Sunday, September 4, 2011

Can I...DARE I?

DARE I call myself... ARTIST?

When I was in the 5th grade, my teacher made up little pretend newspapers announcing what we would be when we grew up. Mine said that my art was proudly hanging in a gallery in Hawaii and that I enjoyed drawing and painting for a living.

But that never really happened...

I've been painting, drawing, playing with paper, making STUFF for years now. But, I never called myself an artist because, well, I just think of my art as PLAY. It's not work, it's "just for fun." I would devalue it; you know, trying to not make it a big deal. I remember one time a few years back when I was talking with a "friend" about my art. She told me that she was going to commission a painter to make a canvas for her; I said I thought that was super cool, and that I like to paint too. She said, "Oh, no she's a REAL painter. I think you just paint with your fingers, don't you? She like, REALLY paints." That stung. It stuck with me.

I am ready to shed that and let it go. I am also a REAL PAINTER!!!!! So, take that!

Yet, when I am at a party and someone asks the big question: WHAT DO YOU DO? I always say that I am a children's mental health therapist. And...I am.

Recently I have been thinking a lot about my career - what I want it to look like, where I want to work, when I want to go back to work...etc. I really don't want to do mental health work full time exclusively; my soul can't handle the stress. But, "there's no money in art," is the thing that lingers in my mind.

I think it's time for me to admit that THAT'S NOT TRUE!

I have sold a number of original paintings. I have sold dozens of handpainted journals. And, recently I sold my most expensive painting yet!!! I am THRILLED at this breakthrough in my life. YOU might not be might say, "I always have thought of you as an artist." But, for me to truly admit this, own this, identify with this - THIS IS HUGE FOR ME.

"The Gifts of Imperfection" by Brene Brown is the book that I have recently been devouring. Check out her TED talk here: (thank you Tara-Lynn for sharing this with me!) Her chapter on Cultivating Meaningful Work was enlightening for me; she discussed the concept of "slash careers." These are things like "surgeon/playwright," "accountant/cartoonist," etc.

So, I am officially a therapist/life artist. That's my new title!!! (aside from mother, of course!)
I'm owning it :)

Here are some paintings that I gave away as I was inspired to make them for specific people...

This was hanging in my first office, and then I left it for the Delta Mental Health team as an appreciation/goodbye gift. It still hangs in the office there for all to enjoy.

This pink one is for my mother and hangs in her bedroom. She loves to garden and she REALLY loves pink!

This "home" painting went to my brother in law and sister in law when they purchased their first home in Ft. MacMurray.

This one is a series of three that hangs in my sister and her hubbys romantic bedroom.

AND, this is the one that I recently sold. It will be going to a lovely lady named Linda who will be moving into our apartment when we leave it. She said that she's been viewing the apartments on our street for months trying to decide if she wants to sell her beloved house and downsize. When she saw our apartment, she fell in love with the positive energy and asked me if I would be willing to sell my painting. I told her that it would be quite expensive, but I got more than I ever dreamt I would for my art! I am thrilled that she'll love this piece of work as much as we have, and that our home will have someone wonderful living in it! Her and two friends also kept asking me if I was an interior decorator. They all said that I should be, and that they're suprized that's not my career. Hm...I see another SLASH coming on!!!! :)
(photo below c/o LTC photography, London Ontario)


Canadian Kristin said...

I love this [slash] celebrate with you!!! :-)

Scrapbook Memories said...

You do beautiful work Erika!

JennD said...

You can totally dare! Love your new title. Own it. :)

lyssa said...

Glad to see you owning it!! And I'm proud to own some of your art in my home too!

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