I had been laid off/let go/fired (???) just a month or so prior.
What??? I was to gather my things and meet the guy downstairs to be walked out? What happened? Where was my supervisor…. what did he know about what I’d been working toward in that position? SO SO WEIRD. I personally dig deeper. I don’t get asked to leave. I take constructive criticism and I do better. But he had indeed slid a letter across my desk and advised me to gather my stuff. huh. I went to my safe place, the library, and sat. For at least a couple hours before I even called my husband. The local library in my town is a beautiful space. But I’m not a reader. I use it as a place to go ground myself, soak in that quietness, look up and out the huge angle skylights and dream and make lists and do work. And Sirius XM called wanting to renew my subscription for just $7 a month and that’s all it took. The tears. The real frustration hit. I tried to keep it together. Most people go to the library to read in the nice quiet that it is. KEEP. IT. TOGETHER. CINDY.
Ok. So now what. That was a part time gig. PERFECT when I was hired, I thought, to get into my creative self bigger while having some safety net of a job to keep me in some routine, provide a monthly income.
But that was that! I’d been fired!!!
So I pieced together a couple part-time jobs… painting seasonal and decorative signs at a local landcape/gift shop, I drummed up some business with some interior decorating jobs with clients I’d been piddling with and thought, if I could get a little more serious about my rates, about how to best shop for them and install the things and provide for them a service of value making their home beautiful and function better, and price it accurately.
And I had one live wedding painting coming up.
But I had no idea what that even was. How was I supposed to paint a whole wedding reception onsite? What did they expect of me and the painting? I remember the day of that job being SO hot and humid, typical mid-Missouri summer but conditions I’ve still not gotten fully used to. I still melt down and hate the sticky, and was rushing around making sure I had EVERYthing I thought I might need for the job. I started the car, cranked the AC on high, made my last trip into the house and backed out of the drive ONTO THE LAWNMOWER sitting behind my car. seriously. I considered launching the thing into the garage door so it would land in the garage where it belonged. But didn’t. My sweaty self squatted to see a little scuff on the underside of my back bumper and I took off. Fuming. But trying to dig deeper and find my happy self. I was heading to a wedding after all…
And I had this tiger. I’d been recruited to be part of a charity campaign. My role was to paint the tiger, represent our team at various functions leading up to the main fundraising event a few weeks later, and attend of course that final event.
So I had the time. I worked it as best I could.
I’d load up my tiger and take off to various public events and paint at those events, side by side, me and this tiger. Hoping to gain awareness for my charity and promote the big event coming up, and to get myself out there practicing as a live event artist. My sister came up with a great logo to accompany my business name at the time (TooRooster Artistry), I had some business cards printed and started telling onlookers that I paint onsite at various events!
Who was I and what was I doing? And saying? Could I deliver on what I was claiming to be??
They seemed to buy it. I got invited to a couple public events and would paint. OH so thankful for the practice. And I was working. I was starting to figure out some things with live painting. The paycheck wasn’t there (hello any starving artists out there?) yet but I could see some potential. And I had the time! So I would accept every chance possible to paint onsite. And I was getting braver, I even contacted some local business, venues and planners myself asking if I could paint for them! I was getting better at the schpeel, it was new to almost everyone so I had to explain briefly what it was I did and planned on if they were open to it
All this was right at four years ago.
Sometimes it seems like 10 years. And sometimes it feels like I am still working so hard to find my way as each and every event I paint is SO different. The journey and the story of it all truly blows me away. There are SOOOO many ups and a few downs. I get very too much in my head. I invest my whole entire everything into your gig. I am grateful. I call many days now pinch-me moments and when people ask how I got started and how is it working now, I confirm this is a dream job. I am a working artist. And I now laugh knowing I got fired. Man what a blessing that was.
To wrap up, that tiger I painted sold for $6800 at the final event. I’m not sure when I’ll ever be able to write a check for that amount to a charity. But my efforts helped create that big number. Also at that final event I painted the bash as it happened. And auctioned off my live painting services for an additional $1000 to also benefit our charity. It was happening. I was started to see some momentum.
Just 4 years ago.