progress and updates

Some people in my life have told me that this is the best way they know what is going on with me, so here are some more updates. Monday and Tuesday I spent all day painting the studio. The ceilings are like 18 feet tall so it was hard! I did it myself not so much because I couldn’t find help, but because it felt so good to be doing it alone. I really, really enjoyed it even if I am sore today. The front end work should be done today and they were supposed to paint the floors (cement) and trim today. Soon my counter will go in then my section will be done. I have some detail/mural work to do, but I will do that after I am in. I have my new computer with my airport card for dsl sitting and waiting. I think I am going to look for a used drafting table as well. I have a shelving unit here at home that I think I will use to display my sculptures and things, but might look for something else. Not sure. This is free, so the price is right. I need to begin making cards to sell and my baby teeshirts. Those two items sell really well at festivals and so I am selling those along with commissioned work. I want to eventually sell mugs and adult shirts but have to wait on some profit.

I can’t wait to get my paintings on the wall. When I was a teenager I would hang every piece of artwork I had done on every squarre inch of my walls. I remember laying in my bed and looking up and imagining I was in my own gallery and studio. (My drafting table was right next to my bed.) I hadn’t thought of this memory in a long time until yesterday after I finished up painting and looked at the walls. It was one of those moments. You know the ones. When everything in that moment is so right, so content and so full of hope. A very, very good moment.

I know the next few months will be busy. I already have about 5 commissions that have come in in the last 3 days and still have design work. But I have never been more ready to work so hard. Bring it on. I am ready. (And when it gets crazy and stressful and scary, you will all be there for me, right??? Promise?)

A few bucks and a dream…

About three years ago I remember sitting in an office hating what I was doing (but loving the people) and going from blog to blog to blog. First Keri’s, then Elena’s, then Alex’s. It would tear my heart out. Why, couldn’t I have the life I wanted to? I just wanted to create MY art for a living. Is that REALLY too much to ask. Others do it. Why not me?

I let the dream grow slowly. VERY slowly. I doodled. I daydreamed. What KIND of art could I do and make a living from too? I had no idea. About six months later I sketched my first dog on a side walk. A sweet little girl said I should do it for a living. I laughed, but a light bulb went on. A week later I painted my first dog portrait. Four months later I painted 22 more. In about 2 weeks. Whew. A week later I rented a booth at a festival. A month later I quit my full time job. Two years later (in October it will be 2 years) I am opening up a studio.

I got no money for start up costs people. Seriously, not one extra dime. Yesterday I bought a cell phone for my business line. I was able to do that because a commission came in and I got a check from a logo I did. Every time I turn around something happens that makes this dream easier. For example I went to Home Depot to look at their “oops paint.” (It is all I could afford.) Sitting right there on the shelf for $5 a gallon were two perfect colors. Perfect. It keeps happening over and over. I still have moments of freaking out, but then I think, what have I got to lose? I am starting with nothing, so I can only go up. It’s not about making the money, it’s about living the dream. Living this life. Loving the moments. Even the hard ones. None of this happened overnight. But it happened. It happened because I refused to let my dream die because of fear or slow times or money problems. I have no idea what the next few months will bring, but I feel alive and happy and excited. And that makes it all worth it.

Grateful

I am grateful for gorgeous fall days that make me happy to be alive no matter what is going on in life.

I am grateful for having the courage to risk even when it makes my heart pound and my stomach ache.

I am grateful for friends who get exctited and support what I want to do in life and believe in me more than I think I believe in myself.

I am grateful for being able to pretend I am a confident, strong business woman even though I look at my little girl and realize she is far braver than I.

I am grateful for doors that open so wide so that I can’t possibly mistake that they are open for me.

I am grateful to believe in God so that when it all gets too scary I can ask him to carry my burden for me so that I can breathe calmly again.

I am grateful for the lows that I have had so my highs are that much sweeter.

I am grateful for a healthy body and mind that allows me to do all the crazy, wonderful things I want to do.

I am grateful for waking up each day and knowing I have the freedom to make any choice I want.

I am grateful for the people in my life that are there to help pick me up after I fall down from some of those choices.

I am grateful that despite all the “ouches,” God gave me the determination to keep getting up and trying it one more time.

Thank you, I am so very grateful.

It’s raining, it’s pouring….no really, it is!

Crazy rainy days. Here in Atlanta we are feeling the wrath of the hurricaine. They closed the schools so I am with child. Err, with children? Anyhoo, makes working a bit more difficult with two bored children.

