(”Porträttmålare” is Swedish for”portraitist”.)
We all have to earn our living somehow. We cannot escape from that, unless someone is kind to pay for your life, as well as for their own.
One evening in 2010 I looked at pay-jobs. I did it more for fun, than because I really thought I needed one. I typed in “artist”. And I got a hit. No, it wasn’t a work as an artist. But as a “helper”. And I thought that working as a helper could be quite all right, as long as we got along.
So, I was called for an interview – the only thought in my head, as I walked there, was: “Let the working hours be concentrated – don’t let them be spread out!”
My prayer was heard, and from then on, once a week, I was to work for 15 hours. And once every third weekend for 14 hours. I did so – for close to nine years. Until February this year.
THE BIG CHANGE I endure. And I stay at places. But it is an artist I am, not a professional helper (I was never enough). So, I said thank you and goodbye in the beginning of this year. The reason I dared to quit, was another job close to where I live, where I thought I also could work. Where there also were good working hours, (which was the reason I had stayed for so long at the other place). I would not have dared to quit if it wasn’t for another paid job (probably, I would, if I had been alone without a child. But so wasn't the case).
But for some reason – don’t ask me why – I never started working at this new job, despite of several steps of preparation for it. First I was confused. What now!!?? What happened??!! Then ... I started focusing on my commissions.
FOCUS Now I could focus so much better on what I was to do. I could now get up at the same time every morning and go to bed at the same time every night of the week – which seems to suit me perfectly. Now I did not have to feel sad or uncomfortable anymore, for not doing what I was good at.
Having had that income had been making me “money-lazy”, as I would not have to force myself to making money on doing my own things. So I didn’t make any money on doing my own things.
PORTRAITIST I am now the "porträttmålare" that I’ve always been. And a happy one! Some weeks ago, as I rode to my studio on my red bike, it hit me how fortunate I was to have been able to develop this gift and knowledge. How fortunate I was that I knew how to paint deans of cathedrals, governors, headmasters and so on. Because I really can! I never reflected on it this with gratitude before. Now I did – and I smiled!
BRINGING BALANCE Now it’s my time to practice balance in my life. There have been periods I have desired to also paint other things than portraits, of course. And there have been times I have been tired and fed up with painting portraits! There wasn’t enough energy in me though for doing all the things; attending to my pay-job AND work on my commissions. AND paint other things AND have leisure time.
But now it has all changed! My job as a portraitist is now being my paid job and painting other things is also my job now. I need to work on both, in order to flourish as an artist, in order not to get bored. In order to develop! But I am not forcing myself to paint the free paintings. Yes, I have to do it! But even though I have to, I make sure I am being generous and kind to myself as well. I am putting no pressure on me what so ever, to achieve anything great in my free painting. Nor do I put the pressure on me that I have to enjoy it all the time! But still, I have to do it – I have to paint in a free mode beside doing the portraiture. And ... in the same time I am being free. Completely free!
And sooner or later, something lovely may appear before my eyes on my easel. That is very possible. – In its´ own pace. So I am aware now of the necessity of developing a balance between doing portraiture and doing free painting, in order for my joy to last – and grow.
LIFE My life has been quite a confused soup of lots of things. I have my son. I have the love for my House. The photography. The making of books. The singing. AND all the etceteras ...
Now – as I enter my studio, I have a wonderful job to attend to. And I have a life outside of the studio, which I can fill with all those other things. Of projects, amusements, love and rest. It is great to now be able to focus in my studio totally on the painting and not on other projects. On my free time – I can focus on all those other things ...
FREE I am so happy to be free! That made it possible for me going home to my House for three whole weeks!!! (My man and son came there too, for the middle of the weeks.) Not attending to my job as a “helper”, also makes it easier to finish my book project. I will do it with help of Josefin Lennartsson, my friend and fellow self-employed, as we will meet regularly and help one another. And this will also happen with the help of the best thing I have come across on the Internet - the 100 days goal!