I have now been retired for two years. That in itself is something pretty amazing, but what follows amazes me even more. This past year has been a whirlwind of learning and growth, settling into my new life as a full-time artist.
It was only 18 months ago that I took my first drawing class – I wrote about it in Me? An Art Student?. I look back on those posts in this blog, and laugh at how awful I was at drawing. Today, my paintings are selling, and selling for a whole lot of money. If you had told me that I would be a successful artist at this time two years ago, I would have laughed in your face.
Any major life change provides an opportunity to grow and learn, as well as the dangers of stagnation. Retirement is no different. When I started this journey, I decided I wanted to explore something I have never done before. I chose learning how to draw and paint. Being good at it was irrelevant. The important thing was to try something new and perhaps find a passion that would carry me through the next chapter in my life. The cover photo is a pastel I did 2 weeks ago in drawing class. I never would have thought I could produce anything of the quality of that little pastel – especially not dashing it off in 3 hours during class.
Imagine sending a chance message to someone who posted a pic of your deceased ancestor’s grave on a geneology site, and finding 240+ distant cousins a day later. Not only that, but those cousins are all in a Facebook group dedicated to the descendants of the ancestor that emigrated from Germany to the British Colonies in 1736? Yep. That happened to me. And it was awesome.
For the past 2 months, I’ve been researching my family tree. As I mentioned in a previous blog, […]
I can’t believe it’s been more than 6 months since I retired. So many changes. So many adjustments, […]
I had an unusual experience recently. I saw a picture of me – taken in the 19th century. It was very unsettling. It also started a new passion to explore in my retirement. No – the cover photo isn’t the one. You’ll have to read the story to see it.
Who is this person, after all?
That’s what I’ve been saying this past week, every time I see my reflection. For the first time in my life, I’ve consciously changed my hair color. Now, a stranger looks at me in all kinds of shiny surfaces. She has very pretty hair… whoever she is.
I’ve always viewed my life as a book – when one chapter finishes, the page turns, and a new one starts. This time last year, I was desperately trying to get on my boss’s calendar so I could let him know I was resigning. It would take me 3 weeks to pin him down, a fact that still gives me a chuckle. Fast forward one year, and I’m happily working on what is now my next career.
I’ve seen some of the most beautiful sights in the world on my travels, and have captured many in photographs. There were times when I was looking at the riot of color at the Floating Market in Bangkok, the cherry blossoms in Japan, or the prospect from the Great Wall of China, and I wished I could capture that in paint. Not “would”, but “could”. Trying to see if I had the ability to do that one day was what ultimately led me to take a drawing class. What kept me from signing up earlier was the certainty I would have to draw a human at some point. Murphy’s Law.
Working in the tight confines of the studio, I’ve learned my hair is a great place to hold pencils, blending sticks and vine charcoal. There have been classes where I looked like a porcupine with all the tools of the trade sticking out of my head. Now I need to learn to take them out at the end of class. I recently went to the grocery store and the dry cleaners with a 2B pencil in my hair after class, and no one told me. I am well on my way to being the Neighborhood Eccentric.