Wednesday, May 18, 2011

the ups and downs of being an artist

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If anyone tells you or gives the impression that being an artist and creative entrepreneur is fun, perfect and fulfilling all the time- they are lying (or at least not sharing the whole story). While most of my days are spent in a wonderful creative whirlwind- my days are typically 12-15 hours days 7 days a week- no paid vacation, sick time or the ability to blame the supervisor or even complain when I am overworked. I've reached a point this week where I am wishing I had some paid vacation or the ability to call in "fake sick" just to get a day to breath or even complain to a supervisor that someone should have scheduled things different this month. But no such luck- when you work for yourself those days have to wait and there is nobody to complain to (except yourself!).


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After returning from the Inspired Retreat in North Carolina late Sunday night (oh what a FABULOUS 5 days it was!) I've had three days to cram preparation for another four days of teaching classes at the CREATE retreat this weekend. That means finishing up class samples (paintings and finished projects), gathering supplies and tools, finishing up making products to sell at vendor night and packing everything all over again. It is days like this that I actually (can't believe I am saying this) have moments of nostalgia for the 9-5 job.


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And then after everything is finished, everything prepped and packed and I drag my tired self to another retreat- I get up in front of a class and start teaching and all that frustration is gone and I am once again excited and in love with being an artist and can't imagine my life going any other way and will gladly do it over and over and over again. :)


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33 comments:

nacherluver said...

Love the honesty of this post. And the awesome pictures!

Courtney Walsh said...

Alisa,

I'm a writer and experience much of what you're talking about. I overextend myself sometimes and it seems like everything falls on the same week. Deadline after deadline. And there are moments I want that 9-5 job. The steady paycheck I can count on... but once I make it through and swear I'll be smarter with what I take on the next time, I watch all the stress disappear and marvel in the JOY of my job. Your artwork is so beautiful and inspiring...someday I hope I get to sit in one of your classes!

Elaine said...

In many years of working for myself I learned that it isn't easy to be a good boss to yourself - but you have to figure out a way to do that and protect yourself from burn-out. You've worked very hard!

Single Stone Studios said...

Oh I so get this! What a timely read for me. Love the photos! Enjoy the teaching :)

Carrie Rosalind said...

So true - no job is perfect all the time! Great pictures! Keep pushing through...you can do it!!

beka*b said...

I get this also - and I'm not even a full-time artist just yet. It's amazing what we will suffer for our passion, way more than for a 9-5 for someone else ;) And that is key: we are doing what we love - and that is priceless.

Big hugs to you and mustering the extra effort needed to make it through - you're so fantastic even on your down days you inspire me and give me hope. Thank you :)

Much More Stuff said...
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huntla1 said...

Hi Alisa. I was at the Inspired retreat enjoying your class. In fact I was in the first group to enjoy your teaching. I know I was exhausted and exhilarated (quite the contradiction) when I left. I don't know how all of you teachers taught your classes six times, but you all did and performed fantastically I might add. Just being on your feet all that time would do me in. So, you do deserve a day off. Maybe after CREATE? Take it easy, you don't want to overdo it.

Kay said...

hard working girl..I appreciate your post and your wonderful creativity

artistaprilcole@gmail.com said...

Thank you for your honest post.
It is good to hear from other creative people, they also "burn out"!
The key is to find that right balance without losing your passion. :]

MeUpcycled said...

Well said, Alisa. The less traveled path often isn't the easiest one. But take comfort from how much you've inspired THOUSANDS of other people...to start their own creative businesses, to find new color in the everyday, or even to pick up a paintbrush or sit in front of a sewing machine for the first time.

tiia lin said...

I think this universal. Granted, I haven't had a 9-5 since 2005. I've been working towards going full time as an artist and designer solidly for over a year. I think everyone who puts their heart into something goes through this. Wondering why we push so hard. But it's the firsts (like I'm posting my first tutorial later today!), the good people, the finished pieces, the 'a-ha' moments, the teaching (someday) that make it all worth the days you drag yourself to 'work'.

Normies said...

Well, thank you for sharing your hard work with us.Your work is amazing!

Teddi said...

but we R sooo glad u did choose this life, because we <3 all u share! thank u alisa!

