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From Baby Steps to Striding!

I made a list of art happenings for June to remind myself what’s been going on. I track everything on my digital calendar (thank the Lord) so I checked it and, yes indeed, I had been doing something– actually, some THINGS.

The regulars, yes, but more importantly several things outside my norm and even my comfort zone. 

First, on request, I made two hot air balloon themed art pieces that will be used by the National Balloon Classic in their promotional materials. To begin, I had to ask myself, as a life-long resident of Indianola, how I might feature a balloon but still do the art “my way.” After some loose sketchbook play, I found a couple of outcomes that I’m happy with. They are "under wraps" for now so no pictures! The originals will be for sale in August at the NBC’s gift shop during their Balloon Festival. Something different– but I did it and it was fun!

Second, I hung my first solo exhibit in Urbandale Public Library’s gallery wing. I had several pieces displayed in Ankeny’s Public Library earlier this year which was really nice, but this feels different to me because it is 25 pieces as a cohesive exhibit that I call “Breathing Space.” Painting in my studio, I love what I’m doing– one piece at a time– but to see them all hanging together? And then to have an artist reception when I could share the moment with friends? I had no idea just how validating that would feel until I did it! I’m incredibly grateful for the experience. What a beautiful space, what a great turn-out, and “outside my comfort zone” again!

Finally, I’m making initial moves to organize a fine artists’ sale in Indianola for late fall. We have so many talented artists right here in the area but, as it grows cold outside, there’s no easy place to see and shop their works. So, at present, I’m thinking of it as a little one-day “inside festival” (and in a beautiful space!). This taps into what I know from running a classroom & a department, coaching an athletic team, and being in art festivals myself as an artist. So I feel like I have the skillset to do this, but it’s going to require me to dust off some of those tools and use them effectively. Again, outside my comfort zone. One thing I know: I’ll need competent help and I’ve already enlisted three great gals so share in planning oversight and even the event day’s roll-out. More on this later, but it’s in the works! 

All this is possible after a rough couple of years with health limitations so I am basking in the freedom to say YES when it comes to bigger challenges that ask for bigger steps as I move forward. I’m a fan of the saying, “Baby steps in the same direction add up.” And they do and it's what I’ve been relying on since leaving the classroom in 2019. But now, post surgery and recovery, I can take bigger steps and more of them and that’s quite a thrill! 

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