On the Saturday morning of Easter weekend while visiting Wisconsin, I made the second of three deliveries to one of my Milwaukee patrons that lives in our home town of Bay View.
And I was reminded once again, why it was that I gave up a lucrative graphic design business in order to pursue the life of “starving artist.” 🙂
There are few things in life that bring me as much pleasure as seeing the look on somebody’s face when they’ve fallen in love with one of my paintings. On Saturday I was blessed with both “the look,” as well as a most enjoyable visit catching up with one of my “fans” named Shemagne. (Her name which, when pronounced correctly, lyrically rhymes with “the RAIN.”)
Shemagne and I met years ago at one of my art shows in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood. In August of 2008, when I was getting ready to move South to SC, Shemagne purchased two of my large oil paintings. Since then, she’s bought my calendar each year, and with her payment sends me the most uplifting notes telling me how my paintings have brought her joy.
I made a comfortable living as a graphic designer, but it gave me no joy. It made me plenty of money, but more frustration than it was worth to me. The headaches of making sometimes 10 or 20 rounds of copy revisions; listening AGAIN to “can you just scoot that logo over a little more to the right” while trying not to kill the client; and the fact that my long hours of work in designing printed marketing pieces that eventually wound up in the recycle bin; were some of the reasons I actually listened to my husband Tim’s advice in 2001.
I was at a cross-roads where I had the opportunity to expand my graphic design business, even though my goal/plan that year was to retire and begin painting full-time. He wisely (and most selflessly) told me he thought I should give up the money and follow my dream. So I took his advice and his willingness to support me, and gave up my graphic design cash cow.
It actually wasn’t until about 2 months before our son Nathan was born in 2003 that I REALLY started taking my life as a career artist seriously. (Great timing??!) But that was another cross-roads for me. I knew that with this baby coming soon, if I didn’t commit to making my art my CAREER, that it would be years before I didn’t have the “I’m too busy” excuse any longer.
If it weren’t for the encouragement of both my husband and all the wonderful art patrons I’ve met over the years, I would have quit heading down this road long ago. For how much I LOVE to paint, it’s a rather lonely and messy business at times. And like anything worth doing and doing well, it takes hard work and sacrifice.
But seeing Shemagne last weekend was such a boost to my morale as an artist. She let me into her lovely home to see and experience how she’s been enjoying my paintings for the last couple of years. It’s quite humbling to actually think about the fact that people allow my paintings into the private sanctuary of their homes. I know how choosy I am about what is displayed on my walls, so I don’t take this very personal choice they’ve made lightly.
So to all of you Marie Scott patrons out there: thank you for using your precious wall space to display something I’ve painted. I hope that looking at it adds a sense of peace and warmth into your life. And that you find as much enjoyment (or even more) in looking at the painting you’ve chosen, as I had in creating it.
(Also, thank you for not throwing them away — like all the countless number of brochures I designed back in the ’90s!) 🙂