Where does the time go?

I was responding to a comment on my blog when I realized just how long ago I wrote my last post!  *Blog Shame*. I sit before you with my head hung low as my big toe draws circles in the carpet.  I don’t know where the time went, well, I do, but I can’t believe how quickly it has gone!  Trust me, I thought of writing many, many times but always managed to get sidetracked with all those ‘things’ that need doing.  Believe me-all of them good-some of them are even great!

I teach Professional Practices-which means I am helping young artists take the first step to growing their careers after art school.  I. LOVE. MY. JOB.  I am keenly aware of what it is to not love what you do so I feel incredibly grateful to look forward to every aspect of my work.

After two semesters I am beginning to see certain patterns develop when it comes to attitudes.  Some are influenced by the ‘idea’ of being an artist as opposed to the REALITY of being an artist and this creates a bit of conflict. In some cases, a lot of conflict.  I remember the philosophy/ideology that permeated my education and it left me confused and frustrated at times.  I recall a conversation that went a little something like this:

‘I have to say, this is a nice painting’

‘Thank you.’

‘I mean, you really have something here.’

(anticipatory silence on my part)

‘I hate to say this, but you might actually be able to sell this painting’


One thing I never thought going into art school was that I was doing it for any other reason than than improving what I do in order to have a career. Now, correct me if I am wrong here….Career=$$ to make a living.

One caveat-there are those that make work from a place that is separate from the commercial drive and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that-so, no hate mail please.  I respect this.  I just happen not to be one of those-I love creating art and I love being paid for it and that isn’t wrong either.

Here’s the rub-often (too often in my opinion) young artist’s are taught that there is something wrong with making money off of your work.  Do we educate lawyers and expect them to practice without remuneration? Uh, I don’t think that it works that way. Now passion-that is a different story-whether an artist or lawyer-if you have passion for what you do, then that is all the better AND if your passion leads you to do it pro-bono, then that is a calling and you can’t argue with that. Go for it.  If, however, your passion leads you to do it to pay your bill,s then the same goes for you-Go for it.

I try to prompt my students to not settle into waiting for their  careers, the galleries (that is a whole ‘nother conversation), the commissions and the offers to come to them. I encourage them to figure out what ‘success’ looks like and then take the steps to get there…here is my ‘last day’ pep talk…

Everyone defines success in different ways. That doesn’t mean that one way is better than another, just different.  The way you define success and how you go about getting there is entirely up to you.  Make the choice-because it is a choice every single day-to be the best at what you do-whether a visual artist or a designer. Don’t fall victim to the voices that tell you you are ‘less than’ anything. Only you can do what you do and it is ONLY YOU that can make it amazing. DO THAT. Period.

Figure out what works for you. Do you want to teach? Then work towards that. Do you want to find that dream job? Then do the hard work to get there. Do you want to ____________________? You fill in the blank and then take the steps to get there.  You will get out of life exactly what you put into it-kind of like school. Don’t show up? Don’t do the work? Don’t stick with it? Get hung up on the wrong things?  Don’t  give it all you’ve got? Make excuses instead of progress? Then don’t be surprised when you don’t make the cut, don’t make the grade and don’t get very far.
Remember this though-the path that gets you to where you want to be will not always be the path you think it should be!! Seldom does a career follow a strait line or even a simple arc-it is usually circuitous or up and down, filled with blind corners and unexpected turns. Be open to the possibilities that come from unplanned opportunities.  Make the best of these because, ultimately, they are what make you better along the way.
So, make the choices that will make you the best at what you do: Take care of yourself. Be healthy. Never stop learning. Never stop caring. Make eye contact. Move forward. Do the work. Do the work. Do the work.  Find good. Be the good. Make a difference. Give. Receive. Work hard. Enjoy. Laugh and never, EVER, give up.
I will end with the words of e. e. cummings–and one of my favorite quotes-

“To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”

Nothing earth shaking. Nothing new. Nothing more than being willing and open to ‘Do the work. Do the work. Do the work’.
There ya have it.  Now that I don’t have to suffer from *Blog Shame* for a while it is time for me to get at it and, well, do the work, do the work, do the work….


