Dashing Through

Christmas this year was filled with the primaverian promise of new beginnings and continued growth as green grass carpeted the ground without the blanket of snow. Along with the unseasonable temperatures (remember "Snowpocalypse" last year? As a home-grown Minnesotan in NYC, where were the plows?!?), there's a change in the wind.

After my husband and I spent the holidays visiting friends in Connecticut, I am now home preparing for seasonable shifts in my own world. The progress in my "Before I Transfer" portrait project was fueled by a significant career change regarding where I thought I was headed, and when I feel uncertain about where I'm going I become especially attuned to "signs" or "flags" to try and make sense of what is happening.  (I've been unemployed for six months now aside from teaching one wonderful Art History class at a local college, but employment opportunities seem scarce these days.) I've been looking for directional markers ever since. Plotting happenings and emotions and friends' feedback onto a mind-map, I'm seeing some paradigm shifts.

I used to think that what you DO is who you ARE. As an artist, this seems natural: you're an artist if you do art, right? And if you're not doing art, well then - do you even exist? But only looking at the finished work on the wall is never the whole story. (While this blog uses this portrait/sketch project as a foundation to record and explore selected facets of my artistic process/psyche, I am also designing, administrating, muraling, photographing, painting, writing, researching and creating whole other projects that are writing their own logs in my life story.) At the risk of sounding too "young adult lit" (but I'm going to say it anyway) - I am the author of this blog, but I am not the author of my life and my path is already paved for me.

So even though I am reassured that "everything works out in the end," I'm still afraid of leaving New York City. I'm scared that I will suddenly drop off the local radar if I branch out beyond the boroughs to earn a livelihood, even if I'm not earning a living here. I'm scared that all my connections will be severed. That's really the core of this project - to breathe into painted portraits the connections to folks that mean so much to me while I've lived here.

Therefore, there's now a date on my calendar: the first portrait painting session for this project with a dear supporter and friend. He's a visionary. In addition to beginning his own global movement to strengthen family bonds through MaJenDome, he has always encouraged the pursuit of the best-possible outcome for not only me, but also for the entire student, faculty and alumni community at the school where I earned my MFA. It will be an honor to paint his portrait - as the first - in my project.

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