Each time a workshop in Flower Mound concludes and the painters have gone home, the studio feels just a bit quieter and emptier the next morning – and I can sense echoes of something good that happened in the space. It’s hard to put into words how different this new life is: Now I work almost exclusively with groups of creative women. Every group has its own energy and its own identity, but they all share one thing in common – excitement to be in that moment. One of the tasks in my previous corporate job was serving as a liaison between two national boards made up almost entirely of men. I enjoyed the work, it was challenging and always evolving and the people were in the top of their fields. But I knew from the moment I taught my first painting workshop, seeing joyful wonder on the faces of my students, that this was what it is to feel a calling. I knew I wanted to do this one incredible thing for the rest of my life: To be an art teacher.
I didn’t just quit my corporate job and begin working full-time as an artist the next day. Far from it, since I’m a professional worrier by nature. I spent years building my little cottage industry of an art studio before I had the courage to take the leap into joyful, terrifying freedom. If I could pay the property tax and water bill (water bills are high in North Texas!), I knew we could make it work.
If you do what you love, you will succeed, to quote my Sociology 101 college professor. His was the most popular class on campus, and there were over 100 of us in the audience when he shared on Day 1 what he called “The $85,000 Lecture.” He had served as the liaison between the union and General Motors for 10 years, he said, and woke up one morning realizing that, if he continued down this path, he would die of a heart attack by the time he was 40. It was a very high paying job, he said and a very high stress job. He made a crucial decision. He quit and became a teacher in a junior college, with a beginning salary of $1400 a year.
The fact that I have to couch this discussion in terms of dollars for it to resonate is a reflection of what our culture values as what has worth, and what does not have worth. Being an artist is not part of the recipe for an accepted path to wealth or success. In fact, I feel like I have stumbled upon something – a gateway dream. A dream that has opened so many doors, and allowed me to reach so many beautiful, creative souls. For my art friends who continue to pursue these dreams, against all odds, it’s easy to see how being an artist, being a creative, gives joy. But how do we measure the long-term effect of living a joyful life? Your creativity and vision is impacting everyone around you: your family, your friends, your students, and even strangers who see your work. Whether you’re an artist, a dancer, a singer, or a writer, you are balancing the narrative of a culture that needs so much healing, solace, and peace. It’s a big void, so don’t give up. There is much work to do.
June 2020 ~ Your summer escape awaits!
This workshop is filling fast!
You are invited to join Nancy for a summer getaway to the magnificent French Alps. There is no more beautiful escape from the summer heat than spending 10 days in the heart of the lovely medieval village of Annecy, known as “The Venice of France” with its canals, flower gardens, cafes and shops.
After flying into Geneva, Switzerland, we’ll make our home in The Splendid Hotel near the shores of historic Lake Annecy. Your journey begins with a tour of Col de la Forclaz with lunch on the terrace of a dairy farm in the mountains. We’ll sample slices of charcuterie, cheeses, potato beignets, and fresh blueberry tarts with cream. We’ll tour the Chateau de Menthon St Bernard, a castle filled with 13th century furnishings, tapestries and a library of ancient manuscripts painted with illuminations from the monks of the Middle Ages. And this is all just Day 1!
During your journey workshop, you’ll have plenty of painting time with Nancy in the indoor studio at your hotel in Annecy. Nonpainters will enjoy additional tours and excursions while the painters are busy in the studio. This tour is filling quickly! Contact [email protected] for registration details.