Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Way Back When-sday: 1995

(The 2nd Wackiest Year of My Life)

Well, I can't believe it's Wednesday again already! This week, we go 13 years back to 1995 - the year of wild extremes for me in almost every way...but mostly professionally...

I started off the year not working (first year I didn't work since I was 15) - I had quit the Gift Solution in August of '94 - completely burned out on doing art for other people. I know that may sound awful, but I had been a designer for 13 years by this point and had never done any work for myself. Financially we were at a place where I could leave work and branch out on my own...try my hand at creating and licensing my own designs - become the new Mary Engelbreit!! So full of promise and ideas!! I also wanted to go back to college. I had quit college my junior year to finish putting my (then) husband through school, and I wanted to go back (at 34 years old) and at least attempt to get a few art classes under my belt...and see how far I got. SO, in the Spring semester I enrolled in 3 art classes and an English class at the University of Texas in Austin.

*Ahem* classes at a large university were *interesting* studies in social behavior...I was pretty sheltered, even for an older gal, and I saw lots of odd things that semester...

Funniest one though was my first day of drawing class. This was supposed to be just your basic drawing class, so when I saw a young woman standing around in a robe, I though to my dumb self, "wow, look at what these young kids are wearing to school these days." Then, all at once, like a ton of bricks, it hit me that the robe was about to come off...and sure enough, it did. was a life drawing class with nude models - male and female. I can't believe I was that naive. But you know, that was one of the best classes I've ever taken. I had always avoided drawing the human form (clothed or otherwise) because it is very intimidating. But this class got me out of my comfort zone and made me stretch. Here's a sampling of my charcoal sketches from that class...

Then, somehow, after that semester, we got it in our heads that real artists needed to live in a real art environment to create and sell art - and Santa Fe, New Mexico was just such a place. It's way too long of a story, but suffice to say, it was about the wackiest part of my wacky year. I lived in Santa Fe for 3 whole weeks that summer while my husband made plans to join me as soon as he could line up a job in Albuquerque. I'm not sure we ever really had a plan. but if we did, it most certainly fell apart...and I ended up moving back home to Austin practically before I ever left...I told you it was wacky...

Anyway...I was now back in Austin and clueless about my next step...almost. One good thing did emerge from my brief stay in Santa Fe - I created the series of illustrations below. These bunnies and mice were characters I had rolling around in my head for a couple of years at that point, and my time away provided the perfect opportunity to bring them to life...

Yep, this is the bunny (Sunny is her name) that I use for my avatar for Just Bee 'n Me..I used her on a whim because I really didn't have a decent photo of myself, and she just kinda stuck...

So, upon returning to Austin I prepared a portfolio sampling of these and other pieces I had created and sent them off to an art director at Lang. I got a rejection letter (albeit a very nice one) SO fast it made my head spin. And, sad to say, that knocked all the wind out of me and I just gave up...never sent them anywhere else...

About that time I was feeling quite confused about my future - I knew what I wanted to do, but I had zero confidence to do it...

So, of course, the next logical step was to enroll in a Real Estate course at the local Community college - right? Isn't that what anyone in my circumstances would have done...? Well, that is exactly what I did, and by the end of my 2nd wackiest year, I was a licensed Real Estate agent.... Whoda thunk it...? But you'll have to hear more about that story when we go back to 1996, '97, or '98...

Sorry, no photo of me to be found for '95...but I essentially looked a lot like I did in '92...

I do however have a photo of a little corner of our little rent house from that year...

It kinda looks like a Mary Engelbreit illustration...
imagine that... I must say, I am still fond of this look..


OK, enough already about's a few more cultural notes from that auspicious year...

Top 10 TV Shows of 1995

1. Seinfeld

2. ER

3. Home Improvement

4. Grace Under Fire

5. Monday Night Football

6. 60 Minutes

7. N.Y.P.D. Blue

8. "Murder, She Wrote"

9: Friends

10: Roseanne

I forgot all about "Grace Under Fire"...hmmm...I wonder what happened to her...? (Brett Butler) I was definitely an NBC Thursday Night "Must See TV" junkie in those days...all the was appointment TV for me...

Oh, and BTW, the top movie for '95 was Toy Story (one of my personal favorites)


So, what in the world were you up to in 1995...? Were you (are you) a Mary Engelbreit fan? Did you ever get a rejection letter...if so, how did you handle it? Have you ever been to the beautiful city of Santa Fe? We'd love to hear all about it!!

BTW, thanks for letting me get 1995 off my chest...I needed that! :o)

Next week it's a very special edition of Way Back When-sday, because Thursday of next week is my birthday - SO, we'll be heading all the way back to the beginning of me: 1961 (with a few birthday photos from over the years too) It'll be fun! See you tomorrow as I go for 4 for 4 posts in 4 days!


  1. Anonymous7:44 AM

    Brett Butler is doing just fine.
    She does stand-up and some TV/Movies.

  2. 1995, I had just rented a booth in a local swapmeet to sell my handcrafted country dolls and tole paintings. It was a very happy time, as I really found myself and came into my own as an artist. This booth did really well, and I was able to work and sell there three days a week, and craft at home the other four and be there when my son got home from school. That was a HUGE bonus for a single mother. I had that booth for two years an really enjoyed it. Sounds like you were on the same path in striking out creatively. :) I loved Grace under fire. :) She cracks me up !! Hope you have a Wonderful, Blessed Easter !! He is risen, Yay !!

  3. Oh, BTW, I had sunflowers and hunter green all over my house too. lol


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