A gift I put together over the weekend for my son’s friends who are twin brothers. My husband says it looks like writing you might find on a 1920s advertisement. What do you think?
I would like to unveil my newest finished product– a charcoal and conté drawing on paper. I was enjoying the early visit of robins to my back yard and was able to snap this photograph with my iphone:
and, needless to say, it made perfect fodder for this:
Prints are now available–with three sizes to choose from– for pre-order through the end of February, for March delivery. Click on the link, my drawing, or the “Visit My Store” button to the right.
It’s easy to look back at all the mistakes I’ve made, where I fell short, or let myself down. I am always hesitant to let myself get excited about the good parts, or to share my personal celebrations with others for fear that it will somehow be jinxed or that I’m getting ahead of myself and will then later have to explain my defeat. But today I am going to look at the positive that came from the last year.
I decided to take control of my life. I came to the conclusion that I can’t sit around waiting for life to happen, and that doing what I truly wanted to be doing wasn’t going to magically appear. I realized that I didn’t have to jump through the hoops of what I believed was always expected of me first– degree and a “real” career– before I was allowed to chase my dreams. I remember sitting through a class at city hall the summer after high school to get my child care license to work in a daycare and the woman leading the class gave an introductory speech and (I have no idea how this ties in to working part-time at a daycare) she said, “Do what you love, and the money will follow.” That stuck with me, but I never quite believed it. I tried plenty of jobs, ventures, even studied towards a specialized degrees where I had the potential to be making money, and tried and tried to love it enough to really make the money come in, but it never did. I resigned myself to the idea that maybe it was only something for the lucky few.
A few years ago I went back to school after having my second son to pursue a degree in the field I had been working entry-level in. Despite near-perfect grades, I dropped out of college… for the second time in 3 years. I fell into a deep depression and was drawn toward my art room where I subsequently spent any waking hour that I didn’t otherwise feel obligated to be taking care of my family or going to work. That first piece I painted was small– barely a square foot– but probably packed with more emotion and more catharsis than I have put into anything else in my life. That piece spun off an idea for another painting, and another, and another still. Over the next year, the act slowly turned from purgation, to process, to pleasure. I was reconnected with my missing piece.
That was my epiphany, not in the sudden and astonishing sense of the word, but in the arduous and painful way that life presents most of its important lessons. Art has always been where I have felt happiest. It is challenging, it is rewarding, it allows me to be myself. Isn’t that what everyone wants out of their career?
But then there’s the money part.
Like I have mentioned before, my husband and I have been working diligently toward financial security and because of his overall kickassedness he got a promotion that made up the difference of my part-time income, allowing me to feel a little less stretched between the demands of parenthood and everyday life and the calling of my art studio. I got prints made of some of my existing work, was able to pick up a few commissioned pieces here and there, but even riding the enthusiastic wave of new-venture, things waned. It wasn’t until last September when someone in my group of mom-friends had mentioned hearing of a place where you could go out for an evening and paint, that I had the idea to try a similar idea. Applying the same concepts I had learned in my dismal stint in direct sales of the Mary Kay nature, I convinced a group of gals to let me walk them through a painting over the course of a couple hours and as many bottles of wine. The ease with which it came caught be off guard, it was something I never felt peddling my wares in another person’s home, not even my mother’s living room. Another request for a party came along, and before I knew it, I am doing what I love and the money is following.
I still have a lot to learn, much growing to do both personally and as a businesswoman, but for the first time in my life I feel like everything is right. There may not be any footprints ahead of me, but the path feels familiar and the further down it I travel, the more amazed I am with the distances I am covering.
With that, I am going to leave you with a bit of perspective. The painting below is the first-ever acrylic painting I made. It is from one of my high school art classes with Ms. Younger (who will forever hold a place in the credit-roll). It’s 12″x 18″ on illustration board, recreated from a photograph from Antarctica. Oh, how far I’ve come.
Well, I suppose I should start off with the obligatory New Year’s review of the last twelve months, so here goes:
Started a blog.
Sketching every day, blogging about it.
Big dreams and baby steps.
Surprisingly, no crushing defeats.
Life getting in the way.
Old habits dying hard… or refusing to die.
Brad’s new job.
Quit my “real” job.
Summer. Who actually gets anything done over the summer?
Back to school.
New business venture.
Weddings and vacations.
Buying a house (that one may not have even gotten a mention here, sorry!)
Learning as I go.
Repainting and decorating.
Black Friday through New Years.
Brad’s 65 hour work weeks.
Setting up new studio space.
Trying to keep business afloat.
ER visit for one of the boys.
New Year’s Day.
Kids back to school.
Life got moving so fast there for a while that months seemed to blur by in the span of days. 2012 was a year of change, growth. It was hectic, crazy, and stressful beyond words. But looking back, despite how hard it got at times, it was all positive and I feel incredibly fortunate for the life I have.
