Hi, my name is Margaret and I want to be a professional artist. Specifically, a painter. WOW! That feels amazing to say. Just typing out what I actually want into actual words for others to see is very freeing. Why have I never done this before? Oh right...because it's scary and big and difficult and the path isn't clear and if I fail, how will I afford food and clothing and put a roof over my head? What a ridiculously unrealistic career! (just ask anyone).
Like anyone that declares they want to be an artist, I have a passion for art and creating. There's where it begins...passion. I see something, think something, dream something and then create. Voila...artist! There is a problem with passion though because it sets you up for disappointment and soul crushing depression if it turns out your passion doesn't sell and no one likes it. Maybe you aren't good enough. Maybe you should keep this to yourself. Maybe you should just go off and eat worms. Or maybe you should become an accountant.
Well, I am an accountant. I have a Bachelors in Science in Accounting and I am an IRS enrolled agent . For 10 of the past 15 years that I've been an accountant, I've worked in tax (specifically corporation, partnership, trust, and high-net wealth individual taxation). Prior to becoming an accountant I took lots and lots of art classes. Lots of classes and not one about how to find a career in art. Accounting though, you get a degree and you have a career. Accounting has a very clear and direct path (except in the cases when it doesn't). In accounting, you get the degree and you work. The more you work, the more experience you have, the more your work is valued, and the more people know you as an accountant. It's a lot of work and I'm a pretty good accountant (I know stuff). But there's this thing...
I got good at being an accountant because I worked and worked and worked. A good chunk of my career was learning under pressure. Now, I'm at a certain point in my life that the learning curve isn't so steep and I can't help but think, is this what I want to do? Is this what I want to keep working for? I know, kind of sounding like a mid-life crisis. Well, it sort of is.
"You are a long time dead. So enjoy life." This comes from the artist bio of Sharon Muldoon and it is the truth. I'm borrowing this as my new mantra. (in case you are wondering, my old mantra was "not my problem, not my problem."). I like creating art. It's my happy place and after 15 years in the business world, I can see what I really want is a business of my own. I know to be successful you work, you persevere, you learn, and eventually you get to where you want to go even if the path wasn't so easy and clear as first thought.
Thinking of this as a business is still scary but freeing. I've seen many business start from an idea and grow. I've also seen those without a vision or plan fail. Why should being an artist be any different than starting any other business endeavor? Sure, I may still have a little bit of my heart on my sleeve when it comes to my dreams and passions but this is a business. I'm going to work and work and work. I can understand this. So, will I succeed? I think there is more than a 50% chance I might. Like anything you want, it comes with just beginning and then just continuing.
On this blog I will post my work-in-process, stuff I learn, my triumphs and my setbacks. Enjoy!