It has taken me a while to realize that I really AM an artist! Ever since I was able to hold a crayon in my hand I always told everyone I was going to be an artist when I grew up. I loved to create things and draw pictures. When my dad went on business trips I would spend my time making a special welcome home project for him. Sometimes it was a colored banner, decorated streamers on the back door, or a giant paper flower.
I recall in the second grade my friend Lisa and I started a comic strip. We added a new segment each morning during coloring time. By the end of the year I had about a ream of paper's worth of comics. Lisa and I thought they were hilarious and came close to wetting our pants on a daily basis laughing as we created them. The only thing I remember is a story about a caveman frozen in a block of ice which melted when an explorer shined his flashlight on it! I wish I still had my comic book but my mother threw it away in the name of "cleaning up". My mom just didn't get it.
Through the years I took all the art classes I could and majored in studio art in college, but I never felt like I was "good enough" to do this professionally. I pursued other careers partly because I didn't believe I'd be able to support myself financially as an artist, and partly due to the influence of my college's career development department. They didn't know what to do with me; the only career they could suggest for me was to work in a museum.
I continued to create art on the side, but really didn't get serious about it until about until I joined an art club sponsored by a local rubber stamp store. We had monthly projects and when I first started showing my work to others, I felt like I was just pretending to be an artist. The encouragement and compliments from my friends really helped me gain confidence in my work.
It was a big step for me to start selling my work on Etsy but the immediate success I experienced was exciting and confirmed this was what I was meant to do! I sold my first piece in less than 24 hours but before anyone gets too envious, I must state I experienced a dry spell for several months afterward with no sales due to my ignorance regarding marketing!
This summer I had a fabulous opportunity to work with the Arnold Grummer company to design a book project for them (pictured above). They are a small family company specializing in handmade paper products and supplies. You can find their products in arts and crafts stores as well as their website.
I suppose this means I'm officially a professional artist! I still sit in front of my desk in my studio and repeat my mantra to myself over and over. I am an artist!