New Beginnings, Change and Loss~ Fall 2016

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“For every time there is a season..”

It has been a bittersweet summer for me. I am very excited to tell you about all the nice things, like the fun Summer camps and workshops that where wonderfully intensive, prolific and inspiring. We touched on a wide range of themes and I love how being immersed in creating for 3- 4 days in a row allows a student to grow immensely. But, I have struggled with whether I should share with parents and students the difficult loss I have experienced this Summer.

I don’t want to burden other people with my struggles and don’t want it to seem that I am needy for sympathy. I am so blessed to have the support of many dear friends and family. Death is an uncomfortable and awkward subject for many and until you truly experience someone close to you dying, you have no idea how someone in that situation feels and what you should say or do for them. I want PrairieArt Studio to be a fun, happy, joyful place and don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable here. I am so fortunate to have my artwork and teaching to focus on. I find so much inspiration and joy in helping others to learn the skills and gain the confidence to enjoy the creative process.

I realized, though I am a very private person, that when I teach, I share a big part of myself, my story and my life. For me, at its best, Art is a refuge of calm, an expression and an outlet for things that are too big for any words. I invite my students and their families into my home and my world. It seems disingenuous not to share something that has profoundly changed the trajectory of my life. You see, on July 1st , I unexpectedly lost someone very close to me, my husband Tobin. We were together on a walk in nature, our favorite place to be and he was suddenly taken from this world. I will forever ponder the reason.

I love Fall and usually love change. It’s an expected change, a chance to start fresh, to refocus. It’s a crisp invigorating reminder to get back to work after a warm lazy summer. As an artist it is so important to really look and observe things and change, whether it’s the season, travel or just rearranging your furniture helps us to see things with “fresh” eyes. Some people embrace change and some are more reluctant but life is change. Every moment is different from the last. We really do need to embrace change and help our children to be comfortable with it. Unexpected change is harder to understand. We are forced to look at our own life with “fresh eyes” and to try to accept that there is a bigger plan. Having a creative outlet to express our feelings with both sadness, loss, confusion or joy and happiness is so important and extremely healing. My loss has helped to reaffirm my goal for myself and my goal for guiding my students to get past and put aside our perfectionism and our need to get it “just right” to be able to get lost in the process. I want to remind my students and myself to get out your head and back to your heart because miraculously the quality, technical skills and beauty will follow.

Our world is getting faster, more stressful and complex. It is easier to be busy and not face our feelings but not good for our health, hearts and minds. Life keeps moving, life goes on and it’s my hope that I can instill in my students a love of Art that will help them through all of the highs and lows of this time we have on Earth.

Peace,

Michelle