Well, life is full of surprises, ain't it? Remember a while ago, when I was asking readers to send in their impressions of the local and personal effects of the recession and the stock market crash? I made my own observation at the time that I was seeing very little evidence of it, as yet, aside from lower gas prices. Then I did make note that some local stores would be closing (a Starbucks, Circuit City, Linens & Things).
Now the evidence I asked about has come up and kicked me in the aft end... as of Friday I was given the official two week notice that my job is being cut. My last check will arrive in a month.
It was a surprise, but not a deep shock. I had been aware for some time that the amount of work they had for me to do was steadily declining. When I started in my position, I was kept busier than a grasshopper kicking the seeds out of a watermelon, but in recent months I had not only begun to somewhat, shall we say, stretch the projects I had, but had actually started to create my own projects (which has never been in my job description). I began to create a library of stock illustrations that (based on my experience) I thought might be useful in the future. As this library expanded and went largely unused, though, it began to feel very futile. I was sitting at my desk, drawing a check and drawing (literally) whatever I thought made sense... food, mostly. Our company had used a lot of food art in their packaging.
I had the odd hot-potato-we-must-have-this-by-Tuesday job to break the monotony, but it began to feel like my own company was sort of holding me on a retainer for those increasingly rare instances when I was actually needed. I began to get frustrated and a bit depressed, which is a horrible position for a Christian.
The Christian should always be eager to go wherever God leads and do whatever is needed without complaint and with sincere gratitude. Constant thankfulness should be the default position for any follower of Jesus. Life is just too variously and mind-bogglingly wonderful - too "lopsidedly benevolent", as I have put it before - to allow oneself to mope because this or that aspect of it isn't meeting one's expectations.
So, when I began to get frustrated and depressed at my job, I knew something was deeply wrong. I was also feeling a more insistent desire to move ahead with my fine art, and the day job (with its two-hour daily commute) seemed to suck the life and energy (and creativity) out of me. But I have a family to support, and as long as I could keep the job, I figured that was where God wanted me to be.
So, it looks like I'll have a lot more time to devote to the fine art and to Catholic (and other) illustration. I'll be putting up some illustration and cartoons from time to time, as well as my painting. There are new avenues open to me, now, in terms of getting my art out there in front of people. As it turns out, instead of painting this past weekend, I spent the time getting my Etsy store up and running. Etsy is a cool, fairly new outlet for handmade goods and art, and I've been meaning to get my online store - er, gallery - started for some time. I may even have time to begin that series of the Mysteries of the Rosary I have been wanting to do.
So, check it out. Tell your friends!
The Esty site will most likely be where I direct people from my Daily Painting blog from now on, though I have had some early success with E-bay and may continue to use it. I don't know. You would think I might have more time to blog here at OWS, now, but that's not likely. I'm going to have to hit the ground running if I want to maintain any kind of steady income in all this, and so I'll be treating the fine art as a full-time job (and possibly more). I'm grateful, though, that I'll be able to make it to daily Mass.
Your prayers would be most appreciated. At the moment I'm kind of excited at the possibilities, and am looking at it as an adventure... Wheee! another big dip on the roller coaster of life... but it is easy to talk that way when the checks are still coming. We have been through some lean times before, and the romance of such a position fades quickly. The sense of adventure turns into a rather permanent knot in the stomach.
As Chesterton has said (and I have often quoted before);
Our society is so abnormal that the normal man never dreams of having the normal occupation of looking after his own property. When he chooses a trade, he chooses one of the ten thousand trades that involve looking after other people's property.
I have to say that, as a Distributist, I do look forward to looking after my own property.