Sunday, August 22, 2010

Summer's ending soon, want to howl

My brother and sister-in-law were here for a visit from Ontario. It was wonderful to see them! Our last visit was over ten years ago, way too long but travel is expensive. It makes the visit very special.

I am now re-establishing a routine of painting, house repair and preparing for the fall semester at school. I still have my admission/transfer English credit to deal with. Argh.

Another decision regarding school - do I take 3rd year courses which are not offered every semester or stay with the first year courses. I also found that there are spaces in 3rd year Open Studio which came available in the last week. I really want to do this one because it has the freedom to use any medium and more open to set own parameters for my work. I can only afford to take three courses both in time and money. If I'm not able to get a part time job or scholarships I may not be able to finish my degree so there is more pressure on choosing courses. This is the negative side to having more life time behind then in front of me. There is not the luxury of working a year and then going back to school.

A lot of life decisions are looming in the foreground. My husband has been working half time for the last five years but he will be retiring September 2011. Our income will be cut in half again so decisions of where to live which means can we afford to stay in our house or do we need to sell and downsize. We live in a subdivision with small lots and modest houses. We are lucky in the sense it is a luxurious choice to be able to make. Some don't even have that so their standard of living drops with no safety net.

So my fantasy of staying put for another three years while finishing a BFA is in jeopardy. Time for a reality check for many dreams. Sigh.  Harry I feel a need to howl!


  1. All those decisions! I have a philosophy - if it's not meant to be, it will happen later or something better will come up. Go with the flow and just paint!

  2. Some tough decisions there, Elizabeth. No wonder you feel a howl coming on.

    I wouldn't presume to suggest what to do - i don't really know all the circumstances. But i can offer some questions. Sometimes when we revisit the reasons why we have taken the path we are on the way ahead becomes a bit clearer.

    Ask yourself why you started the BFA in the first place. Is it more important to you that you get the degree or that you learn to paint? The degree may be important to your sense of achievement or your self-esteem, while the painting may be a desire for a creative out-let or to make the most of your talents. The answer would lead to different strategies.

    If it's the degree, then you might want to do whatever the rules require to gain the credits you need as easily and fast as you can.

    If it's the painting, then you might not worry too much about when, or even if, you get a BFA, but just look for units that interest you and stimulate your painting.

    I take your point about the age factor for it’s one i’m very familiar with myself. Seize the day. Do what you really want, not what someone tells you is technically sound.

    And it’s not only our own time that is finite - you can’t fully trust institutions (i speak as one who was a college principal before retirement). When i was doing a Diploma of Art part-time i was saving up the Portraiture unit till last so i would get the most out of it. However, the Polytechnic changed their enrolment rules, said i already had completed too many studio units, and wouldn’t let me in the very year i as was finally ready to do it.

    So maybe think about that 3rd year unit that you love, and that is not always available, while they let you, and don’t worry too much about ‘correct’ sequencing of learning modules.

    The financial thing is a real issue, but even here you reasons for being on the path matter. If it’s the degree, get it as fast as you can while the income stream is higher. If it’s the painting, you may wish to actually do only one or two units a year (if their rules permit) and so attend for longer (more fun) at less cost per year.

    Whatever you decide, you have your many bloggy friends’ best wishes and encouragement. Whatever path you take, we all hope you keep painting and posting here and sharing the warmth and vitality of yourself with us. Hugs.

  3. Liz Thank you for you support. I believe that too. It's just hard not to get caught up with the powers that be sometimes.

  4. Harry, Thank you for your reflections and encouragement. Your questions are a good way to sort things out. I feel I have ten to fifteen years of employment so in part the degree is to give legitimacy to my capability for working in the arts. Even entry level jobs ask for a BFA. Another reason is for the structure and guidance by people who know the process and materials, as well learning with and through others. The bottom line is I want to paint and I want to keep getting better while at the same time I need to earn a living.

    Hearing your Portraiture story reflects my frustration with the arbitrariness of bureaucracy and mean spirited assistants. There were these types in social services in my other work life who thought a kick in the face was a legitimate way to work with clients. What difference would it make to admit you into that course? You'd think they'd be happy that you wanted to learn.

    I feel lucky to have bloggy friends! I never imagined that my blog would be a vehicle for meeting so many talented and supportive people.

    The spaces in the Open Studio are gone. I could not register until I got permission, Eng 1100 again so I need to deal with that first, today.

    I will not let the bastards get me down!