You hear it often enough: An artist still has a job outside the art world in order to pay the bills. Here’s the story of one person’s liberation from a day job.
Lead Image: On her first day of full-time painting, Diane Young painted this.
Ohio painter Diane Young decided to take a part-time job to help pay some bills. It was supposed to be four hours a week. But she slipped up and did a good job, and within a couple of months, the United States Postal Service promoted her to a career position, one that had her working six days a week, sometimes for 12 hours a day. “All I did was go to work and come home and go to sleep,” says Young. “The job was exhausting. I would have actually liked the job if I were not an artist with a burning desire to paint landscapes. My family encouraged me to try and stay a year.”
She did stay a year … and then she got out of there. “One day, I guess I woke up and said, ‘This is crazy!’ I gave them a month’s notice and made plans to live an artist lifestyle again. My first day of plein air painting was a mixture of excitement and fear. I had plenty of time in the last year to envision what I wanted to do differently in my approach to painting. Of course my first day did not go smoothly at all. I like using my old French easel. But I could not find my palette. I looked everywhere. So I grabbed my little 6”-x-8” guerrilla box … but I could not find the tripod. I thought, ‘OK, then I will paint on the steering wheel.’ I got to a painting site that I could paint from the car. I opened the little 6”-x-8” box and all the screws fell out at once. I was bound and determined to paint, and nothing was going to stop me. I leaned the detached lid on the steering wheel and painted my first plein air painting this year. I had a wonderful time painting.”
The year away from painting did do her some good, if only to show clearly where her heart is. “Even though I don’t want to go another year without painting, I have to admit I did come back to my artist life feeling stronger and more determined to use my time wisely and to strive for excellence. I am thankful!”