I won my first art award June 9th, 1980 at the age of seven. It was one of the first times I felt “seen” and it was in alignment with absolutely everything I wanted to feel. It felt good! Not because I cared about winning. I didn’t. I cared about being seen as an artist. Any kind of artist, because at that time I thought I was going to be a dancer. This is the winning piece from that 1980 PTA Art Exhibit:
That’s me seeing myself as a dancer. I think a few things may have motivated this drawing: my love of the dancers on SOLID GOLD or maybe one of the cancan dancers from the opening of The Muppet Show. Basically, any dancers I saw on TV. It wasn’t until later that I learned I had tremendous stage fright, and performing in front of others introduced a level of vulnerability I didn’t like and never became comfortable with. Drawing, and later designing, became the way I would be seen and be creative in a way that felt right- if not good.
My family was very supportive of me in all that I pursued artistically. My dad had even helped me build two custom art tables. One was in my bedroom during the time that I was in high school. I spent hours each week drawing and drafting at that built-in table where my 16” TV also sat. The other one I still have and use today. My high school graduating class voted me “most artistic”, an old college acquaintance described me as “the one that won all-of-the-things”, and a graphic design professor said to me once, “Why do you design everything like it’s the last thing you’ll ever do? Relax.”. I didn’t take that advice.
Within months of finishing college, I got a job as a “perma-temp” at Microsoft doing graphic design and would work at Microsoft for more than eight years in total. It felt like a lifetime. I graduated through many levels, working hard, living life, and DOING all-of-the-things. I was not being seen anymore. I was doing. Doing. Doing.
MORE BEING. LESS DOING.
That is what I really craved.
So I became a wife. Then, I became a mother. Being a wife and a mom both make me feel really good. Yet, I’m still craving. I crave that feeling of sitting out on the end of my neighbor’s driveway at the age of seven with my box of Crayolas. Both soaking in the colors and the sun and allowing select crayons to melt together on the asphalt. Just loving the feeling of being there. In the sunlight and fresh air. Experimenting and creating with no real apparent motivation other than the fact that it made me feel very, very good. Being an artist.
Here’s to feeling good again.