Living the Dream vs. Pursuing the Dream
Since selling nearly all of our possessions and hitting the road, we’ve heard from many folks saying, “you’re living the dream!”
Let me just go ahead and break it to you: selling everything you have and stuffing your family of four, dog included, into a tiny living space, is definitely not living the dream.
Searching for a free place to park in Dayton, Washington at 9pm, is not dream life material (I’m actually writing this parked behind an 18 wheeler next to the railroad tracks in Dayton, WA). This is most definitely not living the dream. But what we are doing, is pursuing a dream.
We can picture our dream life perfectly. A quaint little house in a meadow with snowcapped mountains near by. A graceful little stream cuts through our property and provides us free water for the garden and entertainment for the kids. We have animals; goats, chickens, maybe even a horse. Our home would be simple, but spacious enough to accommodate the whole family and even separate studios for Teysha and myself. The surrounding landscape providing a lifetime full of artistic inspiration for both of us. Not much to ask for, eh? Haha. And most importantly (for me anyways) freedom.
Freedom is certainly what we have right now, and that’s the reason we are on the road.
Just three months ago I had a well paying job with a company that is growing like crazy. It really was a dream job. The majority of each month I was able to work from home and when I wasn’t working from home, I got to work one on one with some of the best painters in the country. What more could I ask for?
The only problem was this: I’m an idealist.
Just ask my wife. If she puts her hand on my shoulder as she walks by, I drop my head and try talking her into a back rub. Sometimes it works. She calls me a cat.
I didn’t want to work with painters, I want to be a painter.
I’ve heard lofty ideas on how to transition from “normal” life into life as a full time painter, but I just couldn’t make any of those plans work for me.
I’m an idealist, right? I’m all or nothing. Sitting behind a video camera while listening to someone else explain how they approach painting was sometimes maddening. Have you ever been so closely attached to something that it hurts to be involved with it? That’s how this job was for me. I couldn’t bare to be on the other side of the fence any longer. I wanted to either drop my dreams of painting, or drop the dream job.
So after much deliberation, we decided to go all in. (If you didn’t pick up on it, my wife is also an artist, and claims this whole trip was actually her idea. see her work a www.TeyshaVinson.com)
We’ve been on the road now for over two months.
It’s been rocky to say the least, but we are going strong and trying our best to keep our eyes on the goal.
Being a full time artist is no walk in the park.
I feel lucky and blessed that my previous job put in me in contact with so many fantastic artist. It showed me that making a living as an artist is a real possibility. Just to name a few, I worked with artists like Cesar Santos, Joe McGurl, Jove Wang, Kathy Anderson, and so so many more.
Almost every artist I’ve talked with had to make a clear and conscience decision to pursue a career as an artist.
Take Lori Putnam for instance. She closed her successful design firm and sold everything she had and even gave her dog away, so she and her husband could move to a small village in Italy and she could spend ample time painting. GAVE HER DOG AWAY. WHOA.
There’s always a sacrifice to get what you want.
You’ll hear many teachers say that it takes miles and miles of canvas to progress as an artist.
For me, that is what this trip is about. Me, selfish ole me, getting the much needed brush time necessary to make a serious go at it.
I’d like to invite you to follow along in the journey.
I’m going to use this blog to document my fortunes and misfortunes, and hope you’ll stop by occasionally and check it out.
We are currently headed to the Colombia Gorge where I’ll be participating in the Maryhill Museum’s event, Pacific Northwest Plein Air Event.
Be sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook for more regular updates!
And you can follow our family adventure at "Camp Vinson" on Instagram and Facebook.
Now I lay my head to rest, in our 1986 Toyota Dolphin next to the railroad tracks. I only wonder if these tracks are still used, and if the rumble of a train 20ft away will cause any heart attacks by one of the 5 sleeping souls in this little camper.
In 2010 I graduated with a BFA in Photography from Stephen F. Austin State University. In 2011 my wife, Teysha, started graduate school at Boise State University while I undertook a two year apprenticeship program with oil painter, Gary Holland. In 2014 I accepted a job with Streamline Publishing. In May of 2018, we sold everything, quit our jobs, and hit the road! We currently live in a rusty 1986 Toyota Dolphin named Dolly.