Monday, May 14, 2012

What I've learned this semester (1 of 5) ....PAJWLH

As some of you may know, this semester was my first semester back to school in 10 years. 10 years ago, my husband and I graduated from Long Beach City College and were on our way to transfer to CSULB. Little did we know that that summer we would find our lives to take a different turn and we would be married, moving into our first home and awaiting the arrival of our first child all within 9 months of graduating. Our decision was that my husband would continue on with his education and I would stay home and raise our children. These last 10 years have been amazing. I have become the mother and wife I have always wanted. I have enjoyed a wonderful career in the arts and craft industry and have worked with some amazing companies along the way. I guess what I am trying to get to is that although through this all I have felt whole, felt like my purpose was being fulfilled... but deep in my heart, God was stirring something inside of me that was waiting for just the right time to emerge.

This school year all three of our children began attending school full time. At the beginning of the year, I was working and well having them all in school really didn't hit me until about November. November 1st, 2012 me and my husband decided to have lunch downtown and along our way, we passed Colorado State University. In that instance it hit me. I needed to go back to school. It was time. My time to pursue my education. Before this point, I had this yearning in my heart for something more. It was as if I had a whole bunch of pieces to a puzzle circling my head, yet I had no idea what this puzzle was to be. It was driving me crazy, made me cry at times... made me sad, even depressed at the thought that I knew that I had to be doing something, yet I had no idea what it was. Once I saw the school I knew just what it was that all of these pieces of the puzzle meant. I knew that my purpose was far more than what I was doing at the moment and I could see the path laid before me... as clear as day. I knew just what it was that I was to be doing.

Now don't get me wrong, my full love in life is my family, my husband, my children. All I have ever wanted in my life was to be married and have children (you can ask any one of my ex-boyfriends who for some reason fled after I told them this, lol). But something inside of me stirred beyond this. My family will always be my first priority, but I know that God has a very specific plan for me (and my family) and it involved me going back to school and studying Art and Counseling.

So with this little preface explained... I want to share what this semester has brought me... some of it will be obvious class knowledge... and some, well more like the smack you upside your head knowledge (the DUH! moments).

Starting with my first class... Adobe Illustrator...

This part of my school journey, well, let's just call it... THE PROCESS...

I have to admit, my first day back I was nervous... like heart pounding out of my chest nervous. I was lucky enough to have a quick chat with my friend Sesil right before I went into class, and her encouragement helped to sooth my heart. I also had some sweet emails, phone calls and text messages from some very sweet people (Shout out to Margaret and Holli!) which of course didn't hurt :)

So getting back to my first class... Illustrator... I have to say, we were not friends at first. Below you will see my first assignment which was to be a texture project using the pen  and line tools. If you have ever taken an Illustrator class, you will know that the pen tool can easily be used as a torture device. But my instructor assured the class that we would need it in the future so eventually, me and the pen tool became pretty tight.

Second assignment (my favorite) was to create a water colored piece that reflected a nursery rhyme or fairy tale... anyone that knows me knows that I LOVE Snow White... so well, this is what I came up with. In this project we had to develop our own symbol sprayer element as well as three new brushes.


 This assignment was a dream scape. We worked with gradients and masking in this assignment. This was to be based off of a re-occurring, prominent or recent dream that we have had. Our objective was to take note if we dream in first person, color or black and white. While the rest of the class illustrated images of them falling... I on the other hand had to record my most frightening dream ever, that of a man eating chicken pecking at my feet. I was 5 when I had this dream, so can you really blame me? This dream has continued to effect my life as I still to this day have an aversion to bird, foul, or anything feathered. As well I have a very hard time allowing my feet to be in murky water that might have slimy things in it... Eeeewwww (This is the time when you can officially think of me as a little crazy, go ahead... I have come to terms with it).

