I began my painting career in the Midwest in 1985 and worked summers all through high school, college, and graduate school so that I could pay for tuition. After working for the same company for 8 years, I finally branched out after college and started my first painting company in the suburbs of Chicago. In the late 1990’s I moved to Colorado for graduate school at the University of Colorado, and continued painting to pay the tuition bills.
Many years later, in 2008, I finally decided to put my graduate degree in education to work, and started a career as a high school history teacher in Frederick. At this point in my life, I was married with 3 kids, and given the level of teacher pay, I once again fell back on painting to provide extra income. While teaching, then, I went back to the formula of working hard in the summers so that I could afford to be a teacher. I used to joke that I painted to support my teaching habit.
While that scenario did work for a few years, I started feeling at some point that I really was doing two full time jobs, and maybe not doing the best at either. Painting during summer break quickly bled into doing jobs on the weekends, occasionally at nights, and soon I was up to my eyeballs in too much work. I was exhausted, and while I still think I was a decent History teacher, I could have been better and that did not sit well with me. I wanted to be able to devote more time to teaching to improve and teach new classes, but there were just not enough hours in the day.