Finding Balance

I’ve always loved art and the freedom it gives me to create anything I can imagine. I enjoyed making art growing up and fondly remember being selected to take part in the city wide art shows hosted by my school district. It wasn’t until high school that I started keeping a sketchbook. That sketchbook, which I still have, gave me a place to draw, experiment and dump my thoughts and feelings. This came in really handy as I navigated those rough teenage years.

As I prepared to leave high school I had no intentions of being a full time artist. I didn’t even take an art class after seventh grade. When I was growing up I thought I’d make a good lawyer. That thought gradually changed into wanting to be a social worker and then an elementary school teacher. I always had a strong desire to help people.

During my freshman year at Barton College in North Carolina I took an introduction to art class only because it was required and that changed my path. That was 15 years ago, and I’m forever grateful to that college professor even though I can’t remember her name. After that year I transferred to Old Dominion University in Virginia and completed my BFA in sculpture and metalsmithing with a minor in art education. My course load was primarily metalworking and sculpture classes and I absolutely loathed my painting and drawing classes. Funny how things change and you end up being most passionate about the things you once hated.

When I graduated from Old Dominion in 2005 I had high hopes of turning my love of making jewelry into a business and my gracious Mom outfitted an amazing little studio for me as a graduation present. I used my jewelry talents to create gifts and small treasures for family and friends, but never achieved the level of business success I longed for.. Oh, how negative self-talk will kill your dreams every time no matter how much support you have on the outside.

While I was trying to create my jewelry business I was also a brand new teacher trying to navigate lesson plans, learning curriculum, classroom management, professional development courses, and traveling to multiple schools. I was teaching three days a week and working a part time job. Looking back, it’s no wonder I had a difficult time getting my jewelry business off the ground.

The years seemed to just fly by and before I knew it I was teaching full time at one school, but still couldn’t manage to get my jewelry business to be as successful as I hoped. So, I worked hard at being a great teacher instead of focusing on my own art and I would create only if I found the time.

This year marked my 11th year of teaching and my 9th year of teaching solely kindergarten and first grade art. Along the way I have matured, thankfully, and worked on developing my artistic practice into a daily painting and drawing habit. Over the last couple of years I have found that I always had the time available to dedicate to my art, I had just been using that time for anything but art. In the last year I have really changed how I view time and instead of finding time to create I just take some every day, even if its only 5 minutes.

It’s been a long road to find balance between work, life and my art. My goal going forward is to spend an hour or more everyday drawing, painting or finding inspiration for new creations. I know once my baby girl arrives taking the time to create everyday is going to get harder, but I embrace the challenge of finding balance between being a Mom and working artist. That is the reason I have started this blog. So, I also challenge you to take the time for yourself and do something that inspires you everyday.

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