Chicago, Minneapolis, Greeting Cards, and More

I’ve been traveling, returned to work full-time, and started designing greeting cards. It’s been a super bittersweet summer.

Hello, Chicago

While I sat in the waiting room before a follow up on my aching limbs, I purchased a membership to the Art Institute of Chicago. That weekend I made an overdue trip to the museum and I was just overwhelmed with the art there.

My right arm still in a sling, I was so inspired by everything I saw that I began a painting with my left arm only.

My sister, Heather, posed for this painting, which I’m taking a break from at the moment.

Hello, Minneapolis

Before returning to work full time I managed to squeeze in a trip to Minneapolis (also long overdue) between doctor appointments. Long story short: In high school I wanted to go to the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, but went to NIU instead. Later a professor would encourage those of us looking to leave Illinois to check out Minnesota; a state surprisingly supportive of the arts and artists. It’s been on my mind ever since.

Walker Art Sculpture Garden
Spoonbridge and Cherry in the foreground, St. Mary’s Basilica in the background, and Robert Indiana’s “Love” caught in the middle at the Walker Art Sculpture Garden.

While there I was on a mission to take in as many of the art museums as I could. I visited the Walker Art Museum, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the Weisman Art Museum. The architecture and street art in Minneapolis are also something to behold. I don’t care about sports, but US Bank Stadium is an impressive sight to take in with its panels of glass angling into the sky.

Back To Work

At the end of August I returned to work full-time. Restricted to lift no more than 10 pounds, I’m confined to some light training and clerical work on the computer. The return to third shift has been a shock to my system. Do you know that I have worked third shift for 14 years now? A job interview at the local library seemed like a possible way out, but I didn’t get it and I find myself growing complacent again.

Greeting Cards

About a month ago I took the plunge on a fancy pants printer so that I can begin to offer greeting cards and giclée prints. I have a number of ideas for cards and prints and at some point I look forward to offering them in some sort of online store.

One of the early card designs. I’m still evaluating various paper stock.

I’ve acquired envelopes, card sleeves, various paper stock, and done a fair amount of testing, and sketching, and designing. In my head I had set a goal that I would have half a dozen designs ready to print and ship for the Christmas shopping season. And yet..

Pump The Brakes

Last week marked one year since my mother passed away. It makes one take pause and shift perspective. At the beginning of this year I had some anxious episodes and decided to get some help from a qualified therapist. One of the things I’ve begun to realize is that so much of the anxiety and pressure I put on myself is self imposed. It’s a difficult habit to break.

I’m forced to ask myself why I continue to pursue this avenue of self-employment. Money has little or nothing to do with it; there are lots of better ways to make money. What I want is the freedom to take a day off if I need it without the consequence of an “attendance point”. I want to develop my art and music skills. I don’t want to work third shift. I don’t want to feel treated like a child when management decides it is time to review the workplace rules.

Those things won’t change overnight, and it is important to have goals. But often my goals are so ambitious that I can’t enjoy myself if I decide to watch a movie at home or go out for the evening.

All The Rest

My arms are gradually getting better. It may be a full year before either start to feel normal. To add insult to injury (or rather, injury to injury), I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis in my foot and simply walking is often painful. I’m working on it.

Now I can play guitar again, though not quite at the level I was at before. I’ve got some feelings I’m trying to get out via some new songs, but haven’t exactly made myself sit down and get the lead out.

All the feels. Indeed.

For all my attempts to have a positive mental attitude, too often I feel that “something has got to give.” I’m not afraid to make a change, but I often feel I’m in a Catch-22. Maybe the problem is that I haven’t really considered radical change. Would anyone like to buy my house? Maybe it’s time I start living out of a van and drawing roadside attractions across America.

From now until the end of January, over 350 works by Andy Warhol will be on display at the Art Institute of Chicago. I plan to visit more than once. I’ve got a fresh gallon of screen printing emulsion and I think I’m going to work more on creating art and music instead of building business strategies.

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