In 2000 I began painting. Studied most of the ‘How to’ books in the local library. At that time there was a tremendous art section, today there are very few art books in the library, they have taken a back seat to Videos and meeting space.
While going through the books on oil painting I also took classes when I could. Had classes with some very knowledgeable local artists. Then on to North Carolina for a class with Mattelson. Later had a bad class at N.C. School of the arts that taught me a lot. Funny how we learn. Began to paint still life then portraits.
Portraits seemed to be my thing. Showed my work here and there, joined an artists studio group. Began to get commissions. (some of my paintings from this time are on this blog.) Worked as a portrait artist for 15 years. Marketing skills were awful so when husband had to stop working I became a certified nursing assistant for home health care and that pretty much put the kibosh on painting.
Did continue to paint a bit. Mostly pet portraits. They were smaller, did not consume so much time. Marketing skills still sucked. Ran out of gas on home nursing care. Just quit. Couldn’t do it anymore.
Husband takes a small job. Suddenly, free time. I fall into fabric design with dye and resists, aka rubber bands. Something I had been interested in when Japanese painting and design showed it’s self in the library years ago.
Tie dye for 3 years. Fun. Hard work, very low pay. If you figure the cost of supplies and the profit I’d say no pay. But I love it. Have a new shop on Etsy and have several stores that take my designs in the summer.
Husband says his job is not covering our expenses and since I have such tremendous art talent and have sold paintings for 2 and 3 thousand dollars, I need to paint a couple of portraits to boost our income. Anyone with my talent and ability should not be wasting time with tie dye. “We could use a chunk of change”.
I let that simmer for about a week. Wasting my time with tie dye? Not contributing to the household? Too talented? I was hurt. On the other hand who am I to think I can just do what ever I want and not contribute to the finances?
Alright. Let’s see what we got. I don’t want to stop tie dyeing. That has pretty much paid for it’s self, although it is a time eater. Some dyers can knock out dozens at a time. I do two at a time tops. I enjoy it. Turn on Buffett, get in the zone and play with color. Great stuff, what could be better?
So, how about one week paint and one week tie dye? Went to the easel, there sits a canvas started two months ago. A simple seascape with beach umbrellas. I’ll just knock this out and start a portrait. There is a lady interested in a portrait of her two beautiful children. I haven’t painted seriously for three years but lets see what happens.
Here goes the umbrellas. Red, orange, yellow. Oh! These colors are transparent. Blue background shows through. Oh! Remember that? Just barely. Wait, was I suppose to ‘oil out’ before putting fresh paint over dry? Oil out with what? I had a little jar with a mixture recommended by Harold Speed, here it is. It’s all dried up. Where did I write the formula? Oh! Oh! Oh!
If I can’t paint a simple beach umbrella, how can I catch the glorious fresh color or those children’s cheeks?
Here’s my plan. Paint the beach canvas the best I can, just get on with it. Paint the damn thing. (old Chinese saying.) Meanwhile get back to the books, renew my painting education and practice, practice, practice.
So husband was wrong. It isn’t my amazing talent that let me paint portraits. It was steady working at it and study, practice, study. We’ll see how quickly it can be relearned. You can forget about a quick “chunk of change”.
There are other artists who have gone through down times. Are you one? How did you “recover”? Have any advice?
Caught between a paintbrush and a rubber band.