Thursday, November 14, 2013

None So Blind As She Who Will Not See

My gratitude for today is for creativity, art, and the woman who opened my eyes to all the possibilities that they hold, Anne Scandlyn Powers. I told you that I'd get back to you.  I remember drawing stick figures before I could barely walk or talk. They weren't simple figures with match stick limbs but elaborate creatures with hats, boots, and various other accessories. Art education in our school system way back there in the dark ages was nonexistent at least here in the wilds of East Tennessee (a tip of the hat to my friend Pamie whose mother's family thought that her father was taking his new bride to the land of Lil' Abner which was filled with moonshine swilling hillbillies. Okay, we'll discuss that and probabilities another time.) The only art education I received was via Jon Gnagy and let's face it, there is just so much that you can do with a cone, a sphere and a cube. Art became a sanctuary for me. It was where I hid away from the realities of my life and the secrets. It was my safe place deep inside my spirit where no one or nothing could reach me. I told my mother that I didn't want to study art because I thought that might ruin something for me. A teacher in high school had gotten me a scholarship to the Art Institute of Atlanta. My parents told me that I wasn't going to Atlanta for school or anything else; Atlanta had a bit of a reputation in those days as a wild town, lol. My parents refused to let me grow up and keeping me at home was their way of holding off that inevitability for as long as possible. At eighteen, I don't think I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up anyway but unfortunately, time was not going to remedy that. Still, to break loose from the iron fisted control of my parents, I got married. I'm lucky that I chose a good guy as my escape plan because we've been married now for 38 years but in the beginning, he was simply the vessel that carried me to freedom. But I went from being someone's daughter to someone's spouse and although I didn't know it at the time, I needed to be my own person instead of someone else's possession. It was several years before I realized that I was never going to be satisfied with just being someone's wife. I needed my own identity, I needed my own path. It was when I realized that I only introduced myself as Steve's wife or my parents's daughter that I decided to go back to school and try to actually find myself. I didn't know what I wanted to major in, I just knew that school was the one thing I'd always been good at. I chose art because I'd always loved it, always felt it was part of me. I went into it very naive. On a personal level, there is a good side and a bad side to the study of art in college. The good side, you are finally surrounded by people just like you, who think like you and see like you. It's nice to finally have that sense of belonging. The bad side, you are surrounded by people just like you, you are no longer the one colorful clown fish in the aquarium; now you are quite literally, in a school of equally lovely clown fish. I very much enjoy learning and I was eating up all of my classes with gusto and relish....all except my art class. Oh, I enjoyed it immensely but I had all sorts of preconceptions that I'd built on my own over the years. I wasn't quite as bad as the woman who showed us with great pride her drawing of Mickey Mouse on the first day of class but I was pretty darn close. My first art instructor was Anne Powers. She taught my Art, Basic Design 101 class and she had her work cut out for her with me. It was a large class but I think I was the most resistant to change probably because my art itself had been a barrier protecting me from the world for years and I didn't want anyone tearing that barrier down. It took Anne a while but she was up to the job, she finally got me to open my eyes and see the world in an entirely new way. She got me to not only break down that wall but to let out all of the creativity and vision that had been hiding behind it. It wasn't an easy process for either of us but I think she got as much satisfaction as I did on the day when I finally tore away the blinders and saw the world around me for the first time through an artist's eyes. I don't know if I've done her justice over the years. Even though I've made my living in creative ways for many of the years since, I still had to conform to society's wants and expectations in order to sell but I'm having a new awakening in my old age. I still need to make money from my work but I also need something for me. So, I'm breaking down a new barrier to artistic freedom and I'm going to start doing something for me, art for art's sake. I realize now, looking back over all of these too many years between now and then, just how vital Anne was to me finally finding my own identity. She is important to me for far more than just artistic direction. Anne is a rare creature because she is a very talented artist but she is also a very talented educator. So she can do and she can teach and she has done both extremely well. She was able to see something in me that I couldn't see myself and she worked like a miner digging it out of me. I both admire and I thank her today for all that she's given to me and I know numerous other students over the years. She taught me much more than the three elements of art; she taught me to see.

My DHC challenge for today was to write a movie poster describing what goal you want to reach in the next 12 months. Mine is a doozy....hope I'm not expecting too much, lol:
58 YEARS IN THE MAKING!!! An epic adventure awaits as A Woman finally rescues herself and breaks down the barriers that have held her prisoner for so long. She lets loose the blindfold and sees her path clearly for the first time that will lead her forward in her quest for balance, peace, creativity, artistic fulfillment and accomplishment. She encounters many monsters along the way, Ennui, Self Depreciation, Naysayers, Disorganization (which has grown into a goliath after many years of being ignored), Lethargy, and the largest most fearsome monster of all, PROCRASTINATION!!! .....BUT SHE DEFEATS THEM ALL!!! And after 12 long months of struggle and growth, SHE finds herself TRIUMPHANT standing on top of that mountain that once held her prisoner and surveying all of the treasure that surrounds her. She has found much more than success and gold; SHE HAS FOUND HERSELF!!!

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