I am working from home today and it is SUH-WEET. The Soph was a bit under the weather and while Noah was not so much sick as JEALOUS I decided to let him work from home today too. He has a report to finish and I said that if he finished it this morning he could hang out at home. I don’t get to just hang with my kids nearly as much as I like and while I don’t condone truancy as a general rule, every once in a while is good for the soul. I mean, I know how happy a day off makes ME, why should kids not get the same thing every once in a while. Right? Did I rationalize my less than stellar parenting this morning well enough? GOOD. (I SAID he had to finish a report. Geez. Stop looking at me with your stink eye.)
Things I am currently grateful for: The commission I just got from England is approved and ready to ship out this morning – INTERNATIONAL artist here people! So cool. I will be finished this week with a very large commission that involves a horse and two dogs which is so cute I can’t wait to post it. I am grateful that my picky design client approved my Antigone poster on the FIRST go round – for you designers out there you know this happens RARELY and it is AWESOME. And on the whole Antigone thing? Dude, if you don’t know the story line and are feeling at all like your life is crappy? Go read this and you will be JOYFUL and HAPPY at YOUR life circumstances. Cause that Antigone chick? Some serious family ISSUES. (I had not read Oedipus in high school or college, always got the Hamlet and Macbeth teachers, so researching this poster was like getting to read soap operas on the internet all day Monday. So MUCH tragedy and wft?!? Those is some crazy stories, for reals. I mean WHO gouges out their EYES with broach needles?? ewwww…)
Ok other things I am grateful for: The words “hope to be on shelves in Hobby Lobby by late March.” and “things are looking very promising as well with the Michaels buyers.” and best of all “thanks for all your hard work, hoping to have some $$$ in your pocket for all your efforts soon!” So I still cannot tell you what the products are yet, but the meetings went fantabulous, they loved my art and our products and things (paperwork and purchase orders) are being finalized right now. How crazy is that!? CRA-ZEE. Possibly early next year I (or YOU) can walk into a huge national craft store and pick up a product with my ART on it. And my NAME on it. And my PICTURE on it. (Note to self: get them a better head shot, the one they are using looks way too Pollyanna) So how do you like them apples? I KNOW! Just 6 short, itty bitty years of blood, sweat and toil. And tears. We should NOT forget all those tears. And maybe some whining. Just a bit of that too. heh.
But I did want to tell a quick story about how failure is not failure at all. Of course always in hindsight, cause apparently we must all enjoy the experience of feeling like a failure to see beyond it. (You have heard this story a billion other ways and lordee if you watch Oprah you can hear it way more eloquently prolly this afternoon.) But here is my current version:
For those of you who have read my blog for the past few years, you know I opened a studio about 3 years ago. Good lord I worked hard on that and loved it SO SO much. I was going to teach little kids art and also sell my own art from there. Well, because I tend to bite off WAY more than I can chew, and also I found out that I am not crazy about teaching little kids art – which sounds SO BAD, I actually LOVED it, but the prep work for it while trying to do freelance to keep money coming in, while doing commissions to keep money coming in and doing all this ALONE with no back up and no other income to help, well it was destined to not work. So I stopped the teaching part and just freelanced and painted from there and got some artists to rent the space with me. But then freelance dried up about a year and half to two years ago and times? They got desperate. BAD. TERRIBLE. There was much crying and gnashing of teeth. Dude, I delivered flowers for Valentines Day JUST to make some extra moohla it was so bad. (Let me tell you, driving around giving people flowers? NOT a bad way to spend your day! You just drive around in a car that smells like flower heaven and make people smile all day long. Doing this in Atlanta traffic? The fun aspect? Not so much.) Anyhoo, So the decision had to get made. I got offered a job by a client I have had for years. It is was a GOOD job. It was also part time and that really made me happy. But then I got offered full time a few months later and I took it. And part of me was SO SAD. I felt like I had failed. I felt like I had failed my artist self and that I was choosing security and the SAFE route and the easy route. But bills? They needed to get paid. And I know I did the responsible thing, I mean, I have kids that like pop tarts and apple juice they DESERVE that, ya know? But still. I felt like my dreams were slipping away. And I was SAD.
I was still doing commissions at night and on weekends because I simply cannot NOT paint. I hung flyers in coffeehouses in my desperate times before I took the pt job in an effort to still keep my studio. But work did not come in fast enough. I did get an email from someone that saw my art and thought it would be great for a book. I skeptically met with him thinking it was one of those “do all this art for FREE for us and it will give you much CREDIBILITY.” Yeah, last I checked, Georgia Power accepts cash, check and charge but are not so much with the credibility. Heh. So anyway, to make looong story longer, that led to me doing the book that you can see on the upper left hand side of this page. (Go buy it. NOW. I will wait…..K, done? Good!) And I made a bit of money off of it, nothing to write home about, but still – my art – PUBLISHED and I wrote it, so now an AUTHOR too! Score! Plus it was fun and I got more free paint and canvas that you can shake a paint brush at.
So me and the creative director for the book got along and we talked a lot. And I told him ideas I had that filled no less than 15 sketchbooks for my art over the past 6 years but that poor thing kept getting in the way of making any of them happeening. And he liked my ideas. And turns out he was friends with a rep for craft companies that meets with craft store buyers and they had been thinking about starting their own business for years and turns out HE liked my ideas too. And then the planets aligned. And we had meetings and ideas. And concepts and paintings and prototypes. And lawyers and contracts, cause dude, no one can afford to be stupid when it comes to all this and it is OK to protect yourself and it is ok to say please add this to paragraph 9 and please remove that paragraph 7 cause MY lawyer said ‘HELLS no!!!! to that part” and we all tweaked and turned and adjusted and BAM! we agreed and we were all happy. And then. We waited. And waited. And meetings got postponed. And we waited. Then we waited a bit longer. Then. Then the buyer LOVED our stuff. And !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And so if I had not started my studio and had not fallen on hard times and had not put up flyers for my pet portraits in a coffeehouse where a contractor for a craft company had seen it and I had not taken a full time job that made me enough money to pay my bills and paint MANY MANY paintings for prototype products that I would not make any money on but hoped and prayed with all my heart that one day it WOULD pay off and I had not just kept on BELIEVING and having PATIENCE and TRUSTING then well, none of this would have happened.
So while I would be a liar liar head if I said I did not miss my pink studio where I used to work all day, I can see that my long term goals are all still there and all still happening but the road I THOUGHT I would travel to get there is one I could not have planned for if I tried. And who knows how much longer I will be at a job where I sneak in posts between poster designs and brochures, but next time I get frustrated and it is STILL taking a long time I will try very, very hard to remember all of this and that it truly is more fun to let go and enjoy the crazy journey than to cry because I don’t get to steer.
Stay tuned. And cross all fingers and toes for me until all this is down on paper! Ok, I have a Shakesperian tragedy to go illustrate. And stop surfing the innernets! You have work to do too! Shoo now! The power company doesn’t take “inspirational websites” or “the most HILARIOUS video ever on YouTube, dude you gotta check it out!” for payment either. If I gotta go work so do you…