If you told me 5 years ago that I’d be spending most of my days sculpting and painting leather blossom and leaves ready for sale, I would definitely have laughed. For the last week of August would have seen me embroiled in preparing my classroom for a new academic year: putting up fresh backing paper on display boards, labelling drawers and pegs, and planning a wave of fun and creative activities for yet another group of primary-aged lovelies!
I never once imagined that my life would become so drastically different: that my dream of working as a professional artist would actually be realised BEFORE I retired! Yet here I am… actively exploring a world of exciting possibility and opportunity.
For back then I was an expert at not taking my passion for art, creativity and hand-crafted seriously. I regarded them more as a ‘hobby’ and leisure pursuit. (Leisure??? As if teachers ever have any of that!!) After all, I was embarked on pursuing a much more ‘respected’ career… no ‘starving artist’ languishing in a damp attic for me!
When I found myself being advised to leave teaching, due to recurrent voice/throat problems, predictably I threw myself into painting, writing and drawing… mainly as a form of ‘therapy’ while I endeavoured to decide what to do next. I did consider selling what I created but, wherever I looked, everyone seemed to be much more talented than me. So I spent hours trailing the internet, reading books, attending courses, buying materials and ‘practising’, hoping that I’d find the courage, ability and ‘unique idea’ I needed. All that resulted was that I became even more discouraged and dispirited. Just one more course, one more book, one more technique or material, I kept telling myself… then… maybe…
On reflection I realise now that I wasted so much time faffing around, procrastinating and making excuses. So as the first post in my ‘Studio’ series, I encourage myself and you, dear reader, with these words: JUST DO IT!! Go for your dreams and pursue your passions…. grasp hold with both hands and run with it. We shouldn’t worry about not being ready or prepared or resourced enough… JUST DO IT!! Yup, we’ll make mistakes, lots of them probably! But these needn’t stop us: they simply give us more information and provide valuable opportunities to learn.
We needn’t take huge steps either…. just little ones will do. By setting ourselves mini targets, however small, each day over time these WILL add up and bring us nearer to realising our dreams or fulfilling that passion. It works for me anyway.
As the saying goes: “Just jump. You’ll learn to fly on the way down!”