When I received my first contract to illustrate a children's book, I excitedly called a friend to tell him the good news. He was happy for me, but then asked, "What are you going to do when the contract ends?" I replied honestly, "I don't know."
As Julie Cameron, author of "The Artist's Way", puts it, "Art is an act of faith." I have to trust that when my current projects end, I will find more.
I recently had to step up my faith in this profession. For the past 9 months, I lived with my father here in Tucson. It was a happy arrangement. My father was lonely after the death of my mother and I needed some stability and a chance to build my relationship with him. Living with my father also gave me the opportunity to pursue my art goals without worrying about immediate bills such as rent.
My stable existence received a jolt when my father gleefully told me in May, "Jackie, I'm engaged!" After finding unexpected love again, my father and his fiance decided to get married in 6 weeks.
I agonized over what to do. I debated moving to a different state, changing professions, and much more.
My siblings were an incredible support to me. My sister boldly encouraged me to find a place of my own and let this be my time to prove myself as an artist. My brother reminded me of all my artistic goals for the future.
As my emotions settled, I realized this change was an opportunity to stand on my own feet as an artist. My sister helped me see that the pressure of added bills would motivate me to work harder.
Now, I write this from my new studio. My sister helped me find a quiet, simple apartment. Instead of filling it with comfy couches, dining tables, and the like, my living room is now my glorious work space. I have three tables lining the walls and bookshelves full of my supplies. It's a perfect artist haven.
From this place, I diligently work on my projects and search for new ones, trusting I will find a way to pay my bills.
The beautiful part of faith is that when you possess it, you see miracles. I am now the primary painting teacher where I work. My boss wrote me the kindest recommendation letter, without me even asking for her help. I am currently in negotiations to illustrate another children's book. On Wednesday, I received a call from a local art academy. They saw my website and asked me to interview for a position as a teacher. I will now be teaching weekly classes there in the afternoon. These are just some of the little miracles I am seeing.
It's hard to believe, but in two days my father will be married. I'm grateful that his decision to have faith in a woman he loved propelled me to deepen my faith in a profession that is my calling.