Throughout the past two years I have conquered some major areas in life, such as the need to make elaborate plans. Well, "conquered" in the sense that lists no longer completely rule my life. I was walking along, feeling like I was doing pretty well in this area of life until announcing to you that I was creating an online class called Gather. Which I am still doing by the way! But it is a long project with a ton of heart and ideas and videos behind it but only a tiny window of time to actually record video each day. It was these thoughts colliding with a bit of tiredness that left my heart racing last week, feeling like I just shouldn't try any ideas at all. Of course, that isn't true. Sometimes I get so stuck in the day-to-day I forget the big picture. I told myself to remember how neat of an artist story I already had and how much had been accomplished already in just the past two years!
Sure my story has taken loads of time, bravery by the buckets, and an abundance of hard work, but it has also been wonderful and joyful and full of opportunity. Instead of fretting over having too many ideas and not enough time, I decided to take a walk down memory lane, to remind myself the pieces of our stories stitch together an amazing read. It started with this first batch of paintings I ever did. My excitement was high and I wasn't worrying about sales. I was simply excited to create.
Then along came photography. I've been taking pictures with a DSLR since Anna was a baby but only fully embraced the art of photography a couple of years ago. From styling sessions with my girls and friends, to capturing real-life moments photography is definitely a strong part of my story as an artist. I simply can't imagine a day without taking a picture. Recently it's been my greatest honor to capture two local families while hanging out in their homes.
It was about two years ago that I also bought my first printer (an Epson) and opened up an Etsy shop. They say the third time's a charm and I sure hope so, because this is my third and final shop! I remember the feeling like it was yesterday as I watched my art come slowly out of the printer as high-quality art prints. I think I probably screamed with excitement!
I also hosted my first Rosy Retreat, a one-day retreat for photography, crafts, and food which are all of my favorite things!
The retreat was held on the farm on a summer evening with my friends gathered around. This gave me the opportunity to spread my wings a bit before hosting another retreat the following year for my blog readers, this time focused on photography.
As time went on I began to learn what my own style was/wasn't. I noticed it helped when I didn't poke around other artist's pages on the internet too much. That simply caused too much comparison, which is "the thief of joy." Bright colors, mixing patterns, styling photos, capturing everyday life, and painting were all (and still are!) part of The Rosy Life style.
An enormous part of my journey also is setting up creative opportunities right at home, within my everyday life. I don't see being an artist as a separate thing from my family. It's simply a part of our family. If I were to have the most successful shop with thousands of sales, but hadn't fostered the love for creating within the walls of my own home I would feel desperately poor. Instead, while my sales may not be in the thousands I can say that my girls know a lot about art and are free spirits when it comes to creating. That feels rich to me.
As time went on in my journey I began to notice that I really strayed away from trying to market myself or be anything other than what I am, just myself. I'm extremely soulful and full of emotions and also imperfect. I knew if I wanted to really put myself out into the world as an artist I had to show that. All of that, not just the picture-perfect moments.
Throughout time I've always, always kept an art journal. It is such a freeing way to gather thoughts, try new painting ideas, and simply let loose. I'll show you a peek into these pages in Gather, my new online class coming later this spring!
The road hasn't always been rosy. Sometimes I would work really hard to put an idea out there, like this Christmas-inspired Rosy Retreat, and things would literally fall apart days before. That is the hard part that no one wants to talk about when you're an artist. But it's the truth. Sometimes (ok, a lot) things will not go as you planned.
Having my work in two magazines was a great honor and surprise! Both of these opportunities just came floating along to me. I didn't seek them out but instead had someone reach out to me, asking if they could use my photos/stories. How neat is that?!
Last spring I tried my first show, Vintage Market Days. I worked for months and months on every single detail, even printing cute tags for every single item. I was at the show for two days, met some truly wonderful people, and had a good number of sales. All in all, a success! It made me think hard about the time commitment it takes for such a thing and whether I wanted to sacrifice that kind of time for the amount of money I made.
I had the honor of completing a few custom paintings last year. The client contacted me with a color scheme and bible verse and I went to town. This was both scary and exciting to do!
One of my most favorite moments in my art career (like EVER) was hosting the Rosy Retreat Photography day at the farm. I was able to teach about photography, hang out with some really cool gals, and enjoy a day surrounded by other creatives. This retreat was for all photographers, those with phones and DSLR's alike. I loved this day and miss doing this. I know the timing isn't quite right for now but I really hope to do another one of these in the future!
I hosted my first giveaway for a custom painting on my blog and that was a lot of fun! In fact, I should probably do another sometime soon!
Something else that's happened in my art journey has been teaching at a local craft company. I taught a mixed-media class and had a fun time getting to know some other local ladies!
The thread that ties all this together is painting. I'm always painting for the biggest reason that I simply can't imagine not. I need to paint and create and embrace all that being an artist is just like I need to breathe. I truly mean that.
I hope you've enjoyed taking this walk down memory lane with me! I didn't do it to toot my own horn, but instead to encourage myself with some progress photos. I can feel that I'm in a new season of my career as an artist and sometimes with that comes fear. Instead of embracing the fear I'm all about remembering where I came from.
Come back tomorrow for a closer glimpse at Gather, my new online class coming later this spring! There will even be an early-bird special for signing up now!
I'll also finish out the week with Part 2 of my artist story, sharing the lessons I've learned along the way. I hope you'll join me. I'd be honored!