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Change is good

For a long time, I struggled to call myself an Artist. When meeting new people, I had a bunch of other labels I clung to that seemed safer and easier to explain: Student, Analyst, Planner, Teacher, Sister, Daughter, Friend. This year I gave up those labels and moved to a tiny town to make art and eat bread. There is much more to the choice than that, and I don’t regret it, but it wasn’t easy. I’m committing to making art full time, and I’m hoping that this blog will be a place where I can share the progress of my paintings and other projects, something I have wanted to do for a long time!

A bit about me:

Three years ago in Melbourne I finally quit my corporate job to finish my teaching degree. I had fallen into the fashion industry by chance and it took me about 10 years to fall out of it. Quitting was one of the best choices I ever made. I learnt a lot – including about myself – and not all of it was good. I didn’t love the work and I wanted to do something more meaningful. Years before I had started my teaching degree, but put it on hold because I was in my early 20’s and felt I didn’t have enough experience to teach anything to anyone.

When entering teaching in my 30s I’ll admit I had my days where I wasn’t sure I had made the right choice. I suddenly felt too old – like I was just starting my teaching career and starting at the bottom when everyone else my age had 10+ years of experience. In the end it didn’t matter, I love teaching – I am taking a break from it now but I know that I will go back to it one day.

There's no place like home:

Deciding to pick up and move to a new country was hard for many reasons. My partner, Chris, had moved over to Aus from New Zealand three years prior and we’d created a nice little life in Melbourne. I have a reasonably big Italian family who I love, I often “shopped” at my parents place for left overs or garden produce. I had developed a great group of friends close by – rain or shine friends whom I love and who love me for my imperfections and quirks. I also didn’t know if I wanted to leave my job just yet. Teaching was the first time I had really experienced loving my job. It was hard, but it was so rewarding. We lived in a converted ivy-covered stables. Even I couldn’t believe that one – getting the house had been a stroke of good luck, it was the kind of place you could skip home to, and I didn’t want to give that up!

The Hokianga

We moved to the Hokianga, in the far north of New Zealand’s North Island, in January. The primary reason for this was Chris’s work and I think we made the right choice. Staying because things were going well didn’t seem like a good enough reason. The move meant a lot of change – and change is scary, but I believe that change is good. Our new town is small but beautiful, every hill seems to have a new view with mountains and water. Depending on which side of town you’re on, you often get a stunning sunrise or sunset – most of my first conversations with the locals were about where I lived and what view we have. We have a cracker view of the sunset. Everyone waves hello, I’ve had elderly neighbours give me a lift when they saw me walking into town in the rain, it’s not unusual to have a conversation with a complete stranger and everything (about 7 shops) is pretty much shut by 7pm. It’s a nice life.

And now..

For first couple of months here I felt really guilty not looking for a teaching job. Committing to being a full time Artist feels scary for me – If I can’t make it work now, with no other commitments to compete for my time, what does that mean? But mostly I’m excited. I’ve started a bunch of lino prints, stretched and primed my canvasses, and started the first few paintings, and it feels good. I count myself incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to follow my dreams. I’m even more lucky that I have a partner who supports me in this endeavour.

I recently flew home to Australia, and I had a moment on the flight back to NZ when I was filling in the arrivals form. In the occupation section I wrote Artist for the first time.

So I suppose this is where my blog really begins

Have you made a big career change? What inspired you to do it – or what is holding you back? I’d love to hear from you!

#Painting #printmaker #artist #Melbourne #Hokianga #OilPainting #NewZealand

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