Fear Gives you the Opportunity to be Brave
|This is the only painting I've done that I like. I made it to hang over our couch because I could not find anything I wanted to buy.|
Before Christmas my Uncle emailed to ask about commissioning a painting...from me. “Are you still an Artist?” he asked.
What a question!
Since I was a little girl I loved to color, draw and paint. My earliest memories are of sitting at my grandmother’s kitchen table creating for hours. She would lay down this big plastic table cloth in a 1970’s orange and green flower-power print. I would go to town on her art supplies which she kept in a giant Ritz Cracker Tin.
I begged my parents for “Art” lessons and they signed me up at age 10. My Aunt bought me a set of watercolours professional enough for a University student. My ‘art lessons’ consisted of pouring through boxes of greeting cards and coping images of bunnies, flowers and animals I liked. I was the youngest student by at least five years but never felt looked-down-upon in that basement studio.
Isn’t that cute? She wants to be an artist when she grows up.
We looked at a high school for me called ‘Performing Arts.’ I shadowed there but my parents gently nudged me toward a school that focused more on academics- which I didn’t mind because they also had a kick ass art department.
Art is just a hobby.
When it came time to go to College I was ‘supposed’ to major in pre-med but as a last minute decision I decided not to declare. I took Drawing 1 as an elective first semester and by Sophomore year I was a double major in Art and English (my ‘fallback’). I was a semester away from finishing the double major and needed two more art history classes. The bank of parentals decided that since the English credits were complete that it was a waste of their money and my time to finish both.
Graduate with the English degree and go get a real job.
My confidence took a hit every time I was told I would never make money as an artist. Everything was becoming digital in the early 2000’s and I was afraid of spending all my time in front of a computer. It was enough of an excuse for me to throw my paint covered hands up in the air and not look back.
Art is not a career.
I searched the world, travel was a great substitute for my artistic passion. I bounced around from job to job, learning about life and business but still nothing I did was ‘creative’ enough for me. I tried everything from journalism, to ad sales, to matchmaking. Idly waiting for someone to hand me my dream job while I ‘worked to live’ is how I spent the better part of the last decade.
Unless you’re an entrepreneur you won’t be able to sell things you make.
It only makes sense that I willed art to come back into my life over the last year. Becoming a mother has allowed me to zoom out, and then back into my life. My daughter inspires me and reminds me that soon I will pass on a legacy I want to be proud of. I’m tired of envying other artists and thinking that I’ll never be good enough. Maybe I won’t- but I would much rather try and fail. But I won’t fail because I will be doing what I love.
Goodbye judgemental inner critic. And no more excuses.
So yes, Uncle Patrick, I think- actually I know- I am still an artist. You must be part of the grand plan to make me face that question. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a paid, professional artist for the first time- don’t worry, you’ll get the family discount.
Here is an update on the piece Uncle P asked me to paint for him. It's nearly complete:
|It worried me because linear things are not my strength.|
|I carved up a little square stamp out of a potato|
|Playing with the stamp proved to be really fun and cool|
|The painting part finished, it needed a little something extra.|
|A few snippets from the original photo and from an 1892 copy of Harper's Bazaar.|
Have you ever made a life-changing move or decision? How did it turn out?
Here is a great blog post my friend Nicole wrote about leaving her comfy life in Buffalo and moving to The Big Apple to follow her dreams.