Remember pizza day at school? One of the only days I bought school lunch. The other lunch days I was strictly a peanut butter sandwich, apple and milk kinda gal. Not so much picky, just that I liked routine. My son? He’s picky. My daughter? She will eat anything! Or at least be willing to try it once. She is an adventurer. Noah likes to know his situation. But what do they both agree on? That same rectangular pizza served up at school lunches across our great nation with the tiny containers of milk and that canned fruit cocktail. At 10:55am and 11:25am I will be eating lunch with my kids. A nice perk for working at home. Especially since they have to hear every other minute, “In a second baby, Mommy just has to finish this.” I stop working when they get home, maybe taking occasional client calls. But then I work as soon as they are in bed. Most nights when they sleepily awake to use the bathroom or asked to be tucked back in, they find me in the office or in the living room painting with canvas and tubes of paint everywhere. They pretty much always see me working. I realized yesterday that seeing all this they may never ever want to work for themselves. It consumes you. You work every spare minute. You almost always think about work. A new marketing idea, getting the money for a new ad, calling connections, finding festivals, and then of course the actual painting with the occasional design job thrown in. And don’t get me started about hunting down checks people owe you! (the design jobs, not my painting clients.) I work way more than 40 hours a week. But, the thing is, I LOVE it. Absolutely love it. And, while I may stay up until 1 or 2am most nights, in about 3 hours I will get to go have lunch with my kids, forget about the rest of the world for a while and focus all my attention on two of the coolest kids I know. Oh yeah, and eat some great rectangle pizza!
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined. ~Thoreau
Once again I am reminded of my personal philosophy that the difference between those of us that achieve their dreams and those of us that don’t is very, very simple. The ones that achieve success began to try. One day they decided to try. And the next day they decided to try again. Even the tiniest progress each day can be monumental at the end of a week, a month, a year. “You cannot fail if you do not stop trying.” And my personal fave? “Life rewards action.” And with that, I better go. Because these dogs aren’t going to paint themselves and while I love computerland, it has been known to suck the productivity out of my day! “Action!”, I constantly remind myself!
Now go have a beautiful day!
I’ve never been a Selma Hayek fan. Actually, she’s always irritated me. Not sure why, maybe it was that increadibly tiny waist??? (just kidding!) But then. I saw Frida. Isn’t it funny how seeing an actor in a different role can make you love them? (happened with Nicholas Cage too.) I now love Selma! So the movie. It was my treat to myself last Friday night. I knew the moment it began I would fall in love with it. It opens in a Mexican courtyard. The colors. They were intoxicating. The walls were cobolt blue and the accents a deep barn red. And the cactus green. Oh the green! Look for this combo in a future painting! So I knew at once I was smitten. The movie. The woman. So much passion lived in her life. So much pain, both emotional and physical. I have never really studied her paintings. But now I know I am changed. Her artwork will be in my house. I have been influenced in the past by Mexican pottery with the bold colors they use. When we go to El Paso (my husband is Mexican-his whole family lives there) I love going to see the pink houses and all the green cypress trees, going over the border to see the painted pottery. I have a mexican tile that is right at my desk as I type because I love to look at the flower pattern on it. I want to paint my living room and dining room a warm terra cotta. Bring so much more color into my life. I try to be bright and vivid with my art, maybe that is why this movie touched me so much. The color, the passion. Frida lived her life on her terms and even in the most terrible moments, she never said she was sorry for who she was or how she lived. And the best part was it showed those moments. Her insecurities as an artist, always being humble, insisting she was not that good. But she always followed her her heart, even when it meant having it broken. And one of the best lines from the movie came from the character that played her husband Diego. He said, “If you are a painter you will paint. You will paint for the rest of your life because you must.” Exactly.
One of life’s simple, sweet pleasures for me is when we gt to see how very much alike we really all are. Last night I took my kids at 10pm to go to a planetarium to see Mars through a telescope with a 36 inch mirror. When we arrived the line was not too long. There I was with my two kids whom I teach as much astronomy as I can hoping one of them wiill one day be a great astronomer so I can live vicariously through them. (I was a physics major for 2 1/2 years before switching my degree to fine arts-yeah, that made daddy REALLY happy!) In front of me is a man with his two sons. We begin the friendly chit chat that strangers stuck on line do, making jokes about how this is educational for the kids but we both know we are really here for us. We then talk for the next 45 minutes getting to know each other as much as two strangers can while intermittedly picking up kids, putting down kids, telling kids that it is not much longer, breaking up fights and explaining that no, we will not die of thirst or heat on this line. We finally snake our way to the telescope, see Mars closer to the Earth right now than in all of recorded history and never to be this close again in our life time. It was magnificent – you could see the polar ice caps! And after this once in a life time event we simply turn to this stranger we just met with the same interests and say, “Nice talking to you, have a great rest of your weekend!” I love that. People being friendly because deep down we all really just want to be nice and have people be nice to us. At least that is how it works in my head – and I like it like that.
