That Post Where I Introduce Myself and the Purpose of this Blog
Happy New Year, and welcome to my blog!
WHO AM I? My name is Jennifer Caddell, a 40 something stay-at-home mom with one teen, one tween, a hunky husband, and a sassy schnauzer. I have several years of experience working in an educational environment and have a teaching license in both California and Oregon. I’m also highly creative. By that I mean, I have a very vivid and wild imagination that causes me to want to create stuff. I can’t stop my brain from oozing creative goo! Besides drawing and writing for most of my life, I also have a BA in English and put that to good use by publishing two fiction short stories in two different anthologies, I even had a poem read on NPR.
WHY AM I STARTING THIS BLOG? First, I would like to share with you the purpose of this blog. I am currently on a creative journey while I rediscover my inner artist and develop my artistic skills that could lead to the ability to share and sell my artwork to the public. Although I am not currently enrolled in a college program for the arts, I am studying and learning through a myriad of resources and I thought it would be good to reflect on what I have learned during the week in a blog format. That way, if anyone else out there is interested in tapping into his or her creative skills, my own experiences are here for you to read. Basically, I am taking you with me on my journey through my experiences.
WHAT IS MY BACKSTORY?… My artistic journey started during the long long ago, when I was a young girl waiting in her father’s classroom while he was busy grading papers and creating lesson plans. Inside the classroom was this giant, empty surface for me to spill all my creative juices on. (Back then, it was called a chalkboard.) No matter what it was called, it was a perfect instrument for artistic expression and I used it nearly every weekday. Dad would be lost in his work while I chatted to myself about the story that was unfolding before me under a chalky cloud. I would erase and redraw characters as they moved about the board, mostly they were horses, but sometimes I made elf-like aliens, or elf-like aliens with wings, or elf-like aliens with wings who rode horses.
Eventually the chalkboard gave way to pencil and paper, making the whole artistic experience much more portable. With a few copy papers in hand, along with a trusty Ticonderoga #2 pencil, I could continue to create those fantasy worlds when I wasn’t stuck in a classroom after school.
My parents weren’t exactly supportive of my artistic interests, but they didn’t deter me from doing something that kept me out of the way and occupied. I think many of us who grew up in the 80s found ourselves having to navigate the complexities of life without parents always there to give support or gold stars. Any artistic or creative achievement I made was met with an obligatory response or sometimes even criticism, they just weren’t creatively minded. Consequently, I never saw all those hours spent drawing and creating stories as anything more than a diversion. It was a way for me to escape reality and become engrossed in a world filled with adventure. Fast forward to my senior year in high school, I took an aptitude test that clearly stated all of my skills were predominantly in the visual arts. When I showed the results to my parents, the response was less than enthusiastic, I was informed that the arts were highly competitive, very few people could be successful artists, and I should figure out a different path to take if I ever wanted an actual income. So I let go of art as a possible career and didn’t look back for twenty years.
If only I had a crystal ball and could’ve seen how much the visual arts would change with the addition of home computers, Photoshop, gaming, and digital animation!
After college, my soon-to-be husband and I were living month to month in various apartments and even renting rooms from family members. We didn’t have the money to buy art for our walls, so I would pick up a canvas using one of those 50% off coupons at Michael’s and painted my own decorative art, and for twenty years that was pretty much the extent of any artwork I did, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was a JACK of many trades, but an ACE at nothing. However the creative arts always tugged at me through photography, writing fiction and poetry, and other side “hobbies”.. until I turned 40.
That was when my husband encouraged me to create art, not as a hobby or a cheap way to decorate a wall, but to become an honest-to-god artist. It took him nearly two years to convince me that it was worth pursuing. (I’ve never had that kind of encouragement before, so I didn’t think I could take him seriously.) I looked into it and realized how amazing Instagram was for exploring art and art styles. Seeing the works of others and the support they were getting from followers made me realize that art was actually appreciated in many mediums and styles. I started drawing and at times had tears in my eyes because I finally found my ace. Letting art back into my life, I mean seriously embracing it as a real thing that has importance, was incredible. Suddenly all the broken puzzle pieces came back together within me, and I knew this was who I am.
So here is the first post of what I hope will be many. As stated before, my goal for this site is to help encourage creativity, to share my experiences growing and developing artistic skills, to review and take notes of art supplies and books, and to make connections with those of you who enjoy the art I make, along with those of you who are artists on a similar journey.
Welcome and thanks for being here,