Friday, September 28, 2007


I realized today that I have finally become comfortable with saying "I am an artist" when someone asks me what I do. I don't mutter it or say "I want to be an artist. I am trying to be an artist." and it feels great! I don't know exactly when that happened. When I was able to say it start calling myself an artist with conviction. It might be that I have had some milestones in the last few months that have increased my confidence. Winning an award in a juried show, selling an image for a professional flyer, being invited to teach at a school for a day, being asked to teach private lessons to someone. Or maybe it was making some money at my last arts festival. I suspect it may be the last. Selling things to people who come off the street was a real rush. I try to not let my identity as an artist be tied up in my ability to make a real income with my work, but I just can't seem to escape it. I guess despite all of my other goals as an artist and ways that it feeds my life and my soul, ultimately, I want to make money and support myself. Well, my husband supports the family now. Which affords me the luxury to stay home with my kids and pursue my art both really full time. But, I have a need to know that I COULD support myself (which I could of course in other ways, as a mathematician for instance) as an artist. Many artists are very, very successful but still have to hold full or part time jobs. I don't want that. So, for now I'm holding on to my dream that if I work at it hard enough I can do this.

And, work at it hard I do. I still find the second question hard to answer after "What do you do?" . I can say "I am an artist" just fine now. But, when the next question is, "Well, is that just a hobby?" or "Do you work outside the home?" or "Do you make a living at it?" I get kind of stuck. I need to work on my answer. Maybe it should go something like this:

No, it is not a hobby. It is my job and my identity. I work as many hours or more than many do in a full time job outside of the home. I sell my work, I am beginning to teach, my work hangs in galleries in juried shows and I have won awards. I do not support my family with my art career.....YET.

How does that sound? Maybe it sounds a little to defensive. I'll work on it some more. I am working on the selling myself part. I love sharing my story, inspiring others to follow their dreams, but I don't like saying "Rah-Rah" for me.

I don't want folks to think it is all about money though. It's not because I want more stuff like cars, houses, or material things. It's really about who I am as a person. An over-achiever. My therapist recently had an ah-ha moment regarding my artistic endeavors (yes, I have a therapist and I am proud of it). She had thought my moving away from mathematics to art was a whole new me. A different kind of way of working. But, as she listened to how I approach it. Which is OBSESSED!! And, totally workaholic like. she realized, oh, this is still Heidi, she is just putting her energies in a different place.

So, what does a day look like in the life of an artist? Well, today was a day "off" meaning out of the "studio", no major deadlines looming for shows or festivals, and I wanted to get out of the house and away from the responsibilities of wife/mother. So, it started by having coffee with my husband at Border's/Starbucks after dropping off Maggie at school. This turned into reading about graphic design and copyright research. I researched how to get more of my artwork into things like magazines, book covers, gift cards, etc. Other creative ways to sell and make money doing what I love, so I can do more of it. Then, off for lunch with 2 artist friends (to pick up some of my artwork from them) which was fun but we discusses judgingj/jurying processes, how to sew a great binding, planning a show for next year, etc. Then, off to the library to return some books which turned into more research about graphic design and checking out books on some of my favorite artists (Kadinsky, Klee, Chagall). Then, finally, a pedicure. My main objective for my day off. During which I sketched about 10 drawings. Pedicures have produced some of the sketches for my best work. Now I am home. The kids are in the back yard. I am blogging in hopes to share my journey with others.

Now, say it loudly with me, I AM AN ARTIST!

Probably more than you wanted but I have been wanting to write more about my whole journey, so here it is.

Now, time to go outside and check on the kiddos, push a swing, play some tage and maybe do some more sketching. Above are a few sketches from my pedicure time.



My Brain on Quilts said...

Is a doctor not a doctor if she makes no money? Is an attorney not an attorney if she loses every case?

An artist is an artist. Rich or poor, successful or failure. It is a part of your soul which needs no explanation.

Are you an artist. Hell yes. But you have to believe it first. But you can count on me to keep telling you.

Tammy said...

Hi Heidi, Meridith introduced me to your page...I have a thing for angels and fairys. I'll be watching!