Saturday, January 8, 2011

Happy New Year!

 If you are friends with me on Facebook you know I am good and well, but I've heard a few people have been asking where I've been, which brings me to this blog post. I think we all have to evaluate where we should put our energies or resources  from time to time  and the new year is the perfect time.

Last year I started teaching 2 days a week at an elementary/middle school. It is a demanding 2 days with teaching 5 grades each day (preschool - 8th grade) and different assignments for each grade (sometimes 10 assignments in a week). I thought it was just a 2 day a week job but with the time I put in at home planning, it is at least a 3 day job. It is not a surprise then to hear  I was not as productive with my art last year and since I am still crafting my curriculum and getting things ready for the little ones - this school year as well.

Not only does work cut in to my drawing time, I am also committed to my family and to my health, so the rest of my time is busy as well. My husband and kids are my first priority (yes, even over my art)... which means that their engagements often come before my own. Driving them to see their friends, inviting their friends over, birthdays, sports, crafts, etc. The way I see it, kids don't stay kids very long and I don't want to miss any of it.

The  other commitment I mentioned is the health of me and my family. I started running about 3 - 4 years ago to get healthy and it is a big part of my life now. It surprises me that before I started running I would get winded climbing our small flight of stairs or get tired from even short amounts of time playing outside with the kids. I started running/walking (because I couldn't even run a mile), and now I run almost every day 5 miles a day or more (unless I wake up late). I've run 13 miles in my own private half marathon and just couldn't live without that exercise now.

Healthy eating also sucks up my time. I used to order out often or cook using packaged foods and now I cook dinner most every night from scratch. My husband and I have started eating pescetarian... vegetarian with fish allowed. I try and cook everything from scratch too so we don't have all the preservatives and additives in packaged foods, which means I've gotten good at making breads, and homemade tortillas to supplement the vegetarian diet.

With the new year,  it is time again to reevaluate how I spend my time and set resolutions to spend it the best way I can. This year I would like to focus on making the most of the two days I have alone to make art, as well as attend more art events again in my region and get back to writing more on this blog even if that means sharing more of my students' art or some of the things I do with my family. I have already made myself a little more time by canceling the class I usually teach at MOCO Arts and will have to figure out a way to maximize the rest of my time.  As far as increasing my output on art, I think it would be better to just make the best art I can in those 2 days. That would mean less art again this year, but better art if I am not stressed about how much I put out, so quality over quantity!

I hope it doesn't sound like I am complaining about how my time is spent, I have really been enjoying everything I've been doing, but if I am going to continue this blog I think I may have to rethink the content of it as I have the content of the  rest of my life. There was a time when all I could think about was furthering my art career and about nothing else. My family suffered as did my health... so as with my life, this blog will probably start to have some non-art things included. Maybe I need a new title for my blog to reflect the change - let me know what you think.

 So today not only do I want to share the new drawing I am working on I would also like to share the lowfat baked doughnuts the kids and I made today. mmm  They didn't turn out as "doughnutty" as I would have liked, but a healthier take on a weekend treat is a good thing. We dipped some of them in a chocolate glaze, but since the doughnuts are really not that sweet, I thought the cinnamon sugar ones tasted better.

Now for the art!!! This is the second piece of my Norman Rockwell updated series. This one shows two preteen girls in the pj's surrounded by all the tools of a girlie sleepover circa 2011: makeup, hairbrush, popcorn, laptop (facebook), cellphone (texting), etc. I think I may name it something like "Some Things Never Change," but I'm not sure if you can have italics in a title. *Sarcasm*  I hope it shows how integrated social technology is in kids' lives. It is large, like the one with the ballerina soccer girl, measuring 24" x 36". I'm using my fave Fisher 400 paper (which I am almost out of) and Derwent Coloursofts and Prismacolors. Click on them to see them bigger!

& Happy New Year everyone! If you skimmed most of my rambling - I won't hold it against you! ;-)


Mary Jane said...

An inspiring post! Life takes on different priorities and I think we need not explain nor should we feel guilty about how we decide to live our lives or what we blog about. You are definitely sounding well rounded and so healthy. Running five miles!!! I am so impressed. I will look forward to reading your blog as as it changes along with you. Those donuts are so beautiful!
Happy New Year!

Gary Ruuska said...

I know where you're coming from, Nicole. I have trouble being as productive in the studio as I would like, and I don't have children! I think the only kind of work you do is quality work. If you do a little less than you would like, that's OK. It just leaves us wanting more. And that's a good thing.
Happy New Year!

Beth said...

I totally understand! Teaching is not an 8 to 3 job as many think. Lots of planning, preparing examples, grading, all go on outside of the classroom. But I'm sure that you are doing a fantastic job teaching and making yourself healthier an happier by setting your priorities right. Thanks for sharing and I, for one, would love to see some of what your students do and more fun stuff that goes on at the Caulfield household!

Dianna Soisson said...

I think you're doing the right thing Nicole. You need a balance in your life and too much of one thing is not good for the soul.
I as well would have liked to spend all my time working on my art sometime ago. At that time I was focusing on a few personal things (which was not up for debate) and my health, art and family suffered.Now I am eating healthier, losing weight and my whole outlook on life has changed.
Good for you!
By the way....Norman Rockwell was my idol growing up! His art always made me smile! Fantastic start on the piece! I can't wait to see it's completion.

Dors said...

No way did I just skim..LOL I enjoyed reading and admire what you say and what you are doing. It's all about managing priorities.

Love the take on Norman Rockwell drawing. as you may remember I am a great fan of Rockwell.

Look forward to reading your blogs when you have time and seeing your WIP.
Happy New Year Nicole.

Dors said...

Forgot to say. The donuts look yummy. :0

SYLVIANE said...

Happy New Year, Nicole, your are right with your statement, put your family and your health first, and find the balance with the other obligations, life is short.I admire your delicate art work.

Nicole Caulfield said...

you guys are the best!!!! Thanks so much for all the encouragement!!!

Gary your piece at Sharon Arts member show is superb!! I was looking at it and saying how great it was before I realized it was yours! I did the same with Robert Seaman's that is in the gift shop, lol.

Beth you are so right!! I am really impressed at the clay houses you are building on top of your schoolwork!!

thanks again everyone!!

& the doughnuts turned out more like bagels - I think it would make a good small bagel recipe!