complacency and the ...

Friday, January 7, 2011

and heaven & nature sing - last night's walk along the harbour with Miss Dixon

Complacency and the silver lining - a fable of sorts.

Every silver lining has a cloud

Mary Kay Ash

For years (9 to be exact) working away for my favourite, practically full time, freelance gig with customer No. 1 I did an awful lot of the same. I became very good at a specific niche of product design and I was asked repeatedly to knock my own self off. I was good at what I was doing. I could churn out thumbnail drawings, spin that big old wheel of freelance designer fortune, and they my favourite full time customer would always choose at the very minimum a big ol' handful of said thumbnail designs equaling cash, cash, cash. Easy money. I knew at the time I was being complacent - at times it's such an easy thing to be. I was in a situation that it seemed difficult not to be. The customer loved the creative niche (box) they had me in and it was the only box at the time that I could easily find that would continually, handsomely pay my bills.

As I've mentioned before, that 9 year relationship ended in the late spring of 2010 with the retirement of that particular design director - my biggest fan and advocate. A freelancers worst nightmare, the what if that's constantly whispering in the back of the mind of any designer who has all, or most of her eggs in one fruitful basket. What if the company folds ? What if they put a freeze on hiring freelance designers ? (which many companies do in tough times). Those worst fears realized, my income vanishing but ... thankfully with the support of one Prince of ATG*

unemployment + desperation become motivation + ingenuity + inventiveness + resourcefulness

the bad thing gradually becomes the good thing ... the silver lining eventually becomes exposed

my silver lining - creativity that feels boundless, creativity that makes my whole body hum, creativity like I've never felt before ... sometimes I can barely stand it ... & that's a good thing.

* All Things Good


  1. Many are exposed to silver linings, but most see it as just another layer of grey! Congrats on seeing the opportunity and acting on it :)

    Loved the pics - trying to figure out where - we're up in Pleasantville, just past Bridgewater :) It was nice to see the snow last night!

  2. This has been my situation for years. I had a good rep in NYC and a steady flow of interesting and not so interesting illustration projects. after my second neck surgery it was clear i could not be hunched over a drawing table 8-10-12 hours a day anymore. I was terrified.

    You cant believe how much more i like my life now. Yeah i see painting of chickens on wood out of the back of my truck; i make imovies for the CoC here; i did the jewelry photo gig; and i grow that garden in the summer. I went from one dimension to many and my life feels fuller and expanded. Im not just an illustrator I am a shaman of creative living!

    I dont come close to making the $ i used to. Im going to work harder at self promotion this year and just keep doing what i do. life is what is lived while you are going to wherever you think youre going. its a cliche...but its true. your new stuff is fun and livelu and i think you are going to be just fine and very happy.

  3. sorry for the typos..."sell paintings out of the back of my truck" sheeeesh

  4. this is so uplifting, susan. "the silver lining eventually becomes exposed"...beautiful.

    xo Alison

    p.s. did you hear sid is out with a mild concussion for a week. i swear he is CURSED in january!!

  5. That's the ticket. Keep it up. x

  6. I like what Janet said!

    Beautiful photos...

  7. what a beautiful life lesson and so creatively posted! Have fun picking out the silver linings!

  8. You so deserve all those good things that come your way Susan.
    Because I live in such a bone-dry climate here in South Australia, I wish, along with your beautiful photos, there was the sound that goes with them...crunching snow,the clanking and clunking of industry and boating, or is it very still and quiet, with Miss Winnie D panting and plodding along.
    I enjoyed the little video you made a while ago, with her sweet face looking at the camera.*hint hint*
    So pleased about your creative output and the happiness it brings.xx


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