Moment of Decision
I don’t know if I’ve told you the story yet of the moment I decided to be a professional artist.
I was staying in the Comox Valley, where I grew up, after three years of university at UBC and treeplanting in the summers. I was working on figuring out what I was going to do with the rest of my life. You would think that four years of art school would define my path, but actually it made me more confused.
I got a job taking photos for In Focus Magazine and was considering a career in photography (photography, painting and English were my majors in school). I didn’t know whether to stay in Courtenay or move to Vancouver. I had an easel set up in my bedroom to try some painting, but had no idea what direction I’d go with that. I was pleading with the universe to tell me “what should I do??”
It was at the height of this indecision that I received a surprise package in the mail. Apparently I had won a contest even though I didn’t have any recollection of entering one. The package was labeled from Opus Framing and Art Store. Inside was a bundle of $200 worth of quality acrylic painting brushes. That may actually have been the only thing I have ever won.
I don’t know exactly why – I think it was the timing and the overall surprise of it – but winning these brushes was the start of my career as a professional artist. I opened that package, started using those brushes right away and never looked back.
Image: Obstruction, one of the first paintings I did with the new paintbrushes. This painting received an honorable mention at the 1996 Pacific Regional Juried Art Show.