choice and fear

I made a major decision today. I chose to pursue my art full-time and not look for a job, full or part-time. In other words, I am committing 100% to being a professional artist. This is a huge decision for me because it is something that I’m really afraid of, but also it’s the thing that I really want. I’m telling you this for many reasons, first of all I want to be held accountable for my actions. The second reason is that I wanted to let you know about what I’m up to. Maybe you’ll connect with something I wrote and get some value out of it, I don’t know, but I want to get this off of my chest and get my thoughts in order. I’m scared to share this post with you, but I think that the fear I’m feeling is showing me that this is something that I need to do. Please let me know what you think of this post, I would really appreciate the feedback.

I have so many fears about being an artist professionally, for instance:

  • putting myself out there in the world
  • people judging me because I don’t have a “real” job
  • people thinking that I don’t contribute to society
  • people thinking that I live in a fantasy world and that I need to wake up and stop dreaming
  • what gives me the right to pursue my dreams while so many people aren’t able to
  • being a leech on society
  • I don’t have what it takes to be a professional artist
  • my work isn’t good enough
  • etc.

Even though I have so many fears and reservations, I’m going to lean forward into the uncertainty and fear, because that’s where the potential for growth is. I know that most of my fears are irrational, but I still think them anyway. What fears are holding you back? What are you doing to overcome your fears? I have so much potential that I can’t let a little thing like fear stop me.

You might be wondering who I am, what I want to do as an artist, I am planning on writing a post on that, but I haven’t finished articulating my thoughts yet. I will add a link here once I’m done writing that post. I am a fine artist that works in a variety of media. I don’t know yet what I have to say, but I know that I have a voice and the responsibility to use it.

Right now I have the least responsibilities that I ever will have in my life, I am single, no kids, I have some money and if I don’t buy many frivolous things I can live off that money. I intend to live an intentional minimalistic lifestyle. I need to stop spending money eating out and going to cafés. Hopefully I will soon earn some money through my work that I can start saving some.

Starting to live as a professional artist will be hard, but if I don’t I will always wonder, “what if?”, what if I gave it my all, worked my hardest, what could I have done? How far could I have gone? I don’t know if I could live with that feeling and I have the means to do so now, so why not make that leap?

You might wonder what I mean by being a “professional” artist. To me a professional artist is an artist who makes a living from their art. I’m going to treat my art career like a 9-5 in that I will have regular hours and take it seriously. I will spend at least 3 hours each day making art. I plan on building up my body of work to roughly 50 paintings, then I will have a big enough body of work to approach galleries. I will also sell limited edition prints of a number of my pieces. I will continue to sell my jewelry on the side to make money, but my main focus will be on my art practice. I heard on a podcast, the thriving artist podcast, in an interview with Carolyn Edlund that professional artists spend half their time creating their work and the other half marketing. I’m going to create a schedule for myself and stick to it.

Thank you so much for reading this far and if you want to support me through this transition period while I make my body of work through a MARN (Milwaukee Artist Resource Network) micro-fellowship for a tax-deductible donation, Click on the link: here. To learn more about MARN’s micro-fellowship program click: here. To buy some of my jewelry visit my shop page To follow me and get updates on what I’m working on in the future sign up for my mailing list here

a shot of a work in progress in my studio
a shot of a work in progress in my studio


Over the summer I taught myself to paint. I am planning on writing a post later on about why I started painting and show some behind the scenes looks at my work and my progress, but until then, I wanted to share this with you.

here is a video of one of works in progress:

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Newest Pieces

I have been playing around in Adobe Illustrator a lot lately and I wanted to share my latest work with you. Here are the pieces I made with their original drawings next to them for comparison.

I’m not sure what to do with these pictures, maybe make some prints. Please let me know what you think and if you have any ideas for me, please comment below.

New Piece and show

Hello this is Carley, I’ve got some exciting updates for you, I am in the Warped show! The show runs from November 14th – 30th 2014. Here is a link if you want more info: Warped Milwaukee.  I also completed a new drawing! Here are some pictures of it as a work in progress:

work in progress #1
work in progress #1
Work in progress #2
Work in progress #2

And here it is as a finished piece:

My newest drawing
My newest drawing

Please let me know what you think of it.


I have been writing a lot of poetry lately. 10 days ago I challenged  myself to write 10 poems a day for 10 days, resulting in 100 poems. Most of the poems I probably won’t share, that wasn’t the point, the point was to have a goal and stick to it. I am proud to say that I have successfully achieved that goal. Most of the poems I wrote I think suck, but I wrote them anyways to gain experience. If you would like to read some of the poetry I’ve written here is a link:  I would welcome any constructive criticism or any feedback you have for me at all. Thanks for reading, Carley.


first blog post

Hi this is Carley here I decided to start blogging for the start-a-blog  challenge. Here’s a little bit about me and my story, I was born in Milwaukee, WI around 28 years ago. I have always had a passion for art, but was afraid to pursue it. After graduating from UWM in December of 2010 with a degree in linguistics I decided to go back to school for art in order to pursue my passion, I did not want to settle and get a job without ever trying. So in Fall of 2011 I enrolled back in UWM for art. I went back to gain skills, not for the degree, and after mastering the basics I came to realize that what I want is to be an artist, not an art student. And so I dropped out in the spring of 2014 and am building up a body of work right now. I have been into writing poetry and fiber art lately. Here is a picture of my latest piece:

orange and red fiber art

. Thank you for reading my post. Let me know what you think of my work in the comments section below