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Notes from an Art Class in 1998

The following are some short notes I took at a painting class on September 30, 1998. The place was the Maryland College of Art (MICA), and this was a night class that was part of the continuing education program. We would bring our paintings in and group critique them, and the rest of the time we looked at slides of other artists and discussed what we liked/didn’t like about them. I took the class for one semester, made one interesting painting, and then went on a cross country road trip, and stopped making art (or at least “painting,”) for a long time. Read more

The Cycle of Frustration

The Cycle of Frustration

Ever since I became a mom, there has been a cycle of frustration in my life and it looks like this:

Get inspired to work on art and photography.

Get frustrated over lack of free time and lack of skill.

Give up for awhile.

Get interested in improving my technical skills – WordPress, learning how to code.

Get frustrated over lack of progress, and my inability to focus on one thing and excel at it.

Start pondering the question of what I am really supposed to be doing.

Get depressed because I can’t seem to answer the question.

Realize I can’t afford to be depressed so search for things that make me happy.

Start working on art again.

I’ve been riding this wheel of frustration nonstop for over 5 years now! The only time I feel at peace is when I decide that somehow the cycle is what I’m meant to be doing, even though I doesn’t seem like I have anything to show for it. But each year I make a little progress in my coding skills, and I become a better artist. It helps to take stock. After many iterations on the cycle, I am now:

  • A better photographer.
  • A better digital artist.
  • I can build a wordpress theme from scratch.
  • I’m fairly proficient in HTML and CSS, and I can use frameworks like Bootstrap to get a site up and running quickly.
  • I have a basic knowledge of php and javascript. I can’t really build things from scratch, but I’m fairly comfortable with modifying stuff that’s already built.
  • I have a good working knowledge of web site maintenance, as well as analytics and SEO.

I suppose I just have to have faith that somewhere out there is a job I can do that uses all of those things.

(Note: This post started out from a draft I wrote on September 28th, 2012.)


The Last Days of the Tiny ISP

In 1996 I got hired by a small, fledgling ISP. My boss was a 20 year old former pizza delivery guy. I was taking graphic design courses at the community college and he was looking for a graphic designer that was willing to learn HTML, so they could offer web design. Read more

Impermanence of Art

Do Ho Suh, speaking of his piece, Net-work, in the WSJ magazine article.:

“The piece was shown during typhoon season, and though the organizers insisted on securing it, Suh would have been content to see it wash away with the tide. ‘I thought it would be a beautiful thing to happen to the piece—nature comes and takes my piece away, takes it to the ocean, and the work disappears.’ “

View of the Chesapeake Bay from Calvert Cliffs State Park
View of the Chesapeake Bay from Calvert Cliffs State Park

I read that yesterday and was inspired. Later that night I had the iconic dream – the one where you find a new room in the house that you previously didn’t know about. Only this time it was a whole glorious wing, with a patio, and office space, and a brightly lit room to be used as an artist’s studio. In the dream I kept negotiating with myself, convinced within the dream that the house didn’t really exist, and then realizing that the wing could be accessed via the attic in my current house. Then I realized the wing was within a house I had owned, but sold. The dream ended with me driving away, watching the house get smaller and smaller from the highway. It left me with a sense of regret, and frustration, but also hope.

Then I spent a quiet 30 minutes writing down all my impressions of the dream, and reflections of what it meant, only to accidentally delete the text document.