Passion and Profession – Where does it all “fit”?

It’s been almost a year since my last post….I know…what the heck has she been up to? Well, many things, a lot of creating and painting and self exploration. 2009 and 2010 were “trial” years for me. I really wanted to push my art, to make a real attempt at one day (in the very near future) making this a career for myself. You know the old cliché….live your dreams…pursue your passion? Well, for the last 2 years I attempted to get into every show I could, paint as much as I could, market myself as much as I could….just do as much as I could to push myself forward. And I must say that I did sell a lot of art the last two years. I have a few collectors now that buy from me regularly. That is a wonderful feeling, to know that people “get” my paintings and what I am trying to express. And my collectors are some of the most fabulous people on the earth, incredibly passionate and creative themselves. That is my ultimate goal – to share my art with the world.

But with the success also came something that I really wasn’t prepared for. As the year passed I was growing increasingly unhappy. I couldn’t figure it out…why was something that I was so passionate about bringing me such unhappiness? Isn’t this what we are taught…do something you’re passionate about in life, this should be your profession. As time passed, I was becoming resentful of the fact that I had this talent to begin with. This was something that I was fearful of from the beginning. I had always wondered if I ever had the chance to pursue art full-time how I would deal with the “on demand” creativity and the business side of art. Don’t get me wrong, I work very well under pressure. It has always been one of my strengths. But when it comes to creativity, any artist will tell you that inspiration doesn’t come on demand. And I understand that when you are a professional artist creating everyday is a part of the “job” whether you feel inspired or not…you just do it. But with each impending art show, I felt more and more boxed in….theoretically chained to this talent. I was really starting to lose my “passion” for what I loved so much. And it scared me to death! Art and creativity is such a huge part of who I am, I didn’t want to lose that.

So I stopped painting for a few months thinking that all I needed was a break. Maybe I was just getting overwhelmed. I was also working full-time, raising my 3 kids and trying to pursue an art career. Who wouldn’t be burnt out? But deep down inside it really felt more than that. So I stopped all creativity and decided to work on other areas of my life. In recent years, I have been very interested in spirituality. I really connected to the teachings of Sonia Choquette, a spiritual healer and teacher. One day in early January of this year I was listening to her radio show and she was talking to a caller about passion and profession. The caller was struggling to find something she was passionate about and how to incorporate this into her life. I knew what I was passionate about…no problems there. But as Sonia went on to explain to the caller was that passion can be in many forms in your life and at many different levels. She said “Passion doesn’t always have to be your profession…don’t get stuck there”.

As soon as she said this it was like a light bulb when on in my head! It was a huge epiphany for me. I had been trying to force something that just wasn’t right for me. Don’t get me wrong….painting and creativity are everything to me. I am my MOST authentic, joyous, happy self when I create, no doubt about that. I was born to create. But born to do this as a profession? I’m not so sure of that. I think in our society we are so geared to “live your passion”, “pursue your dreams”. And I think that is great, it’s wonderful to encourage our passion. But I think a lot of unrealistic expectations come along with this as well. If you’re passionate and talented this SHOULD be your ideal profession and you WILL be successful….this is what’s taught. The more we sell the more successful we are. And sometimes I think we can get stuck in this…especially creative people. Sure many artists have successful full-time careers and are very happy…they have put the hard work in and succeeded. And if this is you and you are TRULY happy, that’s great! Yet I have also seen many artists become very miserable and unhappy….stuck in the ideal that to be a true artist one must starve and struggle. They no longer enjoy the creative process, the shows or the business side of art. They lose the reason why they started in the first place along with a sense of themselves. This was me not too long ago.

So can there be a happy medium? I think so. Success shouldn’t be an all or nothing concept. Why does passion have to fit into a mould anyway? I had to find a way to have my passion “fit” in my life that made me happy. I knew I couldn’t live without it and I knew I couldn’t move forward the way it was. So I had to ask myself some really honest questions. Why was I creating art in the first place? What did I enjoy? What made me miserable? How was I going to move forward from here? I came to realize that the business side of art made me miserable. I never enjoyed the shows and marketing drove me nuts. But I knew what made me happy, C-R-E-A-T-I-N-G, plain and simple!

So I decided to drop all of the “stuff” that didn’t make me happy and move on. And something miraculous happened….my creativity came back full force! Like the cliché says “A huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders”. For the past few months I have been painting like crazy. I even created a new style that I LOVE (see picture below)… a little something a little different from my usual style. I am exploring new mediums and having so much fun. I am not concerned any more if it sells (although it’s great when it does!). But coming to realize that it won’t be a full-time job someday is fine with me. Actually it’s a huge relief. I can paint when I’m inspired and do something else when I’m not (like ride my motorcycle!).  I will do the ArtWalk every year because I think it is a fabulous show and the ladies who organize it are wonderful. I will keep my website and Facebook page  and continue to sell my work. But my focus will be mainly on creating and finding my “happy” spot.

"Metamorphosis" 11"x16" Mixed Media

"Alice's Dream" 11"x14" Mixed Media

 

I guess my whole point is to make sure you are HAPPY with where your passions lie in your life. If you are working full-time as an artist and truly enjoying it, that’s wonderful! And if it is only something that you do part-time or just a hobby that`s great as well, but find where your passions FIT into your life….where they truly make you that happiest….find the right balance. They are a gift, cherish them. And if you are unhappy and need to stop to make changes to the path you’re on, then do it! Just be honest with yourself and ask the hard questions.  Success will come when you are in alignment with who you are. It comes from doing what’s natural for you, not from what you “should” do. This is your “happy” spot. This is where your passion resides.

I would love to hear the thoughts of other creative people out there! Where do you find your passions “fit” into your life? Where do they make you the most happy? Have you found the right balance?

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One response to “Passion and Profession – Where does it all “fit”?

  1. I love anything creative that is visually oriented. I was confused before and went to a medical career but I did not stay there longer so I ended up switching to fine art which is my real passion. I love doing portrait with pencil and this is what I am learning at the moment. Very inspiring post! Thanks!
    http://www.learnportraitwithpencil.com

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