I’m back! Thank you all for reading the FREELANCE FRIDAY series. It was great fun and I learned so much from our wonderful interviewees, Dawline, Lydia, Chris, Keith, Heather, and Adria. I'm putting this down for now so we can take all the useful tips and apply it to our own pursuits. I may pick it up again in the latter half of the year, but am switching gears right now to work on some other ideas.
I talk about the Universe a lot. And guess what? I'm going to do it today, because, well, it’s sending me signals that I cannot ignore and I must share my thoughts with you. Maybe you are like me and have spent some time feeling frustrated and depressed about “not pulling my weight in contributing to the household income, not getting as many licensing deals as I'd like, having so many ideas and not being able to focus on only one.” What’s an aspiring artist to do? We’re moody and crazy that way.
I spent a lot of time this past winter feeling blue about not being able to identify my purpose in life. And then I saw this:
This was a message written to me by one of my 9 year old students in my first after school community art class. (tears emoticon). Wait, I think there’s something in my eyes. Both of them.
Earlier in the year, I was approached by the Arts in the Community program from RAC. This program brings quality art making experiences to Richmond and surrounding cities for children, youth, families, and adults of all ages. Already a teaching artist at the center, I knew right away that I was interested in supporting the after school children’s programs, especially since my own childhood art education classes shaped my entire life in such a wonderful way.
I’ve been so into mixed media and art journaling these days, I designed and proposed a curriculum based around this practice for children. I spent 4 weeks in March teaching Art Journal Explorations to young children in the community and the results were amazing. Here is my class description:
“Art Journaling is a refreshing relief from a world where we are bombarded with information, expectations, grades, and tests. It lets us “be,” providing us with an opportunity to connect with our heart and mind. The goal of this class is to encourage expression, self acceptance, and an emulation of a working artist’s practice. Students will explore the idea of combining imagery with colors and words in an unstructured format.
During a progression of four loosely guided learning lessons, we will each make a hand bound journal from recycled and up-cycled materials. Our art making will include exploring printing techniques for background pages, adding memory pockets, collage, dimension, embellishments, and stenciling using hand made or found objects. The children will use teacher assigned prompts to spur ideas on visual self expression: TODAY, LOVE, ENERGY, STRENGTH AND NATURE. While creating theme pages based on these ideas, we will try not to worry so much about the “finished” end result, because the purpose of the class is in the DOING, the EXPERIENCE of CREATING from the heart and a place of authenticity. After all, isn’t it true that almost every artist could benefit from exercising less control and more creative freedom?”
At the end, while learning about mediums and techniques, each child’s book pages blossomed individually into a beautiful expression of themselves. It was a true gift for me to teach these little artists. It was also an exciting experience for the children as they were able to learn and practice with a real live artist. At about the same time this class ended, my first feature in U P P E R C A S E magazine was published.
Maybe one day we will see some of these beauties between its pages:
You should come see all the AIC student work beginning May 7th. The exhibit goes until May 27th with the opening reception on May 14th.
I have been basking in the glow of my AIC journal class experience for over a month. And, recently, after looking at this chart and reflecting on my own satisfaction of the teaching experience, I realized that I may have found a calling, or “my purpose.”
This summer I will be instructing a 5 week Marketing and Design class to a lovely group of high school girls, graduates of the Rosie's Girls program, right here in Richmond, CA. That's going to be dreamy. Polka dotted kerchiefs for everyone!
And I'm teaching Summer Camp Art Classes in July to grade schoolers in my community. How cool is that? I better dig up my OP corduroy shorts and tube socks right away so I'm dressed for success.
I’m so excited and thankful for these wonderful opportunities.
You guys, I have so many ideas and I want to do them all! Workshops? Yes! Sewing projects? Certainly! Custom embroideries and art shows? Sign me up! I love doing them all. But I REALLY LOVE TEACHING. Something I learned from Lisa Congdon in her book, Art Inc., is that, as a working artist, a person usually has to do a bunch of different things to actually earn a decent living. But how to focus? How to manage it all? I’m really trying to work on this without feeling overwhelmed. But, I’m doing it!
Do you know Tosha Silver? I’ve talked about her before. In her book, Outrageous Openness, she speaks about being open to the Universe and different doorways of opportunity. Because goddess knows, that universe works in mysterious ways. You should read it.
There is some interesting stories about accepting changes in paths and seeing what falls into place. Here’s a story from me that could have fallen right out of Outrageous Openness:
My two workshops that I had planned for mothers day got canceled because of low enrollment. Instead of being bummed, I tried to look at the cancellations as gaining some time to do something else fabulous. So I think I will use that time I just got back to organize my art supplies for all those jobs that will be coming in! Oh yeah! Guess what? This week I snagged a great freelance gig with one of my favorite brands, Levi Strauss! Boom! Now I have time to earn some money that can support my teaching habit!
Anyway, I’m open. I’m ready. Oh, Fortuna, find me. And bring it on. And thank you, Universe, for helping me find my special purpose.