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  • Writer's picturecarolyn land

Creative Spirit Blog Nov. 20,2021 Unexpected Abundance

"The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude." Friedrich Nietzsche

There are times in our lives when things happen that were not in our plan or not what we wanted. However later we look back and see that they just might have been some of the best things that could have happened. The silver lining in the tattered purse.

Each year around this time I think about the things in life that I am grateful for. I guess that is a natural thing to do around Thanksgiving.

I was from a single parent family and had a very controlling mother. In high school when other kids were talking about going away to college my mother decided that I was going to Katherine Gibbs Secretarial School in NYC. Her reasoning was I would look beautiful in a little pill box hat, white gloves, a suit, and it would give me the opportunity to meet a rich executive. That was the only option I was given.

I had other ideas for my life, I wanted to be a teacher. I was creative, good at drawing, loved children. Typing, shorthand, sitting at a desk all day and bringing the boss coffee was not my idea of what I wanted for my future.

Luckily, I had a wonderful art teacher who was very supportive and encouraging. Since I had to pay for my “higher education” myself, I chose a small teacher’s college in NJ that was just starting their art program. In fact, they only had a few courses set up, so they bussed us into New York City for painting, drawing, and design, classes at some exceptional art schools: The Arts Student League, The New School, Parsons, Pratt. My art appreciation classes were held at MOMA on Thursday evening and the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Tuesday mornings the third semester. I didn’t realize then what an advantage I was being given. Back then I did not really know how prestigious those schools were or would become in the art world. I just knew I couldn’t go away to college, and my mother was not in my corner.

A few years after graduation I was living in the city and for a short period of time and was part of the NY art scene. My mother called them my “Hippy Years”! But what wonderful memories.

Then there was the woman who I met on the subway from Columbia University who formulated a program called, “Learning to Read Through the Arts”. That friendship put a whole new focus on my life as I had to move from the art room to the classroom. A disappointment turned into a blessing. It came with the opportunity to write curriculums that integrated the arts into the general curriculum. Opportunities come from unexpected places.

When I moved to FL for the purpose of caring for my aunt who was always in my corner and part of my support system, I never thought I would be here for 25 years. Least of all did I think that I would find and be part of a vital and alive art community. The organizations I have been active in are just one more blessing to add to my list of things I am grateful for.

I am grateful for the many students I have had over the years. I have learned a great deal from them. I have also made many lasting friendships; friendships that have enriched my life. I am thankful for my patrons who have purchased my work and appreciate my creative spirit.

As I reflect back during this Thanksgiving season, my list of blessings is long. They are not just for a wonderful family, home, and creature comforts, but for being a “creative” and the opportunity to make art. What a blessing!

Those of us who can express ourselves in this special way are so fortunate. Blessings come from many places. Some expected and planned but others come unexpectedly.

I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving as you count your blessings. Stay safe. Carolyn

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