The best part of a great job


I have the privilege and joy of painting every day as my job.  It's an awesome way to make a living, one that I don't take for granted.  Every morning after a couple of cups of coffee, I get to put on my creative gear (paint splattered pants and sweater) and walk a few steps out my back door to my home office: Birdsong Studio.


I love almost everything about my job, even the more mundane but absolutely necessary tasks like sweeping the floor, building boxes and taking out the recycling.  The thing I love the most though is the visits I get to have with people.


You've probably noticed that I like to take pictures of people with the art that they've purchased.  It doesn't happen when the purchase is a gift or if the person would prefer not to be photographed, but in many cases, customers don't mind standing in front of the feature wall and smiling.


Without giving away any confidences, in a single week I've had visits from a professional poker player, an incredibly gifted artist who has just moved to town, a gentleman originally from South Africa who will soon be moving into his rebuilt home. 


Over the course of four years, a lot of clients have made many return visits to Birdsong Studio.  They have become more than familiar faces; they have become friends.


I think my favourite thing in the world is when visitors to the studio start asking questions.  They look around the small space, see something and start peppering me with questions.  I love answering.  I love sharing stories.  And I love taking time to just hang out and visit with people.


One of my favourite games to play with visitors involves pulling out my "deck" of business cards and spreading them out on the table.

"Your job is to pick your favourite," I say.

"You did all of these?" they ask, somewhat in shock.

"You bet," I say.  "Each year I come out with a new set featuring 50 different paintings."

What they end up picking is so interesting to observe.  At the event at AC District Moto in Edmonton earlier this week, a designer zeroed in on the painting of Jesus.  Last night, a visitor absolutely had to have the card with "Monk Praying".

"We are not in the coffee business serving people," said Howard Schultz, Founder and CEO of Starbucks, "but in the people business serving coffee."

If I was to switch this around to apply to me it might be:  "I am not in the art creation business serving people, but in the people business creating art."

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