Contemporary Expression


A Round Peg in a Square Hole still doesn’t fit
March 3, 2010, 10:32 pm
Filed under: Balance, Cool People Care, Living An Artful Life, Unemployment

I learned a lesson this past month. It takes a while to find where you fit in, sometimes.  I say sometimes, because there are those perfect moments when you instantly know that you are where you are supposed to be.

Here is the lesson, the epiphany moment; round pegs, don’t fit into square holes, you can cram one in but there will still be a void all around it.  Fitting in is easy, standing out, is hard.

My unemployment journey has been interesting to say the least.  There have been 74 really cool companies and organizations that have had the opportunity to scoop me up and yet I haven’t, somehow, “fit” what they were looking for.

There are horrible charts that can freak a person out: (open only when sitting down):

I choose not to fit in. I choose to stand out.  I choose to look for ways to be helpful to my community to achieve its potential, whether they employ me to do so, or not. And you know, what, they just might.  That is, if they are looking for someone who creates things and encourages others to do the same.

— Are you working for a non-profit or on the board of a non-profit organization? Contact me at:  nancy@coolpeoplecare.org – Lets talk about how a Cool People Care Partnership can change the world. —

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week 22 of unemployment …
February 7, 2010, 11:53 pm
Filed under: Balance, Living An Artful Life, Unemployment

John D'Angelo aka MagicDude (creative commons)

This photographer captured my thoughts exactly.  As I enter the 22nd week I go back to something that has found its way to a few of the now 74 cover letters submitted :

“Am I doing the greatest amount of good?”- This question was raised recently and it rang loudly. Am I, in this new dawn of hope and hard work, where I need to be? Am I using the talent, creative skill and knowledge I have accumulated for what matters most to my family? My objective is to find a new beginning that embraces the truth that the Grand Canyon was not built with a giant tsunami but rather a river, rushing on as rivers do.



Sketching Out The Possibilities

Room To Think - Sketch 2008

I have been working on a new painting for a corporate client and believe I may have it finished by the end of the week. When I work on a new project I start by sketching and doodling out memories and ideas and then take them to ink sketch and watercolor and then finally to canvas.

Room To Think - Watercolor 2008

I’m not sure when I started this pattern. I didn’t always paint this way.  When I first started expressing and creating through color, I simply started. There was nothing in between the color the arm and the canvas.  This rendered great things and all of them have long since sold and hopefully continue to bring spontaneity to their owners.

Room To Think - Acrylic on Canvas 2008

In the last few years I’ve become more contemplative about my contemporary expressions. The spontaneity is in the work but the thoughtful way in which I play with the color has brought a maturity to my process and I am happy about it.

As I have been searching for employment I have found the same personality in my process.  I’m carefully considering options based on memory and sketching out the possibilities before moving to canvas.

I received last week a note from a potential new life that simply said; “Thank you!” (exclamation point included) Honestly, it made my day.

I received a form letter for another local nonprofit gig that said; “if one of the top 10 candidates, you will be notified in 4-6 wks to schedule an interview.” Here is the thing, two months from now when you contact those top 10 candidates, they will be in other jobs.  – At least I hope so!

So what have I learned to start the new year? Memory, time, and spontaneity can serve you well when mixed together.

How are you approaching your plans this year? Want to share some of your tips and tricks for others to learn from? Leave a comment and let’s chat.


I may have to sell you a ….
December 29, 2009, 3:55 pm
Filed under: Balance, branding, change, Nancy VanReece, Unemployment

Job Search: 16th week  since the lay off.

The Tally: Applied for 48 jobs so far … 90% in Nashville, 10% out of state.

Interviews: zero

No thank you responses: three

Still waiting to hear back: forty-five

Jobs I applied for that I really would like to have: five

I really don’t want to end up selling widgets (defnition 2.) Here is my thing, I am a really good sales person.  If I believe in it, I will find a way for you to believe in it too.  It may take a few hours, it may take a few months, even years.  However, I am extremely tenacious and if I am passionate about something, I will find a way to help you see it.

For now over twenty-five years, I’ve been extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with projects, products and services that I really actually do believe in. For the past fifteen weeks since my lay-off I have had to  get to know all over again the product I believe in the most; myself.

I have been consulting and networking and painting and networking and drinking a lot of coffee. I have been coping by putting my head down and grunting through like a rugby player.

There will be great change in 2010 because there is nothing but change possible.  I have faced this current challenge with equal tenacity to any project I have had before me.  I am grateful for the helpful support and confidence boosting that many friends have given to my little family and look forward to the New Year with anticipation.  I may have to sell you on it.

What are you doing to sell yourself  in 2010?



Get back to the music

Watercolor by Nancy VanReece - "Creative Direction"

Over the course of the last 28 years, my work has been all about advocating creative opportunities for my community to achieve it’s potential.

25 of those years 1982-2007 I worked in the music business – all of it: Marketing, Promoting, Managing, Advocating, Soliciting, Encouraging, Guiding, Buying and Selling, Licensing and Negotiating.

When I jumped off into the non-profit sector it worked out well.  I was able to take my understanding as a painter and my experience working with musicians and lawyers into a new sector.  Bringing creative and practical business practice to a non-profit organization was a good thing.  As a business person, I could speak “the language” of the potential donor easily.

I learned quite a bit the last three years.  I learned that “development” means “fundraising” and that customers were not always the folks that paid for the product. It was, and remains, a fascinating sector of our commerce.

I also learned a lot about social media strategy and community building and the new, always evolving, 21st century tools of marketing, communication and sales. A lot of these things are excellent resources to lead me into the next adventure.

I may remain in the non-profit sector. I might go back to the music business. I may be painting and  putting together marketing and social media consulting work for a season.

One thing I know; I will always be looking at art and listening to music for divine creative direction.

“I’m saving all my lovin’ for someone who’s lovin’ me…” Gloria Gaynor

“There’s a cry asking why, I pray the answer is up ahead , ’cause I know where I’ve been… there is a promise we must make, worth the risk and the chances we take. There is a a dream in the future..’Cause just to sit still would be a sin.” .. Hairspray Soundtrack



Kindness Will Bring Prosperity
IMG_0897

iPhone photo by Nancy VanReece

  • Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.  ~Mark Twain
  • Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.  ~Seneca

As I prepare to enter my tenth week of unemployment I am overwhelmed by the kindness of others.  Joan and I have been able to survive these last nine weeks only because of the  generosity of family and friends.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics ; ….  employers initiated 1,776 mass layoff events in the third quarter of 2009 that resulted in the separation of 277,924 workers from their jobs …

I have read several stories on the internet about dealing with job loss and how to job searching and the importance of networking and blah blah blah ….

I am convinced that the real stories of survival are found in the gut wrenching phone calls asking for help from aging parents to cover health insurance payments and in the long  stays at coffee-house tables long after the management  has seen you at the register.  Kindness is found in the generosity of  like-minded sojourners with mission-driven hearts and minds.

My faith in the kindness of others and the helpful hand of strangers has been renewed these past nine weeks and the lessons I have learned will go with me into whatever is in store for the future. Prosperity is sure to follow.