I Don't Know What I Was Thinking...
Actually, that's a lie... I totally do; I just didn't know what I was getting myself into.
I am not what I would call an artist. Some very supportive people have said to me (possibly indirectly) that if you make anything that someone else thinks is beautiful, and even if not everyone thinks that it is beautiful, then you are an artist.
The word “art” itself has so many interpretations, probably more than artwork itself does. For the sake of this project, and this page, in the right here and now while I write this, let’s just say that art and artist refer to someone who has the talent and skill to put marks on a paper and it looks a lot like something, and those marks and the looking like something are intentional, and those marks are all good marks — and this person, this artist, does it all the time because it makes them happy, it makes others happy, and this person is also able to make some money from it to be able to continue to live, pay their bills, and make more art.
Now, I don’t live in La-la Land. I know most artists only really make enough to cover their art supplies, and we live in a culture where that is accepted and agreeable to most people. Because God has forbidden it to be that “work” should be something that someone enjoys and can make a decent wage from. (He hasn’t, I’m almost sure of it.) Which is why when I decided to leave the medical field and change my college trajectory from obtaining my RN and continuing on to get my master’s in nutrition to a fine art major, I talked to just about everyone that I trust to tell me that I’m out of my mind and I’m crazy. Which they did, but they also were unfathomably supportive and actually talked me out of talking myself out of changing my mind. Seriously, who chooses a life of instability full of art over financial security? Crazy people. Crazy people and artists.
Again. I am not what I would call an artist. I do not draw well.
Did you know that 2020 is a leap year? Did you know that if I were insane enough to start a year-long project *right now* that it would be 366 days? I know. I’m so clever that I thought of that all on my own.
Enter: The Problem and The Fear.
I want to get better at drawing and the #1 piece of advice that I hear is to draw every day, even if it’s a doodle, so long as that doodle is trying to be better than the doodle that came before it, you are making progress. So I look at my shelf FULL of empty sketchbooks (okay, maybe not FULL but there’s more than 5 over there) and I say to myself… I’m going to need more sketchbooks.
So what do I do instead of using the sketchbooks that I have? I think about how much good paper costs. I think about how often I’ve heard people say that the quality of supplies used makes a big difference in your artwork. I think about a one income family with two kids, and a crazy mother who went back to college at 30-something and wasted time and money pursuing something that was supposed to help the family, but ended up changing majors and wasting money to possibly never make anything from it.
The problem is that I am 30-something. 35 by the time anyone reads this, assuming they make it this far down the page. (I’m not delusional. I know the attention span of the internet.) The problem is that, not all of the time, but a lot of the time, I think that I have wasted so much of my life… and I don’t really have anything to show for it. Now, don’t get all up in arms because you’ve seen the cutest face a 9 year old could have on this website and start telling me that I have kids and a husband and blah blah blah. Those are not accomplishments. Those are sharing this life with the lives of others for the joy and happiness of everyone involved. And gummy bears. There’s a 2 bear mom-tax imposed on all bags of gummy bears.
I cannot be alone in this. (The fear of a wasted life, not the gummy bear tax.) I cannot be the only one writing to myself and anyone else willing to listen (from the future!) about being afraid that maybe the plans they had when they were young enough to believe anything was possible were the wrong ones. And how do you compete just barely entering a new field that you’re not even good enough at to claim to even be in that field when the younger generation has already written you off as having “one foot in the grave.” Yes. Someone said that to me. They were 15. I’m not kidding. They were though. But does that make it feel any less true?
#project366 scares the bajeebus out of me. I said so on Instgram (let me count from the future….9, 10, 11, 12…) 12 days ago. And yes, I realize I still have yet to stay what it even is. I’m getting there, I’m long-winded and lonely. You try having an adult conversation with a moody 14-year old boy who’d rather go back to Ark, or whatever other video game I bought him because he had to have it to play it with his friends. (Because I LOVE him okay??) Or a 9-year old girl with unmedicated ADHD who can barely tie her shoes. It’s not her fault. Bless her. I bought her too many slip ons and those dang laces really just don’t *want* to stay tied!
Enter: The Solution….Maybe…
I went to the dollar store. Stay with me, I’m being serious here. The dollar store really does, oddly, sometimes, carry the answers and you can buy them for a dollar. Or, in my case, $28.
Every time I’ve ever gone to the dollar store, it’s always had themed stuff, like for Easter, or 4th of July, and so on. Never, ever, in my entire time of going has the office supplies section had both sides of the aisle lined with boxes full of sketch paper pads, pencils, cheap paint brushes, plastic palettes, markers, acrylic paints, water color paints, colored chalk, colored pencils, construction paper, and so on. I took this as a sign and I bought some stuff. In some cases, I bought two of some stuff because I’m a hoarder. I didn’t know what I was going to use it for, I just wanted it. And my daughter was with me (we call her Goose by the way, and she does answer to it) so I also, clearly, had to get some for her too, and a balloon that later scared her to tears when trying to go to bed. I’m not making this up, she bought a heart balloon that I had to take out of her room. She’s 9, folks. (But I love her, despite that she knew full well it was just the balloon. I squish her face often.)
So I went home with nearly $30 in the cheapest of cheap art supplies and a weird idea that took me another 4 days to stop trying to work out the math on because no matter how hard you try, 62 is not divisible evenly by 4. Neither is 366 in case you’re wondering.
I think I eventually said whatever, and moved on ahead with the plan to take my cheap-o sketch pads and dress them up real nice like Cinderella going to the ball without the bippity-boppity-boo. And then the what the heck do I do with them now? And then the realization that I held in my hands 6 decent sketchbooks that I could easily fill (hopefully easy) in a year with random drawings and trying to get better at this art stuff. Even better is that they were made from cheap-o art supplies, so I didn’t have to worry about ruining the paper with my this-is-a-bunny-but-it-looks-like-a-turtle-and-we-call-him-George. In fact, I could fill one about every 2 months, and what if I shared them with the WORLD and showed how even I, with one foot in the grave, could learn to draw.
Just woah. No one said anything about sharing. Craaaaaaap.