What I want when I’m 80 years old.

My Story.

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This is my favorite photo of me and the kids. My son, with his sweet little baby face and my daughter with her two bottom teeth.

I can remember that moment like it happened yesterday, and it was almost 4 years ago. We were in the guest room of our home having a pillow fight and making a “fort” under the down comforter. It was cold outside but we were cozy.

As a full time stay at home mommy artist, I have had many opportunities to play with my kids. Many moments of making a complete fool of myself on purpose just to make them laugh (everyone know that those are the best kinds of giggles to hear).

When I was younger, I never really gave much thought about what was important to me as a life mission. I did my best to be kind, successful and passionate, but I never asked myself the question, “where do I want to be when I’m 80?”

Now that I am in my late thirties, and away from the corporate world, the allure of money and things have started to die down and I am realizing now, more than ever, the importance of relationships. Every day I have the opportunity to love on my little family. Every day with my art, I have the opportunity to help other people love on theirs. That really is an honor.

I think that that realization is what has truly started to form my vision for my own personal and business goals over the last few years. Because, as we all know, not much matters more than the relationships we have and get to enjoy in our life, however long or short it may be.

When I am 80, I want to be known as a faithful loving wife and mom, a good friend, and someone full of forgiveness and grace. I want to exude joy, and help others to do the same. I want to give the people around me a reason to laugh and smile and love life.

In business, I want to do many of the same things. I want to help people to celebrate their relationships, and to give them a moment of joy every day by reminding them of the beautiful world around them- a way to remember where they were when their special memories happened.

It’s been a true joy, the last few years, to work on so many custom art projects that honor anniversaries, marriages, homes, friendships, moments of transition and growth… for that, I am abundantly thankful.

This is my big picture. What is yours?

Have a beautiful day,

Rachel

 

 

 

 

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2018 – Year in Review

My Story.

Can you believe that 2018 is already over? I don’t know if it was the unseasonably warm winter weather or the influx of fall activities that made it seem to fly by faster than usual, but here we are at another beautiful year.

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Each year I try my best to take a look back at the projects, commissions and goals that were completed. It’s a fun way to start with a clean slate for the next year, see opportunities for growth and development and get my priorities for life and business in order.

I had 5 major goals in 2018:

  1. to learn to pump the brakes.
  2. to cultivate better friendships, especially with other artists.
  3. to grow the wholesale side of the business.
  4. to paint things that made me uncomfortable and forced me to flex my art muscles.
  5. to be better about book- keeping throughout the year.

All in all, I call 2018 a success according to those measures.

There was a marked difference in my stress levels this year. A conscious decision was made to be less of a “yes” person, and spend more time “in” the business and not “on” the business. So, I planned ahead more and used more automation tools to help with that.  I was also thankful to have more consistent childcare (21 hours per week) which helped life/work balance tremendously, and allowed me to truly enjoy both more than before.

Collaboration was a huge focus in 2018- from partnering with amazing guest bloggers, to working with photographers and wedding planners, it was so refreshing to cultivate new relationships with ultra-talented artists across many outlets. What an inspiration!

Wholesale became a huge focus. After applying and being accepted to wholesale outlets Indie Me, Stockabl and Faire, wholesale took over as the 2nd largest portion of my business, just after retail.

For commissions, I reached out of comfort zone on several occasions this year – moving away from solely painting landscapes and venturing more into portraiture. Digital illustrations became a new adventure as well- something I have wanted to try for quite a few years.

I’m still working on being better about monthly bookkeeping, LOL (!), but at least I am getting to my year in review in December instead of April… #progress?

 

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It’s interesting to me to compare year over and year and see where things have changed and where my energy and time can be best used going forward.

So, here is a side by side for 2017- 2018.

 

Here are a few of the highlights of 2018:

  1. first collaboration with the National Parks Service for Chaco Culture National Historical Park

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2. first digital t-shirt design

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3. first major art fair (National Folk Festival)

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4. The release of mini versions of the 50 state stickers & travel tracker map.

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In the coming year, I have quite a few big dreams and goals. Here are a few of them:

  • Automate more of what can be automated to protect family/friend time
  • Work on more personal projects
  • Develop new product lines
  • Continue to expand wholesale
  • Collaborate with influencers
  • Explore more logo/branding design

Thank you all so much for your constant encouragement and support.  I am forever grateful to have you here along with me in this journey.

Here’s to 2019- a new year for getting past fears, making and meeting goals and opportunities for growth. What are some of your goals & dreams?

