I recently took a dive back into my first love; acrylic paint. I had given it a break for a few years because paint and young children don’t mix. Instead I opted to paint with watercolours, digitally paint, or draw. Although I do still have young children I have been able to manage some quality paint time. It feels great to jump back in with something so familiar, there’s nothing like putting paint to canvas. It is a totally different experience to the other mediums I use.
The first one I did was on a small wooden panel (6 x 6 inches). I have been finding inspiration in birds lately, we happen to have a Pigeon that has nested on our balcony and has laid some eggs, we often check on them and give them a little food. I love birds in general, but I especially love owls (anyone who knows me knows I’ve been obsessed for a good 10 years), Ravens, and Hawks (we actually have one that lives around us, it often snatches other birds right out of the sky when it’s hungry, kind of morbid but it seems to like to do this in front of our windows… maybe I should be afraid). Anyway, these flying creatures have caught my attention and I enjoy painting them. They also come with a whole bunch of meaning, folk-lore, etc. which happens to also be something I like to work into my art when I can. Everything I do has some sort of meaning, whether it is obvious to others or something more personal to me, there is usually something in my work that is much deeper to me than just an appealing picture.
I ended up creating “Raven” (Available for purchase here). Using darker colours to bring in the darkness of the bird and adding in some pops of colour to bring out the richness, deepness, and often reflective nature of the feathers. The added colour also plays towards light and dark, opposites are another subject I like to work into my work; the juxtaposition fascinates me.
You’ll notice in much of my work I like to play on things like light and dark, good and evil, life and death, fin and serious, etc. In fact, I have been on a bit of a roll with these acrylic paints lately. The next thing I painted was “Life and Death”. The title is self-explanatory and there is lots to look at in this small piece. This time I put paint to canvas and played more with that juxtaposition I love so much, colours, subject matter, meaning, serious and fun elements all tangled together in this intriguing piece. “Life and Death” measures 12 x 6 inches and is available for purchase here.
Now that I’ve worked out some of the rust I am excited to go bigger! It has been interesting to see how my style translates into different mediums now that its developed and different from when I was painting before. Art is certainly a journey and so much of us is put into our work. I hope you all enjoy! I’d love to hear about what you’ve been working on lately. Be sure to let me know in the comments
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Until next time my Creative Friends!
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Aside from obviously being an unfair amount of fun for a career, how is it that art as a career can change YOUR life?
It is an interesting topic, considering the opposite opinion is usually what people are cautioning others about. The whole “don’t become an artist because you’ll starve” argument that so many parents (although probably coming from a loving place and a place of wanting their children to succeed) throw at their kids when they want to get into a creative field.
Art and creative fields in general have become very popular, affording countless job opportunities. The gaming industry is a fantastic example of this. While traditional art may be harder to find something that you can make a more traditional and stable living doing these days it is all about the digital. Digital art is a very viable career option for those of you looking to get into the arts. If you go on a job searching website (something like monster or indeed, etc.) and type in “artist” you’ll get two things coming up: game design artists and sandwich artist. Okay, so maybe you don’t want to be a sandwich artist (they literally just make subs in chain restaurants) but the other options come with great starting rates and the opportunity to create, work on something other people are going to love, and it allows you to be in the arts with a real 9-5 job.
There are, of course many other examples of creative careers and careers in the arts but the gaming industry has come to the forefront here. Freelancing, running a gallery, illustrating, graphic design, interior decorating, creating your own shop and products, etc are other examples of careers in the arts. So, how can going into a creative career change your life and benefit you?
Here are a few examples:
Art is therapeutic, art therapy is an effective way to work through things you are feeling and going through. It is also another example of a career opportunity that has become more popular in the arts ( you do have to be qualified to do this though). Having a creative career allows you to spend your day creating, even if it isn’t your own work. The act of doing can help your mood, relieve stress, and help you enjoy your life.
You get to follow your passion! Seriously, that is one of the best feelings in the world. So many people push their passions and dreams aside, why not follow them? The benefits are obvious with this one. You only have one life to live, live it to its fullest, do what you love, and it will change your life for the better.
You get to make the world a more interesting and beautiful place. It is no secret that art enhances our lives just by looking at it. No matter where you fall in the creative world of business you are adding to people’s daily experiences; making them more interesting and/or beautiful. I find this to be a very rewarding point.
