A Sparkling Stairway to Heaven: Accounting to Graphics to Watercolor Home Portraits & LIVE Paintings
Updated: Jul 28, 2021
On a weekly basis, if not daily, I recall my personal journey in the creative industry, and cringe at the thought of the days before it all began. I was a freshman at Texas A&M University, College Station, studying Accounting. Yes, I know that is hard to believe but, not kidding!
It didn't take long to figure out I wasn't in the right place, so I quickly changed my major to general studies, and then a year later to journalism.
The final semester before graduation, I had one elective remaining and narrowed my choices down to two classes; Traditional Photography and Introduction to Graphic Design. Graphic design was not a term I knew anything about at that point but the course description sparked an interest. Although photography had pulled ahead in the race at the end, I was disappointed to realize that it didn't fit into my already final class schedule. But, what a sparkling step towards heaven it would prove to be.
That semester, I fell in love with the introduction to the concepts and techniques utilized in graphic design; typography, use of color, design principles; integration of type, graphic elements and images. And so, after graduation, I moved to Houston to attend the Art Institute of Houston. I was a bit of a needle in a haystack there, but I loved it. Every minute of it. I had finally found my career path. A professor told me I wasn't the most talented person in the room, but that I would do well because I was a hard worker. Upon completing my two year degree plan at AiH, I won the Best in Show Award at our graduating portfolio show.
Then came the real world! The next 15 years were spent mostly in the real estate and homebuilding industries as a marketeer and graphic designer. However, things got tough when two little boys came into the picture. I struggled greatly with the constant guilt of wanting to work while also being the Mom my boys deserved. So, when an opportunity arose, I jumped three steps up the staircase and started my own business. And so, CA-Milleworks was born.
It began as a freelance graphic design gig...a bit of a continuation from what I was doing in the corporate world. But, an immutable voice in my head kept pushing me back to the basics. I wanted to paint! But, what was I to paint!? And, more importantly, what could I paint that people would buy?
That voice kept showing me the way. I had loved the real estate industry and the process of helping someone find a home, and I knew that realtors were always looking for unique closing gifts. So, I went for it...I began following a watercolor home portrait artist whose work I admired, and learned from her tutorials. Any beautiful home I saw online, I'd save it and paint it. I soon found my style and felt ready to introduce it to the world. I built my own website, started the CA-Milleworks social media pages, and began marketing my new skill.
A year and a half raced by, including relocating our family to Austin, a world-wide epidemic, and a snow-storm in Texas that left thousands of people without power and heat for days. Painting, and these custom watercolor home portraits got me through that time. They gave me peace and a feeling of accomplishment in an ever so challenging environment.
Then, a bit of sparkle flew through the air one day. A client, and friend, asked if I'd be interested in doing a LIVE Painting at her wedding. And again, here I was without a clue as to what that even was. Paintings at weddings? Never heard of it.
I did some research though, and also realized the fact that I'm now living smack dab in the middle of the Texas Hill Country just outside of Austin...also known as the Wedding Capital of Texas! I couldn't be in a more ideal location for the job.
Two steps upwards, one step down. What a sparkling stairway to heaven it has been! Blessed with support from people coming out of the woodworks, while also learning to deal with the lack of support from others closest to me. When you've found your place in the world though, no one gets to tell you otherwise. You work for it, and even if you're not the most talented in the room, you'll get there.
On to More Sparkling Adventures
I feel I could burst with excitement to think of all the celebrations I will attend in the years to come and all the couples who will put their trust in me on their big day. If you or someone you know is getting married, I'd love to be your go-to for a LIVE Painting or custom wedding commission. And, to celebrate the announcement of the CA-Milleworks Custom Wedding Collection, I am currently offering 50% OFF to any 2021 LIVE Painting bookings!
Or, if you or anyone you know is buying or selling a home, I'd love to provide you with a custom gift...a custom watercolor home portrait, that would be a perfect closing gift, or new beginning gift, for a lucky friend, family member or client.
Cheers to sparkling days ahead!