Artistic Endeavors – Planning for Retirement

I don’t retire for another seven years, but I have a lot of free time on my hands and a lot of questions about ‘who do I want to be now that I can be whoever I want to be?’ I spent the better part of my adult life being mother and wife, and while I do not regret a moment of that time, I have a lot of life left in me as I enter the retirement age. My children have grown up, moved away, and blessed me with a passel of grandchildren. My husband has retired and settled down with the television.

I am still working, but – in all honesty – I have only worked steadily for the past 14 years of my life. Prior to that, I was Mom, Homeschool Teacher, Church Volunteer, School Volunteer, parttime employee. I posed a lot of questions on my other blog ( about growing up and what I decided was that I have several choices – but what is my first love? ART.

I have not pursued art seriously for decades. Off and on, I start something and go through with it (hence this blog), but for the most part… being an artist came in behind children, homeschooling, gardening, work, writing- you name it.

In honor of my decision to become a more serious artist and to improve my natural gifts, I did a short series on Facebook about portraits. The idea was to garner constructive criticism and ideas on ways to improve myself, but it really ended up being a self-critique and a lesson in using medium to its best advantage given my limited skills. In no way did I expect to be perfect, only to play around with the most difficult task I could think of: human faces.

I picked my granddaughters.


Granddaughter #2 in her mother’s sweater.


Crayon. Crayon is difficult anyway. I’m not terribly disappointed with the results since I have never – ever – attempted a portrait with crayons.


Pastels. Much better. The little girl doesn’t actually resemble my granddaughter because I sketched free-hand from a computer image. Mouth is off. But it isn’t a bad rendition of a human face and I think my art teachers through the years would admit I finally got the concept of planes down. Mr. Wall always told me I didn’t understand the human face is made up of planes. I think I just rebelled against the idea that geometry could be of any value in art.


My grandson snapped this photo of his sister, granddaughter #1. I just want to give him credit. He loved the idea that I had a real camera and I would let him touch it. I think he was enamored of the instant gratification of digital photography more than the f-stops and flashes, but…


This was my first post to Facebook. I was appalled. The scanning process revealed my weakest spots – but since I used watercolor crayons, I knew I could fix the error without over-working the portrait.

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A little bronze to the side and I managed to tone down that glaring wite spot by her eye. I like the end result – and she actually looks like my granddaughter.


I switched it up to my youngest. I scrolled through her “selfie” file and picked out one I thought I could imitate. I love this photo of her. It reminds me of Audrey Hepburn.


Oil pastels. Oh. Ugh. The details are too tiny and the points are too lacking in oil pastels. I totally flubbed up the mouth. She looks more like a Zombie (which I am certain she is fine with, but I am not).


Water color crayons to the rescue. I am so pleased with this!

The results? I *love* water color crayons. I have a lot of work to do. I need to keep plugging at it, don’t back down. I have seven years to perfect this gift I have.

One thought on “Artistic Endeavors – Planning for Retirement

  1. You surprise me. You dabble in so many things and yet you wish to be an artist. Who do YOU know that is an artist? What self imposed standard are you holding up as comparison. YOU ARE AN ARTIST! I think you feel guilty that you could not devote time to art and allow yourself to explore pastels, water color crayons , crayons, etc. Did you ever consider you had to explore humans, the world, the condition first before you could explore the art? Don’t discount those years you went without art. Art was there it just wasn’t the prevailing melody but rather the rhythm in the background. Now you can bring it forward to sing a song with other voices. And in a few short years Art will have her chance to sing solo and astound you and everyone. I have enjoyed your journey, as much as I have seen so far in our friendship. I truly look forward to seeing you and your art when you both can be released.

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