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Article Title:
Giving Up to Get Ahead

Article Description:
I was once a real starving art student, working two part-time 
jobs after school and weekends to pay an expensive private art 
college tuition - and barely getting by.

Additional Article Information:
509 Words; formatted to 65 Characters per Line
Distribution Date and Time: Fri Apr 28 00:24:15 EDT 2006

Written By:     Jim Coe
Copyright:      2006
Contact Email:  mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]

Article URL: 

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Giving Up to Get Ahead
Copyright © 2006 Jim Coe
Art Head Start


I was once a real starving art student, working two part-time 
jobs after school and weekends to pay an expensive private art 
college tuition - and barely getting by.

As a fine art photography student I felt out of place in the 
required oil painting class. With a minimum of drawing and 
painting background, I didn't have the needed manual dexterity or 
brushwork skills. Even with a good design sense and a better 
knowledge of color theory than the others, I was very worried 
about that class. And the mediocre pictures I produced throughout 
the semester didn't help.


Then disaster struck. The teacher announced that our grade for 
the whole semester would be based on just one painting, to be 
completed during the last day of class. The pressure was on - 
and that was the week I ran out of both money and materials!

I was really down and worried. After a lot of wasted energy of 
the "why me?" and "how could I let this happen?" kind, I finally 
faced reality the night before class.

There was no solution in sight. I was not going to be able to 
show up with a stretched and primed canvas and a set of paints, 
made from materials purchased at the school store. It was already 
too late for that. And I wasn't going to improve my skills, 
literally over night, either. So I gave up.


But I didn't exactly quit. Instead, my attitude changed 
unexpectedly. Somewhere inside, I'd realized that things were 
simply as they were. Nothing was going to change and I would just 
have to deal with it. So, without realizing what was happening or 
actually planning anything, I started dealing with it. "Full 
speed ahead and damn the torpedoes", as they used to say.

Digging around the garage of my rented place and that of a 
friend, I found a broken window in a frame, some burlap bags and 
some old tubes of pigment, the kind meant to be squeezed into 
5 gallon cans of white paint at a paint store. So, I broke the 
glass out of the frame, stretched a burlap bag over it and 
brought that and the pigment tubes to painting class the next 


Under no illusion that I was going to get by with this charade, 
I felt a devilish delight in attacking that 'canvas' and couldn't 
have cared less about the outcome. Okay, I was already torpedoed, 
but that didn't mean I couldn't enjoy the ride on the way down.

Well, the next thing I knew, I was stepping back for a first look 
at the shapes, forms colors, and composition I'd just put down. 
In a daze, I realized that it was finished - any more would be 
too much.

As you've probably guessed, that was by far the best painting I 
ever made and the instructor thought I deserved an "A" for the 
semester. How much he factored in for tenacity and audacity I'll 
never know.

© jim coe 2006

Jim Coe is a 3D artist, photographer, writer and 
former art college teacher. Art Head 
( ), features his 
art skills ebook, free 3D tutorials, models and more. 



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