Artists Life ( part 3) The present

I’m gonna wrap this little series up with how things are going in the present.

first one in this style for me ( a recent technique ) got over 100 likes in the first day or two!

Perhaps there are some of you out there who have wondered what becomes of most artists. Or perhaps you never knew any or still do not.Perhaps you have seen a movie or two about some famous ones and how they ended up.

For instance, one popular movie is called “Pollack”. It is very well done and i have watched it myself multiple times often wondering where my own journey was headed at various times along the way. Would i, as an alcoholic too, end up like Jackson? i used to think so( without the fame or money of course). Then watching some others-Freda, Basquiat, and various renditions about Van Gogh and Picasso- i saw so many aspects of myself , it was disquieting. Even they had gotten sober at certain points but never maintained the sobriety, which ultimately lead to their demise. Whatever could someone as insignificant as me hope for?

After deciding to get sober and get my life together their were many moments i considered giving up doing art period. It was like peas & carrots- if i wanted to paint, i thought i needed to drink while i did it. But after desperately fighting with that deeply ingrained belief i started painting sober. It was forced. I had to push really hard. And the initial results were atrocious. I actually dreaded it. In hindsight, if i hadn’t heard similar stories about other creatives giving up their triggers (playing guitar, writing, and painting as well for a while) and then being able to come back and do even better, i would probably have just quit.

But i didn’t .

And eventually started seeing the rewards of focus and actual practice. Wheresas before, 99% of my work was done strictly on alcohol fueled emotion, freestyle and wrought with mistakes- often culminating in me ending up totally ruining a piece in my drunkenness, i started being able to sense when i should stop and/or wait until another time. I started branching out into more precise endeavors…not just acrylics on canvas, but pencil drawings, portraits, archival ink drawings, plein air painting and even water color ( my passion for over a year now) . And looking back, i can easily see improvement . In fact, i have had more sales in the last 3 months than i had over the last several years. Sure, it will likely slow down- things go in waves like that- but i am not complaining!

the most recent sale ( today)

Admittedly – one or two that sold in the past 2 months were done while i was drinking . during the few times i have indulged and let myself give in. But 90% of my sales have come from stuff i have done sober.Stuff i have seriously been putting time and energy into for the past year and a half.

So, the present…

I am in a new home, and my roommate and i have been diligently remodeling the studio area- first renovating the living room area by tearing up carpet, laying a sub floor and vinyl tile ( clean up is easier). I finally invested in some really nice storage cabinets. And i have ordered paints to replace stuff that was over 6 years old and drying out. I have ( because of the sales) been able to up my game with packaging products as well as enhancements ( like matting). The organization will seriously help with efficiency and focus. Next we plan to re paint and streamline everything so that we can both take our art endeavors to the next level .

At the moment, our previous venue and events have been put on hold and we sell mainly online. But are working towards having a new space where we can open up for regular sales and shows. More parking, handicapped access, and a space to grow in. It’s a lot of work and a LOT of money. Baby steps. To be honest there are many days when i look around and just feel overwhelmed. I have to force myself to keep my eye on the prize and be patient. I am ever grateful though for all the help and support i/we have gotten.From the one roommate doing much of the labor, to the new one helping with sale connections to the new boyfriend helping and supporting in any way he can- it’s been pretty awesome over all.

Mentally, i still struggle in many areas- but most are new areas. i no longer worry about having to tear apart old dressers or use old sheets to have something to paint on. i don’t use old house paint. I don’t buy supplies from the dollar store. And i am not painting on my knees in a moldy old basement or a 6′ x 6′ area of a kitchen . I also no longer stress about every show i enter, and in fact have become much more choosy. I charge what i believe is fair( not over or under priced) instead of caving to the age old situation of believing something is better than nothing. I would rather hold onto my pieces or give them as gifts, than sell for way less than what i spent making them- just to gain good will or have money for groceries. Sure, storage is still an issue, but i am getting better at dealing with it by sticking to rules and setting boundaries.I get paid upfront so i am not left sitting with something someone didn’t pay for. Switching to water color for the most part enables me to use less space storing paper rather than canvasses. And i don’t accept requests to do paint & sip nights for just anyone at any price( i out source to others who may need the money way more than i do, and take on only those with regular, well compensating groups i have worked with before.)

So yes, things have changed – for the better. It still isn’t glamorous or financially life sustaining. But i feel more at peace with it, more confident and less stressed.I have leaned to place limits so that i can continue to enjoy my passion rather than seeing it as “work” or a business.I enjoy my colleagues work more because i have cut out the toxic ones and interact on a more level playing field. We discuss more constructive things because we aren’t pissy drunk and wasting our time( not saying no one drinks or indulges at times but it is rare and not usually in a public place).

I am encouraged, i am inspired, and i am in a good space with it all. and i believe it will only get better.

Namaste!

Author:

nurse, mother, artist, and chameleon ...

12 thoughts on “Artists Life ( part 3) The present

  1. Sometimes it feels like all of life is an exercise in boundaries. I’m so into watercolor too, it just feels easier and more free-flowing to me. I don’t know that it is, but it feels that way. I like to put on Bob Ross and paint something else, I just like hearing his small talk about happy accidents and beating the hell out of the brush for fun. 🖼️

    Like

  2. Lovie, that rabbit piece is amazing! Have you sold it yet? If not, I would be thrilled to buy it for my daughter, who has two much loved bunnies of her own. Let me know.
    And I think it is wonderful that you have worked through your relationship with painting and sobriety and being a sober creative! Those associations with drinking and creating can be so engrained, and I’m sure it felt unnatural at first. But clearly, you are at the top of your game these days! 😘 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. aww..ty..yeah the bunny was spoken for immediately…all i can offer now is prints…most of this style has been selling really quickly…and- to be fair( as i have posted recently) i haven’t been completely sober for a few months…my relationship with alcohol has changed for the better. I keep a close eye on myself but i cannot say i am a tee totaled these days..everything is much better though!!hugs!!

      Liked by 1 person

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