When people ask what I am doing, I tell them I quit my teaching job to pursue my art, and they don’t seem to understand my answer. I get it. Rarely does one meet a fine artist, as opposed to a commercial artist, who is making a living with her art. People assume that I have “retired” from teaching to kick back and enjoy the grandkids and dabble in art as a hobby. The fact is that I do enjoy a little more time for the grandkids, but I have no retirement package, and I’m too young for social security. I have made a leap into the unknown, and it is yet to be seen whether I can replace my teaching income with income from my art and writing.
So how do I spend my time? So many different art and writing deadlines are looming that I’ve had to make a spread sheet which I update each week. The columns are for things that need to be done “this week, this month,” and in the “near future.” It also has a place for a shopping list. Here’s a link to the weekly planner I made for those who might like to use it: my one page weekly planner
To keep up with the demands of the two galleries that represent me, KORE Gallery and the Jane Morgan plein air gallery, I need to do at least 2 large oil pastels per month, and go out every Thursday to paint “en plein air,” which means painting outdoors. In addition to creating work to sell at these galleries, I have juried invitational shows and art fairs for which to create work and a solo show coming up next year.
On the writing front, I am working on a book of stories about our time in Mozambique. From emails and journals that I wrote while in Mozambique, I publish a devotional blog story every Wednesday, which is a short excerpt from the book. Here’s a link to the first of those posts if you are interested. Mozambican Odyssey, #1. I am also sending off articles and stories to publishers each month.
What makes me think I can do all of this and maybe make a little money at it? I ask myself that all too often, but when I need encouragement, I remember the words of a beloved college professor of mine. Many years ago, when I studied art in college, the professor in charge of the art department called me into his office one day. He asked what I wanted to do with my life. When I told him I wanted to be a fine artist, he said this: “I tell most of my students that they should go into commercial art because so few can make it as fine artists, but you could make it as a fine artist. You can do whatever you set your mind to do.” That dear man died of cancer a couple of years after giving me that encouragement, but I’ve never forgotten it. It has taken me about thirty years to get around to trying it full-time, but I think that professor is watching from heaven, cheering me on.