Finding Your Dreams MIDLIFE and Becoming a Working Artist / by Anne Livingston


There’s a large gap between the last post (spring soup, EXACTLY 3 years ago!? That wasn’t planned) and this one, and it’s not just a time gap. If a blog has a story line, this post marks more than a new chapter or even a plot twist. It’s putting down the whole dang book and opening a few pages in to a new one.

To break it down: For years I was mainly a food person. Now I’m mainly a paint person. Instead of cooking and developing recipes, I paint and create art, and I plan to do it for a living.

This might seem abrupt from outside my brain, but it will unfold in future posts how I went about completely changing my life’s work in a couple years' time. I held back from choosing art as a career for so long, not noticing that I was already kinda-sorta doing it as a food photographer. A number of skills I picked up in the culinary/photography field definitely apply here, and I’m learning more each day about the business of being in business as a creative.

I'd like to share with you how I’m learning to make this choice a realistic, make-a-living option, in case that’s useful for you. In addition, stay tuned for in-depth and concrete ways to figure out the right life path. Also, there will be paint talk.

Anyway, the life of a food photographer/writer and a painter aren’t all that different. Not much has changed on the outside. My work mostly happens in a different room of the house now, but I still:

1.       Make beautiful things meant to elicit joy and desire

2.       Work with materials that vary in texture, smell, viscosity, and probably flavor, but I haven’t checked that last one

3.       Hone my skills and master my tools (including spatulas, knives, cake stands!), while riding the wave of unpredictable outcomes

4.       Innovate

5.       Apply conceptual framework around something concrete

6.       Procrastinate (although interestingly, I procrastinate less now)

7.       Mess up regularly

8.       Speaking of mess: Make insane messes

9.     Clean up messes

10.   Wake up in the middle of the night with an idea, and create it the next day

11.   Practice 5 Element thinking (as it refers to Chinese Medicine. This will comprise a separate post)

12.   Strive to benefit others

13.   Make efforts to do my work in a sustainable, earth-friendly way

14.   Tackle the daily, business side of things – writing, marketing, emailing, bookkeeping

I have loved deepening my knowledge of art, cooking, and food throughout life. But for me, cooking and food is a togetherness, family thing. A nourishing, healthful thing. Sometimes fancy, but usually just warm and sustaining and personal. Like fuzzy socks. I tried for many years to apply my artistic desires to the food, and it created an inner disconnect that I didn't understand and tried to ignore. 

Now, rather than a disconnect, I’m feeling the opposite. You know, a CONNECT. When I think about what lies ahead, I see myself painting and creating art for the rest of my life, until my very last day, deep in the future. I can imagine fighting to stay alive longer just so I can do it some more. It’s a fathomless, endless source of forever for me. Knowing what I’m supposed to be doing--finding my meaning in life—feels so good that I wish to spread the love and share what I know.

So! If you are refining your creative interest, seeking your life purpose, or thinking about how to turn your creativity into business, let’s do this together! Check back here for recipes, but they’ll be different now: recipes for important dishes like creative fulfillment, choosing what's right for you, getting a buttery paint texture, and making income to keep the cycle going.