If you’re like me, your art journey wasn’t linear. My path was pretty twisty, with detours, occasional stalls, and a few vacation getaways that interrupted brush time. When life calls, one must answer.
When I was 30 years old, my new year’s resolution was to put away the charcoal pencils and pick up a paint brush. I joined a little art club in East Texas taught by a massively talented gal whose husband had built her a “painty shed” perfect for groups of seven or eight. I’m not sure how any of us survived the turpentine based fumes and lead white, but maybe that explains why I clean my brush in my tea glass from time to time.
All the while I was discovering color, I was working full-time as a journalist. My first job was the city desk assistant at the Dallas Times Herald, back in the glory days of the big newspaper wars. Seated just feet away from Ken Johnson, the publisher, I worked with 72 news reporters all in one room, with phones ringing, lots of shouting, and a healthy barrage of expletives seasoning every mundane conversation among the editors. I was the weather girl, wrote obituaries, and greeted anyone the editors did not want to face, including a man who claimed to be The Prophet (robes, staff and all), and other interesting types. That job flowed into 14 years of newspaper work, then another 15 years in magazines.
Finally, I set aside the pen and picked up the brush full time. It was like coming up for a breath of fresh air after years of swimming against a strong tide. I knew if I didn’t walk away from corporate America, I was going to drown. The day I gave my notice at work, I stepped out on faith, faith in myself and my talent.
That decision did not come lightly, but there was one pivotal moment that made my future crystal clear. It was the day I taught my first class at the Dallas Arboretum. In that gorgeous old education building, with the sun streaming in through skylights, and picture window views of the gardens, I saw a room full of excited painters. They were thrilled with what they were creating and so happy to be together, creating. Their energy was like manna from Heaven. I felt the earth move under my feet, and I knew at that moment I never wanted to do anything else again.
While my own wish to become a full-time painter was important, it was the realization I could get so much joy from teaching that was the tipping point. So, really, it was all about you, all along. What on earth would I do without my students? My story isn’t over yet, but I wonder how many other artists out there are waiting for a tipping point to turn their lives onto a fully creative path. If you do what you love, you will succeed. It may not happen overnight, but there is light and there is hope, if you set your mind to it.
Brushes and Blooms Is Here!
Prepare your heart for a journey through the beauty and wonder of acrylics. My new online acrylic class is now open! Join me for seven all new full-length acrylic lessons for beginner to advanced painters.