Happy Holidays to all my relations, friends, family, and supporters. It is already halfway through December 2022, and only a few more weeks until 2023. This year some big changes happened to me in my personal life such as a new job! I am now working at the University of Oklahoma in the School of Fine Art department. It is a change from the museum environment to a higher education institution but to still be working closely with the arts is still the same feeling and energy. My position is assistant to the director of SoVA and much of my position has to do with administrative work, which I enjoy which some may not know. I try to be very tidy and organized and I do not like seeing notifications on my phone from messages and emails and am very prompt in answering as quickly as possible. Over the last few years though I have been so busy that utilizing my planner has been very important. I am seeing a shift from a student to someone with knowledge that is needed by others, as I have had more people reach out to me for my supposed expertise’s, though I still feel as if I am constantly learning and still feel like a student. While at OU I have enjoyed sharing several of my stories and traditional cultural with others. It has been a nice and accepting environment so far! I have been here for about 8 weeks.
Because of being busy learning in this new position, much of my energy has been going to this. My creativity has been down regarding my art studio. But recently I have finished a new watercolor piece, and another smaller watercolor. The bigger piece has been a big hit and I will be adding it to my portfolio once I acquire some higher quality photos for my use. I plan to apply for some upcoming exhibitions and hoping to have several of my pieces accepted into those shows.
Here in about another week I will be off, as OU campus closes for over a week and I am trusting I can get several new pieces completed before the year is up. Mostly my works recently have been small, but I have some bigger ideas for the future on large canvases. I am hoping to get them started in 2023. With it being the holidays, my husband and I are pulled into all our family’s doings so that is another delicate balance to manage in both our schedules. I so look forward to the break!
Some sadder news is that one of my close relatives has gone on to the Milky Way, my grandpa George Coser. George and my grandma Judy adopted my mother in the Native way, and thus me and my two younger brothers became their grandkids. Grandpa George spoke his Muscogee Creek language, was a well-known pow wow singer, and was very knowledgeable in his ceremonial doings. The last time my husband and I saw grandpa George was in August of this year. Him and grandma Judy told us funny stories of their time in Germany when they were invited to give talks about their native traditions. The last time I talked to him was right before thanksgiving when he called me to ask how things were going at my new job here at OU. Grandpa George has given me great guidance in my life, and even for my husband, and we are so sad that we no longer be able to just call him up. Grandma Judy is holding up as we have been checking in on her. If you would like to learn a little more about my grandpa George, you can watch a YouTube video of him, where he was filmed for the Spotlighting Oklahoma Oral History Project at the OSU Library: https://youtu.be/mtQFn9HTqNw
Grandpa George always told me and my husband to always try new things and take on new opportunities. If things fall into place it was meant to be. And that the Creator, those spirit beings, and our ancestors will take care of us in our time of need. He is now up there, in the way the Muscogee Creek believe, in the Milky Way with his ancestors, and he will always be there to answer our prayers. That is what comforts me as I believe my family and relatives that have gone to the other side are looking out for us.
I trust you all have a good holiday season but know that my prayers are with those this Christmas that may be feeling down or lost. It can be a tough time for many, but it can be a wonderful time for others. Be sure to take some time for yourself as this can be a time to give to others, but it can be a time to give yourself a break if you already help others throughout the year. Take care and I will post after the start after the new year! If you would like more frequent updates, please be sure to follow me on my Facebook artist page, and/or my Instagram.
- Amber L. DuBoise-Shepherd