My artist story: Part 2

Morning friends! I've just stepped inside from watching the sun rise up over the fog and let me tell you it was glorious! There's such a reward to showing up and noticing, isn't there?
And on that thought, I actually finished this blog post hours later because a certain little adorable girl wanted me to play "Minnie-rella" and you'd better believe I chose princesses over typing about my progress! :) The reward was great. 
I want to finish up today with another look back at how my story as an artist has unfolded over the past couple of years.  Something surprising in the past year has been the opportunities that have just shown up for me and the confidence and freedom in my schedule to be able to say "yes!".  

For example, getting a random text on an ordinary day saying "My friend needs someone to plan and decorate their 10th wedding anniversary. Can you do it?" 

With the girls a bit older I'm more easily able to say yes and styling this venue was one of my top favorite moments as artist, by far!  This photo backdrop was so much fun to create and it was amazing having people just waiting to help me when it came time to style everything.  

Creating is truly a way of life for me, not just a business or hobby.  With that said, I simply need to create.   I place great value on keeping my inspiration tank filled so that when opportunities arise I have a plethora of ideas to choose from.  I certainly have a few nerves with each opportunity that comes along, bigger than the last.  But even the most inspiring artists are still human and I think nerves must just be normal. 

Another opportunity that showed up for me was decorating and styling a little boy's birthday at the park.  This was a whole new area of fun for me because I'm so used to painting with girl colors that the oranges and blues were a nice change of pace.  I also photographed the party which was neat to use all my favorite interests in one event. 
From photographing a family downtown, 
to styling a dreamy Christmas Eve tablescape, 
from painting new ideas that fill my head and then spill over into the shop,

to styling a tea party birthday, life is full of ample opportunities to delight in all things art. 
If I were to only share the lovely pictures and colorful stories I wouldn't be doing my story justice or your heart justice either.  I'm sure from the outside things must look awfully easy and rosy and that simply isn't the truth.  In fact, I often feel like the scale tips too far the other way, negativity and anxiety and a host of other things making both the world close to home and far away feel dark.  That is precisely why I create.  While we certainly can't rid our worlds of every shard of darkness, we can at least, add the light.  This is why I create.  

My journey as an artist has had many, many ups and downs.  I feel like the ups are represented quite well through this photo walk.  It's the "downs", the lessons learned that I want to focus on now.  I've often read artists talk about mistakes or opportunities that didn't work out and I've wondered at their vague descriptions what exactly they meant.  Let me shed some light on what has and hasn't worked for me and possibly it can inspire your journey too? 
1.) First, I believe we must create for ourselves.  If we're not, our art ends up looking too much like someone else's and our heart feels conflicted and we don't know where our story starts and someone else's ends.  To put it quite simply, it gets confusing.  First and foremost, I create for myself.  I've often said that art is cheaper than therapy, both time and money wise.  I create because it sets something right in my heart and soul.  It makes me feel good.  Of course certain artists influence my art and there's nothing wrong with that! But if you need to, turn off the computer, leave the art books alone for a while and simply create because of the gift it offers your soul. 

2.) Learn what to say "yes" and what to say "no" to and stick to it.  Boy this has been a hard lesson for me to learn. I've said yes to things when I felt like I should have said no and I've paid for it after.  I've been wishy-washy when people have cancelled on me last minute, instead of confidently asking for payment anyway.  Basically, if you don't respect your time and even money, no one else will.  I don't mean this in an arrogant way, it's just the simple truth that we can't do it all.  We can do our version of what "all" is and do it well though.  Figure out what YOUR all is, not someone else's.  Then stick to it and say "no" when something comes along that doesn't feel right.  

It took me at least a full year to learn a healthy balance of taking care of my family first and then saying a confident yes to certain art opportunities next.  For example, I really miss doing Rosy Retreats on the farm right now but know it doesn't fit well with our family schedule.  Would it be good to do one?  Yes.  But the best use of my time and resources? No, not right now. 
3.) Believe in yourself.  Again, don't wait on someone else to toot your own horn! I often think if I were interviewed and someone asked who believed the most in you, who thought you could make a business from your art, my first response would be "myself." Again, please don't mistake this with arrogance.  There is a difference in thinking you're the best there is and making demands and simply standing tall and confident saying "I'm good at this" and then not apologizing for your talent.    

4.) With that said, work hard.  There's a quote that goes around the internet that basically says all people, all level of talents, have to work hard to get past the beginner's stage to get to the work they really like.  Most people don't ever get there because they're producing work that doesn't match what they see in their head and they simply quit.  Making art is a habit, a daily practice.  I don't always feel inspired or even want to make art.  But I work hard at it because I know it's the only way to reach work that you DO like.  I think of this quote on a daily basis "Your dreams don't work unless you do."  It's not enough to browse Pinterest, make lists, and expect dreams to show up. You must actually put into practice what you preach.

5.) Let mistakes and missed opportunities be simply that and move on.  Don't let one missed opportunity ruin your progress! I have felt passed over and left out and wallowed in it and guess what? It didn't do me a bit of good.  If you don't get picked for something, then it wasn't the best for you but keep trying.  I have submitted to a million contests it feels like and haven't really won any yet, but someday I might.  We'll never know if I don't try, right?  Don't focus on all that you're not picked for and the sales you don't have.  Instead, focus on what is so good and right in front of you.  Live with a "full" mentality, not "empty."

6.) Last, have fun.  Look within your ordinary, daily life and fill it with fun, artistic moments because it is such a delight to do so.  Style a pretty plate, paint a picture,  decorate your mantle, fill an art journal, sign up for my online class Gather, go on a photo walk, dance, plant a garden...because you can and life is beautiful and the art is waiting.

Thank-you for walking this journey with me.  I can't imagine life without my sweet Rosy Life friends.  


  1. I think you were generous for sharing your tips. I agree with you. It is important to be honest with people and with ourselves about our success and our failures. I admire you for your work and your blog. Thank you. : )

    1. Thank-you so much for your sweet words of encouragement! :)


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