It’s the one year anniversary from when I left my full-time, stable job as a marketing representative at First American Title to become a ‘starving artist’ full-time. And boy, has this last year been a trip! First of all, I have definitely not starved, thanks to my wonderfully supportive husband who still has his full-time, stable job. And for that, I am very thankful.
In this past year, I have come to the realization that I will have to be a part-time ‘starving artist’ for the next few years to come. ‘Why?’ you ask…I had coffee with the wonderful and wise watercolor artist, Karla Morriera, a few months ago. I asked her for general advice and advice specific to art. But, one of the things she asked me that really stuck with me was, ‘You have to decide whether you want to be a full-time artist or a part-time artist.’ And of course, right away, I said, ‘full-time’, obviously! She said, ‘Are you willing to work weekends, skip camping trips, work through dinner or skip the family vacation if work comes up?’ Well, that got me thinking. One of the most rewarding parts of quitting my job and working from home, is that I see my kids off to school in the morning, I volunteer at their school often, I meet them when they get home from school, I help them with their homework and hear about their day in detail. I am there, I am present for them and I love that. It’s a huge difference from when I had to drop them at before- school care, pick them up from after-school care and rushed around to make dinner and get the house in order – the general evening chaos that we all know. And summertime? Forget it, I get nothing done – the kids are home. But, honestly, we had so much fun, had so many adventures and made so many memories, I wouldn’t give that up for anything. So, I guess I am not willing to sacrifice those things for a full-time career in art. For the time being, I am a part-time artist…and I’m OK with that.
Bruce and I also came to the realization that the apparel side of the business was sucking us dry. It’s an expensive, time-consuming and market-saturated business to be in. So, in the early spring, we decided to wind that part of our business down, while ramping up the art side of the business (my true passion, anyway). And again, we were OK with that. We tried something new, and we decided it wasn’t for us, so I don’t count that as a failure, in fact it was a learning experience – I certainly learned a lot about digital graphics. And wouldn’t you know, as soon as we decided to close our apparel line, I get a call from the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, Alaska wondering if I could be an apparel supplier for them. Isn’t life funny? 🙂 I hemmed and hawed, but decided in the end that it would be pretty cool to say that The Alyeska Resort carries my clothing line (hey, I’m not without a little vanity, people!), so I said yes. They currently carry my designs in infant and children’s clothing. And I’m also working on some new ‘winter/snow’ related images for them.
My artwork itself has been coming along steadily. I still have moments of feeling ‘not good enough’. But, they are fleeting (and I’m told normal for an artist). So, I continue to press on and create new watercolor and acrylic images, learning and experimenting with new techniques as I go. This summer’s sales of artwork were very good and the Alaska State Fair sales were great, too. I just finished a large illustration commission for an upcoming Guide to Animals of Alaska for kids. I’ve got a First Friday show at Terra Bella Cafe in Anchorage on October 3rd, where I’m excited to show off some new, framed work I’ve done. And I’m also gearing up for some holiday shows in Anchorage, where I’ll be selling my artwork, children’s books and surplus apparel.
So, even though in the last year I’ve gone from ‘raring to go full-time artist/entrepreneur’ to ‘realistic part-time artist/entrepreneur’. I’m really happy. And most importantly, my family is happy!
At times the road we travel can be rough and rocky. But, the sun is always shining – not because it’s always there, but because we choose to always see it. Life is good!
Kim Sherry ~ Owner of Rogue Raven Alaska-A local Alaska company specializing in original artwork, Alaska clothing and Children’s books about Alaska Animals. Kim can be found at www.kimsherrygallery.com