Over the past year since my last guest blog, I’ve had so many wonderful things come about. I’m excited
to share these as I look back on our military life journey of over twenty-six years. We’ve been “retired”
from the Navy for eleven years now. Our current home we’ve been in for ten years – the longest we’ve
been anywhere in our entire adult lives. I finally have that picket fence I always wanted…it ends up in
so many paintings of mine, a continual theme of home and stability.
But the thing I’m excited about now is how things are unfolding for my art business. I’ve added more
watercolor sketchbook classes in my teaching artist role right here in my home studio. I am really
loving teaching, and changing the outlook of those who think they ‘aren’t creative and can’t draw’. Over
time, my students are excited about the progress they are making – and I am THRILLED with the
growth and progress in their skill level and fun they are having!! I’m returning to Ireland to teach
another workshop this month. Next June (2019) I’m teaching two painting workshops in France! The
first session filled within a week, and the second session has only two available spaces remaining. I still
volunteer with Connecticut Audubon, and teach sketchbook classes there once a month. I feel so lucky
to have this teaching role in my life – it has been incredibly satisfying!
I’ve recently added the role of art show judge to my resume, a thing I never imagined fifteen or twenty
years ago. In fact, I don’t think I imagined any of this that I’m doing now.
As an introvert, being forced to move every 2-3 years really stretched my comfort zone. (Some of my
close friends swear I must be an extrovert)! Each new place we moved, I learned to jump right into
my community – and find other artist friends and opportunities as quickly as I could. I took advantage
of classes, and workshops in each place that I lived. Currently, online art business classes have
connected me to other artists that are at the same level of our art biz. Several of us continue to meet in
video conference twice a month to go over our big concerns. Having a “genius group” to connect with
has been so helpful. At our next meeting, we will be discussing our art business goals for 2019.
On a personal note, I’m of the age where my daughters are getting married. Of my twins, one is
celebrating her two year anniversary soon, and her sister is getting married Virginia in October! Last
month we were down in Virginia celebrating the wedding of another young friend. I knew him from the
time he was a toddler – the same age as my daughters. His mother and I would be each other’s biggest
support during long deployments. Our husbands were both part of a submarine wardroom on a fast
attack boat with a high operations schedule. These friendships continue to grow richer with time.
There is “life after retirement” as my older military friends used to reassure me when things got
difficult. I am now at that ‘older’ point in my life. If I could advise my younger self, I’d tell her to
savor every moment of your military life – it will feed your future civilian role and relationships. Know
that you will stretch and grow in your capacity in ways that you can’t even imagine. All good things