Retirement is a funny thing. Everyone approaches it differently. Some folks embrace the concept with enthusiasm for the measured time ahead. Other take a more cautious approach, judging time and money spent in return for what? I found my calling pretty quickly and have settled into a routine that satisfies my soul as well as my curious mind. Sharon took a little longer but has finally found her focus.
I’m living with an artist now. Her lifestyle has changed and evolved over the past couple of years. The changes were subtle at first then grew more focused as an interest in the arts became her new found passion. In the beginning, it was metal art and welding. Gradually those endeavors evolved into alcohol ink and acrylics. Now it’s become a full blown exploration and examination of various painting mediums, methods and techniques. In that process of experimentation, my wife has begun mixing and matching a plethora of textures, patterns and applications to see the results. She is also learning the disciplines associated with her many different approaches to her art.
The residue of her artistic endeavors can be seen everywhere; on the kitchen table, in corners, the basement and even Brian’s old bedroom. There is evidence of her art projects all over the place. Picture frames and paints are stacked everywhere.
Sharon can no longer chide me for stacking papers on the floor of my writing room (Melanie’s old bedroom). The artist’s ammunition has come to rest and now even Sharon understands it must go somewhere.
Out west, our kitchen nook has become her artist’s work space and there will soon be a new gallery up in the hallway. There already is a wall of art back in Minnesota.
Sharon takes art classes at the Northrup King Building in Norde East Minneapolis and at the Palm Springs Art Center. Her work is being displayed in a design store at International Market Square and she hopes to soon be represented in the desert.
It has given both of us both a new focus on life…not that the old one wasn’t pretty good too. We are attending art gallery openings, finding new venues where Sharon might display her work and meeting fellow artists here and there. It’s prompted me to explore new venues for my plays both here and throughout the Coachella Valley.
Sharon’s venture into painting is less impressive than her embracing the true spirit of her craft. She is experimenting, succeeding at times and failing at others and trying again. There is a sense of urgency and a crusade that she is on. She is finding her voice, her comfort level and self-expression in her art. Sharon’s art is the story of her thoughts and feelings and moods and ambitions.
Sharon’s paintings energize her and give her a reason to care. It is carrying her beyond past academic success to newfound pleasures of the soul. Now she is passing on that knowledge to her grandchildren.
It means fulfillment for Sharon as an artist, an explorer, and a person. It now defines who she is and what she has become. It is a life filled with purpose and meaning.
Been there, done that, doing it. I know what it’s like. I couldn’t be more proud of everything she’s accomplished thus far and will in the future.