of working things out... Alanis Morrisette, a true artistic genius! So, the notification to end my lease on this studio in October has been handed in. That doesn't mean the end of Pet Portraits - Animal Artist, just that I will be shifting my studio back to the home. My new house is close to the centre of Tecoma and has much better light and surroundings than the last place. Why pay money for something that hasn't really made that much difference to the number of commissions I am getting? It has been good, and has allowed me to build my confidence as a professional artist.
Maybe more in the community know of me now, or at least they will after my next ad comes out but there are other things I could be spending my rent money on... my first tax return is going to be an interesting one!! I wish I had managed to build my online presence a bit more before I took on this place, but we live and learn.
Juno is still with me, for the moment..... He is happy at my side, hopefully he can learn to walk on the lead soon or he will have to go to a hunter or some one who can handle his energy.....
We've been having issues with our 1 year old Brittany Spaniel, outside of the home, he is a live wire, to the point he is uncontrollable. A recent conversation with a new neighbor led to us seeking out the opinion of a local vet. The response was not good, he said, "You've been miss-sold, A Brittany is a working dog and absolutely no good as a family pet!" Having invested thousands of dollars, considerable time, effort and love into this dog over the last year, this is not what I wanted to hear. He suggested we re-home him to people with other working dogs and go get a different breed of dog. I cried all day yesterday as I considered my options. This is my dog, I chose him from 1 of 14 other Brittanies and countless other breeds. I wasn't about to turf him to the curb due to the opinions of one man, all be it a very matter of fact and knowledgeable man. So today I braved the not so busy streets of Tecoma and made one last trip to a pet shop.
I took back full responsibility for Juno's care from Tim, as he was more than willing to trade him in, I felt he wasn't 100% invested in turning him around. A gentle leader head collar, a muzzle and some natural calming drops were on my list. So far so good. The muzzle is for my peace of mind, as those playful and over exuberant jaws could easily find their way around the wrong person, the head collar, for the moment is giving me complete control over his movements. He may look like the cutest, fluffiest Hannibal Lecter ever, one major plus, a muzzle has a funny way of keeping those dog coochicoo-ers at bay, you know, the ones that assume all dogs want strangers pinching their cheeks and wrapping their arms around their necks. At your own peril, be it!
Time will tell. For someone suffering from CFS, Fibromyalgia and whatever else is wrong with me, these first 10,054 steps I have taken today, have not been easy for me. I needed a nap, along with Julia during our lunch break today, I am still suffering from last weeks cold, Julia too! The little green monsters have firmly set up home in Julia's little pink nose. My chest hurts from breathing, and my legs are fatigued and in pain, but I did it. I walked Juno through the town 3 times, no one got nibbled on or tangled in his lead, and he is sleeping happily on the studio floor, while Jules watches MR Maker and we wait for the girls to come here after school. Not much art happened today but I did teach myself how to put on the collar and watch a few training videos on the subject.
As I close, Juno is now stretched across my knee, Julia is watching Play School, and the girls are on their way. The tales of Juno the Firecracker will continue... hopefully.....
OK, so it is never going to get this cold here in Melbourne, but at the moment, is sure as hell feels like it. Not in a physical way, you understand, but in a Spiritual way. It's like I am freezing on the inside. The sun is shining down outside in truth it is around 12 Degrees C out there, not exactly the bitter Northern UK Winters I am used to, but something has changed. People are coming and going from the surrounding businesses, although there a few more empty shops than there were a few weeks ago, I guess I am not the only one feeling the pinch, of a town that hasn't quite found its place on the map!
As you may know, I recently moved down the hill side to be closer to the girls school and to cut out one big expense, the car, as it has become no longer necessary, now that my proximity and ease of access to the township and public transport has changed. The new house has everything we need, even room to run my studio from home, a scenario that is becoming increasingly more likely as the days draw onward. I was hit badly by a power outage that lasted 4 days last week, and being of my constitution, I could not function without heat, light, tea or internet. Its a shame that one of my big dreams is in jeopardy, I think that I maybe just reached for the moon a little too soon. As I have Julia at home and full time childcare is not an option for us currently as it is just so expensive, so are the overheads. Next time I will be ready, however, if you'd prefer not to see my dreams crash and burn then order that special portrait today! Prices range from $200 -$600 A5-A2. I've never taken more than 7 days to complete a portrait start to finish.
