I have been a working graphic designer for more years then I would like to admit. My employment history has been for the most part in the publishing industry. I've seen that industry grow, shrink, technology take it over, change and completely turn upside down.
I went from using a mainframe computer (the Atex system) and paste-up (for those who actually remember) to MacDraw to QuarkXpress to Adobe Creative Suite and everything in between.
In early part of my career all I focused on was to become an art director. Design my way to the top. Work crazy hours, weekends if needed. Never complain, take on more then I could handle and without realizing it give up on some things that I loved. But the strange thing was I didn't even notice I was loosing these things. I made those goals and then some.
Years later in 2003, I was moving into a house that I bought, before that I was living in a condo that I purchased with my first big promotion. I was packing and in the back of the closet in my spare room, which I used as an office and guest room, was my easel, and a box containing my paints, brushes, pastels, and old sketch books. My heart filled with nostalgia, but the box was sealed. Why open it? I will when I get settled in the new house I told myself. Well it didn't happen the easel and box went in the garage.
Time passed again. My parents moved in to the house with me, my mom was ill and I needed them to be with me. Mom passed away in 2006, Dad had a stroke in 2008. The box remained unopened. At the same time the publishing industry was tanking. The stress was mounting. A friend of mine who also worked in publishing on the IT side decided to take painting class at a studio near her home the Chezar Art Studio. She was the only student on Saturdays, not wanting to be there by herself she talked me into taking classes with her.
For me it was a way to get away for a couple of hours a week. I went to the box. After 20 years, the box moved 5 times, never opened. I pulled it out of the garage and opened it. All of the paint was no good, but the brushes were still usable.
So off to the art store I went. As I walked through the door, it all came flooding back to me, this smells, the colors the rows of supplies. I walked up and down the isles, absorbing all that was around. I was there for a couple of hours, leaving with a conservative amount of supplies, the basics, a few pre-stretched canvas, a set of oils and a set of acrylics. I kept it basic just in case I forgot how to do this or lost it.
During that first class, I picked up the brush and my hand was shaking, but as soon as my brush hit the canvas with that first stroke I realized what I had been missing. The first few paintings I created were awful.
It was difficult to find the time to paint, my dad was very ill and I had to spend time with him and I was working. I would stop painting and start again over a 2 year period. The owner of the studio, Sheila, was understanding and let me stop and start again and again. Sheila had patience and stuck with me until I found my brush.
After my dad passed away I found I had all this time, and began painting at home as well as in the studio. Even more time, 5 months later when I lost my closest friend.
Finding my brush again, gave me a new sense of self and a way to channel my emotions and handle my grief.
Thank you art muse.