Monday, August 30, 2010

I’m Not Who I Used to Be

I’m Not Who I Used to Be
By Kate McCullough

I’m not who I used to be,
I used to be a cute blonde
But then I grew up.

I’m not who I used to be,
I used to be a daughter,
But my parents have passed on.

I’m not who I used to be,
I used to be a mother to 2 small children
But then they grew up.

I’m not who I used to be,
I used to be a nurse,
But death trampled my heart.

I’m not who I used to be,
I used to be a farmer,
But death again closed the farm gate.

I’m not who I used to be,
I used to be a real estate agent,
But travel took its place.

I am a wife to Rick,
Mother to Missy and Danny,
Stepmother to Erin,
Grandmother to Devan,
A sister,
A friend,
A dog lover,
A Christian,
A Republican,
An artist,
A student at NSU.

I’m not who I used to be
And yet
Who I used to be is who I am.

I won’t always be who I am now
But I have been here
And someone will remember me.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


For the past year, I've been trying to slog through my own murkiness and find a clear path to further my artistic ability. I had touched on the topic of going to school as a way to progress. I had also touched on the very romantic idea of taking "Art Holidays" where I would go spend a week studying with an artist and learn what could be learned in a week from them. That really sounds like a lot of fun to me but, it's very costly and I don't want to take a vacation where I'm going to be away from Rick all day, every day of it. So I reverted back to the school idea.

To mention, I've already gotten an "Art Diploma" from Penn Foster which is great as a basic course but doesn't really get you anywhere. I started looking around to see who offered a Bachelor's in Fine Arts and found 2 universities near me that did. The deciding factor? The one closest to me has a demand of ownership of two of your art pieces (their choice)as part of your graduation requirements. Give my art away? Not to anyone I don't love. So I drive a little bit farther and go to Northeastern State University where I am studying Fine Arts.

I tried it out over the summer to make sure I could handle school. Can you believe that after 35 years out of high school, I had to take remedial math? I sure did. I'm just glad I only had to take intermediate algebra and not elementary algebra as well. After making sure I could hack school, I quit my part time job and enrolled in school full time.

I just completed the first week. It's kicking my tail. The work is not too hard, it's the walking. The school is in Tahlequah but it feels like I'm having to park in Fayetteville to get the nearest parking spot. We are still in the throes of a very hot and dry August and shady parking spots come at a premium. No one makes it to class without breaking out in a sweat and the classrooms are starting to store the aroma. With luck the heat wave will break soon and I will become accustomed to the extra walking.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


One of the first female artists I learned about as a kid was Georgia O'Keefe. The huge closeups she did of flowers was awe-inspiring. I'm not a big fan of her more abstract or skull art but I do love her flowers. So, of course, I always wanted to do one but lacked the skill and the ability to overcome the fear of failing at it.

Recently one of my art students was talking to me about a project she had in mind with a friend of hers to do a close up of a magnolia, so that set me to dreaming again. Then the yahoo group posted this sweet hibiscus as the August challenge.

My camera went nuts on all those reds and blues and purples in it. So the photo is not as good as I wanted and the scanner was even crazier. But I've finally achieved half of my Georgia O'Keefe goal. I painted the close up, now I need to paint a really big close up.

But now on to styles of painting. Sometimes I copy a "master" because I've loved something they've done. It's an excellent method of learning. But I want to caution any artist reading this, learn the lesson and move on to discovering and developing your own style. It's better to let Richard McKinley paint Richard McKinley paintings and better to let Thomas Kinkaid paint Thomas Kinkaid paintings. Why? Because you probably don't want someone to look at your painting and say, "that looks just like a Thomas Kinkaid painting." Personally, I want someone to look at my paintings and say, "That looks just like a Kate McCullough painting."