Love this Painting? Buy the Print Here!
Now, I have been trying to think of the PERFECT way to start off this story….the story of why I started my art Youtube channel in the first place.
After all, it has changed the course of my life.
- Do I start when I was a toddler?
- or as a highschooler taking studio art classes??
- or as a freshly minted adult working engineer who was suffocating in an unfeeling, toxic workplace????
So after much pondering, ruminating, sips of herbal chai tea, I decided to start telling my story….about a year ago in August of 2017.
In August, I had just quit my 5 year long career as a Mechanical engineer to pursue a life of entrepreneurship. I was 1 month into the married life with my husband, Ethan (aka my best friend and college buddy).
Now if you have EVER decided to quit a steady, secure job with amazing pay for a future of uncertainty that is being an online entrepreneur, YOU TOTALLY UNDERSTAND the feeling of terror, excitement, frustration, and thrills you get every single day that you wake up and know you don’t work in an office anymore.
Instead, you know how you do is based on WHAT you decide to do with your life.
So, I just quit my engineering job. And I was also working as a PaintNite artist on the side for almost 6 months at this point. My job as a PaintNite artist was….interesting and the way I got the job was much MUCH more interesting.
8 months prior to this point, on a Friday night, I was 3 rounds deep into a whisky concoction I made.
I remember having a HORRIBLE week at work. My boss at the time was verbally abusive, and made every attempt to assert his dominance and fear tactics to keep me in line with my work. It was not warranted; it was pure acts of bullying.
It actually still pains me to still think or even talk about what happened (that is a story for another time), but I was at a very low point in my life.
I hated my job. I hated having to take 2 hours out of my day just to find parking so I could go to work and sacrifice 40-50 hours of my life to a corrupt, insincere organization.
I felt like my talents were wasting away. I loved drawing. I loved being creative. It was the only place where mistakes were welcomed, and that I felt like I was free to express myself and feel really good. Like really good.
Ever had that one thing you KNOW you were always good at? For some, it’s science or math or poetry. For me, drawing was my strength. And every visit I made to my sketchbook was like finding my way back home.
And it pained me to see that every visit became fewer and far between.
In fact, it killed me inside.
So, here I was, a bit buzzed, surfing job listings online to find something that could possibly get me out of my predicament.
And lo and behold, a Paint Nite Artist position opened. And I applied.
I hadn’t touched a paint brush in years. I maybe did 1-2 paintings over a span of 4 years (MAYBE). All my art supplies were either stashed away in a closet or deep in my parent’s basement long forgotten and neglected.
There was no way in HELL I was going to get this position. And that depressed me even more.
I shut my laptop, stumbled my way to bed, and completely forgot about this experience until 5 months later, when I got a random phone call.
And I got the job!
…..well as a part-time one of course. I still worked full time at my soul-crushing job, where I was just a number and a statistic.
I was holding the phone in my hand, trembling….thinking about every reason to say no to the offering.
- “You don’t have time for this”
- “You don’t even know what you’re doing”
- “You’re not THAT great of an artist”
Needless to say, I felt like an imposter….In fact, I felt like a fraud.
“What did I get myself into? I never thought my application would be taken seriously”
And in one breathe, I replied back….
“Yes, I would love to take the job”.
I hung up the phone, went to the bathroom, and did lots of breathing exercises to calm my nerves (also I am fairly certain people in the bathroom thought I was extremely constipated, and hence did not come to comfort me….thank God!)
And 2 months later, I hosted my first Paint Nite event ever.
Now for those of you who have never gone to a Paintnite or ever heard of it, it’s a company that contracts local artists to set up, host, and teach live painting sessions, that usually last 2 hours, for anywhere between 10-40 people…oh, and people can drink *sometimes heavily* at these events.
And lemme tell, it’s a rip-roaring spectacle.
So, as you can imagine, being an artist for this company, I had to not only drive, set-up, and host a party (which is a different skill in and of itself) but to TEACH a half-tanked group of people with 0 painting skills how to paint in under 2 hours.
(not to mention, cleaning spills and sticky bar food, begging for tips, driving long distances, cleaning brushes, folding paint towels, hours of prep-work, etc.)
(sigh) I’m getting tired just talking about it. But I’m not bitter. lol
Anyways, despite my doubts and fears (and lots of lots of constant boosting from Ethan –bless that man-) I noticed something happen during my Paint nite events.
It really wasn’t all about painting. It really wasn’t about being the perfect party host.
