Feeling Better


That’s me standing on the hill just outside the kitchen of Nate’s parents’ house in the mountains, trying to catch a quick 6×8″ sketch of the sunset. My audience is the daughter of some good friends, who actually had enough interest and patience to stand there and watch me do the entire painting! She’s a great kid, and cute too – I painted her portrait a few years ago.

Anyhow, I just wanted to say thanks everyone for providing such encouraging comments on my last post! It’s good to hear some positive thoughts from people in the business, and know that I’m not alone here. I spent about a day wallowing in negativity after that post, which surprisingly made me feel a lot better! After that I got back to work on pieces for my show, and I’ve been making a lot of progress.

I’ve got almost five weeks left until the opening, and so far I have 17 paintings done for the show. I’m aiming to have about 20 pieces, so I feel like I’m in pretty good shape right now. I’m planning to do one more 30×40″ piece, and another 24×36″ piece, which will probably each take about a week, and then I’m just planning to work on some smale 8×10″ or 9×12″ studies. Most of the paintings I have done are either framed, or at least ready to be framed in frames that I already have (don’t get me started on the expense of framing an entire show all at once!!). I gave images to the gallery on Sunday to use for the mailer that will go out in a couple of weeks, and my SW Art ad has been designed and is ready for publication. I just have to finish the remaining paintings, get everything framed up, and get all the photos up on my website and the gallery website.

Once the paintings have been delivered, I think I’m going to take a week off and relax. I have some creative projects that I’ve been wanting to do around the house since we moved, and I’d love to have some time to do them. I think it would be nice to take a bit of a vacation from “work” too. I feel 100% blessed that I get to do this as my job, but it’s hard work to be a fulltime artist AND a fulltime mom at the same time. I think by the end of this month I’ll be ready for a rest!

Feeling Better


That’s me standing on the hill just outside the kitchen of Nate’s parents’ house in the mountains, trying to catch a quick 6×8″ sketch of the sunset. My audience is the daughter of some good friends, who actually had enough interest and patience to stand there and watch me do the entire painting! She’s a great kid, and cute too – I painted her portrait a few years ago.

Anyhow, I just wanted to say thanks everyone for providing such encouraging comments on my last post! It’s good to hear some positive thoughts from people in the business, and know that I’m not alone here. I spent about a day wallowing in negativity after that post, which surprisingly made me feel a lot better! After that I got back to work on pieces for my show, and I’ve been making a lot of progress.

I’ve got almost five weeks left until the opening, and so far I have 17 paintings done for the show. I’m aiming to have about 20 pieces, so I feel like I’m in pretty good shape right now. I’m planning to do one more 30×40″ piece, and another 24×36″ piece, which will probably each take about a week, and then I’m just planning to work on some smale 8×10″ or 9×12″ studies. Most of the paintings I have done are either framed, or at least ready to be framed in frames that I already have (don’t get me started on the expense of framing an entire show all at once!!). I gave images to the gallery on Sunday to use for the mailer that will go out in a couple of weeks, and my SW Art ad has been designed and is ready for publication. I just have to finish the remaining paintings, get everything framed up, and get all the photos up on my website and the gallery website.

Once the paintings have been delivered, I think I’m going to take a week off and relax. I have some creative projects that I’ve been wanting to do around the house since we moved, and I’d love to have some time to do them. I think it would be nice to take a bit of a vacation from “work” too. I feel 100% blessed that I get to do this as my job, but it’s hard work to be a fulltime artist AND a fulltime mom at the same time. I think by the end of this month I’ll be ready for a rest!

If You Knew You Couldn’t Fail?

“Moraine Park”
Oil on Birch Panel
16×20″
2007

When I was out yesterday I saw a sign that said, “What would you attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail?”

What a great question.

What would YOU attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail?

I would attempt to make a living being an artist. And being as that’s what I’m doing right now, I feel good about my answer to this question, and the direction I’m taking my life right now.

I like security, so I’ve spent a lot of years doing things I didn’t want to do because I feared failing at what I really wanted to do. Now that I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to do, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.

I feel free.

That’s not to say that there haven’t been scary moments in the past few months. Nate officially quit his job to work full-time at his house-building business, which means we’re both self-employed, and that I have a bit of pressure to provide some income with my art. And between moving and traveling and Nate quitting his job, I’ve had a few moments where I’ve woken up at 3 am and wondered what the heck we’re doing. But every morning I wake up and feel reassured that we’re both doing what we’re supposed to be doing right now, and that it will work out how it’s supposed to work out.

