New Projects: Writing, Teaching, and Disapproving Mothers

New projects, indeed! In case you didn't see it, I had a post up on The Accidental Creative blog this week:

Becoming an Accidental Creative

This is setting up a series of posts (series! as in more than one!), reflections on applying the principles laid out in Todd's book, but from the perspective of an "almost professional," rather than a full-time professional creative. In case you've managed to miss all my jabber about the book, here's a little background on the adventure.

I feel a bit like a kid sitting at the grown-ups' table—but I've always done well in that arena. I've met so many lovely people through this community. I'm particularly excited about the accountability group that a few of us have started. It's going to be so helpful to have a group of creative people I can turn to for motivation.

I had the opportunity to meet another exciting group of people this week. Skillshare Philadelphia launched on Tuesday! The premise behind Skillshare is fantastic; it is founded on the belief that we all have a talent we can easily share with other people, if we could only find a way to connect. The Skillshare site is a connections board; you design a 90 minute class and post it (usually for about $10-$20 per attendee).

The kickoff party was Tuesday, and then I went to a free "teaching a Skillshare class" on Thursday. The class began with an introductions round, and what struck me was how every single person in the room had both a day job and a side passion that was unrelated to the day job. I heard a lot of creative frustration in the room. I understand the feeling. I hope that teaching—and taking—some classes can help relieve that frustration for people. Frankly, I was as excited as a little puppy, all wriggling with excitement over the chance to both take and teach classes.

I'm taking an intro to Settlers of Catan class in a couple of weeks. Yeah, I know I don't need to pay $10 to learn to play a board game, but it comes with pizza, beer, and the chance to make a few new friends. I've told you I need to get out of the house more. I'm very excited!

I've been using that phrase too much lately, "I'm very excited," but it's true. I've got a lot of irons in the fire and it feels really good. Andrew has as well, between the rock climbing, biking, band, and his UAV project; so much so that we were getting to where we rarely saw each other. We made a conscious choice to spend a little time together at the Brandywine River Museum this afternoon, and it was lovely.

The museum is in Chadds Ford, PA, home to the Wyeth family. The majority of the museum's displays were works from the three generations of Wyeth painters, and many of the landscapes were of the Brandywine River valley, in Delaware and Chester counties (we live in Delaware county). There's something special about seeing the landscape I'm currently in as it was one, two, and even three hundred years ago.

I most enjoyed reading the back stories that went with the paintings. Because of the museum's close connection with the Wyeth family, the explanatory cards had much more detail about many of the paintings—stories about pigs eating paints, why varnish was applied in one part of the painting but not another, a melancholy story about the winter a friend died.

There were painting by other artists, and the one that captured my imagination most was a portrait of Martha Hartford Hare, a wealthy English woman, done in 1775 by Benjamin West. I didn't particularly like the painting, in fact I decidedly did not like it, due to the dour expression on the woman's face. Until I read the card—and then I loved it! It seems Martha, not pleased about her son's decision to marry an American woman and live with the new wife in the colonies, commissioned the painting of herself, decked out in a black mourning veil, clutching her son's letter, and looking most disapproving.

Hah! Imagine getting, not an angry letter from your mother, but an enormous portrait of her glaring you! Thanks, Mom. I'll be sure to rush right home. Thankfully I haven't made any commissionable offenses against my mom, although Tom did recommend this evening that I "move home now and avoid the rush." Should I start checking the mail for artwork, Tom?