How I found freedom from my dream

This past year has been a time for reflection and it’s brought big changes in my work. Looking back I see that I realized the dream of my youth.

What was that dream ?

Move to Paris and be an artist. Dreams are attainable. In 1988 I left the US with 400$ in my pocket and a one way ticket to Italy. During the 21 years I lived there I carved a niche in space and built a career.

Then one day I woke up and saw that wasn’t the life I wanted. I sold everything and moved to Paris. People said I was stupid to give away all that I had built and move for the unknown. I had everything in the material world that would make 90% of the people happy. Including a house on the Etruscan coast. Every summer I spent 3 months at the sea…

But Paris was the destination. And it’s been good to me.

Then last year the persona Angie the Artist seemed to vanish. Nothing worked, nothing sold. I was in the red and digging. I had to get a job. I was terrified. I had to get a facial🤣 and I sobbed for an entire day. Starbucks refused me. Amorino didn’t even respond. My ego was a doormat.

Thank God I was practicing Hatha and Nada Yoga everyday. The vritti were calm.

I wanted a job where I didn’t have to think. I cleaned a house and the lady never paid me. I didn’t want to teach English though I had a good CV and I’d been smart enough to get a teaching certificate. Just before the massive strikes last December I interviewed with Cap English.

Then the strikes hit.

They offered me classes the next day because many of their teachers couldn’t get to work. I walked 3 hours in the rain to teach for 3 hours then another 3 hour walk to get home…

I subbed in different schools until in one school the teachers begged me to take over because the former teacher left.

I never knew how much I would like teaching. I even forget I exist when I’m writing on the blackboard. I was liberated from the persona Angie the Artist because I was enjoying myself, thought I did have to think 😉. No time wasted declaring taxes, doing marketing. No pressure.

One day during the lunch pause I looked at a tree and thought how the tree was content. It didn’t need to be anyone. It didn’t have to pretend

I was liberated from a 30+ year ego trip.

And now I am free to paint, scuplt, and play music.

30 years of oil painting

In a few months I’ll celebrate 30 years of activity as a professional artist.

Now what does that mean?

Let’s see.

One of my teachers at the Maryland Institute College of Art told us undergrads that one day we had to decide to be artists. We were green, full of pure Shakti, and a bit of acne.

I remember the day I decided to call myself an artist. It felt strange. I was bartending at Olde Towne Tavern in Frederick, Maryland. And I was making things. I made paintings of blue nudes.

Mind you this was 30 years ago. And this piece of junk has a big story behind it. I’ll tell you the story in the next post.

Let’s get back to what it means to celebrate 30 years of professional artistic activity.

Every thing I own I bought with the earnings from my art.

For 30 years I’ve worked for myself and painted what my heart desires. For 30 years I’ve been my own boss. For 30 years I’ve mixed paint, cleaned brushes, shipped paintings, packed paintings, marketed myself, eaten cheese and apples at the easel, worked until midnight and on Sundays, learned how to make my own website, got fined by customs, given painting workshops, made a painting a day, made 5 paintings a day, made a painting in three weeks… And I made money painting. I’ve paid taxes as an artist for 30 years.

And I LOVE it. I’ve realized my life dream. I became an artist and moved to Paris. I started 30 years ago.

And when I retire I’m going to be a painter.

New Parisian Paintings and some numbers

This has been a good year. Here are some numbers.

  • From January to July I painted 168 paintings and sold 153.
  • I painted 4 mannequins. One sold.
  • Since August 15th I’ve painted another 102 small paintings. In November I’ll know how many of those have sold.

In August I began painting for Carré d’artistes Sedona gallery. At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to paint desert landscapes. It didn’t seem to fit with the last nine years of urban landscapes. But painting the South West has been liberating, I am thrilled.

My technique has changed. Producing a massive amount of work, painting new scenes and the two months that I did not paint (from June to August when I painted the mannequins) are what boosted my technique.

If you haven’t seen my 15 second video tutorials yet, check out my instagram feed. See the links up on the right.