Looking back over the year I will be the first to admit that I had short-comings and at times, outright failures (if I’m being honest with myself). I completely stopped sketching, and then almost completely stopped blogging, I didn’t manage to stay on top of a lot of things in my life. I am a little disappointed, but I am not too hard on myself. That first step is the hardest, and after going back and reading my very first post on here I remember the flood of implications that came rushing though my mind as I thought about what it really meant to take a step toward doing art full time. I still have to give myself credit for even making it through publishing that first post. After that, deciding to quit my regular job to pursue my art was a huge personal risk, as well as some risk to my family’s financial situation as well. That isn’t to say that just by jumping off I didn’t open some doors that wouldn’t have come about otherwise, and that is what I am most excited about (all of that fantastic news will come in my subsequent posts, don’t worry!)
My take away from last year: Live and learn.
I can look back at this last year with a critical eye and see where I stumbled and more importantly, what I tripped over. Most of it doesn’t come as a surprise; as I’ve written, they are personal demons I have been battling since I was old enough to be aware of them. I can push ahead with courage and determination and foresight that I didn’t have last year.
Here’s wishing you all the best in 2013– Cheers!
I made this with what little time I had this last week. In case you need to be caught up, my husband and I bought a house and have been moving. And, as you may have noticed a running theme throughout my posts, nothing can happen by itsself. This coincided with a business trip my husband had to take, and our 4 and 6 year olds getting sick. So, once again, I have been juggling…
The background is a photo of the background of a painting that I am working on. I happened across this quote and thought it was so appropriate, given the election season atmosphere. Feel free to snag this and share it, if you’re so inclined!
If you’re on facebook, be sure to stop by my page and click like! It’s much easier for me to post small updates there. (But don’t worry, you guys get all the really awesome stuff!)
Taking a break for a quick update! Life has been blowing by full speed lately. Summer ended, kids’ school started, we decided to buy a house and are in the middle of that process right now (we are in the “bank limbo” stage… all this waiting is killing me!), my painting parties are off with astonishing success, and I’m excited to be working with a local business to offer painting classes on a weekly basis in their space as well. *whew!* that was exhausting just to type. Oh, and 5 hours of dance rehearsal for me and kiddo for our big recital this weekend. Am I missing anything else? (probably). Oh yes, add in the smattering of concerts, birthday parties, other family events, and a round of the stomach flu.
Did I tell you we’re planning a weeklong vacation next month? I can’t wait. …..what’s that? our closing date on the house might get pushed into the middle of our vacation? *sigh* At this rate, I may not even survive long enough to go on vacation.
I have been working on a few other projects as I can. Here is a sample as well as a photo from the last party I did where we took an Autumn landscape and abstracted it. And I am loving my new venture so much, I might add. Nothing like feeling like you’ve not only found a path, but to also be the one who is building the trail. A big thanks to my husband, my parents and his, all the lovely ladies having parties, and to everyone else who has ever believed in me.
I have not received a paycheck since the 2nd of August.
I am now officially living my dream. I am going from part-time somethingorother to full time artist. There is something simultaneously liberating, empowering, and terrifying about it all. If you have been following me for long, you know that self-starting and self-motivating are not my strongest points. But here I am, attempting to be self-employed (while also raising my children and maintaining my home)
***pause to stop hyperventilating***
I am dedicating my time to bring my art to life. I have a list a mile long and a pile a mile deep of projects that are waiting anxiously for their moment of manifestation.
In a stroke of serendipity, I have stumbled across a way to support my habit– private instruction and Painting Parties. Please follow the link to learn more, and feel free to contact me with questions.
Here I go. Wish me luck.
Hi, it’s me, your long lost blogger!
I have been sketching. Not daily, but still keeping the spark alive.
I have been prepping canvases and boards for projects on deck.
I have been rehearsing with my hip hop dance team for our upcoming performance, and taking my son to his performances. (Today we went to a children’s cancer benefit so my son could perform)
I have been meeting with mortgage lenders and house shopping.
I have been doing everything…. except blogging.
This is my latest sketch. Let me know what you think in the comments!
I decided to teach myself how to draw paisley last night. This is something that I have noted in the back of my mind as something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time now. As I began to sketch last night, I was thinking of how daunting it had seemed, and how that had always kept me from even sitting down to give it a try, when I realized that (like most things) it wasn’t that hard really. This discovery led me to the realization that I let fear of failure cause me to falter in my confidence in my artistic ability, and that I get in the way of my own success. But such are the demons that wake after an arduous day and an evening of cocktails that slips into the sleepless hours before dawn. So before I forced my brain to quiet and my eyes to close, I took a step toward fighting that demon, and this is what happened: