Beth P.

In thinking about how to end this course, I felt it was necessary to go back to the beginning and remind myself of what I have learned and accomplished.

There were some very high highs and some soul jarring lows on this journey. I met my rebel self and liked her. I kicked my committee to the curb with a laugh in my heart and determination in my mind to never let it gain control over me again. I truly embraced limitations and made a piece of art that inspires me every day when I look it. I analyzed what I like to do and what I’m good at and was happy with what I discovered.

Then came the hard stuff. Weeks seven through nine shook my soul. Trying to pinpoint WHY I do what I do (i.e., content, content, content) was a major struggle. I was finally able to get a statement written, but even as I sent it in to Zenna, I knew something about it felt false.

I went back to the writing I did about my history, and after reading everything again carefully I realized that while I really do love felting, my artistic soul is yearning to go back to fabric painting, color exploration, and surface design. I had given it up years ago due to logistical restraints and never came back to it once my circumstances changed. Those restraints are no longer there and I owe it to myself to break out the paints and yards of cloth again and see where I can go with them. My rebel self won’t let me settle!

Which brings me to intentions.

I intend:

-To be gentle with myself when the work gets challenging and I transition into going it alone without the support of our wonderful AST group

-To allow myself to play, experiment, and learn as I explore where painting takes me. Finished work is not a priority right now.

-To expand my mark making techniques – specifically screen printing, transfers, and lino cuts/stamp making

-To continue to write regularly as a way to mine for content

-To keep working if content is not always obvious

-To commit to at least four days a week in the studio. More is better, less is not negotiable.

-To keep a notebook and pen next to my bed so I can write down ideas that come to me in the night instead of fretting about whether I will remember them or not

-To come into the studio with gratitude for the luxury of the time available to me

-To honor my commitment to create a piece for a juried show I am in this coming April

“Thank you” does not begin to express how grateful I am to Jane and everyone here who shared their thoughts, work, and comments. Knowing that others were out there wrestling with these ideas and searching for their artist selves gave me great comfort during these past ten weeks. I wish you all well as we continue the journey and I’ll leave you with a quote I read recently in AARP Magazine (of all places…). It sums up well my discoveries in our time together.

“I’ve come to realize that lightning strikes of awareness are exclamation points on years of work”

---Angela Jarrell, AARP Magazine Oct/Nov 2015