Tuesday, March 27, 2012

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Yeah! I'm An Artist!

My Studio

A couple of weeks ago while I was in Victoria, I had a chance to visit with my good friend and studio partner from UVic, Cindy Ackland. We had a lot to catch up on since parting last August and are both excited to see everyone from our group when we return this summer. 
(For those of you that don't know, I am working on my Master's degree from the University of Victoria).
She made a comment to me that gave me pause. Cindy said that out of the whole group of artists, she felt like I was the one living The Artist Life the most.
Huh? I'm an artist? 
I have never really embraced that part of me. I know that seems weird but I have always felt like I was aspiring to be an artist, not an actual artist living the artist life. 
Then I realized that I am an artist!
I am!
Yeah! I'm An Artist!


So I have been celebrating this fact by telling everyone that I am an artist.
Then the other day I received an email from Ariane Goodwin who is the founder of the smARTist-Telesummit. I subscribe to her tips and general good info about being an artist. 
Her tip for that day was to ask yourself  "Why on earth do you want to make a living as an artist?"
I thought about it and guess what?
I got through 4 reasons! 
Then I was stumped.

Here are my four:
1. I wanted a career where I could be home for my children. 
2. I love to paint!!
3. It is the only thing I know how to do.
4. I see . . . negative spaces!!
(I joke that I make a living seeing things in paint)

But as I was running this morning, I came up with 6 reasons of why I continue to want to make a living as an artist.
They are:
5. Why start over now? I mean, I am nearly 40 ( I am still 39! and I like it here so I think I will stay) and I have spent almost half my life doing this! (see #3)

6. I love a challenge and what could be more challenging than motherhood? (which I nailed when I had my 2 kids) 
Why being an artist, of course!

7. Even though I feel (and my kids feel) like I work ALL the time, I do like the flexibility. I can continue to be there when my kids need me. I love that they want to do their homework in my studio while I am painting. 

8. It gives me courage. I really am a timid and shy person. The thought of applying for a job has always made me anxious and scares me to death. It continues to scare me to death. I have a hard time approaching people I don't know. I mean, I can't even ask the young grocery clerk where the yogurt covered pretzels are. My kids have to ask (true story- just happened yesterday)  But put me in front of a group of people and ask me to paint, I can paint! And enjoy doing it!

9. It has sustained me emotionally through my trials. It has been my therapy and my solace. 
It is my time to converse with God. It is also how I honor the gift that He has given me.

and one of the most important reasons why I continue:
10. I have been blessed by my associations with so many wonderful people that call themselves artists and aspiring artists. I never would have had these awesome people in my life if it weren't for art. 

So, thank you for being one of the best reasons to paint and to keep painting!


Sadami said...

Hi, Leslie,
Very happy for you!! Oh, a bottle of champagne for you!

Leslie Redhead Watercolors said...

Thanks Sadami! You are so generous:)

Studio at the Farm said...

Leslie, what a beautiful and wonderful post! I loved reading your reasons for being an artist. You're really that shy? I must admit to being a bit of an introvert as well. Anyway, loved the blog, and "Cheers" for your self-realization!!!
[if this reads a bit weird, I have got a migraine that is making me feel absolutely stoned.]

mamalena said...

Living authentically....just being who God created you to be....

Maggie Latham said...

I read this and re-read this post and smiled each time…. as I know exactly where you are coming from. Somewhere along the line I too ‘became’ an artist…. although of course I have always had an artists soul. The realization kind of creeps up on you slowly….and one day you leave the washing up and all the other chores and grab a paintbrush instead (lol). The first thing I want to do when I get up in the morning is to get a wash down on paper…. also the last thing at night before I go to bed…and all the hours in-between! It’s tough, because if you are not making a good living from your art, family members don’t take it seriously, and it is hard work to keep the creative momentum going, and learning from all the pitfalls and mistakes. Funnily enough, I too am a fairly shy person in real life, and I can’t believe I get up in front of my class week after week and teach…. it works because I am talking about what I love and get lost in it. Such a great post, and sorry I have not commented on your other posts, although I read your blog often.

mal said...

Hi Leslie,
thank you for posting 'Yeah! I'm an Artist!"
I've found it difficult when people use my name and the word 'artist' in the same sentence because I thought only other people could be artists because their paintings were better than mine or they made money by painting. BUT I'm getting over that!
It's wonderful when people acknowledge that what we love doing brings them as much pleasure as it brings us.
Another benefit of being an artist is that I have learned to see the wonders of Creation in a totally different way. May God continue to bless you as you paint.
Regards Malcolm

Leslie Redhead Watercolors said...

Thank you everyone for your awesome comments! Kathryn, it doesn't sound weird. I do hope you feel better. I found that I get migraines when I dont paint. Mamalena, May God continue to help you live authentically as well.

Leslie Redhead Watercolors said...

Maggie, thank you for sharing. It is beautiful people like you that keep me going. There is someone out there that understands what I am going through! Your work is stunning and I look forward to reading more of your articles.

Leslie Redhead Watercolors said...

Yes, Mal, I had a hard time with it for many years for those same reasons. Plus there seems to be a negative connotation associated with being an artist. Why is that?
I do agree with you about seeing the wonders of Creation in a different way. Isn't it wonderful?

RH Carpenter said...

Sounds like a lot of very good reasons why You Are An Artist (and doesn't that acronym spell out YAAA?? ha ha)

Leslie Redhead Watercolors said...

Rhonda, I love it! My title should be YAAA! I'm An Artist!

Laura Leeder said...

Leslie, what a wonderful and timely post! I only just recently started to pursue art full time. While I'm experiencing some very positive result's, I still have a hard time saying "I'm a professional artist".

Have a wonderful day, happy painting!

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