I recently experienced a day in my working artist’s life that was just so simply wonderful and fulfilling that it reminded me why I love what I do, enough to keep on doing it despite hard days, so I thought I’d share here.
Wednesdays are usually the most jam packed part of my week, some days dashing from teaching one art class in one state, then quickly hopping the border again to teach a private art lesson in another state (mind you, we only live a stone’s throw from the border). Between that are various meetings, virtual and in-person or on the phone, researching connections and following up leads for the business of being in the art industry.
All in one day I got to: 1) start a collaboration with an artist, 2) teach kids art lessons, and 3) share my passion for working with clients on painting commissions.
I started by meeting with a fellow artist for tea at my studio, and discuss a collaboration we’re both very excited about (more info to come about that at a later time!). Her ceramic work and my rain paintings could easily have a conversation across the room together, and it was so refreshing and restorative to chat with another artist friend and brainstorm ideas for our collaborative exhibition. We discussed how we can plan our respective artworks to respond to artworks by the other artist, sharing our stories and touch points behind our work. We have loosely mentioned in passing, “we should exhibit together sometime,” but to actually get it the ball rolling on it was motivating! I left the meeting hopeful, inspired, and honored to be able to work with this other artist on this project. Having this collaboration conversation started gives me some goals to work towards already for next year.
After that, I met a friend for lunch at a local joint that also happens to have my paintings on the wall. It was nice to catch up and laugh and reconnect after the stresses and chaos of the holidays and more.
In the afternoon, I teach private art lessons after school for a 3rd grader, followed by private art lessons with an 8th grader. I’m always amazed at the wonder and high energy level of the 3rd grader, who is super exuberant and engaged with every single art class we have. If there was an Energizer Bunny of art students, this is the one — I wish I had her energy level sometimes! With my 8th grade art student, our art lesson vibes are much calmer but more in-depth. I was super proud of my 8th grade student this week as we worked to help prepare her portfolio for application to a high school with a strong arts-focused program, talking over concepts and strategies for expressing a cohesive message in her art, in addition to showing skill in the portfolio samples. Seeing her light up when talking about how important art is to her life reminded me of why I love teaching art with kids and teens gearing up for their artistic futures (Edit: I later found out she got accepted to the program! Proud art teacher moment! 🙂 )
After these art lessons, I tidied up my studio for a Zoom chat with a couple who were interested in commissioning a painting, after seeing similar paintings of mine hanging in their local coffee shop. Our video chat went really well. I was so excited to hear this couple share stories about the meaning, memories, and feelings that they had tied to a particular location they wanted me to paint– where they had hiked up a very challenging ascent and took in the extraordinary view from the summit. I get very passionate about painting commissions — they’re one of my favorite aspect of the myriad of art-related things I do. I get animated when talking over painting commissions because they enable me to channel the commissioner’s love of their subject and bring that vision to the canvas through paint, and in my signature style incorporating rainy days.
At the end of the workday day, I closed my day planner of completed checkmarks, switched off the light to my art studio, and turned in for the night feeling inspired, highly motivated, and fulfilled. There are many, many days when I wonder, “Why am I even bothering to make my art my profession?” There are days of failure and rejection. But THIS day was a reminder of all the things I love to do as part of my job: collaborate and connect with other artists, teach and inspire young people to pursue art, and to talk with folks who want to commission a painting and the excitement of anticipating bringing that vision to life on canvas.
People ask me why bother being a professional artist. Days like today provide the spark I need to remind me of why I love my job being an artist.