Take Two: A Creative Life Redux

“In my next life,” I told my friend as we wandered up and down the aisles of Hull’s Art Supply in New Haven, “I want to be an artist.”

I let my hands trace over the tubes of oil paints, and tap the tops of acrylics as I walked by. One, two, three…

I passed the palms of my hands over the bin of brushes like that scene in Dances with Wolves, when John Dunbar stands waist-high in prairie grass. Imagining.

If I closed my eyes like he did then, I could see myself. There in my art studio, with light pouring through the windows. It smelled of paint and yellow number two pencils and paper dust.

In my next life, I want to be an artist.

I’d have shelves of those colorful pots, and a place for these small glass jars. A mug full of those Pantone pens, and look! surely I would need a set of those small, white porcelain bowls! What are they used for?

I grabbed one of Hull’s catalogs, stuffed it into my purse like I’d just found the Book of Secrets, and promised myself hours to pour over it with a yellow highlighter. I want this. And that. And these. And…and a bigger studio!

Then I stared wide-eyed at the rows of watercolor paints, like a woman gazes wishfully at this season’s new shoes displayed in a window. Brown is the new black, she said while I squinted to read the tiny names on tiny tubes:

I wish these names rolled off my tongue as often as Adobe and Mac and Microsoft. I’d be an artist and shameless name-dropper:

“What? This? Oh, it’s just my old Cerulean Blue painting smock.”

“Is that a Viridian velvet scarf you’re wearing?”

“What a lovely Prussian Blue Subaru you’re driving these days!”

Can you hear it now?

In my next life, I want to be an artist.

I’d sit with my 7th grade art teacher, Mr. Yoho, and get him to show me perspective all over again. The horizon. The center. The lines. A house?

At summer camp, I’d write down the recipe for papier-mâché in a book I called my journal—not a “diary”—and it would only include sketches and notes about art.

I’d take art classes in school, not calculus. And I’d spend my summers with paint and canvas instead of chasing after boys who didn’t know shit from sienna.

The first time I ever wanted to be an artist was in 1989, right after college, when I bought a copy of Sara Midda’s South of France sketchbook. Inside were pages and pages of delicious watercolor paintings. “I want to do that!” I thought, then got sidetracked by real-world expectations.

I guess I still am sidetracked. It’s not that I don’t dabble. But I am as much of an artist as I am a gardener—random and vicarious at best.

I’ve taken classes over the years—Beginner Watercolor, Beginner Drawing, Mixed-Media Collage. Not enough, I don’t think. I should take classes all the time! I am, after all, blessed to be surrounded by amazing artists and creative types and places that offer art classes ALL THE TIME!

In my next life, I want to be an artist, because then there will be enough time.

To be an artist.
To be a writer.
To be a business owner.
To be.

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time.” says Life’s Little Instruction Book author H. Jackson Brown Jr. “You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”


In my next life, I want to be an artist.
That’s all I’m saying.

I don’t need to be da Vinci. Really.
Just someone who does a little more than dabble.

Besides, who says that next life can’t start now?

• • •

In my next life, I want to be an artist. An artist who spends often and familiar time at a place like Hull’s Art Supply. They, like so many of our local, small businesses, are a rare treasure. Nothing compares to a couple of hours roaming and browsing in a space so pregnant with creativity and ideas and potential. Please shop local as often as you can!

Hull’s: website \ blog \ facebook

• • •

Click here to purchase a copy of Sara Midda’s South of France sketchbook.

Hull’s Art Supply photos courtesy of the Hull’s website.

12 thoughts on “Take Two: A Creative Life Redux

Add yours

    1. Well, yes, yes – but the grass is always greener, isn’t it? Over on that side, I’d actually be able to draw, and paint faces and landscapes, and maybe calligraph some pretty lettering. I’d spend all day in the studio, wearing my blue smock covered in paint and surrounded by canvases, and…. See – same green, just different. : )

  1. Loved this!! I used to study in the art library in college. Just for the otherness and the fantasy of being an art student (while doing laplace transforms). Art’s not my calling, but I like to think about it like it is.

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