To Paint or not to Paint?!

Haha, you might be looking at the title of my post and then down at the picture and thinking, Cindy, that doesn’t really match!  I know, but this is another one of my teacher wobble paintings, and it was the closest to “helping students” that I had … so enjoy the picture whether or not it fits with my post. 🙂

*Wow, It’s already Wednesday …

Generally speaking, I try and keep this an art blog.  There have of course been times where pregnancy, birth, and consequently (!) my daughter, or personal issues come into my writing, I don’t really see a way around it!  Art is part of my life, and so are the other things I have just mentioned.  They’re bound to intermingle at least once in awhile!   There is a big decision coming up in my life that will directly affect my art making: Going back to work, or staying home.

I see this decision in many ways, but since this IS an art blog, I’ll present it to you from that perspective.  Art making is my favourite hobby.  If I could, I would paint every day.  However, there is a catch:  I NEED a certain amount of time to feel it’s worth it to get all my stuff out, set up, paint, and then put away.  I have always felt that 40 min is the minimum amount of time I need available to go for it.   Also, as I’ve written about in previous posts, I can’t paint well if I’m stressed in any way.  That means that if I have to vaccuum, keep a baby happy, make dinner, plus fold laundry, painting probably will not happen.  It is one of my priorities, but the above mentioned things would be on my mind.  I would be wondering when they would get done, and continue to think about them.  The more I thought about the other things on my list, the more anxious I would be about finishing them as well.  In the end, I probably would end up not wanting to paint because although my art is a priority, it is a frivolous activity, while the other ones do need to get accomplished (well some of them!  Vacuuming can always wait!  Come to think of it, so can laundry 🙂  Dinner on the other hand, can’t) .  Scenarios such as the above happen now, while I’m on maternity leave.  I can’t imagine those stresses getting any less if I return to work.  You??

So, you may be thinking, well … um … maybe your decision is pretty obvious.  You don’t have to go back to work.  (It’s true, Andres and I are very blessed to have the choice for me to go back to work or not)  The thing is, I love my job!  Teaching is such a great profession, and it’s something I have ALWAYS wanted to do.  I never had any other career dreams as a kid that I can think of … well, there was one other one: I wanted to work at Disney animation studios but they went digital and I was into classical animation, so that dream was crushed!  Anyways, to boot, if I was to go back to work, the more seniority I would accrue, which would mean more opportunities to find an art position.

Now, wait a minute you say, if you could teach art, wouldn’t that make your previous argument obsolete?  NO.  Teaching art, although wonderful and awesome, is very different than personal art making.  I am helping others to explore using paint, collage, mixed media and the like.  Often I get to demo, but I don’t get to get down and dirty with the materials.  I am there to help the students.  This means that I am around art, but not making art.  (I could talk a lot about how much teaching art is, but that is probably for a different post)

So, what do I do??  Stay home to make my own art (albeit here and there) or go back to work in order that I MIGHT find an art position where I can help others with their art?  Hmmm … what a hard decision.

So, here I am thinking and wondering.


7 thoughts on “To Paint or not to Paint?!

  1. Is there any way you could go back part time? Maybe something that is a few days a week? Is there any way you could do tutoring or some sort of small group teaching, maybe even outside of the public system, until Elanie is old enough for Kindergarten? Either way, it sounds like a tough decision. You’ll make the right one. And besides, its not like you can’t change your mind later if it turns out to not be what you wanted or expected.

    1. Hi Sylvia, my job is part time, but it’s not in Kamloops, so the commute would in a sense make it full time. I hadn’t really considered any other option since the school district here is difficult to get into. I wouldn’t want to be taken out and have the challenging job of trying to get hired back. I do like that I can change my mind whenever I need to, so if I make a decision and then feel that it’s the wrong one, I can do the other. I’ll keep you posted!

  2. I don’t think that your art or painting time are frivolous. I would assign that at least the same value as the other things in your day. Yes, dinner needs to be made and the baby taken care of, but is vacuuming worth so much more in your life? As an artist myself, I have to think of what priority I put to my work. My house is messier and dirtier than I want it to be, but I have put cleaning on a lower priority. If I only have a limited amount of time, I would rather be true to my creative self and let the cleaning go a little. In the end, you really have to make your priorities yourself and find some sort of balance. I guess this is a bit of a tangent and not really answering your question, but hopefully it helps a bit.

