Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pulling On The Same Rope

Today is my 24th wedding anniversary, and the New Year is coming on fast, so I thought this would be a good day to thank Pam for all she’s put into this year, and for all she does to make my work easy. 
     I can tell you I would be sunk without all she does to keep us moving forward and allowing me to paint.  These are just some of the tasks she does:  builds and maintains the website; does all the accounting and bill paying, and computer troubleshooting; produces and handles the prints; mails out my book and the cookbook, and coordinates all the UPS shipments; types my blog; helps me stay up with Facebook and Twitter; makes all the hotel and car rental reservations; cooks for the workshops plus dinner every night…… and still finds time to work on her novel (she’s on Chapter 22).  There’s about 50 more things I can’t remember or don’t even know she does, but I will tell you she’s way underpaid for her commitment!
     So this brings us to the crux of the matter.  If your spouse is pulling on the same rope with you, your art career is going to be a whole lot easier.  We all know art by itself is enough of a challenge, but without the support of your spouse, it’s going to be a tough road. 
     I know this because I’ve seen it first hand.  Artists like me have it the best.  Pam is always in the wings, trying to keep some deadline from slipping by us.  Artists like my friend, Melanie Fain, produce about the same amount of inventory as I do, but without the extra help from Pam.  To Melanie’s credit, she does an incredible job keeping up with all these responsibilities, but the constant grind does take its toll.  I know it does on us.
     Those artists whose spouses don’t appreciate your career path, or who are hung up on the safety of a secure job, present (in my opinion) the most difficult circumstances in which to create. 
     I’m sure children play into this scenario more often than not.  But except for the artist whose spouse embraces this path and makes it a lifestyle choice, you’re going to have a tough, hard road.  This piece of the artistic puzzle is the most difficult for two reasons:
     #1.  The pull to follow our artistic gift is strong.  It’s a part of us, and this affects artists more than most.  We innately know that we’ve got a talent that is special and not using it creates a certain amount of angst in our world.
     #2.  Real life doesn’t care if we are artists or not.  Bills must be paid, kids must be raised, and life demands a certain level of success to meet our own expectations.
      Sometimes these two just don’t jive.  It’s then time to sit down and work out a plan for making this art thing work.  Tomorrow I’ll tell you how I did it and maybe give you some food for thought on how to start this journey.

All content and images © Mark Kohler Studio.

(This is Pam, and I was completely surprised and, of course, pleased by Mark's post today.  You should know that he is not a man that "gushes", so this means more than you know.  And our 24 years together have been a "wild ride"; full of surprises, challenges and SO many blessings.  I can't wait for the next 24!)


  1. Congratulations to you both!
    What a beautiful and touching post, too.
    Wishing you many, many wonderful years to come.

  2. Awwww! Hooray for makin' it work!

  3. Well, I know I mainly go to Mark's workshops because of Pam's cooking...

  4. You guys are the best! What a great post. I too, have a spouse that makes it possible to do what I do. Would be sunk without him. Thanks for making me even more appreciative of the life we have.