*Shared stories* (62): Tracy Brandt and Jane Davenport
Today’s *shared stories* come from Tracy Brandt and Jane Davenport
For some, doing what they love is a simple straight-line process. “I love to paint” + I find a way to paint = I do what I love.
For me, I honestly don’t love much of what I do.
I do what I do because I love the outcome.
Let me explain: for me, having a dream and doing what I love requires being inside the stringent and often corrupt parameters of a chaotic third world country. You see, in 2005, I founded a home for orphan children in Nepal, called Rising Lotus Children’s Village.
Although I realize nothing worthwhile in life ever comes easy, I have to say that nothing could be more difficult than trying to create and effectively run a program and policy in a third world country when you live halfway around the globe. Every tiny step in this process is a lesson in frustration. There is never enough money. There is never enough time to get it all done. There is always some glitch or delay in every transaction. It’s enough to make you want to pull your hair out … to just give up! … to say “Screw this!! Let someone else do it. Let someone else care.”
And that’s when you remember: “Oh wait. I care!”
So I keep trudging forward. Why? Because though the work itself is anything but loveable, I love the possibility of changing the life of an orphan for the better. I love the possibility of helping a child escape the horrid cycle of abject poverty, to give that child a chance! Because an orphan child is as deserving of love and opportunity as any other child on the planet, including my own,
I don’t know when I first realized that I wanted to do this and/or that this work is what I love. I only know that the moment I first stepped foot in Nepal, I knew I was meant to be there forever. And that when I saw the hundreds upon hundreds of orphan children literally discarded in the streets, I knew I had to do something to help.
Have I started a global powerhouse organization? No. Some revolutions are quiet ones. I founded a small, grassroots children’s home with a handful or orphans. Over the years, we’ve grown to 12 kids, then to 20. We have a waiting list of nearly 200. Those truly needing services like ours number in the thousands. It’s enough to knock you down the need is so great.
How did I make this a reality? I tempted fate. I told everyone who laughed at me to go to hell. I carried on. I continue to carry on. I refuse to give up.
I don’t know. My “Do What You Love” story isn’t very glamorous. It’s filled with a lot of stress and frustration and worry. It’s filled with no time for myself because managing this work, along with two boys, and a husband with his own complex company to run (who gets to his wits end with the time and energy running Rising Lotus takes from me) … there just never seems to be much time for me that’s just mine.
But, I carry on because in my soul I feel called back time and time again to Nepal: to these children and to the people there and to the country.
I don’t love it all. Does anyone ever love ALL of the aspects of doing what they love? Is it only worth loving when things go smoothly and right?
We do what we love because we love what comes out of our love. We love the product of our love.
For me, the product of my love is that a child that was entirely without one … now has a positive chance! Not a guarantee, but a chance! Now that’s powerful.
So, I’m sticking with it. Sometimes doing what you love means finding your rainbow and sliding down it. But for others, doing what you love sometimes means staying true to your dream, come hell or high water.
The impossible only seems so until you do it.
I took the leap to be a “Professional Artist” in 2000. It was a monumental decision and seemed very sudden to the outer world.
I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t possible for me to NOT do what I love…
And what I LOVED doing was looking at ladybirds. So I ditched a burgeoning fashion photography career in London and Paris for taking photographs of bugs. I even came up with a term for what I do : Artomology. ( yep, I swapped photographing the human type of stick insect and social butterfly for the real thing!)
Over the past 12 years I have built my reputation as an internationally exhibited Photographic Artist, prize-winning Author and gallery owner. I have also work with fantastic companies who license the rights for my images to create calendars, stationery ranges, textiles and homewares.
I discovered Art Journaling 2 years ago, and for the first time, really felt the creative dots within me connecting. I have since become a bit of a journaling evangelist! I know what a joyful transformation untangling myself in in Art Journal has had for me, and I am rather gung-ho about sharing the benefits of creating a dedicated space for artistic outpouring!
I was asked to teach in an collaborative online workshop about Art Journaling called “21 Secrets” last year and nearly said no, I was too busy with my Gallery, writing a book, painting etc etc… but I adore and respect the person who invited me, so on a whim I said “yes”… then nearly melted with panic!
I created a mini online workshop called ” Draw Happy”, which focuses on the bizarre fact that drawing seems to terrify people, even incredibly creative, arty ones! And as soon as the doors to the class opened, students rushed in and BANG! ! Joy for teaching and empowering women through harnessing their creative potential absolutely exploded in my chest. Serious volcano!
Once I discovered I had a superpower for teaching people to draw from their imagination, the rest of the world kind of dropped away, as my attention turned to this new adventure. I gather so much fun and love from my students and I become ever more creative as a result. To say we have a love inferno going on, is a bit of an understatement!
I run my workshops on two of my own School sites now. They have been a huge success and the results my beloved students get for themselves are amazing quite frankly. A day never goes by where someone makes me feel like jumping on the table and doing a can-can at their creative progress. To help grow another persons confidence is an amazing gift to both parties. I ‘get’ teaching. I heart it.
My big dream now is to continue growing as an Online Creativity Leader. I have so many ideas for workshops! I am also working on some of my own art products, things that are missing from my art supply arsenal – and let me tell you, if I don’t have it as a degenerate art supply junkie, it doesn’t exist!
I also had the immense pleasure of teaching my art heroine, Teesha Moore at her Artfest Annex earlier this year, and I want to combine more live workshops with travel. I have the first of my Escape Artist retreats in Bali this year. Next July will be Paris. The future holds many more fun, juicy events…
[Images courtesy of Jane Davenport. To find out more about Jane visit her website]
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