This week we share the story of mixed media artist Juliette Crane (in the US) and paper-cutting artist Helen Musselwhite (in the UK)
To me, to do what you love means waking up each morning and being excited, knowing you’re looking forward to enjoying your day. I’d tried so many different careers- as an arts reporter, photographer, graphic designer, floral designer, editorial assistant, web developer. And I was unbelievably unfulfilled with every one (except maybe floral design because I adore flowers and colors so much). But there was always something about each career that didn’t fit. And, so often, that something just broke my spirit.
Still, I felt like it must be me. So many others seemed to be fine with going into work and attending meetings and even creating art based on some one else’s’ specifications. That was never me. Yet, I know how very much every one of those careers helped me to learn exactly what I needed to do what I love today.
This past year has been amazing! I finally dedicated myself to making my art my full-time career. And it has been one of the most wild, fulfilling, wonderful years! I feel like I’ve been able to get in touch with that incredible flow of life and make dreams reality. I meet the right people and things just fall right into place. But a lot of hard work has gone into it all. And when I talk about doing what you love and waking up each day and looking forward to enjoying it, I know that through all of the hard work I put in last year, even through all of the amazing successes, I lost a lot of that every day joy.
My life got so out of balance. When everything seems to be going in this phenomenal direction and people respond to your artwork and it’s all a dream, it’s hard, for me at least, to stop. Yet I wouldn’t have done it any other way. For me to remember to separate myself, at least sometimes, from that crazy current that can pull you along. That was an awesome lesson.
Now I know exactly what I want for this year…to enjoy it all! Not just in really celebrating all of the amazing things I’m accomplishing, and not even in making time for myself, my wonderfully supportive husband and my family, but actually being present and loving every second in my every day! To remember all of those little things, those small moments, that are absolutely most important.
Like the young man at my art opening who made me cry when he looked at my paintings and said he wished he could take every one of them home with him. Like the girl who asked me to teach her and her friends how to paint owls at her 1oth birthday party and who near-pressed her nose for minutes to my snowy owl painting, she loved it so much. Like all of the smiles and gorgeously unique owls everyone goes home with at my painting workshops. I feel so honored to be a part of it all!
And that, is doing what I love.
(All images courtesy of Juliette Crane)
Juliette Crane is a mixed-media artist and writer living in Madison, Wisconsin. Registration for her new How To Paint an Owl E-course is now open. I’m in!
I do what I love every day and I feel very blessed that I’ve finally got here. It took a while and a few incarnations. I try not to take it for granted though as I realise it could so very easily slip from my tight grasp.
Doing what I love means I can go off on flights of fancy and fairytale through my work, and each piece of artwork is a world to escape to whilst I’m making it. I have always known that my working life would be something to do with art. Drawing, painting and making were favourite pastimes as a child and my parents always encouraged me. Art school was the next and obvious step.
I migrated to paper through lots of other materials including wood, silver and gold and fabric but paper won! I started making my paper sculptures four years ago when my partner and I relocated to the north of England. Until we moved I had been doing two part time jobs – one in the art department of a school and the other working with a friend in her jewellery shop. In the shop my duties included making jewellery and designing the window displays. These I made from paper – and it was then I realised paper had all the properties I been looking for but couldn’t find in the other materials I had experimented with. My love of paper was born!
I got together a website, contacted shops and galleries I’d come across in my travels, started an Etsy shop and off I went. Over the past four years the Internet has been, and continues to be my most important tool. Looking back to my previous incarnations in the world of art over a decade ago it is clear how the internet has made self-promotion, finding an audience and selling work so much simpler and quicker.
I work from a studio in my home which I love doing. Each day I’m in my own world only emerging for necessary things like eating, dog walking and spending time with Andrew my partner. Sometimes I head into Manchester to buy paper – a valid distraction.
The downside of working from home is that I find it very hard to turn off from work especially if I have a deadline (which happens quite often). Often the urge to unload the dishwasher or do a bit of vacuuming takes over, and inevitably takes more than the five minutes I intended.
There is no doubt I work harder, and for longer hours than I ever have before, but I am so much happier and fulfilled in my work. It is a trade I’m more than willing to make.
I hope to carry on as I am loving what I do until I’m an old lady, but I’m only as good as my last piece of work so I never take it for granted.
(All images courtesy of Helen Musselwhite)
Are you doing what you love?
Join the innovative new e-course which will help expand your comfort zone, nurture your playful spirit and feed your creative soul.
It will help you identify your passion and find a way to do what you love, for life.
Class begins March 14.