    1. You know Nicole, it helps just because it’s another perspective. I agree with you that I’d rather have a bit of a messier house for the most part. It is really hard to find a balance that I’m comfortable with – having a baby who is changing all the time upsets my balance constantly! I’m sure everything will work itself out, with a bit of time 🙂 Thanks for commenting – by the way, I’d love to hear how your quilting is going 🙂 Some of your projects sounded so neat 🙂

  3. I am so with Nicole. Reading the word “frivolous” and art in the same sentence was like sticking a fork in my eye. Especially since I’ve seen your art, which is unique, beautiful, colorful, and brings joy not just to you, but to all those who see it.

    Years ago, while nursing, and while my husband was in graduate school, we got very creative about making money. I was selling crafts (a whole book of a story) at craft shows, nursing, had a small antiques booth, AND was an art teacher in my own company. I taught decorative painting. Let me tell you something….I made more money teaching art to women in my little town than nursing or crafting or selling antiques. Once I got started, and got my classes on paper, and got accounts with supply distributors, and wrote my advertising and marketing materials, and put an ad in the paper, it just took off. I did this for years just before I moved to Florida six years ago. My classes were in my basement. I had over 90 students on the books by the time I moved; many of whom kept coming back for more classes.

    Here’s the funny thing. TODAY, in Michaels (a craft store in America) I heard someone speak over the piped-in music about taking painting classes at Michaels. I was standing at the counter when I heard this and asked the cashier what this was about. She told me to talk to the manager. I paid, and then found him and he said that corporate puts the music and ads up, but that they were looking for teachers. I have a meeting scheduled Monday with him, and I’m bringing all my class programs, plus some samples of my work, to see if I can’t get the job. I know it would only be one night a week, but I would LOVE to get back to teaching art. Sharing art. Motivating people to make art. It’s so fun. Now, my motive is this. Once I get my name out there again, in Florida, perhaps I’ll teach on my own. The problem is I don’t have space in this house, but I could rent a place if the class roster keeps increasing.

    You can do this. People would love to learn what you do and how you do it. I get my hands very messy in these classes. I paint along with them. I demo and we all paint together. It’s probably the most fun thing I’ve ever done, and I loved my students, and they appeared to enjoy my classes, given that each six weeks I got more and more students.

    So think about this. You can start your own business. Some people here teach children art after school. The community centers are always looking for teachers, and they allow teachers to charge their own fees. Then there are those craft stores with classrooms. These are all viable options for someone, like you, with talent.

    1. Patsye, I had never thought of teaching art classes. That is a great idea, and you know, we have Michaels here too. I would love to teach art classes outside of school … I live in a small townhouse, so I couldn’t hold classes in my home, but there are a lot of options. I am going to look into this, thanks for the idea! The only downside to this is like I mentioned in my response to Sylvia, that it’s difficult to get into the school district here, so I wouldn’t want to give up my “space” entirely. Andres and I have considered perhaps me just substituting for awhile so I stay in the system, but without all the responsibilities of a teaching position. I will keep you posted about this – thanks for the encouragement and for sharing your stories. It sounds like you were a wonderful teacher! How fun to get to teach again. One night a week might be perfect, and a great compliment to working at your shooth 🙂

  4. I went to sleep thinking I sounded like a drill sergeant, and now when I woke up I was so happy to find you took my meaning as gently as I meant it. I do understand about keeping your position in the system, and you are smart to consider that. But teaching those who WANT to learn, and will LOVE you because of your teaching acumen and not what grade you might give them, is such a joy. What an opportunity to meet people and make friends. You might even think of church space or a community center where young moms can bring their children and there are a few babysitters on board to care for them while the moms paint. The opportunities are really endless with a bit of thought. And you will be stunned at the numbers of women (people) who are looking for you and want this camaraderie for one or two nights a week. I was the first to do this back in Virginia, but I am sure someone has come along to take my place when I left. And I imagine it was one of my students, though they all got so good they probably started on formal (college) instruction. Good Luck to you. You will make the right decision, and I hope to keep viewing your art from afar, and watching you until you become a famous artist!!!

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