It’s nice to finally let go of that fear of failure, and jump right in!

If You Knew You Couldn’t Fail?

“Moraine Park”
Oil on Birch Panel
16×20″
2007

When I was out yesterday I saw a sign that said, “What would you attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail?”

What a great question.

What would YOU attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail?

I would attempt to make a living being an artist. And being as that’s what I’m doing right now, I feel good about my answer to this question, and the direction I’m taking my life right now.

I like security, so I’ve spent a lot of years doing things I didn’t want to do because I feared failing at what I really wanted to do. Now that I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to do, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.

I feel free.

That’s not to say that there haven’t been scary moments in the past few months. Nate officially quit his job to work full-time at his house-building business, which means we’re both self-employed, and that I have a bit of pressure to provide some income with my art. And between moving and traveling and Nate quitting his job, I’ve had a few moments where I’ve woken up at 3 am and wondered what the heck we’re doing. But every morning I wake up and feel reassured that we’re both doing what we’re supposed to be doing right now, and that it will work out how it’s supposed to work out.

It’s nice to finally let go of that fear of failure, and jump right in!

Making Luck

“March, Lake Louise”
Oil on Canvas
22×28″
2007

I’ve spent a lot of time in the past year thinking about what I want my life to look like, and what it’s going to take to get me there. Part of that is figuring out what being successful means to me as an artist.

Art is a part of me that has always been there and will always be – I’ve been drawing and painting since I can remember, and there was never a time that I didn’t entertain the thought that I’d love to be an artist someday. I would be an artist even if I never sold a painting or made a penny. But I have to admit that a big part of my dream right now is to make a living from my art. I set business goals every year, and they are just as important to me as the process of painting itself. If I dropped the business side of my art, I would be heartbroken, because a part of my dream of being an artist is getting my artwork out into the world.

Since I desperately want my art business to succeed, I know that there are decisions that need to be made every day about how to best fit that goal into my life. How do I fit painting in while taking care of Aspen? How do I make my art business succeed and contribute to the well-being of my family?

Nate deals with a lot of the same questions. He has a full-time job, but he’d really like to quit and build houses for a living. He built three spec homes in the past year, and discovered that it was what he really loved to do. He loves working with his hands and being able to offer an affordable product in a market (mountain real estate) where not much is affordable.

Nate and I aren’t big risk takers, so we knew that we were going to have to find a way to pursue both of our dreams without taking a huge risk financially, especially now that we have a child. One of the things we discussed as a way to make ourselves more comfortable would be to sell our current house and use the profit to put a big down payment on a cheaper house, making our mortgage payment a lot less. That way we wouldn’t have to worry about cashflow so much, and we’d both be a lot more comfortable with changing things up career-wise.

So, we put our house on the market three weeks ago. We figured it might take a while to sell, so we didn’t find another house to move into, but picked out some neighborhoods we liked. Last weekend we got an offer on our house, and with closing set for May 18th it was time to get in gear and find a place to move. We found a house we liked last Thursday and put in an offer, and now we have closing all set for the same day as the sale of our house.

Since this all happens three weeks from now, things are going to get hectic. We have to find movers that are willing to store our stuff for a few days (we don’t get possession of the new house until three days after closing), we have to schedule the inspections and appraisals (we’re not working with a realtor), and in the middle of it all we’re going to Texas for a week to visit relatives and attend the Oil Painter’s of America National show opening. I don’t know when I’m going to find the time to paint, but I’m determined not to let it slip. I’m still trying to build inventory so I can approach some new galleries, and I don’t want that to come to a screeching halt just because we’re moving.

Anyhow, the point of this really long rambling post is to say two things. First, I’m going to be unbelievably busy for the next month. Second (and most important), I don’t believe that luck happens – I believe that you make it for yourself with the decisions you make. Luann Udell said this much more eloquently in her post on April 10th. The point is this – the average American thinks that Nate and I are odd for selling a nice house that we can afford perfectly well, and moving into a smaller cheaper house (seems like the American dream is to supersize everything these days), but our main priority right now is making our life what we want it to be, and we’re taking the steps necessary to get there. I call it making luck, and hopefully it works!