Why I gave up graphic design (Milwaukee delivery #2)

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Shemagne with the newest addition to her collection of Marie Scott oil paintings. She is shown here in her lovely peace-filled home, holding the painting called SC TREE #6 while standing in front of another of my pieces she owns called LAKE MICHIGAN 3.

She made me breakfast... I felt just like I was stopping into a B & B at just the right time!

In addition to the delicious cup of ginger Rishi Tea she was serving, I also got to tour of her home which includes her bedroom that overlooks Lake Michigan. Her view would be a great motivation to wake up each morning. (My photos do not do this light and airy room justice. It's as warm and inviting as any B & B we've ever been to.)

Shemagne does lots of entertaining on her patio, sharing this million dollar view with her friends. Too bad it was rainy that morning... if you've never been to the shores of Lake Michigan, on a clear day, it is JUST as inspiring as being at the ocean.

How cute is this chair? I love it!

Another one of my oil paintings that Shemagne owns called KINDNESS. She hung it here in the stairwell, so that she would see it every time she left her home. She says "It reminds me to be kind to others and to be kind to myself!" (You can read the meaning behind this abstract painting on my web site at http://www.mariescottstudios.com/paintings/by_category/68)

Here's Shemagne's newest piece, SC TREE #6. It looks great hanging on this small wall which is located across from LAKE MICHIGAN 3. Although created five years apart, they look like they were meant to be together.

SC TREE #6 • 8 inches x 8 inches • © 2009 marie scott

LAKE MICHIGAN 3 • 36 inches x 48 inches • © 2004 marie scott

KINDNESS • 36 inches x 24 inches • © 2005 marie scott

On the Saturday morning of Easter weekend while visiting Wisconsin, I made the second of three deliveries to one of my Milwaukee patrons that lives in our home town of Bay View.

And I was reminded once again, why it was that I gave up a lucrative graphic design business in order to pursue the life of “starving artist.” 🙂

There are few things in life that bring me as much pleasure as seeing the look on somebody’s face when they’ve fallen in love with one of my paintings. On Saturday I was blessed with both “the look,” as well as a most enjoyable visit catching up with one of my “fans” named Shemagne. (Her name which, when pronounced correctly, lyrically rhymes with “the RAIN.”)

Shemagne and I met years ago at one of my art shows in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood. In August of 2008, when I was getting ready to move South to SC, Shemagne purchased two of my large oil paintings. Since then, she’s bought my calendar each year, and with her payment sends me the most uplifting notes telling me how my paintings have brought her joy.

I made a comfortable living as a graphic designer, but it gave me no joy. It made me plenty of money, but more frustration than it was worth to me. The headaches of making sometimes 10 or 20 rounds of copy revisions; listening AGAIN to “can you just scoot that logo over a little more to the right” while trying not to kill the client; and the fact that my long hours of work in designing printed marketing pieces that eventually wound up in the recycle bin; were some of the reasons I actually listened to my husband Tim’s advice in 2001.

I was at a cross-roads where I had the opportunity to expand my graphic design business, even though my goal/plan that year was to retire and  begin painting full-time. He wisely (and most selflessly) told me he thought I should give up the money and follow my dream. So I took his advice and his willingness to support me, and gave up my graphic design cash cow.

It actually wasn’t until about 2 months before our son Nathan was born in 2003 that I REALLY started taking my life as a career artist seriously. (Great timing??!) But that was another cross-roads for me. I knew that with this baby coming soon, if I didn’t commit to making my art my CAREER, that it would be years before I didn’t have the “I’m too busy” excuse any longer.

If it weren’t for the encouragement of both my husband and all the wonderful art patrons I’ve met over the years, I would have quit heading down this road long ago. For how much I LOVE to paint, it’s a rather lonely and messy business at times. And like anything worth doing and doing well, it takes hard work and sacrifice.

But seeing Shemagne last weekend was such a boost to my morale as an artist. She let me into her lovely home to see and experience how she’s been enjoying my paintings for the last couple of years. It’s quite humbling to actually think about the fact that people allow my paintings into the private sanctuary of their homes. I know how choosy I am about what is displayed on my walls, so I don’t take this very personal choice they’ve made lightly.

So to all of you Marie Scott patrons out there: thank you for using your precious wall space to display something I’ve painted. I hope that looking at it adds a sense of peace and warmth into your life. And that you find as much enjoyment (or even more) in looking at the painting you’ve chosen, as I had in creating it.

(Also, thank you for not throwing them away — like all the countless number of brochures I designed back in the ’90s!) 🙂

“SC Tree #6”
“lake michigan 3”

3 thoughts on “Why I gave up graphic design (Milwaukee delivery #2)

  1. Hi! I found you from the Creative Every Day challenge blog and wanted to say I love your work! I too am a graphic designer with a passion for painting and hope to one day give up design and paint full time … or do a little of both but, on my own terms and with my own clients. Thanks for reminding me that it can be done and kudos to you for following your heart! Your work is very vibrant and uplifting 🙂

    • Thanks, Kristen! For the first couple of years as an artist I still did some freelance work. This helped to pay for all my oil paints, canvasses, supplies, etc. while I was first getting started and not selling anything. At first I just painted for myself, then did gifts for people, then started to do art fairs. Every year I did less g. design and more paintings and shows. Till one day I finally had to say no to my graphic design clients because it was taking away too much time from my painting. It was definitely more lucrative to be a freelance designer, but not nearly as rewarding. I’d rather be a starving artist than chained to my computer. I hope you can do the same someday too! The best part about having a GD background is the ability to market yourself. That is a HUGE advantage you’ll have over other artists.

  2. Great post thank you for sharing this. I used to work full time as a graphic designer now I can’t find a job in the field any more. This has inspired to do the same. Live life and follow my dreams! I love designing art for women t-shirts. I need to do it! So I will. Thanks for the inspiration!

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