It was really about building confidence.
I have seen every type of person during my PaintNite events. And my favorite were the people who SWORE on their mother’s life they are only good at drawing stick people came out of my sessions stunned and impressed with their art.
I had this one woman who purposefully slugged 2 glasses of wine before the sessions because she was convinced that her painting was going to be a “piece of shit” (her words! Not mine) and wanted to be prepared.
This same women left my session a changed one. She made artwork that she didn’t hate AND she wanted to come back for me.
That’s when something clicked for me.
When we all gathered in these sessions, we were all coming together to find healing, to just express ourselves and have fun with paint – despite the heavy heavy weight of responsibilities, jobs, kids, marriages, finances that waited all of us outside those doors. We all wanted to let our inner kids out!
And I noticed that the little tinder of inspiration I once had began to grow. I started to grow confident. I wanted to help more people to let their inner kids out. I wanted them to just sit back and laugh at how “too serious” life can really be sometimes.
Life is too serious….and too short.
What happens if I die without really giving it my all? How would I feel all my gifts and talents were kept locked up and never shared with the world? Is that worth a steady paycheck? Is that worth my life? Will this be my life forever?
Now, this wasn’t the first time I had feelings like this. I was not passionate about being an engineer with this company….or at all.
And I had previous urges to quit, but I just didn’t know what I would do next. I dedicated 5 years towards getting a Master’s degree…and not to mention gathering over 100K in student debt.
I needed this high paying job so I wouldn’t have to live on the street, panhandling in a cardboard box.
So, in a way, I felt trapped.
And with these thoughts, I would stay….and the feelings and urges of leaving grew stronger and stronger with each passing year.
I will never forget that feeling of being trapped. Believing you have no other option besides what you have right now, and that you will never be good enough for anything else just ATE at me. I was drowning, and heading down a direction of unhappiness and deep depression.
I knew I was better than this. I AM better than this. And it wasn’t going to happen until I made that change.
6 months later, I gathered the courage to do something I never thought I would do.
I quit my engineering job.
And a week later, I married my best friend and went on a blissful honeymoon for 2 weeks. This was a time of great change for me. I was now a wife, an artist, and totally broke.
But, I had this burning flame in my heart, ignited by art and the sheer thrill of being my own boss. And, despite my overflowing mountain of worries and insecurities, I decided to take action.
On August 18th 2017, a month after getting married and quitting my job, I went full-throttle into YouTube.
I revived my personal channel to be centered around health and fitness, and started this YT channel, The Buzzed Artist, centered around having fun with acrylic paint, art, and loving ourselves in the creation process.
At first, I made original painting tutorials in hopes of practicing my form and skills.
And LET ME TELL YOU, boy did I need practicing!
If you go back and watch my first few videos, they are pretty atrocious lol! Cringey-licious
I did not tell anyone about it, not even my family. I just wanted to play with art without the pressure, the questions, or the concerns.
And it was only a matter of time before I got my first few subscribers.
I remember after many tired nights of Paint Nite events, my heart leaped when I read encouraging comments, telling me how much my tutorials helped and encouraged them to start painting.
I knew I was doing the right thing.
And before I knew it, my channel started to grow. At first it was 30 people (I was thrilled), which turned into 60, then 100, then 400, then 600! Ack!
The numbers were climbing and with every video I put out, I saw more encouragement from all of you.
After just 5 months, I found myself at a crossroads.
PaintNite events required large chunks of my time, which ate into my entrepreneurial ventures- handling two youtube channels AND online tutoring (yeah I started that too!) was really taking a toll on me.
So I had to make another tough, but healthy choice.
I decided to hang up my PaintNite smock and dedicate all my time and effort towards my channels. I was officially an entrepreneur, making my way in the world, one mistake at a time haha!
Now, over a year has passed by, and I can truly say, with deepest sincerity, that the journey of an artist is a tough one, but the most beautiful, raw, emotional experience.
And with each emotional endeavor, there always came a vital lesson learnt – love yourself.
This is what I preach constantly on my channel. Self-love is key, ESPECIALLY when it comes to the creative process. See every painting as an opportunity to explore and see your soul come alive on canvas. Take the time to make mistakes.
Make mistakes and make them often!
Honestly, life is too boring otherwise!
As I write these last words to you, I sincerely hope you gathered some inspiration from our time here together. You deserve every joy and happiness in this life, but whether you find it depends solely on you. Make you choices count, and make everyday even better with you!
Amanda, The Buzzed Artist