The arts are important yet they are often one of the first things to get cut when funding needs to be revaluated, and often are the career options that are dismissed without any real thought. We don’t think about how the arts have influenced our lives. The packaging we see on everything, the entertainment we watch to relax, the song that we have on repeat because we just love it so much, or that painting that we have hanging on our wall that brings us joy every single day.
I openly admit that I felt this way growing up. Art had always been apart of my life but growing up I didn’t consider it a viable career option. I ended up going in to another field which is when I realized how silly that thought process had been. I took a leap of faith and went to art school to follow my passion. I am so glad I did, it has changed my life!
Here are 5 ways pursuing an art career has changed my life:
Freedom – because I freelance and own my own website, shop, sell courses, and use platforms like Youtube I am my own boss. I make my own schedule and take on only what I want, or feel is the right fit. I make my business work for me, not the other way around.
Ability to work from home (or where ever I want) and Care for my children- Staying at home to care for my children was extremely important to me. Not only that but with the prices of child care in my city I would just be out working to cover the child care expenses. Having the ability and freedom to have my schedule work the way I want or need it to and to be able to spend the time I want and need to with my family is priceless for me. I am not just an artist, I am also a Mom and homemaker (which are like 2000 full time jobs in one, am I right?).
I get to be creative. I get to spend everyday creating. To me that is amazing. When I was in college for social work I spent almost 2 full years without really creating much of anything, I hadn’t even picked up a pencil in that time. Knowing the burnout rate and how exhausting the career I would have gone into was I likely wouldn’t have had the time or energy to create.
I get to help people and make a difference. I help other artists with their careers, I help other people bring their visions to life, I am able to teach others to create effectively and I get to make a difference by providing social commentary through art.
I get to think outside the box. Of course, you can do this in any field you’re in but for me art epitomizes this. I have completely constructed my own business, I can be as “out there” as I want in regard to my work, and my possibilities are endless.
I’ve only listed 5 examples of this for myself, plus the other few I mentioned above but, there are so many more ways an artistic career can change your life and benefit you. Your answers could be a lot different than mine, perhaps even deeper or personal, but that is the beauty of all of this.
What are some ways your art career (or even just your art if you don’t want to or haven’t yet attempted to start an art career) has changed your life?
I have always drawn, painted, and created in general. The moment my Mother let me scribble on some paper with a pencil, that was it. I was hooked. Art was always the best part of the day, I spent my free time playing video games or creating, I spent my extracurricular activities taking classes at the community centre or doing something else creative there ( I danced, was in plays, etc), my summers were filled with art ( I was either creating or dancing), even my electives in high school allowed me to spend half my days in the art studios some semesters.
Growing up, being the oldest kid in my family by at least 7 years, I happened to be the only one interested in art (although I do have a couple talented family members now). My family has creative people in it; people who write, craft, sew, crochet but I am the artist. I feel very fortunate to come from a family of creative people even if they don’t see themselves that way. Art has always been apart of my life and my family, luckily, encouraged that. They were the ones trying to steer me into an artistic path when it came time to decide what I wanted to do with my life. They even suggested I become a tattoo artist, I mean, really… what family does that? I love them for that, so much. I was the one that fought back against initially following art into the business world. It just didn’t seem like a viable option to me and I had other interests that seemed like they would be more stable, more lucrative. I love psychology, criminal psychology, biology, sociology, history, and even anthropology. Clearly I love to know why and how we work. My first career choice in high school was to go into the forensic sciences. That didn’t pan out, I didn’t take into account that I wouldn’t be able to do anything that required math (I have a mathematical learning disability), that and I hate it.
So, I found some more inspiration in my life and went with social work. It was similar to some of the things I already wanted to get in to and as an added bonus I could help people, which also happened to be a passion of mine. Going into social work wasn’t a mistake, I loved it and I was really truly good at it; I even graduated with honours. Towards the end of my social work program I realized that I hadn’t created anything in almost 2 years. I had a desire to pick up a pencil and let that part of me out. I had been so caught up in school and in life, that I just didn’t realize that such a large part of me was missing. As I was about to graduate and trying to figure out what to do once school was done ( find a full-time job in the field of social work) I felt unfulfilled. The idea of this didn’t excite me, it made me reflect instead. All of those years pushing back against art I had suddenly felt so stupid for thinking that way. Now that I had social work under my belt I felt like this was it, I could really go for it. I could go to art school and I would have social work to fall back on if I needed it. I got brave. In my mind I had taken the risk out of going to art school and pursuing the career I knew I was more passionate about. Realistically, it isn’t any more of a cushion to fall back on than anything else but it was what my mind needed for that push, it was my way of rationalizing going for my dreams. I am so glad I did. So, off I went to art school.