This project was a psychological self portrait. We worked with text treatments with this assignment. My first attempt to this was a sketch that I came up with (you will see it below as I used it for my final) that was based more on fear and pressure. At the time that I was creating this, I really felt that I needed to get back to the real me, so I decided to go this route instead. Although my life at the time was a bit chaotic and out of whack... it wasn't me and I needed to remember that. So rather than to be defined my circumstances, I chose to remember my character and work off of that. I would like to think that I am a glass half full kind of girl, so with that in mind I remembered some truths that I hold to my core and went with that. So this is me :)

This assignment was a day to night assignment. This assignment I was really excited about, being able to change lighting and staging to share a narrative of a certain place through a certain amount of time. Well.. that was the plan at least. Unfortunately during this time I had a massive flare up of Acid reflux. I have been battling it since December, and it has been kicking my butt.  I know that it doesn't sound like it would be that big of a deal, but it effected every part of my life, eating, sleeping, standing, walking... everything I did hurt. So with this assignment, I didn't get a chance to put as much detail into it as I would have liked to. I do have to say that I loved loved loved learning about blends in this assignment.

 By this assignment, I was feeling a bit better. This assignment was an abstract interpretation. I chose to do an objective abstract as I really wouldn't know the first place to start a non-objective abstract. We explored filters for this assignment. I really loved this assignment, as it was open for artistic interpretation and I was able to use simple shapes to set a scenario.

FINAL- Narrative Triptych

For my final, I decided to show myself in my three primary roles in life. Home, School, Work. This was a very tough one for me as each picture kind of sends different emotions through me. I will leave them for you to interpret.




I debated on posting my final images as there are a bit personal, but I would imagine that there are a few out there that can identify with me on these, so for those... I posted them, know that you are not alone. 

So this PROCESS... you can see has been an up and down journey. My first illustrations I really wanted to quit after that. I thought for sure that there was no way I could ever learn Illustrator (darn pen tool). But I stuck with the process, I figured I was paying for the class, so I might as well stick with it. 

So this is what I hope to share from this... PROCESS, it is so much more than just an instance of failure or a highlight of success, it is the full journey. the full race from start to finish seen as a cumulative rather than a series of errors sprinkled with a few successes. We ALL have these moments, we ALL have these days. As moms, students, artists, employees, designers... in everything. We have to remember that there is a larger story to be told. I bigger picture that we are a part of, even our failures.

  • Pick a moment when you felt like giving up. 
  • Make a list of reasons to stop, or to carry on
  • Use a digital element (this can be anything, even a word doc... you don't need fancy software to create a digital element, just print something  and BAM it's digital)
  • Choose the appropriate color scheme to now paint these elements into your journal so that you can remember this.
  • This page will act as a reminder, good or bad doesn't matter. These reminders help form us. They remind us of where we use to be, or where we want to be. Either way they are there for us... just for us.
  • Remember, you don't need to show anyone this page...if you chose not to.
  • Remember process... the next steps may be tough, but they are your steps and your steps are worth so much more than you know!

PHEW! Sorry for the long wind... I hope that this gives you an idea of what I have been up to while I have been MIA these last few months.

Overall I loved my Illustrator class, I learned SO MUCH and am grateful that I stuck with it. I met some amazing friends whom I have grown to know and love. I am grateful that my insecurities didn't get the best of me this time and that I stuck with it... I have to remember that sometime in the future, this will all be worth it.

Thanks again,

~Liz ♥


  1. Love your reflections of this semester...I think that is the most important part of any process is the reflection piece!

  2. I give you an A++! Awesome article Liz. Thank you for sharing yourself and letting me know you even more. I'm going to think about what color giving up looks like. I recently quit weight watchers, but not dieting, so I'm in an ambivalent state of mind. I need words and colors for that. Thanks for giving me food for thought.

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    2. Oops, I accidentally replied as my husband...
      Kat, maybe instead of looking at it as giving up, maybe you could see it as taking a break or a different route. Sometimes pressures are a lot to handle, and for some reason we put so much pressure on ourselves... maybe this is just a time for you to breathe... relax... be at peace and enjoy you. You are a wonderful person with a beautiful heart and attitude... never forget that :)

  3. I have never used Resin. I would like to try my hand at jewelry. I could make scrapbooking embelishments too.