I’ve been working hard the last few months at overcoming my fears and following my dreams. So I’m running a series of interview with inspiring people to see what part fear has played in their life and how they’ve overcome it to live life their way…
Hi Juliette , tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a Mixed Media Painter and I just love anything full of imagination and color. I’ve always been doing something creative (making cards, jewelry, sewing, writing, gardening, baking, floral design), but if I ask myself what I always wanted to do, but never thought I could, I would say painting. I also fill my life with eating good food, traveling, yoga and enjoying the sunshine!
Have you always considered yourself a ‘professional artist’?
Not at all. I always knew I was an artist, but I didn’t actually feel that mattered or that I could ever do anything with it professionally until the Fall of 2009. Earlier that year, I’d finished writing a novel for children, then lost my job, and realized I was seriously burned out and unhappy. Luckily, a friend of mine started up an Artist’s Way group (reading Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way) and having that supportive creative group gave me the confidence to start painting (which I hadn’t done in 10 years).
I remembered then how much I enjoyed painting and couldn’t stop! People told me I should exhibit my art somewhere and luckily there was a gallery space at our local library. I put my art up there and got such wonderful feedback and loved painting so much, I decided to put all of my creative energy into getting my art out into the world. I posted my paintings as prints and art jewelry on etsy, started a blog, got on facebook and twitter, and keep exhibiting my artwork locally and constantly tell everyone what i do.
Is the life you lead now the life you’ve always dreamt of?
Absolutely. I feel like everything I’ve ever done, professionally and otherwise, has prepared me for what I’m doing now. The art creation part of it is maybe thirty percent of my time with my creative business. The rest is all about marketing, publicity, networking, blogging, photographing etc.
I’ve had careers as a graphic designer, photographer, journalist, web designer and programmer (and more!) and I use all of those skills now. For me, it just makes a huge difference that I’m using them for my own projects and art and not to promote something else. And the best part is that all of my outside interests (like caring for and wanting to inspire others) have found their way into what I’m doing. So I get to meet the most wonderful people who are also passionate about life and beauty and following their hearts.
When you have faced difficulties, what has been your inspiration to keep going?
The greatest inspiration for me is knowing that if I keep going and pushing through, then others can use my experiences and story as their inspiration. That’s something I didn’t know could happen until I started blogging about my life as an artist.
I also tend to look back at my own experiences and use them to keep myself going. For awhile I was always going through the same difficulties and standing in my own way. What helped me, was starting a journal where I document all of the things I’m always going through-like I often go through the feeling that no one is looking at my art and that what I do doesn’t matter. So in my journal, I’ve reminded myself I often feel this way and list what’s worked before to get through it-getting in touch with a supportive community, painting, taking a break, doing something nice for myself. Whatever I’m going through, I’ve realized those are often the same answers and it just helps me to remember it’s all just part of the ebb and flow.
As an artist, I also started documenting my painting process. This became a way for me to overcome all of the doubts that always come up in my head whenever I paint. There’s almost always a point where I feel lost, like I’m no good, I can’t paint anymore, it’ll never turn out. Especially when I’m trying to do something new. But seeing step by step photos helped me realize, those doubts always come up and time and time again, I figure it out. When I see initial photos of a piece I have the proof. And even if I’m not completely happy with a painting, I push through, and always learn something. That undoubtedly helps my next piece or the one after that. And that is very comforting.
Fear affects us all at some point. What part has fear played in your life and how have you overcome it?
I was always scared to pursue my dream of being a painter. That’s why I stopped painting after college and didn’t start again for ten years. I wasn’t so much scared of people seeing my art, but more so I didn’t think anyone would really care about it. I had this impression that being a creative person wasn’t worthwhile. That’s what stopped me from pursuing my dream. And having the support of my husband helped me deal with it. And once he started showing friends and family my paintings whenever they’d stop by, they started giving me the encouragement to have a local exhibition at our public library. And the support just sort of blossomed from there. Building a supportive community and finding like-minded people has been huge for me. And so much of that happened from having a blog.
What advice would you offer on following your heart and living your dreams?
My advice to others is to follow your instincts and build a supportive community for yourself, whether it’s locally, at home or online. And keep going. If you know you’re passion, go with it, honor and nourish it. If you think you don’t have anything you’re passionate about or “good at” just keep trying things and something will click or lead you to the next amazing thing. Just follow whatever it is that makes you happiest, and if you want to make a career out of it, ask lots and lots of questions and create your own path. Don’t think there’s one way of doing something. There’s no right or wrong way, but there’s always a way.
What do you think are the three most important things you need to lead a happy and radiant life?
I’ve found it’s a balance of lots of things. And for me, it’s been so important to figure out what makes me happy and then making sure I am doing exactly that. And doing those things most! There’s a book called the happiness project where the author documents their life to figure out what makes them happy. It’s a good read. I started treating my life like a scientific project and carrying a pocket notebook and actually writing down when I was smiling or feeling happiness and joy. I realized a lot of the things I thought made me happy like having lots of hip events to attend and living in the city-those things didn’t really make me happy. When I was honest with myself, taking walks in the woods, reading a book I loved and watching 80’s movies with my husband really made me happy.
Where can we connect with you?