The end of the year is always a time for collective contemplation. Analysing what has transpired, wondering if we could have changed the outcomes with better made judgments. Trusting we are wiser individuals, looking into the future with courage and hope.
Last week my best friend from primary school died. Death seems more shocking when the person who has passed on is younger or the same age as yourself. Again, you contemplate and look backwards. This time it is a period of introspection, you feel more panicked and vulnerable, more deeply aware of your fragility.
Then there are the happy reflective times. Today my child turned 21 and we celebrated with family and friends at a birthday lunch. A celebration of togetherness, tenderness, and optimism.
There is an extra date each year when I am reminded of the passing of time, the end of the college academic year. When I accepted my 6-hour contract in 2001, I never expected that two decades later I would be the only f/t member in the Arbroath Art Department. The department has changed dramatically, and I wish I had understood at the outset what I was about to lose and gain.
It had never been my ambition to teach full-time. However, personal circumstances dictated that I was responsible for paying all the bills, and for a time I felt cheated that I didn’t have the time to be a creative. That was until I realised that I was being creative every day! Collaborating on college days with creative fervent minds, learning new skills year on year, transcribing ideas for future projects and seeking out new exhibiting opportunities. The next exhibition being a joint show at The Eden Court Theatre with my friend Jim Boon, an artist whom I admire greatly and am in awe of. So, there is much work to be done this summer in the studio so as not to show him up. I believe it is always best to work and play with people who are more accomplished as it forces you to better yourself. Your trajectory must be upwards, and you must try your hardest to not be afraid to fail. For we learn as much from failure as we do from success.