My first real artistic endeavors began in high school. You see, my Mom was a seamstress and became a tailor. My Mom taught me sewing and tailoring. I began to sew avidly and designed and made all four of my prom dresses and other dresses for school events. I considered design school after high school. However, in my junior and senior years of high school, I had room for electives. I took art and mechanical drawing my junior year and art and architectural drawing my senior year. I fell in love with these classes and decided my senior year to apply for a teaching scholarship. I received this and enrolled in SIU as a BS Art Education student. I received my BS degree with a major in Art Education and a minor in Elementary Education. After college, I had various jobs, but none in the art field. I married, had four children, and operated a licensed day care, preschool and kindergarten during the years my children were born. My children were 2-7 years old when I divorced their father. I could no longer operate my business and obtained a State job in the field of mental and developmental disabilities as an entry level social worker. I continued state government work for the next 28 years, obtaining a Master’s of Public Administration and working about 10 more years in private companies in-between state work and prior to my retirement.
During my undergraduate years, I took classes in oil painting, drawing, pottery and silversmithing. In the late 70s and early 80s, my Mom had been taking lessons from Priscilla Hauser and other decorative painters. She was so excited and loved her artwork. She shared with me when I was home visiting, teaching me her lessons and we created art together. But then, life became much more complicated with work and raising 4 children on my own. As I climbed the ladder, work became much more intensive, so there was no time for art. It wasn’t until 2017 when I moved to an active adult community that I found my love for art again. I was able to take classes in painting, silversmithing and pottery. I felt like I was coming home to one of my first loves.
Trust me though, it wasn’t always easy and when I first retired from state government as deputy director/chief investigator, I felt lost. It took some months and subsequent years to redefine myself. One of my daughters gave me a job at her company. Both of my daughters turned me onto hiking. I used to love hiking and camping with my family in my youth, but hiking as an adult has been even more pleasurable. Hiking became my first path after retirement for redefining myself. When I moved to the active adult retirement community, it was my second path to redefining myself as an artist.
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