Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Question of the day for me and my fellow artists: What inspired you to become a professional artist?

I asked my fellow artist and colleagues the following question:   What inspired you to become a professional artist?  When did you know and at what moment did you decide to take the plunge.  Here are the stories in the artists own words written on another blog I keep for our art gallery Art on the Lane

My personal response:

Kathy McCartney
My love affair with Hawaii began at the tender age of 3 this is when I first opened my eyes to the world around me on the island of Oahu where me and my family were lucky enough to live.  I fell deeply in love with nature, so much so, that my mother and I would battle Monday through Friday to get me back in the house and ready for school in time to catch the bus.  I spent hours in the back yard and would sometimes sneak off to roam the neighborhood by myself.  I remember one day making it to a place where I could see the ocean.  More than once a concerned neighbor would tell me to go home.  I can honestly say today that I still have an obsession with the Hawaiian Island and this is reflected in my art.

"Soul Sister"
16"x20" acrylic painting canvas board
on sale for $195 unframed
The first famous artist I learned about was when I was 5. My dad and I watched a TV program about Vincent van Gogh. I remembered at the end of the program how they said his art was worth millions. I thought that was a happy ending. I said to my father I want to be a famous and rich artist like Vincent van Gogh. My father reminded his little girl with stars in her eyes that his paintings were not worth anything until after his death. I sat there silent for a minute and thought what a bummer. I don't want that kind of ending. I declared to my father then and there that I will be different, successful while alive! So in the back of my mind I held on to this positive notion that it could be different for an artist and a happy ending.

I continued to draw during my early years and won two art contests. My first win was at the public library’s annual art contest. I was in the 3rd grade and painted the characters from the Best Nest. I got my picture in the local newspaper and a 3rd place ribbon. My next victory was in the 6th grade.  We were approaching 1976, our country's 200th birthday. My elementary school had a Bi-Centennial art contest judged by a local women's group. I think the judges favored more my subject matter. I drew my first female hero, Betsy Ross, sewing the American flag. The grand prize was a $25 check. I was very proud and this fueled my ambition.

Over the years, "real life" took over…work, marriage, divorce, single motherhood, bills and responsibilities. But that urge to create never subsided. I held on to my childhood dream. At times, it seemed far out of reach and impossible from where I stood. However, I held on to this vision to pursue a creative career. I have always loved nature and never thought that I would be spending most of my adult life indoors in a cubicle. And yet this is where I found myself. I did not want to live a mediocre life or with regrets. So I found ways to educate myself at home and after work by taking oil painting classes with a great teacher Tom Anderson. He helped propel my growth. I never missed a class. I found painting therapeutic and a great way to escape the mundane and workaholic life. It was empowering, satisfying and made me feel unique and special.

I really felt I was on my way when in 2007 I sold my first painting to a woman in Brighton England via the Internet. My first sale to someone that was not a friend or relative! 
I had some savings and when the Internet bubble burst, so went my steady job. This was a blessing in disguise. I decided in year 2008 that I would take a big chance and heed the calling of my dreams with full focus. I ignored the nay Sayers. I persevered through the challenges of starting a business and overcoming obstacles. And today, I can honestly say that I am glad I did not give up. I created something out of nothing.  Two of the best jobs perfect for me.  Creative and free.  I now divide my time between painting, selling my art work and teaching art to children and adults. I also have another business that allows me to work from home, my Hawaii vacation rental business. Both are growing as am I. The hardest thing in the beginning of this endeavor was to give up a steady paycheck and earn less income, but I see it as a temporary adjustment. I took a leap of faith and my vision and dreams are still in its infancy. This journey is not for the faint of heart…I am working on my first book with additional personal stories.  Please contact me for more information.  
Kathy McCartney

Mark Twain expresses it best - “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the things you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”