Eight weeks for summer holiday doesn’t seem like a lot of time in the big scheme of life, but when you are self-employed and a mom to a busy almost 5-year old, it can seem like an eternity. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my son and I love spending time with him. However, I love what I do for a living too. Work for me is innate, fulfills me and keeps me happy. Creating a harmonious balance between working artist and attentive mom can be a struggle.
Here is Aiden. A happy, almost senior kindergartener, into trains, bugs, frogs, dinosaurs and MOM! He thinks I know the answer to everything!! He is at the age where everything is a question about how, why, and what. I’m surprised by what stuff I actually do know, or have had to find out..such as ‘what do caterpillars eat?’ and ‘do frogs sleep?’ These moments are so endearing and the questions an almost 5-year old has about life are genuine and true. When school ended in June, I was determined to find a balance with my artwork and enjoy summer with my son. I’ve come up with a little checklist that has helped keep me in check. Maybe if you are a self-employed mom who loves her job, needs to work in order to be a sane person and keep finances in check, you will relate to my list too.
- Plan Ahead – I never start a day with my son without having some clue about what we are going to do that day. All hell breaks loose if boredom sets in.
- Remember the BIG picture – Think of how fortunate you are to have this time you will never get back.
- Cheer your accomplishments – You might be getting half the work done and your to-do list is growing by the minute, but be sure look at what you have already accomplished.
- Be Honest – I’ve let my clients know that I’m working part-time this summer. Most of them are, or have been parents to young children before. They ‘get it’! It also alleviates a lot of pressure on yourself by setting realistic deadlines, without killing yourself to complete them.
- Try introducing your work to your child – I brought my son with me to a photo shoot this summer. It went better than expected, due to some help at the farm we were at. However I figure one day, I would really like an assistant. No time like the present to start training.
- Get into your Zone faster – For the summer, I have two, sometimes three days a week to actually paint for the full day. Turning the creativity switch “on-demand” can be hard and likely finding the switch is different for everyone. For me I have learned, I have to eliminate clutter from my studio and be prepared to paint. Usually this means my canvas is ready, brushes clean and paints laid out from the night before.
- BE PRESENT – I’ve saved the best and most important parental/artist tidbit for last. I’ve noticed that when I have a deadline looming, almost finished a big painting or trying to type an important email to a client, I hear this – ‘Mom..? Mom!, Mom!!!!!’ I am usually subjected to persistent whining and witness to fake injuries soon after. These little almost five-year olds are quite perceptive when we have a lot on our minds you know! Rather than fight it, I’ve taught myself to **try** and be self-aware to spot the warning signs. I know it’s time to switch gears, stop thinking about work or whatever is bothering me and get back to thinking like a kid again, until it’s my time again. 🙂
Going back to point #3. Here is a bit of what I have accomplished this summer so far ~
I have written a magazine article about my Swedish Adventure, due to come out in the October issue of Horse Sport Magazine. I grew up reading this magazine and I still have back issues in my basement from the ’80’s. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited that I will be in it for the first time!! For the article, I produced three oil studies of my Swedish commission subjects, which you see here.
Presently I am planning my fall events. I am happy to announce that I will be in attendance at the HITS on the Hudson Equestrian Art Exhibition Auction and staying in Saugerties, New York to watch the Pfizer $1 million dollar Grand Prix. This will be held September 10th. More details can be found under this link HERE. I have two commission spaces I can book on this trip, so if you are in the vicinity email me, email@example.com It’s a great opportunity for me to see your horse in person if you would like to commission a painting.
Locally, September 15th in the evening, I will be participating in The Headwaters Stable Tour – Art of the Horse Exhibit. More details on this event to follow.
Lastly, I have one small announcement. For the last three years I have been one of the resident artists at The Bartlett Gallery in the Alton Mill. I am leaving my post there at the end of August to focus solely on my own artistic endeavours. I will be operating from my home studio full-time. I will miss my friends at the Mill, but I look forward to my future as an artist. So many great things are happening now, it seems time for me to fly solo once again. My last studio day is Saturday August 28th. Visit me and the Gallery if you are in the area that day.
Until next time, thanks for reading 🙂