My artistic journey began in 1998 when I tried my hand at faux finishing the walls of our new bathroom. This led to me quitting my New York City corporate job of 23 years after watching the attacks on September 11, 2001 from my NY office window. My boss wanted me to take work with me since I was leaving early!! I was so disgusted and swore I would never work for anyone but myself again, as long as I could help it. It was financial suicide to quit without a strategic plan, but I did it anyway, and my decorative arts studio is still standing all these years later. To meet the needs of my vast audience, I’m always pivoting and adding more creative services along the way. In addition to local decorative painting, I also create abstract art for my interior design clients, regardless of their location. And I just launched an online monthly paint club membership, teaching others how to find joy in painting from the comfort of their own home.
Well, who knew that I’ve been on the radar of a New York publisher!!! In late spring I received a call from the publisher, stating that they’ve been following my inspiring journey. I immediately asked if they had the right person!! I was told that my story needs to be shared to inspire women all over the world. Their vision is to have my story told, along with chapters of photos and stories of various projects and curated artwork, and a brief step-by-step of some of my techniques, to inspire homeowners, designers, as well as DIYers. The tentative title is Color Your World: Art and Decorative Paint Finishes for Your Home.
A few weeks ago, they told me that they were hoping to get it out before Black Friday/Cyber Monday. I still haven’t heard the final verdict, but I’ll soon find out, won’t I? As luck would have it, I was rolling out the launch of my online painting club when I found out about my new deadline, so the launch had to take the back burner. The toughest part was going through 36,950 photos on my computer and cull through 19ish years of projects. Luckily I’m a night owl, so staying up until 2:00 is the norm for me, and adding a few more hours to that each night to meet the deadline wasn’t all that bad.
I’ve learned many lessons that have led me to where I am right now. The most immediate one that comes to mind is make sure you go back and take excellent photos of every completed project! My first clients were Richard and Kathleen Hilton, of Hilton Hotel fame, and Paris Hilton’s parents!! A painter who knew me was working in their home and referred me. I never got to meet them or see their Hamptons house; instead, he delivered 12 dining room chairs to my home, and I created an intricate multi-layer finish on their old, upholstered chairs. I’ll be darned if I’m not putting that photo in my book! But it’s embarrassing. I believe I took it with a Polaroid camera at the time. Cell phones with cameras didn’t even exist. I didn’t even have the business acumen to ask him to take a photo when the chairs were reupholstered and in place. Darn, I just should’ve taken a ride out on a day when I knew he would be there, and take better photos myself. But who knew where all this would lead to?
I was a beginner, just starting out. I don’t even think I heard of the word entrepreneur. I never really projected 20 years down the road what level my business would be at. The last thing on my mind was that a New York publisher would be knocking on my door for me to write a book for them! I was merely a creative person who managed to break away from the robotic chains of the corporate rat race and pursue my newfound passion of painting.
Which leads me to the most important lesson I’ve learned over the years — “you never know”. You never really know whether anyone is following you, so act as if they are. You never know if someone needs compassion, so act as if they do. And you never know when this day might be your last, so why not live every day to the fullest.