Saturday, July 4, 2015

Your Life's Work is the Reward

For about 4 years now, I have been showing and selling work.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I've been a bit of an overachiever in a lot of ways. I've always enjoyed recognition, getting better at something, impressing Mom with my good grades.....searching for love through performance.

I chose art as my path because I genuinely loved expressing myself in this format and the learning process.  However, once I got to art school I was surrounded by sooooo many others who were far better than I was  and others who I thought weren't better than me, but were getting those "undeserved" (chuckle) grades and adulations.  I started bouncing around going from seeking validation (through recognition) to constant comparison with others and how I measure up. Now in my mid 30s I am realizing that inferiority and superiority are symptoms of the same problem.  I simply want to be in love with what I am doing and proud that I did the very best I could, having integrity.

Every part of doing the work is the reward.  A ribbon is very nice and it says to me, "Hey, someone noticed." The painting on the wall is just a fraction of what I, and many others, do on a daily basis.  I will paint many, many paintings that will never be noticed that much.  That's okay. 

I was just talking with artist friends in Colorado and realized how much my life has changed since I became an artist.  Every single day I get an email or comment from someone saying I lifted their day, inspired them or motivated them to create. WOW. When I think of my life pre-art,  I am so thankful that for the last 8 years I have chosen to create every day.  It has changed me in so many ways.

Here are some books that have helped me along the way:

   * I know. Weird. But the story is all about aiming past the target and figuring out your "why" for doing something, which helps you cut through all the bullshit and do the work with integrity.

  * I had this book for a long time, but for whatever reason, it took me a number of years to really get into it.  Now it is indispensable. It makes me realize when I am feeling "resistance" and work through it.

"Chinese Lanterns and Pueblo Pottery" - 12"x24" - oil on linen
Evergreen Fine Art Gallery


  1. Great post Kelli. I look forward to checking out those books.

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  3. Nice article! The last few months I've been reading The Artist's Guide by Jackie Battenfield. It's 400 pages of really good advice about the business, I recommend it to anyone who wants to make a living of art.

    I'll check out those other books on Amazon, if the Trappists write as well as they make beer I'm already sold.

  4. Thanks for your openness and courage! You've been an inspiration.


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