My life didn’t go exactly as planned ( does it ever?) even once I was in art school. I was almost done my first trimester of my first pregnancy at my art school graduation. I ended up having some health issues during this time. Life was once again taking over. I kept my part-time shoe selling job as long as I could ( it helped support me through college) during my pregnancy but I did have to stop working there as the complications in my pregnancy progressed.
In this time I was trying to figure out what I could do for work while not being able to work and with a Fine Art Studio background. I found some online options (society 6 being the one I went with) and I uploaded a few of my pieces there. As I could manage I made some more to stick up but I wasn’t able to regularly work on this. Needless to say, nothing happened with my art career in this time. My shop didn’t magically take off with the whole 3 things I had available. No one was banging down my door to buy my work, no one was even SEEING my work and I wasn’t creating anymore.
Once my son was born I was obviously very busy with him. Just after 8 months postpartum I realized that I had done this to myself yet again. I had pushed aside this part of me. I had pushed my dreams aside. Is becoming a Mother the best excuse ever for not focusing on art? Absolutely but that wasn’t the only reason. I had just let it all slip in the ups and downs of life. So, I went out on my birthday and grabbed myself my very first small set of Copic Markers because I had been eyeing them for so long. I slowly brought art back into my life. I even created my art channel on YouTube. I didn’t take it very seriously until about 6 months later ( mostly because of trouble we were having with our internet and service providers, we went months without any internet during this time).
As I got going I got pregnant again, this time health issues on top of raising an incredibly active toddler that could give any monkey a run for its money. I had to let it slip again. I tried so hard to hold on this time but it just didn’t happen. After I was induced and my second son was born I went into heart failure and was readmitted to the hospital at 3 days postpartum. Luckily, we had caught it fast enough that we were able to remove the fluid around my heart before it caused any damage. Although I struggled with fluid retention and lingering issues after this happened I was and still am fine in those regards. This was a huge wake up call for me, as I am sure it would be for most people. I didn’t wait this time. Shortly after I was back from the hospital I started creating again ( The first piece I did after my Second Son, Benjamin, was born is pictured below entitled “Birthday Bear”). I slowly built it up. I did stuff for myself, I found some illustration work, I put more work up on Society6, and I redid this website. I was working towards something now. I was working towards what I had wanted to do my whole adult life, so far. I had some set backs, I let life take hold every now and then. I had emergency surgery that set me out for a good month or so. I didn’t let it keep me down this time though, as soon as I was able I jumped back in.
I have learned my lesson, I will always keep pushing I will always be creating and I will always remember what a large part of me art is. I have the best reasons for pushing now. I have two amazing boys who look up to me. I want them to fight for what they want in life, I want them to always be pushing and always be true to themselves. I know there are other artists out there with similar struggles and I want to help you with them. I want to encourage the arts in everyone; whatever your age or stage may be. The arts are beneficial to everyone. In fact, I had seriously considered combining my two career paths into one with art therapy. Although I have ultimately decided that I am not going in that direction I am still able to help people through art the way I am now.
I am an artist because I love to create. I am an artist because I love to provide social commentary. I am an artist because I love to help bring other people’s visions to life; there is something magical about creating something for someone that was once something they could only picture in their minds. I am an artist because this is what I love, this is what I am passionate about. I am an artist because I am good at this and I am proud to be one. I am an artist and I am here because I want to and can help others in their creative journey.
Art was always there, even when I pushed it to the back. My life was always meant to be the creative journey of an artist. Looking back, I have no doubt about that. I am exactly where I should be.
If you take anything from reading this I hope that it is: it is NEVER too late to follow your dreams and to always go for what you want in life.
Why and how did you become an artist? I would love to hear your story, my Creative Friend!