Graduation and Gratitude - Prime Women Magzine

Graduation and Gratitude

Having gratitude at graduation

What began as a transition out of Corporate America fed my aspiration of becoming a painter. After completing a degree in Chemical Engineering from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas and spending a fruitful career of a lifetime at Texas Instruments, I studied art for the first time in Dallas, TX and collected art in Santa Fe, NM, two major hubs of art and culture in the Southwest.

I’m now an enthusiastic advocate of community college for folks like me who entered a new life passage to try something new. Oil painting pulls on me with strong affinity and good vibes. In 2011 I found a pool to dip my toe in the water. In May, it was a climatic event to graduate from Brookhaven College in the Dallas, Texas area. It’s my second career. I used a local community college to catch me up on art training that younger students learned in four years of high school and at two years at Brookhaven College.

Gail Sheehy, author of New York Times Bestseller, Passages (https://gailsheehy.com/) alerted us to the passages or stages in life and the meanings they have spiritually, socially and physically. Most of all, she got across the point that these passages exist and need to be respected for what they are. We must deal with change. In business we work with change management when major changes must be made in a business. Life is similar, but more subtle in an everyday way. Graduation from college is a passage that I wanted to experience first-hand. I attended my first commencement as a student in 2015; what a joyful experience in a room full of diverse, happy students and their families!

The ‘icing on the cake’ was the May, 2015 Juried Art Student Exhibition which culminated in prizes and purchase awards. Brookhaven College has a small budget to purchase art to hang on the walls of its institution. Brookhaven purchased one of my paintings, Left-hand Man. It is a compliment to be collected by this institution and accepted into a unique group of talented artists that the professors have chosen throughout the years.

The ‘cherry on top’ was an Associates of Art Qualifying Exhibition of six Brookhaven College graduates in June, 2015. These students are successfully moving on to four-year art colleges. Each student had six to ten pieces of art hung professionally on an entire wall of the gallery. The personality of each painter popped off the wall. It was a special experience the art serenely in a spacious gallery. The visitors to the gallery ranged from potential art buyers to gallery owners to professors from four-year colleges.

Julie England_Study After Swezy Blues_2015

Study After Swezy Blues by Julie England

It’s time to give credit where it is deserved. Thank you, Brookhaven College, for an outstanding art experience for this corporate refugee. And a special note of gratitude and appreciation to Professors M. Ziegler, C. Chu, D. Newman, N. Macellaio, J. Shipp and B. Belcher. Also, I would like to acknowledge Professor and Art Department Chair Lisa Ehrlich for sponsoring the Associates of Art Qualifying Exhibition at Brookhaven College.

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