LIFE OF AN ARTIST (or at least mine)

April 15, 2015

Have you heard of the job description "Creative?"  I've started to hear it used loosely around the internet. Some people are using it to define their career. People who use "Creative" as a job description usually mean that they help brainstorm or create new ideas for businesses and individuals. Some even refer to themselves as a one stop shop for creativity.


Some people on the internet dislike "Creative" being used in this manner because it is vague. Perhaps the fun of the term is in its vagueness. It's a license to do any type of job and still sound like you're a professional with a clear self-identity, set of skills, and career tragectory.


I'd call myself a "Creative," just so I could steal the flexibility the name grants, but I don't really do much creative brainstorming for others. Thus, I refer to myself as an artist. It still grants me the ability to do many things and group them under one title.


I'll erase that "vagueness" though and define what my life as an artist currently consists of.


Running My Collaborative Website ( 

At this website, I post a weekly theme and individuals can submit ideas for me to make into art. I'm still creating art for that on a weekly basis. I'm using the site to stretch my artistic skills and interact with others. I try to always mix up the medium (acrylic, watercolor, marker, colored pencil, etc.) and the themes (animals to anime!). The amount of art I create depends on the week. It's ranged anywhere from 3-21 pieces of art. Here's a pic of one of my favorites:


Teaching Acrylic Painting 

I'm teaching 3-5 times a week at Brush & Bottle, a local business that allows clients to complete a painting in two hours while enjoying wine and food. I absolutely love guiding individuals through a painting step-by-step. Most people who come have never painted before and it's a great feeling to help people realize what they are capable of. Here's a pic of somoene studnets from one on my classes after they finished their paintings:


Creating Comissioned Paintings

There are multiple classes and teachers where I currently teach. My bosses continually need new paintings to attract customers. Thus, I create paintings for future classes. Usually I am given a general theme (such as a tropical fish, desert scene, etc.). The amount of paitings I create depends on the month. Just last week I made this painting for an upcoming class:


Making Illustrations for a Kid's Book

One of my most exciting projects is working with an author to create the illustrations for her book, "Ten Tiny Piggies." In addition to being the author, she is a wizard with crochet! She will be making crocheted finger puppets to go along with the book. You can check out her creations at her Etsy store. I'm currently in the phase of making the finalized drafts of each page. Next step will be to start watercoloring each page! The goal is to have all of the images to the author by June. 


Volunteering at a Teen's Shelter

I've just started teaching a painting class one night a week at a local shelter for teens. It's a temporary place for teenagers to stay while they await foster care placement. I absolutely LOVE painting with them. I run the class similar to the painting studio I work at. Before I go, I create a painting that I think the teens will like (or that they have requested). I then show them how to paint it step-by-step. Here's what I taught them this week:


Illustrating a Book on Grief

One of my goals is to create an illustrated book about grief. My vision is to show how wide and different the experience of grief can be. I am using animals to depict everything, which I hope will keep people laughing while discussing a heavy topic. 


I have written the entire story and created rough sketches for each of the pages. I have also created the watercolor images for some of the pages. However, I find that I can only work on this project when I am emotionally in the right place. Thus, this is a project that I pick up and put down quite a bit. Here's an example of one of the illustrations. It is depicting how one of the symptoms of grief can be weight change:



Painting my Little Heart Out

In addition to all of the art I do for the above various projects, I also paint a lot just to satisify my soul. Sometimes when I wake up in the morning, I'm so excited to work on a painting that I roll out of bed and start right away. Before I know it, it will be 2pm and I still haven't eaten. 


I find myself doing primarily abstract art in my free time. Sometimes I do it just to see the lovely colors and experiment. Here's a example of a watercolor piece I made just because I think blue is beautiful:

Sometimes I use the process of painting to work out my emotions. Frequently, this ends up being about my mum. Here's a painting I made that depicts what it's like going from the depression of grief to feeling a glimmer of hope for happiness. 

Someone recently told me, "You're a workaholic!" I scoffed at the term because I certianly could use some more money-generating activities. However, he explained further that I'm always creating something, no matter the time of day. He's just about right.  


Playing Piano

Creating art used to be my primary way to destress. However, now that art is what I spend most of my time doing, sometimes I need a different way. I am back to my first love - piano. In high school, my parents let me keep the piano in my room. I loved it! I'm back taking piano lessons. Although my skills are just mediocre, I love how the difficulty of a piece demands my full attention or the ease of a different piece enables me to be lost in the beauty of the song. 


Brainstorming Like Crazy

This may seem like an odd activity to put down, but considering how much time I spend thinking, it certainly deserves to be mentioned here. I must admit, many times I find myself worrying about the future and where I'm going with my art career. I fight those deamons on a daily basis though to get back to a positive space and keep making art. 


I also spend a lot of time thinking about future projects. I have a book of ideas that I keep.


My family and I recently had dinner with some family friends. Our family friend said, "There are starters and continuers. I am a continuer! I don't know how people think of ideas, but I'm sure happy to see them out!"


Well, I'm a starter. And I certainly would be happy to have someone else continue them. Haha. I constantly fight my desire to jump from project to project. I'm quite lacking in the "continue" department. My brother certainly deserves a shot-out for keeping me grounded and focused whenever I want to abandon a project for the sake of something new. 


I will write a blog post shortly to share with you all of my crazy fun ideas that I hope to start AND finish one day. 


What I find fulfilling about being an artist is the flexibility to do so many different and exciting things at once. This is what my life currently looks like, but I'm sure it will be entirely different in 6 months!

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