Sometimes the Study is the Art by Vanessa Longacre-Wilcox

...tucked in the back of the closet of my room at my father’s house was this big black portfolio labeled “Vanessa’s art.” It turned out to be paintings and drawings I had done that my mother kept. From my very first brush strokes as a kid all the way until my college freshman collages that I made (while avoiding my philosophy homework) to decorate my dorm room...

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Work/Life Balance by Vanessa Longacre-Wilcox

Back before I had kids, I was a project manager in the tech industry.  And I loved it.  I wasn’t an artist trapped in a day job living a lie, I actually really loved it.  I was good at it and the goals were clear and the outcomes predictable (even the part that something will always go wrong).  There was satisfaction in helping projects along and getting things done.  I worked a lot and I didn’t mind it, it’s just what I did.  I remember a meeting with...

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A Tribute After All by Vanessa Longacre-Wilcox

...The day I started working on the painting was the day that David Bowie died.  It was devastating news. Like so many people out there have already expressed, David Bowie represented more than just his music, he was a beckon of light, a role model to be true to yourself, even if others don’t understand you.  After hearing of his death, I started to listen to Bowie all day every day.  So the canvas I had created to honor my mother became the canvas I painted while honoring Bowie instead....

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Making Holiday Art Gifts: 3 Pieces of Advice for Procrastinators by Vanessa Longacre-Wilcox

I can’t tell you what I’m working on.  Nor can I confirm or deny that I am indeed working on something for a relative for this holiday season.  But for the purpose of this post, let’s assume that I am.  And if you are a relative, and reader of the blog, just ignore this whole thing, go about your business, move along, find something else to do...

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WORLD AIDS DAY / DAY WITHOUT ART by Vanessa Longacre-Wilcox

When I was in college, World AIDS Day and Day Without Art were an important part of my college calendar.  It was a day to raise HIV/AIDS awareness on campus, and mourn the loss of many artists.  I had friends who were equally passionate about the issue and as devastating as it was I remember how we’d come together and the somewhat hilarious times we had trying to blackout the art around campus late into the night in prep for December 1st.  Even though my campus days are long past, every year, in some small way, I try to participate in World AIDS Day.  This year it is with offering this remembrance....

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Know When to Hold ‘em, Know When to Fold ‘em, Know When to Walk Away, Know When to Just Paint Something Else for Crying Out Loud by Vanessa Longacre-Wilcox

Doing what I say I’ll do is important to me.  So closing in on 2 months since detailing my block about my painting, and nearing 3 months since I recommitted to doing it, and rounding out a year since I planned it, and the fact that I am still at a standstill is very disheartening.  I have tried to get it done, I have gone through the motions, I’ve gotten my supplies, I’ve stretched and prepped my own canvas (for the first time in 15 years) and yet it sits untouched and looming over my art space.  A reminder of what I said I would do and a reminder of my failure to do so.  I’ve stopped going to my desk entirely because I don’t want to be faced with it.  As a result, I haven’t created a single piece of art in more than a month....

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So About That Painting I Don’t Want to Do by Vanessa Longacre-Wilcox

A few weeks ago I posted a project review and established my next steps.  The first step, tackle the painting on my project plan that I didn’t want to do. 

I was committed and I was going to start but…I made more excuses.  “Let me just finish up these drawings I want to do first.”  “I’ve got this wood panel already prepped, let me just work on that.”  The excuse art, as I’ve come to think of it...

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Project Review: Next Steps for the Blog by Vanessa Longacre-Wilcox

For many years I was a project manager.  This is not something that ever leaves you.  It seeps into your normal life.  Like that year you used MS Project to make a Gantt Chart of Thanksgiving dinner tasks (true story) or when your 6 month art project has gone on 9 months you start thinking, “It’s time for a review!”  Talk about successes and failures, lessons learned, and next steps...

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For Sale, I think by Vanessa Longacre-Wilcox

I had ordered a canvas online because I saw a crazy good deal and because I’m still hesitant about stretching my own as it adds another layer before starting a painting.  The canvas, in its shipping box, was on our doorstep when I brought my 5 year old home from school one day. 

“That’s a BIG box.” He said with excitement....

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What I Learned on My Summer Vacation by Vanessa Longacre-Wilcox

I have been having a bit of trouble getting this post done.  There are many things in my mind and what I think I want to convey keeps shifting.  A long time ago a friend of mine, after reading a 50 page short story I had written, said, “You know, you don’t have to get it all in there.”  I’m having the same trouble here but I’ve tried to whittle it down....

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The Auction by Vanessa Longacre-Wilcox

For my son’s preschool auction last year, I painted a painting.  It felt like the first piece of “art” that I had done in a really long time.  I wasn’t even thinking of making something until, one day, talking to the director of the school I mentioned that I had “a background in art.”  That was the expression I had settled on to describe my complicated relationship with making art.  It was behind me.  Past tense.  Over and done.   A part of me, but history.

“Oh,” she said, “You’re an artist!” The words made me flinch a little, like allowing myself to be called an artist was fraudulent in some way.  “You’ll have to donate something for the school auction!”  The words sent panic throughout my body but I managed to utter a tentative, “Maybe.”...

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Sketching is the plan by Vanessa Longacre-Wilcox

I grew up in New York City where a car is a liability not an asset.  I got my driver’s license when I was 21 years old but didn’t have a car.  When I moved to Seattle at 24, it was the first time I really drove. Two years later, I lived in a neighborhood called Greenlake.  The streets on east side of the lake curve along it and there is at least one spot where a fork in the road creates a blind spot.  I drove this stretch almost every day.

One day, driving down that road, with my boyfriend in the car, going the legal speed limit, I got to the blind spot and I said out loud, “I’m always scared there is going to be someone trying to turn on this road when I get to it.”  And my boyfriend said kindly (and nervously) “Well, you could slow down.” I looked over and he was clutching the armrest for dear life....

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The Slump by Vanessa Longacre-Wilcox

Since my last post, I have driven 1500 miles on a ten day road trip, had a 4 day stomach flu, nursed children through the stomach flu, then head colds, and then rounded it out with my own midnight trip to the E.R. (I’m fine now.)  I think I’m supposed to be telling you about all the sketching from the passenger seat I did on the road trip or how when you are dehydrated from stomach flu colors are so much more vivid, or how the 5 hours in the fluorescent lighting at the E.R. gave me inspiration for my next painting.  Yeah…none of that.  Instead, still struggling to get back on track, life’s minutia has taken me over and I am exhausted...

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The Ugly Painting Stage: What to do if you are not Michelangelo (Invisible Bravery Part 2) by Vanessa Longacre-Wilcox

My husband comes upstairs from playing with the kids, "Did you see my ugly painting?" I ask. This is not a setup, though it sounds like one.  I've been pretty amused by how ugly it is, it has been something we have been joking about.  My husband pauses, surveys the land, “It’s not ugly, it’s just in-progress.”  He’s a supportive and smart man.  I do really swear this wasn’t a set up but I’m pretty sure he didn’t take the bait just in case...

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The Art of Watching Paint Dry: Abstract Oil Painting #1 by Vanessa Longacre-Wilcox

At this point, I think the painting is done, but I'm not sure, I’ll give it another day, time to dry, maybe touch up just one or two of those lines, probably ruin a different line, I’ll have to let it dry again and touch that up, which leads to...oh dear...this could go on indefinitely.  I could be working on this painting for the rest of my natural born life, then I’ll die, come back and haunt the painting, at first it will scare the new owners but soon they'll be saying, “Just leave it alone already!”...

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