As I gently step into my new life as a full-time artist, I first want to reflect on the life transforming events that transpired in 2017 that led to quitting my day gig on December 31. After 12 years of envisioning, planning, and most of all, surrendering to the present moment, this was truly my dream come true.
I’m actually stunned that I could accomplish so much all while working full time.
Makes me wonder what will happen in 2018 without a job!
So here are the highlights of an extraordinary year!
- Traveled to over 30 cities for my day gig, training people to use the MBTI for 5 days at a time. During EACH trip, I focused on loving every moment of this precious experience, even when it occasionally didn’t look so good on the surface (i.e. travel delays, hotels losing shipped workshop boxes, answering emails after training for 11 hours on my feet, working on holidays, etc.). Below is a “class photo” from a group I taught in Atlanta – totally loved EVERYONE of these dear souls.
- Changed my Instagram name to @thehotelartist after jokingly calling myself this at a wedding in June, and it stuck. What better name to describe how I bring two, 50 pound suitcases (one full of art supplies) for every trip, setting up an art studio in every hotel room I visit!
- Finished creating my first art collection in over a decade. With the release of “Take flight”, I experimented with promoting a specific date and time that all 20 artworks would be available on my website. Result – I sold half of the collection in less than 24 hours! Below is one of the sold pieces, “Miracles surround me”, and one of my personal faves.
- Visited colleges with my beautiful niece Ann (who had lived with my husband and I for the past 1 ½ years) to help her choose the college where she would finish her degree. She moved out in August to attend Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. Result – I once again have an empty nest.
- Privately made a wish to be interviewed on a podcast, and out of “nowhere”, Betsy and Laura with “The Luscious Living Podcast” called and offered just that, my very first podcast interview! Click on the photo below to listen to the podcast.
- Hired AMAZING art coach Betsy Cordes with February13 Creative (and her son Henry) to help me focus my art business in the limited time I had available with a full time job. This simple step ultimately motivated me to quit my day gig. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU Betsy!
- Continued to follow the daily ritual I established in 2015 that integrated my day gig (the vocation I love) with my beloved art (the calling that I cannot live without). I attribute this ritual as the number one reason that I was able to finally quit my job.
- Brought my niece Ann on a 5-day business trip to Nashville (her 5th “bring my niece to work” trip since she was 10 years old) where she played during the day, and we played together at night when my work was done. Below is a picture of us “playing” at night in a country western bar overlooking downtown Nashville.
- Partnered with February13 Creative (my art coach) to send out press releases to share my journey to become a full time artist, for the second time. Result?
- Created my first limited edition art print from “Where I am meant to be”, and sold most of the 22 edition. Below is the print Photoshopped into a scene, something I learned how to do this year and made my photo-styling sooooo much less time consuming
- Experimented with painting WITHOUT any collage elements, resulting in new collection “Hidden Blessings”. Now I’m hooked on adding abstract elements to my style as it continues to develop. Below is a detail of my favorite from this collection, “Peace“.
- Completed all the unfinished 3D collages that had been hanging around my studio for several years. My purpose was to fully close this chapter of my life so that I could start fresh as a full-time artist in January 2018.
- Applied to my first art competition (Artfields) in over a decade, and to my delighted surprise, “Guidance Surrounds Me”, was accepted! I’ll find out summer 2018 if I won one of their many cash awards. Below is a detail of this 3D collage, which features pics of my family in the windows and locket.
- Created one-hour of art on most days, and figured out how to do this in a kind and sustainable way.
- Expanded my Instagram following from 10K on January 1, 2017 to 15.6K on December 31 by continually studying how to work with this platform with authenticity and love.
- Took an online email marketing class with Abby Glassenburg, and committied to sending out my newsletter every 2-4 weeks. I started doing this in April.
- Had an earache most of the year, forcing me to give up most food that turn to sugar, such as bread, potatoes and alcohol for months at a time – bummer. I love ALL things made of sugar!
- Traveled to Provence, France to celebrate my darling Robert’s birthday, and our 2nd wedding anniversary.
- Took my first live art workshop in over a decade. I adored learning how to paint abstract flowers with Carrie Schmitt at Donna Downey’s amazing studio. This was followed by a workshop by David Kessler to learn new abstract painting techniques. Below is a detail of one of three flower paintings I created during my oh-so-cool weekend with Carrie!
- Completed two on-line art business classes, starting with Juliette Crane, and later with Amira Rahim. I am so grateful to both of these blessed artists for sharing what worked for them.
- Witnessed a full solar eclipse in Columbia, South Carolina with my love and 500 strangers that felt like family by the time the moon covered the sun. Below is a pic of Robert and I waiting MANY hours for this phenomenon to take place – totally worth it!
- Continued to document EVERY penny I spent for the second year. I wanted to make sure that I walked into full-time art with my financial eyes wide open!
- Enjoyed at least one girlfriend date twice a month, deepening all of my friendships, especially with fellow artist Sue Stokes, who became my accountability partner.
- Hosted most of our family from Delaware and Chicago for Christmas (eight, including Robert and I), complete with a sit-down neighborhood Christmas dinner for 20, and 7 holiday events over a 3-day period. My biggest and most fun holiday EVER, but also overwhelming with constant activity. Next year we might opt for a deserted beach somewhere. Below is 5 of the blessed 8, including my love and I!
And finally, in the tradition started by Kelly Rae Roberts, I want to finalize my honoring to 2017 by reflecting on a few profound questions.
What do you want to acknowledge yourself for in regard to 2017?
What did you create? What promises did you keep to yourself? What brave choices did you make? What are you proud of?
- I want to honor that I stayed completely present for my day gig for the first half of the year, as I traveled 2-3 times a month, Monday through Friday, not knowing when or even if I was going to quit my job.
- Then in August, almost like magic, I heard an internal message while meeting with my art coach that it was time to quit.
- Soon afterwards I asked my boss if could become a contractor (very part time employee without benefits), working only 5 days a month. To my complete delight and surprise, she said YES! I quit my job on August 1, giving a 4 months’ notice, celebrating my last day on December 29, 2017.
- I want to honor that I created my first two collections of art in over a decade, all while traveling extensively for my day gig. Most of the 30 pieces created for the “Take flight” and “Hidden Blessings” collections were created in hotel rooms. I am proud of myself for no longer allowing my day job to be an excuse for why I didn’t follow my deepest heart’s desire.
- I want to honor that I added meditation as a regular practice for 55 minutes on most days, even while traveling. Amazing how this calmed my heart and helped me envision where I wanted my art to go once my day job ended.
What is there to grieve about 2017?
What was disappointing? What was scary? What was hard? What can you forgive yourself for?
- Letting go of an amazing 20-year career with the company that publishes the MBTI, a job I loved, was much harder than I thought it would be. After I resigned, I had many “cold feet” moments, thinking that I was crazy for quitting such an extraordinary job where I made tangible a difference in people’s lives.
- I grieved the end of this chapter of my life until my very last day when I gathered all my old files and papers and burned them in a bon-fire in the back yard – the perfect way to say good bye to an extraordinary journey.
What else do you need to say about the year to declare it complete?
The next step is to say it out loud, “I declare 2017 complete!”! How do you feel?
- 2017 feels like one long blessing, from helping my niece move on with her life, to me doing the same when I finally realized my dream of becoming a full-time artist for the second time. It was a year of blessed endings as I said good bye to a job I loved, and beginnings as I stepped gingerly into full time art.