I am a late-to-believing-I-can artist. Although I loved art making through high school, in college I got spooked in my first effort and any real aspirations I had had were buried under many layers of denial, then coursework, then jobs, marriage and parenting. A few years ago, I decided to try and find the person hiding under all those layers and see if I could bring that life, love and joy into my future -- while keeping the people and other good aspects of my life still healthy and whole.
First, I started teaching myself to paint. I took a class, pulled my materials out of their canvas bag after the kids went to bed and went to work, then moved the easel back to its corner, out of the way of our lives, before I went to bed. Soon, I took over part of the kids' playroom for my painting, but still cleaned it up for them by the weekends, when they were home. In 2012, I began showing and selling my work.
In 2013, I rented a studio of my own in town. It is tiny, but it is a flag staked in the ground, marking my territory publicly: this is Torrey's dream. I have been doing lots of reading and thinking about how to be brave and keep painting. I have been starting to reach out to arts organizations, to galleries and stores, to juries, and to the public, and trying to get their attention in various ways. I keep painting, painting, painting.
The definition of "successful artist" is far from standard and it seems like figuring that out is a big part of feeling some sense of peace in the daily struggle against the voices in my head so that I can keep painting and enjoying it. As of 2018, my definition is something like: my goal is to be an artist whose process keeps me stimulated and learning, whose work is engaging to the viewer, who generates revenue and who somehow also finds work-life balance. A girl can dream, right?