Voice and Vision

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143: A New Year Exercise

I’m reading a book in which the author lists all the jobs she’s had in her lifetime, and all the people she might not otherwise have met had she not had those experiences. Both jobs and individuals enriched her life.

I decided to make my own list. It was a surprising exercise. I learned some things about myself and appreciated the diverse opportunities life has bestowed.

I’ve been a:

baby-sitter, junior high through high school

berry-picker, paid by the quart, working one hot summer with itinerant workers

Christmas gift wrapper at Sears for a holiday season

Howard Johnson’s hostess and waitress

retail clothing clerk

modeling course to start modeling

a substitute teacher for varied ages, grades, subjects

full-time art teacher for 10 years in private and public schools

houseparent in a boys’ high school dorm for 3 years

mother of three children

Sunday School superintendent and teacher for various ages

one of three who started a church where there was none

church first reader (like a pastor)

part-time Christian Science practitioner

church board chairman

Reading Room librarian

volunteer at women’s shelter

Boy Scout den mother

raiser of Newfoundlands and Bernese Mountain Dogs

legal permission for a year to homeschool my sons plus another student







house and fence painter




flower arranger for church, B&B rooms, and always 7 arrangements in home



a CASA, working with abused children, investigating cases, appearing/speaking in court

women’s studies teacher and writer of course which I received a grant to create

in-state and out-of-state 4-day watercolor workshops

teaching studio classes in figure, portraiture, drawing, watercolor, pastel for many years

entered numerous art shows and exhibitions; garnering over 100 awards

member of several professional art organizations

decorator for friends’ homes

activist for village cause

painted 50-some bird species and spoke up on their behalf before their habitat was destroyed

gallery owner–4 different galleries in 4 different cities/states

Bed and Breakfast owner/operator/chef for 4-course candlelit breakfasts

PTA president

author of an art appreciation booklet for use in public schools

volunteer studio art teacher and trainer of other volunteers to provide public school art where there was none

writer of articles

author of two books available on Amazon–a 566-page autobiography and a 100-page illustrated cookbook

speech giver

blog writer

packer/mover for 35 moves

Principia College Bachelor’s Degree in fine arts

RISD graduate school Master’s Degree with honors

General Theological Seminary, NYC

“Journey Course” team member for Calvary Episcopal Church

 painter in 12 different countries

with help, renovated an historic house

with architect friend, built a new house

and two marriages–yes, they are jobs!

I feel like I’ve left something out. Nevertheless, this quick list offers me a fresh appreciation of my life.  Reflecting on all that has transpired over many years, I cherish each experience, the challenges overcome, the lessons learned, the people known–grateful for every bit.

Want to make your own list? I think you’ll find it an illuminating way to start the new year.

Self-Portrait of the Artist, Late 1970s, watercolor, 27" x 23," matted, $575, by Gwendolyn Evans

Self-Portrait of the Artist, Late 1970s, watercolor, 27″ x 23,” matted, $575, by Gwendolyn Evans

Artwork:  Self-Portrait of the Artist, Late 1970s, watercolor, 27″ x 23,” matted, $575.

This self-portrait was done when I was a young mom, painted in my den, capturing the back-light through the blind. This watercolor reflects my interest in the loose watercolor work of Charles Reid, who remains my favorite watercolorist, and with whom I was privileged to study twice.

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