Someone recently told me that “Students who take out excessive loans, enjoy their college years, and don’t work during that time earn less sympathy.” As if college is just a big carefree party for free loaders!
Everyone deserves an education! For years I didn’t go to college because I didn’t think I could afford it, always struggling in low paying jobs kept me distracted and thinking I couldn’t go to school at the same time.
For 10 years I drove past our college and saw the warm lights shining out of the tall windows of the library and just knew in my gut that I wanted to be there! Finally when my boys got a bit older I felt like I had the time and energy to tackle college. My desire to grow and learn outweighed my fear and idea that I was not worthy of education. I walked in and found out I could get a degree in only four years and that there were grants and loans available for me to do that! I registered and started classes that evening! I felt like I was “home.”
I learned things I would never have learned if I let myself stay stuck in one dead-end job after another. My self knowledge and confidence grew. I found a way to do the things I’ve always wanted to do! I met amazing people – students and professors – who are still in my life today.
When my fiancé died from suicide ten years ago and I was unable to function in a 9 to 5 (nearly paralyzed by PTSD, depression, and anxiety) it was school that kept me going. I found out I could increase the amount I was borrowing in order to pay my bills while I finished up that last year of school. And that’s what I did. Meanwhile, government grants were eliminated and tuition rates rose every year.
Then after graduation, knowing full well all along that I would be paying my loans back and fulfilling my obligation, I got the first bill. My monthly payment was over $650! Who can afford that! Even if I had landed a job utilizing one of my degrees immediately after graduation, wouldn’t be able to afford a monthly payment that high. When I applied for income based repayment it went down to like $39 a month.
I know lots of other people in this same situation. For most, college is not a four year party, a free ride, or enjoyable most of the time; it’s very hard work and a major accomplishment. However, I don’t expect sympathy from people who have never gone to college, or invested in their education, or even try to understand the people who do.
#educationextortion #studentdebt #everyonedeserveseducation #educationisnotaprivilege #shamedforwantingmore
Finally getting back into the studio on a more regular basis and it feels great! Now that I have a job that doesn’t suck the life out of me, completely in line with my beliefs, helping to fight the good fight, I have more mental and physical energy to paint! Yay!
Paintings usually evolve over time. This one I started quite a while ago, set it aside to finish up some commissioned paintings, and now I’m back to it. Here are some in-process shots of this Troll having the time of his life in the sandbox…
Any suggestions on what to call this one?
Currently, my studio is full of hiking gear and I’ve been distracted and busy hiking and helping Boyfriend plan a major hiking excursion that is quickly drawing nearer…
But I have taken some time to show my work at the Open Air Gallery at the Corner and I’m planning my next paintings which will include more sock monkey adventures, of course. Stay tuned…
In mine? Furniture!
I’ve been teaching my drawing classes, in-person and online, and my demo drawings have become a catalyst for my own work.
Here’s a study in preparation of the next Sock Money Adventure painting…
Stay tuned for further progress.
Faded and soft, like a memory.
A commissioned portrait from a faded black and white snapshot. A sunny day at the beach sometime in the early 1950’s.
I translated a black and white photo into a color portrait – bringing the soft colors of the bathing suit and towel back to life and adding the blush to her skin, flushed from the warmth of the summer sun.
As I painted, I wondered if she ever realized how beautiful she was. We rarely see ourselves as we are, as beautiful as we appear to the ones who love us.
The person who snapped this photo must have loved her very much.
Someone once said, “Do what you love and it’ll all fall into place.” So, after being laid off from my 9-5, (and being relieved of all the stress from an employer that seemed to gain tremendous enjoyment in dicking me around,) I’m in the studio full time, for the time being.
Putting all my energy into my work... my work…my paintings. It feels good and if I keep painting, maybe I can distract myself from the existential dread, the rising Covid-19 numbers, and the fear of uncertainty regarding how I’m going to pay the mortgage on my awesome little house that I love so much.
But it’s all going to be ok. It’ll all fall into place. I’ll figure things out. And in the meantime, I’ll paint. ….and do the dishes sometimes.
And, by the way, don’t ya just love how tomatoes look on a windowsill?
Me (calmly and friendly but firmly) to Random Man: Can I speak to you for a minute? I overheard your conversation with my friend and I want to let you know that you made her feel uncomfortable when you told her she was pretty and that you bet she had a pretty smile and you asked her to take off her mask and show you.
Random Man: Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to make anyone feel uncomfortable! I didn’t mean anything by it.
Me: I’m sure you didn’t mean it the way it was taken. I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know how saying things like that make women feel…
RM: I’m so embarrassed! I didn’t mean anything by it…I’m married. I’ve been married for years. I’m a Christian, I believe in monogamy. And some people are just more sensitive! I would never proposition someone, even a child, which what she is…
Me: Yes, I know but it’s important that you know how talk like this makes us feel and we are usually too afraid to let people know…This happened to me (gives personal example) and I was too afraid to say anything. So thank you for this opportunity to express this to you.
RM: Thank you for letting me know and for taking the time to speak to me…
Random Man drives away, tail between his legs, pride hurt.
Me feeling brave, triumphant, happy that I took this opportunity. Then wondering if I was just going for low hanging fruit because he seemed harmless enough, thinking I’m really not that brave. Then second-guessing myself. Then dismissing those thoughts and deciding to feel triumphant again, but mostly really glad that I became all Mama-Bear on this guy and hopefully he’ll think about the impact his sexist words and gestures make on women and that hopefully I’ve helped a brilliant and beautiful young woman find her own voice, become brave enough to confront/correct men who treat her like a child who they can say whatever they want to, and never again wish that she wasn’t pretty so she didn’t have to be susceptible to this crap again!
I hope he went home and told his wife and that she agreed with me. I hope he has a daughter who he can then think about being in the same position and see it from her side and think before he ever does this again.
And I hope you do too.
“Realism, n. The art of depicting nature as it is seen by toads. The charm suffusing in a landscape painted by a mole, or a story written by a measuring-worm.” –Ambrose Bierce The Devil’s Dictionary (1911)
I was painting small things, toys left out, or caught out exploring. From the eye level of something or someone small…
The fear and anxiety of this pandemic is activating that basic irrational human instinct of Fight or Flight. Instinctually we want to live and we want to feel safe and comfortable while we do it. For many people, when they feel intimidated they go into fight mode. See Karen refusing to wear a mask and having a tantrum in the grocery store.
For me it’s always Flight! Run! Get away and go hide someplace where I feel safe! Go to my happy place – go to Poppyland…
For the past couple of days I’ve been hiding in my studio, back to painting my friends, the sock monkeys. Now they are enjoying a huge buttery bowl of popcorn and watching a moving on their vintage Movector Super 16 projector.
#pandemic #fightorflight #inthestudio #workinprocess #wip #oiloncanvas #sockmonkeys #vintage #stilllife #popcorn