All the trips out into the wilderness to draw are over now and in a weeks time all my pictures will be hanging in the gallery. Oh so looking forward to seeing all of my work on display together!
At the beginning of this adventure when I was still wondering how it would all happen and had not much money to make a lot happen, I contacted many businesses and organizations thinking that sponsorship would be the answer. But, in the end, it wasn't. I don't have a job, I'm a full time artist who just doesn't make much money yet. I have been able to live at home still thanks to my amazingly supportive parents - I cook and clean for my keep. And what little money I might earn from selling art has all gone towards The Art of a Hut project. Somehow I've always had just enough, and when it's needed the money comes. Life is like that when you just trust and go for it. Passion and love defies logic. There have been times when a trip we had planned was coming up or I need to pay for more art supplies or buy contacts, so I can see (my glasses got lost along the way and I can't afford new ones - yet!), and every time, at the last minute, the money would come. I was donated money from some wonderful people who follow my adventures, and at other times just when I should have been panicking an email pops up and I've sold a painting! And all my friends have been incredible, everyone wanted to come along for a tramping holiday and so we split the costs of the food and travel between us. And when we were all tight on money we hitched and meet some amazing and some unique people on the road!
It is a good thing I never started all this to make money. I think that for some people it is a strange concept to accept, this naive disregard for money that I have. I have spent two years of life and career on a project that has no great return in profit, At very best I might get the equivalent of half a years minimum wage for my over two years worth of work. But believe me, I'm far better of and happier than I would have been at a stable job with a regular wage. I get to live my dreams while I work, rather than work while dreaming of what I can do with the money I'll earn. I am very blessed to be able to do this.
If I were a better sales person I might be able to make money our of this little project. I could have put huge amounts of energy into promoting and marketing my art and making prints and cards and calendars, la de da, talk to the right people and bingo. Exciting as that all is it is also an exhausting thought for me, and in a way kills the very reason for what I'm doing. WHY am I doing this then? Just like any other real artist out there I'm just indulging a passion of mine and trying to find a way to make that possible. It is a passion that requires a lot of hard work and dedication, but that comes willingly when you love what you do. I do this because it's what I would do if money were no object. Because I love art and beautiful pictures, beautiful places and I think that that is important. It is far more important than we know to have beauty in our lives and the artists are those who should be there to fill that need.
So, for me, if, at the end of the exhibition, I have sold none of my pictures I wouldn't count it a failure. Yes, of course, it would be very discouraging, but it wouldn't change a single thing that I have done so far. It wouldn't take away from anything that I have learnt about tramping, about my own country, about drawing and painting in the wilderness in rain snow and sun, and about putting together an exhibition, and finally seeing the result of all my efforts all together in a beautiful display. These are invaluable lessons and experiences. As an artist and as a person I've grown so much and I'm not so afraid to do new things any more.
So that it the Why of it. The How and the What are explained on The Art of a Hut page.