Mmrrhghmm for Hodgson Mills Pancake mix! (@HodgsonMillInc)

Yesterday I was craving pancakes-a dangerous proposition if you even consider eating gluten free!  While I don’t have celiac, the joint pain, lethargy and other problems I get when I eat gluten are motivation to avoid it if I can. I have found pastas that are ‘believable’ enough that I can substitute and my husband doesn’t complain (too much). I have also found some store bought breads that are reasonable facsimiles-but for a carb craving, gotta have my bread kind of person I am still looking for GF nirvana in this area.  Which brings me to pancakes.  Big, white, fluffy pancakes are a thing of the past-until I sniff out the right mix. I would venture to create my own mix but I would have to take out a small loan to be able to buy all the GF ingredients.

Side rant-it’s not my fault gluten and I have a love/hate relationship-if it were up to me we would all just get along. BUT-it is so freaking expensive that I feel like I am being punished for something I can’t control. Ditto on Soy products at coffeeshops-everyone else gets their milk gratis but noooo…(insert snarky self talk voice here) “Awww, you can’t have milk? So sorry-cha ching!!”  No milk for me means .50, .60 and up to.80 cents more. OK, rant over.

Anyway, big, fluffy, white anything has become synonymous with Sasquatch, the Yeti and the Loch Ness Monster.  I know it is out there but it’s just so darn elusive! Thankfully I do have a granola side (GF of course) that enjoys that whole grain feeling from time to time.  I have tried a number of mixes over time only to pitch them after the first go.  I am not a fan of rubber for breakfast-or sand cakes for that matter. I have thrown more than my fair share of partially used product away (have I mentioned this stuff is expensive!), I won’t even compost some of it because I am convinced that plants have purposefully moved away from where I have buried it. So, back to yesterday.  I was determined to have pancakes and grabbed a fresh new victim, I mean box, to be critiqued- Hodgson Mill GF Pancake and Waffle Mix with Milled Flax Seed.

I mixed, following the directions with only a little tweak-a touch of tofu sour cream a splash of homemade Madagascar vanilla. Looks pretty normal…

Next into the frying pan to see if it fluffs up or sits there like a lump of dough-literally.

This is looking promising!  A little thick but I can adjust that next time…(sinister voice) if there iiiiiis a next time.

Oh, this is looking very promising…

Check it out!! These look pretty darn good-they look like pancakes, they are springy (you’ll have to take my word for it), they smell good and…drum roll…..

They taste pretty darn good!  They are definitely whole grainy-ish-which would make them perfect for a fresh fruit topping-I am imagining fresh strawberry, mmmmmm.  A touch heavy but that is something that can be remedied pretty easily.  The ultimate test is sharing them with the hubs-who happens to be coming in from working in the garden and is a bit peckish for something (plus he got all excited when he saw the stack on the counter). Will they pass the test?

I got the ‘mmrrhghmm’ with the head nod and eyebrow lift which, when translated, is the equivalent of a thumbs up! So, between the ‘mmmrrhgmm’ and my own experience I would have to say that Hodgson Mill did a pretty good job!  I will be buying this one again!  Which makes me wonder if some of their other mixes might be worth a lookie-see too!

There are some of you that have way more experience in the field of GF-I am a relative newcomer-only about two years.  The frustration I feel at trying to find great tasting, affordable and  believable  GF products has been discouraging but I love me some carbs and so the search continues. I have had some moderate success but I am still looking for cakes that don’t taste like fancied up cornbread, baguette that doesn’t taste like bags and pastries that aren’t pastey, mealy, chewy and, well, let’s just say gross.

Thanks to Hodson Mills for making my breakfast face a happy one!  This mix gets a ‘mmmrrhghmm’ from the hubs and a ‘so worth it’ from little ole me!



(consider yourself disclaimed-I do this because I want to find the best product out there I can, not because anyone pays me to!)