Marissa said...

You are so talented, all your artwork is beautiful.

Emy said...

Hi Alisa
I've just hopped over from Donna's blog after she mentioned you. LOVE your work!

cindy shake said...

Beautiful work! You were reading my mind today for a Blog post... I wrenched my knee on our son's field trip yesterday and with a shop full of welding that HAS TO get done, no sick day for me :( But it's all good -my self employment as an artist allowed me to be able to go on the field trip in the first place :)

Karen said...

WOWzers!! I Love Love Love Your Blog!!!
K

Boxoftrix said...

What a lovely honest, thought provoking and inspiring post Alisa. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the produce of your labour in those beautiful pictures! ... and I know how much time goes into even taking and editing good pictures.

Yvonne

Cynthia Eloise said...

i guess it doesn't matter what field you are in there are always ups and downs. but you are so fortunate to be working in your field of choice that gives you great satisfaction when it's up. thanks for sharing and the pics are beautiful.

j.dávila said...

I totally relate to this post! We need to plan that get-away...

jane

Createology said...

Why is it we always want what we do not have...even if for a brief time? You are such a talented artist and that is why you are in such demand. Relish it now and breathe later. It sounds like you are living life to its fullest and it doesn't get any better than that. Safe travels to CREATE.

Elizabeth said...

I love all your work. Your post are always inspirational. I know you were selling your items through esty, are you still doing that or is there some where else we can purchase your items?

kass said...

take it easy hon - coz like me at the moment, when you burn the candle down too far, you'll end up unwell and unable to do anything. Another downside of being an artist!

Enjoy CREATE then RELAX!

love Kass

tiffany said...

good post! as a business owner for the past 14 years i can just say.. i hear ya! my hubby and i just took some unpaid time off to travel the U.S. in a little vintage airstream.. this is my first time to see your blog via your petticoat tutorial.. which i love!!

Kasey said...

it's almost midnight and I'm also preparing for a class to teach tomorrow night.. I'm thinking why do I do this to myself?? Why didn't I start this earlier? Why did I accept so many people into this one class? and then... I read your post. THANK YOU! It's good to know we're all in it together.

Diana said...

alisa, i totally understand what you are saying, i've been both 9-5-er and self-employed, and there are certainly times as a freelancer when you yearn for the benefits of being an employee. BUT, as you say, that is just tiredness speaking and once you have worked for yourself it is very hard to go back to employment and the strictures that means. but you are very good at building in down-time for yourself - all those walks on the beach etc... sigh! Maybe a few more things like that if you need a better work/life balance, to safeguard your physical and mental health? Take care and keep doing what you love, Alisa!

Ana Gonzalez said...

Te entiendo perfectamente y eso que yo no llevo tu ritmo.

A veces a mi me pasa que abarco demasiadas actividades diversas todas creativas, pero diferentes en sus tecnicas en sus tratamientos y esa montaña de cosas amenazan con aplastarme, asi que tengo que pararme, reflexionar y elegir unas y desechar otras, pero no es facil.

Podrias contratar algun ayudante que te quite de hacer las cosas mas mecanicas o las que menos te gusten o las que mas tiempo te quitan y menos beneficio te aportan.

En fin que te deseo que encuentres ese equilibrio que funcione para ti.

KathyH said...

take heart in knowing that you inspire many others with your beautiful work. i appreciate the effort that you put into your blog...you have inspired me to try new things with my crafting.

Jenny said...

Alisa your honesty and generosity of spirit is what draws so many people to you. I signed up for Art Camp for Women early this year when you were scheduled to teach there. I was so sad to find out you won't be there as I was hoping to meet you in person and learn from you. Thank you for all the hard work you put in. So inspiring...

lyric said...

yes.
I always feel that there is not enough money in the world to pay for me to to all the gathering and packing and preparing to teach.

But then I get there and set up and the students walk in and we get going.... and I find myself thinking
"I can't believe I get paid for this!!!!"

Teaching is worth while and wonderful.
You give SO MUCH to the world.
It is a better place because of your generosity!

lynda Howells said...

l agree with everything you have said Alisa and everyone elses comments but l wouldn't cvhange my job/love for anything!x lynda

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