Love and Light- Happy New Year!

-Rachel, TheNapTimeArtist

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 Year in Review

My Story.

It’s April 3rd, and I am FINALLY getting around to writing about what happened in 2017. Funny thing is with tax prep, current art projects and LIFE, I just hadn’t made it a priority to sit down and reflect on what had happened, and what I would like to see happen in 2018. So, here we are!

Last year was a big, fun whirlwind. Being a small art business owner has it’s own unique challenges, but coupling that with being a full time stay at home mom makes the days & tasks all kind of run together. I’ve never been all that great at making time for reflection (as seen in this here blog post, ha!), but I am trying to be better about it.

Sometime at the beginning of the last year I read this article: 4 motivations that make artists successful. In the article, it talks about how there are 4 major things that inspire artists to succeed – people can either be motivated by one, or a combination of all of them:

  • financial success
  • social interactions
  • compulsion to create
  • the freedom of the artist lifestyle

After I read the article, I realized that my desire to paint every day is definitely linked to all four, with financial success at the bottom of the list and social interactions at the top, in terms of importance to me.

The one thing that sticks out to me the most about 2017 is all of the social interactions. I was blessed to be able to work on twice as many custom paintings compared to 2016. Each of those pieces offered me an opportunity to really connect with an individual- to see a glimpse into what they hold dear and see as meaningful in their own life. This is my absolute favorite kind of work. There is just something about being trusted with someone’s memories that really makes being an artist rewarding emotionally. Here are some of the custom pieces I painted last year:

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I definitely feel a compulsion to paint (although I really don’t like that word “compulsion” at all.) It’s kind of hard to explain, but it’s almost like I don’t feel the compulsion, but more the absence of something when I don’t make time for art. Last year I made time for it, and that felt really good.

It’s true, there is great freedom in the artist’s lifestyle but, as it’s been said, with great freedom comes great responsibility. Unlike my previous “traditional” jobs, I have no one giving me a morning to-do list, setting up my meetings, or paying my taxes or contributing to my matching 401k. In 2017 it was a big learning curve for me to manage my time wisely but I am SO thankful that it was ME managing MY time. I had the freedom to say “yes” to projects that really meant something to me and “no” to ones that didn’t.

Here are a few of the highlights of 2017:

 

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  • participated in my first art fair, and a very dark photo to prove it. /\
  • successfully potty trained our daughter
  • got accepted to see on Handmade at Amazon
  • all 50 state paintings were formatted into decals:

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  • I made our bed EVERY SINGLE MORNING after watching this >video<
  • I was able to collaborate with The Maryland Citizens for the Arts on a project to help raise arts awareness in our state:

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  • I stopped feeding myself solely with the random food left on my kid’s lunchtime plates – ie. goldfish crackers and cold Mac n’ cheese….
  • 37 unique commissions were completed
  • first commercial rights art project completed
  • used colored pencils for the first time since college (15 years ago):

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  • first newspaper article was written about me concerning balancing being a mom and artist
  • successfully learned all of the songs from Disney’s Frozen and then subsequently performed them during my kid’s bath time every day (pro tip: bathroom echoes make for better concerts, let me tell you…)
  • first foreign country painted:DSC_2617

2016/2017 side by side:

Overall, It was a great year with many opportunities for personal growth. There were many “firsts” and even more “what the heck am I doing?!” moments.

So, what are my goals in 2018?

  1. learn to pump the brakes. A perfectionist by nature, I can sometimes try to take on too much at once. I’m learning to be intentional with my time, both as a mother and an artist.
  2. cultivate better friendships, especially with other artists. As much as I love the social interactions that being an artist affords, it can sometimes be a lonely place too. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best friend someone can have- not because I don’t care- quite the contrary- I am simply not very good at reaching out.
  3. grow the wholesale side of the business. There is something very special about the thought of having my work be a part of someone else’s dream to have a small business. It’s like we are in this together, and I love that.
  4. Paint things that make me uncomfortable and force me to flex my art muscles.
  5. Be better about book- keeping throughout the year so I am not writing my 2018 re-cap in April of next year… (2019, don’t quote me on this one. haha!!)

Well, there you have it. Lots of things happened, and here’s to setting (and reaching) some new goals in 2018.

Thank you so much for following along, everyone.

Your support means the world to me!

See more “real-time” art projects on my Instagram >here<.

Have a beautiful day,

– Rachel