Cathy's blog: Habit of Art
Cathy's website: cathymcmurray.com
Cathy's shop: etsy.com/shop/CathyMcMurray
Why did you decide to become an artist and could you imagine doing anything else? If so, what?
Art has always been an integral part of my life. I feel very fortunate that I’ve been in the art field my entire professional life. I really can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing. Lately, I have been daydreaming about taking some classes in cooking and weaving, but only to entertain my restless artist spirit. I am constantly seeking ways to broaden and refine my creative skills.
Do you still believe "do what you love and the money will come?"
Very few people get to live a lavish lifestyle as a result of their talents. This isn’t to say that the rest of us can’t have a rewarding and exciting career in doing what we love. It takes a lot of hard work and time- plus some luck- to get to a place that is lucrative (I’m still working on it after two years!). If I was 25, I could afford taking more risks and dedicating an insane amount of time to my art career, but as it is, I am nearly 40, married, and busy being mom to two wonderful girls.
How has blogging/the Internet influenced your work as an artist?
For one, I couldn’t do what I do today without the Internet. A quarter of my online sales are international, and I wouldn’t be able to get that kind of reach with a traditional gallery experience. In the two years that I have been blogging on Habit of Art, I have connected with so many great artists and art enthusiasts. The positive reinforcement through emails and comments have been incredibly encouraging. I also am able to get immediate feedback on my work, which can have some influence in the direction I take with my art.
Please name 3 of your favorite blogs and tell us why these blogs are special.
My favorite blogs are those belonging to artists. I especially love posts on their creative journey and space. A couple that I follow on a regular basis include Gretchenmist and Jill Bliss. Cathy Cullis and Annekata (sadly, not active anymore) are two other blogs that have inspired me with their slow craft ideas, like dying fabrics naturally and hand sewing projects. And, I like pretty things as much as the next girl, so I like to browse design and image heavy blogs like homecollection and intelligent clashing.
What is your greatest fear and what do you do to overcome it?
Fears go hand in hand with what we value most in life. So, my greatest fears relate to something happening to my family or my ability to create art. What helps me get through these fears and the daily worries of life is my faith.
Who would you like to trade places with for one day? Why?
Trading places with an art conservator working on a Michelangelo masterpiece would be pretty thrilling. Geeky, I know, but I love history stuff, and the idea of restoring art seems virtuous. On my blog I have mentioned that if I was a superhero, my alter ego would be an art conservator by day.
What are your secrets for managing your time wisely?
Having an organized work space is a huge help. I try to clean my work area about every three weeks. That way, I don’t waste time looking for a particular art tool or piece of paper. I’m a big list maker, too. So, almost every day I make a short list of tasks.
If you could live anywhere in the world – all expenses paid – for one year, where would that be? Why?
My husband and I have often times talked about moving for a year to a small village in southeast France. We were there in ’98, and we fell in love with the scenery. I could live on baguettes and cheese for a long time, too.
How do you maintain a healthy balance between your professional and private life?
I work from home, which has its pros and cons. I love that I can work at my art desk and the girls can play a boardgame in the same room. Or that I can start a pot of water on the stovetop and package an order up at the same time. Working from home also provides an invaluable opportunity to teach the girls some things about running a business. (There’s already talk of a beaded bracelet collection that the girls want to launch.) Maintainging a healthy balance between work and personal life, however, is one of my greatest challenges. And being a blogger blurs that line between professional and private even more. Sometimes, I’ll purposely leave my camera at home so that I’m not looking for photo-op moments. But then, of course, something blog worthy happens and my husband or kids will say, “you should have brought your camera.”
These are more hopes than goals . . .
Move into a studio space with more natural light!
Take cooking and weaving classes
Travel to Europe as a family
Ensure my girls make it through adolescence with little emotional scarring
Have a cabin in the woods
What is your advice for someone who would like to turn his or her creative dreams into reality?
Creating is the fun part. Promoting your work is the hard part. Those starting out need to expect to spend at least half of their energy and time getting their stuff out there. Start networking with other like-minded makers, and have an online place (i.e. blog, Etsy shop, or a website) for people to see your work. Make sure that the photography of your work is excellent - can’t emphasize that enough! And constantly remind yourself that good things usually take time. So persistence and patience, my friends.
Thank you Cathy for sharing your thoughts and lovely images with us today! All the best to you and your family! xoxo