I always pour my heart and soul into my portraits, and these blog posts for that matter, I am not sure if anyone is reading them but they are something I feel very strongly about and if more people were honest with there feelings and experiences and others weren't so dismissive, then the world would be a much better place. When a portrait comes in I work really hard for my clients, to the point of exhaustion, I forget to eat, to drink and to even stand up, as I am determined to do the best work in as quick a time as possible. I am not complaining, that is my flow, my passion at work. The rest of the time, I am anxious, jittery, I feel like there is something else I should be doing. The only other things that come close to that are writing and being in nature.
Time for me to teach Japanese, another one of my talents..
Ladies know your worth, men, learn to appreciate it! As someone who has given up more than a decade of my life to stay at home and care for my three daughters, I am starting to realize just what a sacrifice that has been; in terms of money, social standing, career and what an impact that will have on my future and the future of our family. In terms of money, my being at home has saved our family a total of at least $305,000 calculating 12 hours per working day, had I be living here in Australia. I would probably double that amount if basing that on the UK! So, had I been working, say as a freelance language teacher or Artist would I have earned that much, to even begin to recover those costs? Probably not! Average costs for a childcare facility here are $109 for 12 hours. I've had my lot for 24 hours, 7 Days a Week, 365 days a year for 12 years, if I only calculate for the first 4 years of each child's life, I am at just under 1 Million Dollars, and that is not counting expenses for meals, day trips, clothes, toys etc. Not to mention the toll on my own health and sanity! I came across a Facebook Video talking about the term Housewife verses Researcher in Human Development. I would have to bracket myself with the latter title too as it sounds a lot more accurate than Housewife or SAHM! The point of this Blog Post is that I and countless other people who stayed at home are worth more than 1 Million Dollars to society, and yet we made to feel worthless, by the people behind the desks, by the Government, even in the eyes of our children and spouses, who fail to see the value in what we have done for them.
Now that I have started trying to work for myself outside the home, I have observed that it is mostly women, who are drawn into my studio, I see this same sacrifice reflected in their eyes, time and time again, some of them don't demonstrate worthiness or belief in themselves, and for whatever reason, the final decision to purchase my art, does not usually rest with them, it rests in the hands of their partners, predominately male! As my field is very specific to animal art, and focused on the connection between the human and the animal subject, more often than not, their human, i.e. who the animal, usually resides or resided with, is a woman, this profound connection between a woman and her animal, is something that a third party could never truly understand. Most women have gone through periods where they have been isolated from society, e.g. due to having a young family, or even lack of a family, and that animal companion has been an essential lifeline to them, as my animals have been to me. So, I can deeply understand their requests for me to capture or preserve that connection through my art. What I can't understand is why the beloved men folk in our society are putting their proverbial feet down when it comes to booking and paying for my services? By saying no, particularly if the animal is lost, you are effectively damning her to never see that spark of life in her animals eyes again and severing all connection she ever had with that creature, she will feel like a large part of her has been cut away from her very soul, and there is nothing that you can do to ever put it back. My art, although it can never bring back her dear friend, keeps that connection alive, it gives her somewhere to go when she feels the loneliness creep in, she can look at that portrait and remember them fondly, when they were at their prime, before death took them away from her, my art is a place where the happy memories can be relived, and the sad ones released from deep inside her, so next time you are asked to hand over a few hundred dollars for a pet portrait, remember your life partner is worth more than a million dollars, not just to you, but to society as a whole, and her sacrifices are only made bearable by the connections she's formed to the living things around her, and more often than not, these living things have four legs and a tail....
Hi, my name is Chrystal Carter, I am a mother to three lovely girls. I emigrated with my husband to Australia in December 2014, and have been living the dream, ever since! We are settled in the Dandenong Ranges and I have recently set up my brand new home art studio , in the heart of the hills, Tecoma. Here, I can follow my life long dream of being an artist drawing another of my greatest passions, animals, in particular, peoples beloved pets. I have always been fascinated by animals, nature and wildlife and where better to pursue my passions than here in Australia, and it certainly hasn't disappointed me! Follow me as a take on this new venture and brave new world, together with my wonderful family, and not forgetting my furry companions, Vin the Cat and Juno the Dog!