Monday, April 23, 2007
"March, Lake Louise"
Oil on Canvas
I've spent a lot of time in the past year thinking about what I want my life to look like, and what it's going to take to get me there. Part of that is figuring out what being successful means to me as an artist.
Art is a part of me that has always been there and will always be - I've been drawing and painting since I can remember, and there was never a time that I didn't entertain the thought that I'd love to be an artist someday. I would be an artist even if I never sold a painting or made a penny. But I have to admit that a big part of my dream right now is to make a living from my art. I set business goals every year, and they are just as important to me as the process of painting itself. If I dropped the business side of my art, I would be heartbroken, because a part of my dream of being an artist is getting my artwork out into the world.
Since I desperately want my art business to succeed, I know that there are decisions that need to be made every day about how to best fit that goal into my life. How do I fit painting in while taking care of Aspen? How do I make my art business succeed and contribute to the well-being of my family?
Nate deals with a lot of the same questions. He has a full-time job, but he'd really like to quit and build houses for a living. He built three spec homes in the past year, and discovered that it was what he really loved to do. He loves working with his hands and being able to offer an affordable product in a market (mountain real estate) where not much is affordable.
Nate and I aren't big risk takers, so we knew that we were going to have to find a way to pursue both of our dreams without taking a huge risk financially, especially now that we have a child. One of the things we discussed as a way to make ourselves more comfortable would be to sell our current house and use the profit to put a big down payment on a cheaper house, making our mortgage payment a lot less. That way we wouldn't have to worry about cashflow so much, and we'd both be a lot more comfortable with changing things up career-wise.
So, we put our house on the market three weeks ago. We figured it might take a while to sell, so we didn't find another house to move into, but picked out some neighborhoods we liked. Last weekend we got an offer on our house, and with closing set for May 18th it was time to get in gear and find a place to move. We found a house we liked last Thursday and put in an offer, and now we have closing all set for the same day as the sale of our house.
Since this all happens three weeks from now, things are going to get hectic. We have to find movers that are willing to store our stuff for a few days (we don't get possession of the new house until three days after closing), we have to schedule the inspections and appraisals (we're not working with a realtor), and in the middle of it all we're going to Texas for a week to visit relatives and attend the Oil Painter's of America National show opening. I don't know when I'm going to find the time to paint, but I'm determined not to let it slip. I'm still trying to build inventory so I can approach some new galleries, and I don't want that to come to a screeching halt just because we're moving.
Anyhow, the point of this really long rambling post is to say two things. First, I'm going to be unbelievably busy for the next month. Second (and most important), I don't believe that luck happens - I believe that you make it for yourself with the decisions you make. Luann Udell said this much more eloquently in her post on April 10th. The point is this - the average American thinks that Nate and I are odd for selling a nice house that we can afford perfectly well, and moving into a smaller cheaper house (seems like the American dream is to supersize everything these days), but our main priority right now is making our life what we want it to be, and we're taking the steps necessary to get there. I call it making luck, and hopefully it works!