Friday, April 5, 2013

The Creative Process: Can I Afford My Hobby?

This series is about the cross-over skills and concepts between creating art and doing genealogy. Admittedly, it's all very blue-sky.

When I was teaching studio art at the local college back a ways, a goodly number of students were taking advanced drawing for personal enjoyment and were what we might call "older learners" who came joyfully to this adventure after working a lifetime. They had earned it and now were fulfilling a dream to make art. Some had nurtured a fantasy of painting their way through retirement making and selling art. A lovely dream.

One of the shocking things that hit them when they took the first art class was that making art costs money, a lot of money and there were many who forgot all about it after getting the supplies list on the first day of class and joined a book club instead. It often seemed to me that everyone was making money on making art except the artists.

Having been at one time a fool for art, I decided not to travel down that same road for genealogy. I set a strict budget for monthly expenses and try to stick to it. When it's gone, I wait until next month. No telling myself, I need that, as an excuse to splurge. My subscriptions are a big chunk out of the budget and if I don't use one for a week or so, I sit here wondering if I need it or not. Oh sure, I could wing it and just spend freely, but knowing myself as I do, I like that feeling of being in control of the money I throw at finding solutions to brick wall problems.

In the classroom I always felt bad for the students who couldn't spend a great amount of money on art supplies. A lucky affluent few bought anything they wanted and always came to class with too much stuff carrying every imaginable art supply. But you know what, it didn't make them better artists than the rest. As a matter of fact those who did more with fewer supplies and really knew how to use them were the artists who succeeded and impressed the rest of us. I wonder if that's true in genealogy?

It seems in this realm of hunting down your ancestors no one hardly ever talks about how expensive it can be, and how exclusionary that can be, separating out those who can't afford some subscriptions, books, or tools from those who can. It's all about access isn't it? Equal access. That's one thing that I especially like and respect about Family Search. It's free to all. And so was the live stream of RootsTech sessions. We all like that, don't we? Count my vote in the column that believes that the more people out there doing genealogy the better and healthier will be the community in general. But that's just me:) How about you?

Nutshell analysis and the obvious take-aways:
* It's about equal access that doesn't depend on ability to pay and that's more inclusive.
* If you have access, can you share what you have with others? Sponsor a local library's access to a paid web site? Donate a subscription to a raffle? Oh, come on, you'll think of something:)

On Fridays if I make a new post in the Creative Process series, I'll also post a painting of mine... just in case you don't care for the post, you might enjoy looking at the painting instead:)

"Pacific Waves"
24 by 30 inches, oil on canvas
Diane K. Weintraub

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