times we did I was focused and often won special prizes. Of course it was cookie-cutter style of art, but I loved it nonetheless.

My love for art followed me through junior and senior high. My fondest memories of high school (and there were not many) were in the art room in the 70's,(it happened to be the high school where the Woodstock kids went) listening to Cat Stevens, live music by people like Cyndi Cashdollar (heard her on Prairie Home Companion one day!)the Kane Brothers Blues Band, Mike DeMicco ET. AL. While this amazing music was playing, I was experimenting in the arts.

The blow that rocked my world was when my father refused to have anything to do with my dreams. He said "either be a teacher or a secretary, or I won't fund your education".

Shortly after high school I moved out, worked, and enrolled as a visual arts major in a community college. He died that first year, but not before he saw one of my landscapes and said "that is quite good". They were his last parting words....or the last words that I listened to.

After my AA I applied to the State College at New Paltz to major in Fine Arts. My portfolio was rejected, and I was crushed and depressed and had less self worth than I had EVER had.

I did not go back to college until 10 years later, after I went through a HORRID (I mean HORRID) divorce and was dirt poor. I went into Art Ed, where I earned a BS and MS in Art Education, all the while on Dean's List and Magna Cum Laude.

15 years later I am still teaching art to young teens who were much like me. I love my job. But in spite of my challenges and rejections, I never stopped making art in one form or another. It was my life force, my sanity, my joy.

I smile when I think of all of this, because as I tell my students, I am doing something every day that I love..teaching and making art. That is what life is about, and it doesn't get better than this.



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