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Promise me you’ll be an artist

“Promise me you’ll be an artist,” he said.

“I promise,” I replied.

A week later I dropped out of college and moved to another state, fairly confident I disappointed my Color and Design professor.  I even wrote him a lengthy letter trying to relieve my guilt by telling him I was “following my dream,” which was a bunch of (ahem) BS.  In reality I was scared, scared that there would be something I couldn’t draw perfectly, scared that I would hear a discouraging word and want to cry or give up, scared to put that paint to the canvas.

I always procrastinated my projects to the last minute.  I began the sketch for my first piece for Color and Design class at 8PM the night before it was due.  Armed with the big guns, The Cure Complete Box Set with plenty of b side tunes to keep my creative juices flowing, I worked through the night and arrived to class just as it was commencing.

My professor began the class with announcing that we students were to come up to the front in turns and display our art pieces for he and the other students to critique.  I not only procrastinated doing my project, but I also procrastinated showing my project to the class.  I waited until the professor called out, “is there anyone else…anyone?” while looking at me.  I bashfully and slowly walked to the front with my art piece covered, took off the cover and hung my head as I walked back to my desk expecting the guillotine.  Surely my professor would metaphorically chop off my head for waiting until the last minute to make my piece.

“Gasp,” I heard my professor suck in his breath audibly. I was so afraid of what was to come next.

“It – is – beautiful!  I could hang this in my house today and enjoy it for years.  I want everyone to take a close look at this piece. This is truly a piece of art.”

You would think that I would be encouraged by that response and the lengthy critique that followed pointing out my unique and beautiful color and design choices. I can still picture that piece, a sunrise in different shades of orange and strategically placed turquoise, done in Canson art paper.  I was actually quite embarrassed and I was still last or second to last to display my pieces after that with the same amount of fear and trepidation each time. Yet, each time I was given very encouraging words from my art teacher until finally he made me promise that I would use my life as an artist.  I promised, but I wasn’t all in.  I didn’t like the way people were telling me I needed to get used to bragging about my work and that I wouldn’t make it in this dog eat dog world unless I could sell myself as an artist.  I got so sick of the artist culture that I quit college and eventually I quit painting and drawing all together until last year.

Last year I took up the brush again, a Walmart paintbrush and some Walmart watercolors and I painted a leaf.  I was pretty happy with it, so I painted some more nature pieces, a bird, another leaf, a few seeds, a duck.  I started to fall in love again and without the presence of the “art community” I could paint for enjoyment and without the pressure.

Shortly after I started painting again the proposal to design a homeschool planner with a focus on the seaons of the Christian Year fell into my lap, thanks to a suggestion from Emily Kiser of A Delectable Education.  I give thanks to Emily and my friends at Charlotte Mason Soirée for encouraging me, I give thanks to God for the opportunity to paint again, and I give thanks to my Color and Design professor. Though I can’t remember your name, I remember you and the impact you had on my life resonates to today. Thank you for making me promise to use my life as an artist. I am finally fulfilling that promise.

In the last few months I’ve painted scenes from 9 Christian Feast Days and the peacock cover of our First Edition Morningtide Homeschool Planner.

It is my pleasure and my joy to share these images with you in the contents of a planner in which I have also poured out my heart to provide intentional elements bringing about planning peace of mind.