birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

An Artful Regret

I didn't have any idea what I was going to pursue in college until my junior year in high school. That is when I took my first art class. My time in art classes during my last two years in high school steered me towards studying art in college. Also, my oldest sister, Jaci, had been an art major, and I was very influenced by her style of living, of being a creative person.

So, I pursued drawing, painting, and teaching art during the four years I went to the University of Texas in Austin. I never knew if I was a very strong artist, but I enjoyed the evolution of knowing only a smattering about art to, eventually, making a declaration that I wanted to be a painter!

It is hard to imagine what else I would have studied with such a sense of meaning. And, with my parent's practical advice, I did achieve the teaching certification. This last part is what allowed me to go on and be a teacher for most of my career.

At one point, I planned to attend graduate school and earn my MFA, so that I could teach art at the college level. That step became thwarted when the college town we moved to stopped its MFA program the very year we relocated. I ended up getting a Masters in Teaching Reading...it was a boring year of taking classes and jumping hoops. However, having that Masters financially paid for itself many times over during the last fifteen years that I taught school.

But, if I could've done it over, I think I should have figured out how to have received the Masters in Fine Art. I believe I would have really enjoyed teaching at the college level, more so than the elementary and secondary levels that filled out my years. Now that I am back to painting, as a retired teacher, I wonder how my current work would have been influenced by a year or two in my 40's learning about the art world's changes and newer painters.

Instead, I make my works using acrylics in my home and enjoy the exploration on my own. I can and hope to take more art classes now that I'm in my 60's...but, it seems that I missed an opportunity. I believe I would be a stronger painter if I had that year to bend the arc of my professional life and will never know for sure. I don't think I realized how much I regretted it until I wrote this piece.

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