I wonder, why is it that when things tend to be bad, downright abysmal, alot of times we find reasons why we deserve it. “I didn’t work hard enough, I should have tried harder, I should have been more helpful etc.” But when things are going amazing, wonderful, better than we could hope for, we tend to think we DIDN’T deserve. “Wow, I sure got lucky, how in the wolrd did I pull off that, how crazy is it that that happened?” Maybe if we reversed our first responses, instead thought, “Well sometimes bad things just happen, and wow, my hard work is really paying off-that sure feels good!” Today I am enjoying the fruits of my labor and relishing in it. Tonite I will reward myself with a nice Merlot, the movie Frida, and actually NOT working until 2am for the first time this week. I worked hard this week and I was rewarded. And I deserve it.
Wow. I am still processing yesterday’s experience. First I went to a design meeting and contracted to do 3 play illustrations for a college over the next few months. Half the money up front. Then I went to see the owners of the doggie daycare where I hang alot of my paintings. I showed her the art I was going to show the folk art/gift store next. “Oh! I want to sell that here too! How many can you give me??” I took her order for some chalkboards and as many “Mini Smiles” as I could get her by early next week. Well. THAT is nice! (I love the women that run this place, they truly are the sweetest people I have met in a long time.) Then off I went to the next place: Donna Van Gogh’s in Candler Park. Gulp.
I went and parked, got out my art, and walked the short block to the store. The owner greeted me so warmly and friendly that I was immediately at ease. Once I began showing her my art, she got really excited. “Oh, you are going to do SO well here!” My second gush of the day. She then proceeded to show me art all over the store and things that I could make or do to my existing art so that I could create a range of products to sell. She said make sure that you create art from $1.50 (cards) to your paintings ($200). She said then when someone loves your work, they can have it even if all they have is a few dollars in their pocket. Smart lady. So I am making cards and magnets (which she ASSURED me that printed right off my computer at home will sell no problem). She said get busy on Christmas ornaments too. You can’t make enough for me to sell.” I thanked her for calling me, saying she had just made my day. “No,” she said “thank you, you made MY day!” (Um, could that be any cooler!)
I left the store reeling. I am so excited!! I have so much to do, but in a very good way. She pays once a month on the 15th. She said any inventory not sold after 45 days will be returned. She again ASSURED me, she doubted that would ever happen with my work. Wow again. And here is the coolest part. When I bring her in all my work she is clearing out the main store window for an entire display of my art. My art. I could cry. The feeling washing over me right now as I write that and realize how amazing that is. That last year at this time I would practically cry on my way to work, knowing that I was so not in the right place. That I was not meant to sit in front of a computer making banner ads and web graphics. I could literally feel my heart deaden a bit as I pulled up to work. And the people there were wonderful, it just was not where I was meant to be. I thank God everyday that I had the courage to take a leap of faith. To not hold on so tightly to the security of an every two week pay check with benefits and follow my heart. Oh, I have had my fair share of months where the money simply was not there. I am not saying that it has been smooth sailing since I quit. Thank God for flexible landlords, and car companies, and utility bill companies. They all were griacious to let us pay late many, many times. But month by month those late payments are getting less and less. It is a pretty amazing feeling to know that all the little sayings you tell yourself and you hear are true. “If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed.” “You cannot fail if you do not stop trying.” I still have lots of hard work ahead, and hopefully always will, but I am so blessed that I truly do love what I do. I wake up knowing that I am going to make something for the sole purpose of making someone else smile. And that is such a gift.
Throughout the past year many of my client’s have asked me if I sold work in this one particular store. It is a really great, ecclectic, very cool store that I have always loved. I have always been intimidated about bringing my work to any store and just kinda put it off. Last week the owner of this same store called ME. Crazy! Someone had brought her my card and said that she should carry my work. So today I go show her my art and see what happens. I enjoy getting feedback and hope this is something that will work out nicely. I usually try to have no expectations and just see what progresses. Then I can find any positive twist on the situation after it happens. I will fill you in on the details later. Wish me luck!