I have so many friends working in corporate America, and wishing they could cut the cord and begin a full-time art career. I’ve shared some insights into my own journey often in the past. Looking back today, I’ve learned something new not only about myself, but about how the pieces of our lives have to fit together in their own time and space to create a pattern where the joy outweighs the fear.
After six years of emancipation from corporate, I have found a work pattern that is predictable and comforting. I paint four to six hours a session, about four to five times per week. By giving myself a day or two off each week from the easel, I give my mind time to process what I’ve learned, and where I’ve failed or not achieved the desired results of the previous days’ paintings. There is a rhythm to this daily-ish painting that is a whole other story to be shared in a future blog post. It’s like a dance with intuition, where you give up control and let something larger than yourself take control, no matter how terrifying it may be. It’s a waltz when it works. It’s a wrestling match when it doesn’t. I have the bruises to prove it.
Ironically, I still paint at night, and work all day. The workday now consists of a mesh of conference calls with my team members, video shoots in studio and on location, writing, marketing, workshops, live videos, critiques, photo shoots, and more. There is rarely a weekend or holiday I’m not working, but it’s a labor of love in every sense of the word.
If you have not yet noticed, I’ve used the word “fear” earlier in this post. The mantra “2 more years” is what so many professionals say, when they know they’re on the brink of leaving the corporate race for the next chapter in their journeys. I sat on that “2 more years” ledge for 8 years. I know all the little things we tell ourselves to avoid stepping off that ledge into the future, into the unknown. I’m not saying you have to well and truly hate your corporate job to find the will to leave it, but I am saying you must want the art journey with all your heart, for the separation from a biweekly paycheck with associated health coverage to be palatable.
The litany that glued me to the ledge included the mortgage, health insurance, credit card payments, car payments, etc. I planned in advance, with my husband fully on board with my goals. Two years ago, he quit corporate to begin working with me full-time, freeing me up to achieve/dream/visualize more fully what my art journey could be. For me, it all boiled down to discovering the one thing I love best: teaching. For others, it may be another “one big thing.” Discovering that pivotal piece is sometimes all it takes to give you the impetus you need.
Was leaving corporate America and launching a full-time art and teaching career worth it? Absolutely. It’s been the biggest dream of my life, come to fruition, fueled by painting and teaching students from around the world. I love my students. The energy they give me is what carries me through the tough times, and the times of self-doubt, and even the lean times. They are the “joy” in Joyful Brush!
I had this funny idea that when I quit corporate America to launch my art business full-time, I’d have scads of time to paint all day long! Instead, my art business has exploded since then. Which means I work all the time, with rare exceptions. Fortunately, this is my dream job. They say the happiest people are those who own their own businesses. I think that goes double for artists.
Are you on the brink of the next beautiful chapter in your creative journey? I would love to hear your story!
A Hill Country Workshop
A visit to Fredericksburg isn’t complete unless you explore Willow City Loop, a winding lane through ranches and clifftops where the wild poppies and bluebonnets grow amidst cactus and Indian paintbrush. You’re invited to join me for a trip to Wildflower Central but don’t delay, there are only 2 seats left for Fredericksburg, Texas! Learn more…
Painting Monet’s Garden
Blooming online this summer!
We finished filming for my new online class, Painting Monet’s Garden, this week. Are you ready for your new journey workshop? Pack your sun hat, your muse, and your dreams of Monet, Painting Monet’s Garden is coming!