Side Hustle No More

At the beginning of the year I knew it was time to finally dive in, take the plunge, to remove the net and just go. So in June of this year I did it. I left my job after 6 years to leave the comfort of steady and needed income for our family to be a watercolor artist full time. And, I did feel ready. Scared, but also ready.

For years I’ve been working day jobs while watercolor painting nights and on weekends. Using my vacation time to take workshops and visit museums and of course paint. Whenever I traveled for work, which was quite a bit in the years before I married and had my daughter, my paints where as important as my make-up bag. It seems like painting has been squished and squeezed into every spare pocket of time. Of all the things I’ve pursued in my life art has not just stuck with me, it has just become a way of life. Sure, I’ve had a million ways to earn an income. I’ve waited tables, been an assistant to so many people, sold everything from pharmaceuticals to shoes, arranged flowers, transcribed market research groups, answered phones(so many phones) was an officer manager at the Watergate, worked for a talent agent in Los Angeles, craft services on a “B” movie set, grad school, children’s ministry, you name it I’ve probably worked there . I’ve been a hard worker and have represented so many employers well. Now it’s time to represent myself and my work with the same diligence and effort. I am thankful for all these jobs, what they’ve taught me, the people I’ve met and the friends I have as a result. Working is never a bad thing even if it’s not what you really want to do.

I’ve dreamed of this time in my life for a long time. For some reason, I always imagined that my transition to full time artist would feel a bit more like finally landing after a rough, choppy and turbulent flight. Instead, I feel like I’m taking off, I’m flying the plane - a bit scared, very excited and in awe of what I will see in the air with goggles on and scarf fluttering behind me. I’m off….

The takeoff isn’t all because of me. It’s a result of every person who has purchased a watercolor from me, taken a class, commissioned me to paint their home, their dog, their wedding bouquet to even giving me a red heart or comment when I posted my work on social media platforms. All of that has been my lift and I’m thankful for so many people who have made this possible for me.

Can I do it? How will I do it? Will I be successful? What is success?

Yes! Step by step and inch by inch. That’s how I’ve learned to paint in watercolors, how I teach it and how I tackle my own art. You break it down, you paint one are at a time, in the same way you eat an elephant, one bite at a time.

Zinnias really are the best flower in the garden.

Zinnias really are the best flower in the garden.

Teaching Watercolors at Bowood Farms

By the looks of this journal blog, it seems as if I have disappeared. But I’m still here, still painting and excited to be doing more teaching.

I’ve been teaching entry level workshops at the beautiful Bowood Farms - Nursery, Garden ,Homestore & Cafe. It’s quite the setting. They have a beautiful space for teaching watercolors. In fact, they offer many classes and I have take a few myself (sashiko embroidery and calligraphy so far). I always enjoy learning something new.

It’s been so exciting to introduce people to the world of watercolors. It never gets old and it’s always thrilling to see someone get excited about watercolors. So often people come into class with all of these ideas about what it mean to be create, paint or even paint in watercolors specifically. Most of them aren’t very positive, let alone true. I can’t tell you how many times I hear that watercolors is the hardest of all the art forms. I hear it over and over. I think they all art forms have their challenges. And fortunately for me I’ve only ever painted in watercolor. So everything else seems hard to me!!! What this means is that before we even hold the brush I spend a little time kicking down these mental blocks. Once our minds are erased of all those negative thoughts and ideas, it really can free a person up to dive in so we can get to the fun, exciting task of creating with water and paint.

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Never Dead

The poetry of earth is never dead.

by John Keats

Even though I've waited through many a long winter.  It's can be so hard to remember that spring, flowers and green, ALWAYS come.  

Always.

Today I'll buy some flowers to help me remember that even though everything looks brown and dead, it is not.  Perhaps the best metaphor there is for the meaning of hope is spring when the winter is heaviest.  

Happy month of love to you all.  One simple kind act can change a person's day.  Let's all do our part. 

A month of LOVE

February... ugh.  

If you live in the Midwest, this time of year is just hard.  There are lots of cold grey days with little sunshine.  I'm always surprised to how much the weather affects my mood.  I know lots of people have a really hard time during the winter months before spring.  February has historically been a pretty hard month for me.  It was in this month my first marriage collapsed, but it was also in this same month I met and fell in love with my current (and "bestest") husband.  We all have stories and maybe some sad ones.  I just think they are even sadder if they take place in the month of February.  I also remember that February was the hardest month for me to learn to spell correctly.  It's weird what you remember...

Mostly,  I just wish I didn't feel like sleeping all the time.  

 On one hand I'm really thankful for whoever started the Valentine theme because there is no other month that could use a shot of red, pink and sprinkles all over it.  And I love red and pink!   And, I love them together.  But on the other hand February has Valentine's Day and that can be a bit irritating with the pressure to have, find or be in love.  I am choosing to celebrate ALL the different kinds of love in my life.  I'm glad to have a husband and romantic love.  But boy am I thankful for all the other types of love out there.  Let's celebrate it, think and focus on it and perhaps these grey days won't weigh so heavy.  

So this month I will be blogging on things that fill my heart with love and joy.  This is so needed   right now.  My life is so far from perfect and the grey days have me heavier than usual.  So know, I'm trying to focus my own mind and heart on anything other than the grey, cold and dreariness.