Last year's New Year's cards were water colored birds.

Art is art. Everything else is… everything else. – A. Reinhart

Art is art. Everything else is… everything else. – A. Reinhart

I do art. I always have. There was a wonderful seven year stretch when my art space was a classroom filled with eight year olds who happily (and loudly) smeared color on everything in sight. There were times it was a quiet desk in front of a corner window at home or, during TightLivingSpace times, when it consisted of a couple of folders of good drawing paper and a zipped pencil case.

It’s always been this way. The margins of my notes in classes all the way through school were filled with faces of teachers, the backs of heads of the people in front of me, and odd animals who were constructed in such a way as to fit in narrow margins. I learned that drawing helped me to focus on what teachers were talking about and how to quickly shield my drawings from those who thought that undivided attention was the only good thing. I love playing with color, whether it’s watercolors on heavy nubbed paper or collage constructions made from photos and textured paper. My mother is an artist and encouraged my early explorations by providing crayons, paints, time to play with art, and lots of gentle advice. Mom taught me about perspective, color theory, and how to plot features on a human face. She preferred realism to abstraction and thoughtful, muted color pallets to the full spectrum and unique views to clichés. We drew and painted and I still get nostalgic for that old house on Iron Street when I smell linseed oil.

I raised three daughters on art shows hung on clothesline cord strung between mulberry trees in the front yard. We singlehandedly kept Crayola in business and included mudpies and cardboard box sculptures in our repertoire. We had a glorious time. Now there are three grandbabies who benefit from their grandma’s impulse purchases of paint boxes and crayons and lots and lots of paper.

Now that I’ve retired from my short people teaching gig and moved to Lacey, it’s been fun to outfit and play in a whole room of dedicated studio space. It’s a joy to be able to put my hands on the supplies I need without having to dig too deeply and this sunny space is on its way to becoming a comfortable art and music space. The bookshelves full of art books and bins of supplies happily coexist with the French horn music library and there is even room on the high shelves for a few puppets from my classroom days. This community is home to an active art community and lots of former students (I started teaching Zentangle classes here in the fall of 2012) who keep busy in our newly renovated art studio as well as art spaces dedicated to weaving, clay, wood and metal working, and theater.

As I said, I do art. Life is good.

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