Fear Gives you the Opportunity to be Brave

Before Christmas, my Uncle emailed to ask about commissioning a painting...from me. “Are you still an Artist?” he asked.What a question!
This is the only painting I've done that I like. I made it to hang over our couch because I could not find anything I wanted to buy.

Before Christmas, my Uncle emailed to ask about commissioning a painting...from me. “Are you still an Artist?” he asked.

What a question!

Since I was a little girl I loved to color, draw and paint. My earliest memories are of sitting at my grandmother’s kitchen table creating for hours. She would lay down this big plastic table cloth in a 1970’s orange and green flower-power print. I would go to town on her art supplies which she kept in a giant Ritz Cracker Tin.

I begged my parents for “Art” lessons and they signed me up at age 10. My Aunt bought me a set of watercolours professional enough for a University student. My ‘art lessons’ consisted of pouring through boxes of greeting cards and copying images of bunnies, flowers, and animals I liked. I was the youngest student by at least five years but never felt looked-down-upon in that basement studio.

Isn’t that cute? She wants to be an artist when she grows up.

We looked at a high school for me called ‘Performing Arts.’ I shadowed there but my parents gently nudged me toward a school that focused more on academics- which I didn’t mind because they also had a kick-ass art department.

Art is just a hobby.

When it came time to go to College I was ‘supposed’ to major in pre-med but as a last minute decision, I decided not to declare. I took Drawing 1 as an elective first semester and by Sophomore year I was a double major in Art and English (my ‘fallback’). I was a semester away from finishing the double major and needed two more art history classes. The bank of parentals decided that since the English credits were complete that it was a waste of their money and my time to finish both.

Graduate with the English degree and go get a real job.

My confidence took a hit every time I was told I would never make money as an artist. Everything was becoming digital in the early 2000’s and I was afraid of spending all my time in front of a computer. It was enough of an excuse for me to throw my paint covered hands up in the air and not look back.

Art is not a career.

I searched the world, travel was a great substitute for my artistic passion. I bounced around from job to job, learning about life and business but still nothing I did was ‘creative’ enough for me. I tried everything from journalism, to ad sales, to matchmaking. Idly waiting for someone to hand me my dream job while I ‘worked to live’ is how I spent the better part of the last decade.

Unless you’re an entrepreneur you won’t be able to sell things you make.

It only makes sense that I willed art to come back into my life over the last year. Becoming a mother has allowed me to zoom out, and then back into my life. My daughter inspires me and reminds me that soon I will pass on a legacy I want to be proud of. I’m tired of envying other artists and thinking that I’ll never be good enough. Maybe I won’t- but I would much rather try and fail. But I won’t fail because I will be doing what I love.

Goodbye, judgemental inner critic. And no more excuses.

So yes, Uncle Patrick, I think- actually I know- I am still an artist. You must be part of the grand plan to make me face that question. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a paid, professional artist for the first time- don’t worry, you’ll get the family discount.

Here is an update on the piece Uncle P asked me to paint for him.  It's nearly complete:
My Uncle wants me to capture the essence of this image. Tricky.
It worried me because linear things are not my strength.
I carved up a little square stamp out of a potato


Playing with the stamp proved to be really fun and cool


The painting part finished, it needed a little something extra.


A few snippets from the original photo and from an 1892 copy of Harper's Bazaar.
Have you ever made a life-changing move or decision?  How did it turn out?
Here is a great blog post my friend Nicole wrote about leaving her comfy life in Buffalo and moving to The Big Apple to follow her dreams.

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2 comments on “Fear Gives you the Opportunity to be Brave”

  1. Thanks! It was a challenging one for sure but I'm pleased with the result. Put her in the mail Friday, hopefully it won't take ages to reach you guys...and hopefully nothing falls off in the process.

let's hang on the 'gram
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Dawn exhibits artwork independently and with groups; Thou Art Mum and Melbourne and Victorian Artists (MAVA). In her online store, you can find original pieces, wall art prints, and other home decor. A few times per year she accepted personalised and sentimental art commissions for clients.

Dawn creates out of her home studio in Wurundjeri country, the Northern Suburbs of Melbourne.
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