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 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. I started taking workshops with teachers who could help me improve my skills and develop my "voice."
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 2017, 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?