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Rethinking My Career
July 24, 2014 | Posted by: Pam Plowden Rawson, ASID

In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted. – Bertrand Russell

Color.  Texture.  Space.  Form.  Shape.

These are known as the elements of art and design.  They are the tools used everyday in my work as an interior designer.  It is the common language of many creative fields – architecture, graphics, landscape design, to name a few.  And, of course, in painting.  I left any attempts at being an artist behind me in college, deciding that a degree in interior design was my calling.  My art background has served me well in that regard and I have never regretted making the switch.

It has taken me over 30 years to find the energy or interest to try my hand at painting again.  How hard can that be, right?  I know  these elements of design, whether I am designing a room or painting a picture.  The same principles apply to both, right?.  Bringing them together with balance, unity and variety is the foundation of what creative people do.  While not as easy as I thought it would be, this frustrating endeavor has come with some unexpected benefits.

No matter what your profession, at some point what you learned in school becomes a part of you.  It’s second nature – so innate you can’t even articulate it without some thought.  So, as I began to paint, I did not anticipate having to “rethink” my old friends, these building blocks of my everyday work world of interior design.  And it continues to be a struggle.  You have to understand that the last time I studied these things with intention  I was wearing add-a-beads and Pappagallos.

So what are  the benefits of this middle age artistic reprise?  I’ve met some wonderful people over a glass of wine and a tube of paint.  With every painting I am humbly reminded that I chose the right career.  Most of all, I have a renewed appreciation for the daily work I have always loved and the elements  that make it possible.


A disciplined and prolific painter/blogger, Mary Bentz Gilkerson (www.marygilkerson.com) offers wonderful and entertaining weekend classes. While always evolving, I suspect her craft has become second nature as well. But because she is also a gifted art teacher, by word and example she is able to share the elements of art beautifully.


Interested in taking art classes?  Check out www.cityartonline.com or you can reach Randy Hanna at 803-252-3613.