Sunday, August 24, 2008


As a parent I am often encouraging my kids in their endeavors. I was raised by very supportive parents who believed in me as an artist and supported every crazy idea I ever had. Including trying to house train a goat once (my dad wanted to try too). My husband by contrast had a different experience. He was told to be safe, that being a professional cyclist or a writer was too hard and unrealistic. In retrospect he has a lot of resentment of what 'wasn't'. He never really tried to do either pursuit and instead has been safe, reliable and overall unsatisfied in his career. I did follow my dreams. And continue to follow them. However, by my own measurement of success, I don't feel that I have truly accomplished that which I set out to do. He feels quite the opposite. His perspective is that I am very successful. Having been self-employed for nearly 6 years, and spending my time drawing or working creatively. Not going to work every day to a cubicle for 'the man'. This difference of opinions has caused some strife. Not that we are angry about the difference of opinion, more that it is hard for one to empathetic to another's problem when they don't see it as a problem. This brings me to the point of success. How do we measure it? Why do I feel that I am NOT successful as an artist? For me it is because the art I make, that I LOVE is not being bought or requested regularly. I do get illustration jobs, sure, but they aren't calling all the time, I still have to send off my creations and hope and pray that someone out there who buys this crap will actually want to buy mine. So in my mind, the fact that I work from home isn't enough. That I have a nice house, eat good food, have happy kids, isn't success in my mind. How messed up is that? I mean really. I find that I am not as encouraging as he is with our children. He sounds like my parents and I sound like his. This realization, has caused me to seriously reconsider my expectations. I do not want to tell anyone to play it safe, to not follow their dreams. Heck I am still following my dreams and will be chasing them to my grave. If anything I realize that I am successful. My problem is that I am not relishing the journey, participating in the experience of living my dream. That sadly I have singularly focused at some endpoint that doesn't really exist. It is a constantly moving target and that instead of aiming at that point I need to embrace the moment, and be thankful. From now on, I will be my parents to my children, I will tell them the mantra I heard through my entire childhood 'You can do anything you set your mind to". Only now I will not only believe that to be true, I will know that in spite of disappointment along the way, having a dream, chasing that dream, is far better than not having one. If you aim for the top, even if you don't get there, you will get much farther than if you just aim a nudge above the bottom. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

the end of summer

I know summer isn't technically over, and depending on where you live it may seem farther or nearer from ending. However here in the NW we have received our first 2 full days of rain and grey sky. Which doesn't mean summer is over, but it could mean that those glorious days of open windows, blue skies, and dry lawns are nearing an end sooner than usual. Heck it is mid August. With the end of summer comes one of my favorite things, the return of school. Don't get me wrong I love my kids, and love having them around during the summer to make me laugh. But when school starts I can get back to work. I miss it. I miss the quiet. I realize we illustrators are a lonesome sort who work from our studios, with no one to talk to for hours on end. And I like it! I like the quiet. I miss it. With summer coming to an end, I can have quiet time, and drawing time. Yes I miss the sunshine and inspiration that it brings, but I get silence which begets productivity! I can listen to music without interruption, or I can focus on that one little section of my painting that isn't quite right. I can sit and stare at the texture of the background the relationship of the colors and shapes without someone asking for something. Oh yes, summer ending is bittersweet. Our happy little ball of fire in the sky may move on to warm other parts of the earth, but as it moves it it leaves a wake of quiet that I am so excited to embrace. I can feel the rush of creation gurgling just below the surface right now!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

ode to a good friend

Before I knew that being a professional artist was wrought with righteous opinions I knew a generous soul who tutored me during High School. He was in college, and I was a Jr or Sr. I can't recall now. I know I had a crush on him, not because he was really good looking, but because he was an artist, and he believed in art, and in me. I practiced water colors with him, and we would talk about art, about Cezanne, about Van Gogh, and Bob Dylan. That was 25 plus years ago. Recently I decided to look Ronnie up, see what ever became of him. I found a newspaper article that said he had died in 2005. It broke my heart. I missed him. I missed keeping in touch, I missed telling him that I finished college, that I was surviving as an artist. So many conversations that never got said. Experiences I never got to share, (like seeing real Cezanne paintings in NY and Paris). I found a message board today, dedicated to Ronnie. I still don't know what happened to him. I just know I am sad. 

Friday, August 1, 2008

cupcake love

Well another submission has been sent to an art publisher. I have finished 3 of the 12 cupcake paintings and sent them off to the one interested party. Today was the deadline for submissions for their annual new collections review. I am trying NOT to get my hopes up, but as you can imagine even after this many years of submissions, and rejections, when there is even the slightest nibble, it is really difficult not to be hopeful. Worse case scenario, I have three really cute cupcake images, and I can keep working on the other 9. There is always room in the world for more fun art. I am posting the three finished pieces and will be adding them to my current illustration site. 

Fingers crossed.