Nothing Ventured…Nothing Gained
I just wanted to write a quick post on why you should always stretch yourself…to try new things…to forge into unknown territories. You never know what it will bring. It will increase your confidence and skill – and you may just get a few jobs you never would have gotten without stretching those unused muscles.
For over 20 years I was in the corporate world – you know…suit, sensible shoes and haircut and a briefcase filled with folders about news of fixed income investing, financial industry mergers and acquisitions…the Wall Street Journal and a fully booked daytimer. I did very well financially – but spiritually I was bereft. I knew that I needed a change but what was I going to do? I knew that I needed money to pay the mortgage, bills etc. Sometimes, change comes to you. It’s up to you to accept the change or defer and stay with the status quo.
After 20 years of creating executive conferences for the financial services industry (nearly 10 of those years as the head of my own company), I was experiencing extreme burnout. With the burnout came a severe reduction of the number of attendees to my events. It was partly my fault and partly the economy, but my little success machine of a company wasn’t earning as much money as it had been. So – after a few failed attempts to revive the company, I allowed my main investor in the company to start unwinding the organization. He had been a great help to me in the beginning, but he started to be a thorn in my and the company’s side over the years.
I gave in and allowed my 20 plus years of this business to just evaporate and fade. But, funny enough, it felt as if a huge ton of bricks was just lifted from my chest! I found that I could consult to a few companies on a part time basis, while I searched around for a new challenge.
My first mural…really!
I had always loved the decorative arts world and so I searched around for some mentors who could teach me the ins and outs of decorative painting, murals, stencilling etc. After taking classes in designer faux finishing, furniture painting and several other classes, I started to do some projects in my home. After I felt confident in what I was doing I did some paid projects in clients’ homes. I did my first mural class (above) and within a week of finishing the class I got a job doing an angel mural in an entryway for a wonderful client. This was only my 5th or 6th real client. I was a little unsure about my ability – but thankfully it turned out beautifully. I was able to create the mural on canvas in my garage (turned studio now!) and the artwork was installed a month later in the client’s home.
What I want to impart to all of you is that no matter where you are job-wise or life-wise, whatever skill level you have, there is always hope and a brighter side of life – if you choose to tackle it and not be hemmed in by fear. I had never picked up a paintbrush in years – but I was shown by some incredible artists and mentors how to recreate a classical work of art without having to go to years of art school instruction. Yes, I had some natural talent. But, mostly, I was just a corporate drop out looking for a way to be free.
Note: The way I did this mural was 1) by priming and painting a canvas, then I skip troweled an off white smooth plaster over it – then another coat of off white paint 2) by using a projector (what a huge help!) to trace as much of the artwork as I could and 3) building up layers of washy paint getting darker and darker each time – I learned to “see shapes,” especially where the shadows were, instead of trying to paint or draw the art. 4) I took a piece of sandpaper -sometimes medium…sometimes fine – and sanded here and there to give the artwork some age (this helped create crevices) 5) When done, I antiqued the entire piece.
Now all I have to do is figure out where I will place this in my home!
So don’t give up. Pick up a paint brush, buy some canvases, take some classes in your community or online. You never know what will happen and what it will bring you. I know for one thing – it will bring you happiness.
Happy creating! Just DO IT!!
Linking this to my friends at…
How very inspiring!
Thanks Dee Dee – as are you!
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That is amazing! You are so talented. Drool. Thanks for the inspiration… I needed that today 🙂
So true! For starters, it seems Sally and I are always stretching to keep up with technology.
Our major stretch happened about 10 years ago when Sally and I burned out on doing commercial interior design work. (there are only so many ways you can creatively line up 200 desks in a row…) We both explored career alternatives. (For example, I tried being a fishing guide.) We kept drifting back to design and finally decided to re-invent ourselves doing residential interior design around 2005. We love our decisions. Our first major project has received 10 regional and national awards. We've had to battle through this lingering recession and we've survived. Not too bad…
So, I echo you. If you're thinking about a change of direction, follow your heart and give it a go.
What a story! So glad you took a chance on something new and found your bliss 🙂
I just recently re-read the comment you left on my blog…moons ago….Oh, I am so quick to reply. haha…and I just LOVE LOVE LOVE the words you wrote.
Thanks for the blog love !
Best of luck with your hubs ( and your awesome work/lifestyle )…who needs to wear a suit anyway?!! PJ's are way more fun. LOL.
Keep kicking cancer in the butt.
What a truly inspiring post! Thank you so much for sharing that. And I must say, you have such incredible talent–such a beautiful mural.
As one who has taken painting lessons for years from an old-timer who teaches impressionism oil painting, I like what you've done and it sounds a ton easier, too. Best wishes, Linda
Do you have Linky tools on your blog? I heard through other blogs that Google Connect is going away soon. So I now have Linky tool and feel like I have to start all over again. If you get the Linky thing I'll come back and sign up. For now I followed your Google Connect.
Wow what a gift you have and your post was so honest and inspirational. Thank you for that and for sharing it on BeColorful's Motivated Monday. Hopefully you will have motivated many. 😀
I’ve been trying to find mural classes in nyc online and have been unsuccessful so far. Did you take your class in new york?
Hi Myla. Where are you located? I do have a contact that might be interested in teaching. I will contact him and ask what his schedule looks like – and will get back to you. Do you think you could travel to Connecticut? That’s where his studio is. It’s not a far ride from NYC.