As my kids get older (i.e. old enough to sit still for a long car ride, pack their own bags, maintain intelligent conversations, not scream or pee in public, etc.) I’ve started to be nostalgic for places I loved as a kid. Last weekend we visited my parents on the Oregon Coast and made a day trip to West Coast Game Park Safari, or as I called it as a kid – Deer Park.
The last time I visited, my husband was carrying my oldest around in a backpack, so maybe 10 years ago? It hadn’t changed much from my childhood memories at that visit, and it still hasn’t.
You still see the same weathered signs (coastal air does that.)
You still walk through the gift shop.
You still buy ice cream cones filled with deer and goat chow.
The free-ranging goats and assorted deer still single out the smallest children and knock the cones out of their hands as soon as you walk through the gate.
The place is still lousy with peacocks and peahens.
The animal enclosures are still charmingly rustic.
You are still separated from huge beasts by mere wire and electric fence.
And the best part – you still get to hold BABY ANIMALS. Gah!
I left my day job. No, seriously. I did. The thing I’ve been talking about doing for six years? I did it. I am now a full-fledged, full-time artist.*
It’s everything I thought it would be, and everything I was afraid it would be.
First of all, I cannot express how grateful I am that my “office” is wherever my iPad and/or paints are; and that my “uniform” is my yoga pants. I can stay up as late as I want (I’m a super night owl) and not have to worry about dragging my dark-eye-circled-self into work the next day. If my kids are sick, I can stay home with them and not miss a beat. I make breakfast. I mow the lawn. I get everyone to baseball, cello and karate on time. I grocery shop in the middle of the day. I have coffee with my sister. I meet my husband for lunch. I do all those stupid errands that I didn’t have time for when I was working out of the house.
It seriously is the best thing I’ve ever done and I can’t believe it took me this long to do it.
That said, my new-found leisurely schedule is oddly hard to handle. I’m stuck in a horrible procrastination rut when it comes to painting. I won’t paint for a week, then bust out six paintings in a weekend. I’ve always been a binge painter.
This 400 in 400 project has been a real challenge because I thought it would be easy to just zip in, do a painting a day, then step back out to my life. It’s not like that, but I’m figuring it out. There’s also a lot of business to being an artist – paperwork and taxes, post office trips and filing, that kind of suck the joy out of being in my studio. That’s where the paperwork is, don’t go in there.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the act of painting that I don’t enjoy. I just have a hard time getting started sometimes. People who are procrastinators will know what I mean!
Art is also my full-time job, and a big chunk of our family’s income. That’s a lot of pressure.
But it’s still the best gig I’ve ever had.
*I also started up a little marketing agency with my insanely talented friend, but that’s for another blog.