A Store is Born from a… Hobby

IMG_0536When I was a kid, I would watch Bob Ross make happy little trees on PBS as often as I could. I loved the magic that happened from some colored liquid and a white canvas, and I imagined the secret and beautiful places I could dive into by creating them. For years, I played around, experimented with techniques, acquired brushes, and tried to hone my skills. I was no Bob Ross, but I wasn’t half bad either at this… hobby. While I loved art, it was never anything more in my mind than a hobby.

After the beautiful experience of taking an art class with some of the most talented artists I have personally known, I somehow put this passion down. Life got in the way, and time passed, and I didn’t have time for… hobbies. After years of not picking up a paint brush, and after some tough parts of life, I was sitting in my living room, and I begin to feel that twinge. You know, the twinge of an idea that began as something small that wove itself throughout my mind, bending, changing, and morphing into something else entirely. Perhaps it began with a single shape or color or something I saw on television, but in my mind, it took on new life and became its own entity.

IMG_0493 Finally, something possessed me to buy a canvas and some brushes and sit on my hardwood floor and attempt to replicate the vision in my mind. The joy that experience brought me was like my soul reawakened and flourished… It was as though a long forgotten part of myself began to stretch its wings and live again. Though it’s far from my best work, that first work in many years will always be special to me.

So, art returned as my… hobby, and it was a beautiful thing! Why do I say hobby as I do? Well, so many of us are taught as children that certain fields are for work and certain fields are for fun only. Maybe some people make a living as artists, but they are either too dead to enjoy it, or they have big hair and a PBS show. It’s no way to make a steady living, so it’s relegated to the status of… hobby. Of course, there is not one thing wrong with hobbies! I have more than almost anyone I know, and they are wonderful, but is it wrong to limit their potential?

Eventually, I became a coIMG_0508unselor.  I began making art for the office, and people… loved it! What an amazing feeling to have others enjoy the work of my passion! Soon after, I began to work with students who were trying to decide on careers, and all I wanted to do was encourage them to find a way to follow their dreams. I mean, what kind of career counselor doesn’t want her clients to find a career to be passionate about?!

Then, a funny thing happened… I had people asking if I sold artwork like what was hanging in offices at work. Despite these inquiries, I wondered if anyone would ever buy my work.  I mean, art is a… hobby… right? I am not a “real” artist. I am a counselor who blows off steam by using power tools and painting wood! This couldn’t be a job, or at least that’s what the doubting voices in my mind kept saying.  It was about that time that my own advice slapped me in the face… I can’t expect a college student to follow his passion if I am too afraid to follow my own!

So, from this, my Etsy store was born! I can’t say that I am making a full time income from artwork, but I can say that it feels really, really good (once you get past the temporary, paralyzing fear) to put myself out there and follow my passion in a way that lets the world in on it. I can’t wait to see what happens!

IMG_0557If you’d like to check out the work in my store, you can do so on the Store page. For pictures of my process and past art, check out the Artwork page. If you have a passion, I’d love to hear about it, and I hope you have the courage to share it with the world… or at least a slice of it.

As always, thank you for reading!

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