Ten years ago, as I was preparing to turn forty my then husband asked me what I wanted to do to celebrate that milestone. I think he was fishing for a trip somewhere or a big party, but what I really wanted to do was apply for an MFA program to further my career in art. I had found a low-residency program in Hays, Kansas that looked like it would be a good fit and it wasn't too expensive, so I applied, got in, and started my next adventure. While going to school, working, and taking care of my family was a lot of work, I was happy to be pursuing a goal that I had wanted for some time and the time flew by!
By the end of my third year in school I felt that I had this degree in the bag and all I had left to do was spend my fourth and final year working on my thesis show, which would be fun. Then the bomb dropped. At the beginning of June my husband of twenty years came home and informed me he was in love with one of his co-workers and needed (deserved in his words) to have an affair with her. I was devastated, but we tried to work it out. After four difficult months he informed me that he wanted to move out and I didn't fight him on it. Truth be told, I couldn't stand any more of the lies and broken promises, so I let him go.
I have to tell you; I was so heartbroken. The foundation that I had built the last twenty years of my life was suddenly gone and I didn't know what I was going to do. I had to find a full-time job, get both kids to schools that were thirty minutes away from each other, take care of said kids, and don't forget, finish that degree. Thankfully my daughter was 17 and able to help out a bunch as did some friends who took my younger son into their home after school, but I think we were all saddened and upset by my soon-to-be ex's decision. (Thank you, Zoe, Helen, and Paul for all your help! I couldn't have done it without you!)
From where I stood, completing the last little bit of work I had left for my thesis show seemed like an overwhelming task. I was able to enlist a friend to help with my thesis catalog, thank goodness, but I still needed some work to finalize the project. It was then, at the lowest part of my life, that I began making the largest, most ambitious sculptures I had ever made, much to my surprise. You can see an image of one of them at the top of this newsletter, that piece was over two feet tall before firing and it barely fit into the kiln!
I found it strange that I was suddenly making such large work, but I guess big emotions lead to big art. I realized after a while that I was using my art to make new foundations for myself now that the foundation of my marriage was gone. I found solace in my artwork despite the sadness and severe depression I was fighting and was able to make something beautiful from it.
I will be turning fifty this spring and it's easy for me to look back on the last decade of my life and see a lot of failure and missed opportunities, but I also need to give myself credit for getting through all of that: a divorce, severe depression, not making the art career for myself I had wanted to. Instead, I have spent the last seven years rebuilding my life with a new career (as a stockbroker of all things—that's another story) and a new marriage. To be fair, I have been working to build my art career, just not as quickly as I might have wanted. As I move into my fifties, I find myself asking again what I want for my birthday, and I find that the answer is to finally be the artist I know I can! I want to thank each and every one of you for your support and your belief in me. I truly appreciate it!
On that note, I do want to mention that April Cannon Studio has been accepted into the Cherry Creek Arts Festival this summer. The festival will be 4th of July weekend and I hope to see you all there! I will let you know what other events I will be attending this summer as my schedule gets finalized and you can always purchase my work online at AprilCannonStudio.net