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.