Many working artists piece together livings from various sources. Most of us don’t make it exclusively by selling our art, although it’s what we all aspire to do. It’s one of the ways we are able to leave traditional work behind and it’s something you should consider if you’re thinking of making a major life change in how you’re earning your living.
Consider the things you love in your life and you may be surprised: Job opportunities can spring up in the most unusual ways and places, often related to your life loves. I hadn’t ridden horses since high school and I’d never taken lessons, nor had I ever owned my own horse or worked on a farm. But I was compelled, back then, to save up my allowance and berry picking money to spend at the local stables as often as I could.
In Utah, along with teaching, I ended up supplementing my painting sales by guiding horseback tours out to the ancient sites, something that never failed to inspire me. This opportunity presented itself when I met a 75 year old cowboy who ran the tours while out at one of the sites. He “interviewed” me by pretending he was new to the area and asking if I’d show him around and tell him what I knew about the place. Unbeknown to me, he was an authority on the sites, but he needed a new guide so he was testing me. I knew quite a bit because antiquities had always fascinated me; I never dreamed I’d have a chance to live around them, so I devoured and studied these.
Here in New Mexico I care for up to twenty horses during the horse show season when their people are traveling to the shows. I love doing it. The animals keep me connected, more conscious as I’ve said before, and it helps me to be fit and strong, tossing bales of hay from high in the barn to feed my charges. There is something very romantic about getting in my car and driving across this beautiful land to pastures and a barn where horses (and one donkey named Jack) await my arrival. There is a wonderful stallion there, Victor, who loves peppermints and has now taken to me singing to him. At first he looked at me like I was out of my mind but, little by little, I watched his music appreciation grow. Turns out he really responds to the blues.
I bring up these examples because I believe there are alternative ways of earning livings out there that actually speak to our souls. They will be presented to you if you watch and listen. I wouldn’t have believed this when I was doing my corporate job, but I have found it to be true over these last fourteen years.