Besides the literal rain, it has been pouring busy work wise as well. I have been working nonstop for the studio, getting ads done, writing press releases, contacting anybody that might be able to be an in that is good for pr, I have been at the sign makers getting the sign made (note to other print designers: designing for vinyl is NOTHING like designing for print!), I got a computer for the studio, I met with the contractor about where I would like outlets and light fixtures, and my countertop, I will be getting paint this weekend for the walls after they are primed. It is all so exciting. The best part however, and those of you who know my frugal nature will understand just how huge this is, is that I have not spent one red cent yet for this venture. Nada. Nothing. Zilch. AND I don’t have to pay rent until December. Why you ask? Because being a print and web designer is like having a pocketful of money. No, really. People need design work and don’t want to pay for it anymore than I want to pay for a used imac. You need a 5 page website? Well, I could use that imac of yours just sitting in the corner over there. Done. You need ads for your new store? Well, how about I do all your ad work and how about I don’t pay rent until December? Done. It is like magic. Love it. Never before have I been happier to be a graphic designer. I will be paying for my paint at Home Depot, but I will choose from the lovely “oops paints”. Love that section! We should be open at the end of next week, but the Grand “everything is beautiful” Opening is Oct 29th.

Also, I found out yesterday I got the pt web design position with the college I freelance for. I can work from home (or my office int he studio) once I get the system down. Yeah, too super cool. Meanwhile I am still doing freelance work for the actual much needed cash. But boy howdy if the electric company would barter with me I would be all over that!

Ok, time to go do a newsletter and an ad. I will post pics of the studio as soon as I can. Thank you to everyone who has written or called with support. It means the world to me. This is truly a childhood dream coming true. I still am pinching myself.

Simple but hard.

“If you always do what you have always done, you’ll always get what you have always gotten.”

“The definition of insanity is to always do the same exact thing each time, then expect a different result at the end.”

Is it time to try something different?

Fall and Hope

For some reason when the temperature finally dips a bit and a leaf changes color just a wee something happens in me. January never ever seems like the new year, the time for new beginnings. Neither does Spring, even with all the rebirth. Fall is my time of year. I admit, I am a summer girl. I adore glasses of wine on my porch, dogs at my feet and watching fireflies light up the night sky when the evenings are warm and balmy, but Fall brings me great comfort. Almost every year about this time I declare, “Someting BIG is going to happen!” For the past two years this time of year meant beginning to paint everyday for almost 10 hours right up until December 24th. This year it means the same thing, but I will be doing it in a studio out of my house. I still don’t quite believe it. I have the final meeting today at 11am to tie up the loose ends. More people in the online community know from my journal than those around me. I don’t know if it that is because I don’t want to jinx it, or that speaking it out loud may make it disappear. Who knows, but soon I will be there and then there is no turning back. This summer has been filled with so much freelance design work that I am itching to paint again. I have had paintings here and there, but I have hardly advertised or done summer festivals. I suppose I was readying myself for the holiday season without even knowing it. Things are happening even if we don’t feel it at all. Even when we are so desperate to know they are happening and still can’t manage to feel hope at all.

Yesterday I contacted the big publisher I submitted my book to last February. Yep. February. How is that for patience? I emailed and said, “Yo! You all have had my book a really long time, what the hell?!” Ok, I was a wee more professional, but still, that was the basic concept. I got an actual real person in the children’s department to email me back. Very quickly. She sbasically said that I haven’t been rejected yet, so they hadn’t seen it yet or it was in review. Um, that is hopeful, right? LOL. I of course wrote back my uber heartfelt thanks for her time to look up my lil’ ol’ name in their big gigantic stack o’ submissions. I stirred up the pot a bit. Sometimes we need to stir. Sometimes we need to crack the door open a bit ourselves, I guess. Who knows what might happen, but I do feel the urge once again to say, “I feel BIG things happening this Fall!” Hope is my favorite feeling in the world.

Introducing Kaitlin J.

Well my sister and her husband finally had my niece. Yes, not “their baby” but “my niece.” I have waited 8 years for this. Eight years for one of my sisters to get on the ball and make me an aunt. Sure I have been a mom for a long time, but not an aunt. I can hardly wait to ply her with sweets, give her toys that makes lots and lots of noise, and send her on home! Hee! But seriously, how ADORABLE is this child?!?! I mean, look at her! My sister and her husband are already terrific parents and I can hardly wait to get to know this gorgeous little creature they have created. She is perfect. Just perfect. And I already love her dearly. Welcome to the world Kaitlin J. You have already made it a much more beautiful place.