About 6 years ago I was approaching the big 4 0. I wasn’t happy but didn’t want to admit it to myself. I didn’t know who I was. I had nothing for myself. I had a husband and two kids and nearly everything I did was around them. Everything we did was around the kids’ activities and my husband’s interests. I worked two days a week in a job I absolutely hated and the rest of my time was spent on a schedule of housekeeping (I hate housework by the way!)
Finding where I fit
I tried over the years to find a place for me – for a couple of years I ran a market stall selling handmade cards, craft and scrapbooking supplies. That was hard and I found it more stressful than anything else. I tried to start a business with the cards and wedding invitations. That didn’t work and I was clueless as how to make it work. And I always panicked before I handed over the finished product. More stress. And I felt I had very little support. Like a lot of mums whatever I wanted to do had to fit around everyone else and the juggling act became all too hard.
I had no self-esteem, lacked confidence, didn’t have a lot of friends and anything we did socially was based around what my husband was involved in at the time. I socialised a bit with mums from the kids’ school, but really only became friendly with a few. I worked in an environment that had slowly eroded away any self-worth that I had ever had on the work front. I didn’t want to look for something else because I knew that sort of work wasn’t where my heart was and to be honest I didn’t feel good enough.
Finally a Change
But eventually enough was enough. I decided I needed something for me. I can’t even remember how the idea of art came about but I remember talking to someone at work who had a friend that attended art lessons on a Saturday. And that was that. A phone number was handed over and I made the very brave move to call. I know that doesn’t sound like a major thing to do, but believe me when I say that for me at that stage of my life it was. And so it was arranged – I started art lessons. I had never done anything like that before – I had always been creative and crafty and liked to draw when I was a child but had never learnt any proper skills. The funny thing about all this though – my teenage daughter wanted to come too. She was very talented at art and had lessons when she was younger. And because it was on a Saturday and my husband played cricket in summer and volunteered with the Rural Fire Service at other times, I had to organise for my mother – who lived 20 minutes away in the opposite direction from where we lived – to look after my son. But I did it anyway. And I loved it.
It was the best thing I had ever done and the first step on a long road of self -discovery and change. At one stage I even had both kids coming with me and on some days the tension between my daughter and I was terrible, but I was finally in an environment that I could be me. I learnt a lot, laughed a lot and slowly grew in confidence.
I created artworks that I was proud to hang in my own home and some that were given to family and work collegues. I learnt how to draw, I used pastels, acrylics, inks, watercolours and more. I learnt about artists, different mediums, styles and how to let go and express myself on canvas. I created sculptures and I participated in exhibitions. I wasn’t very good but I didn’t care. A good teacher can teach you the skills you need to create something wonderful. Each artwork is unique and should never be compared. It is something from the heart and something very personal.
I had something to do and somewhere to go when everything in my world fell apart. I had friends of my own and an interest to focus on.
Things changed a lot in those years. I had a couple of different art teachers and learnt a lot from each one. I discovered a love for watercolour.
Life in the last three years has been hectic and busy and I am absolutely loving it. I haven’t done a lot of art though and lately I have been itching to get back into it. It is time again to make some space in my world for art.
But this time it’s different – art isn’t a place to retreat to. Art will be one of those pleasures in life that simply makes me happy.
It’s time to get creative again.
And it has brought me to Kathy Karas a wonderful artist who Travel Charm has started working with on various art tours.
I can’t wait to see how things go, it’s time to set up the easel and start painting again.