In 2011 I stepped away from the stressful job I was in because my blood-pressure was so I high it was damaging my right eye and throwing my heart into Afib 2-3 times a month. Robert and I had returned to the doctor’s office to discuss my medical options and my heart doctor as well as my Retina doctor said there was nothing medicine could do. I could expect to have a massive stroke and I would go blind in my right eye if the damage continued.
I had a lot on my plate and in some ways, I was feeling like a foreigner in a foreign land. Leaving the doctors office right there in the parking lot I remember Robert saying you can not work another day at UT Athletics. My response was what will we do for income?I said what will we do for the rest of the income that we need? His answer, if you work as hard at promoting painting classes and selling art as you have always worked at your employment, we will make it.
His answer, if you work as hard at promoting painting classes and selling art as you have always worked at your employment, we will make it. Make it we have.
November 11, 2011, 11/11/11 I started working every day as an art teacher and full-time painter. Within a week I contacted an agent that carried Pentel Water Brushes, Daniel Smith Water Color Paint and an American manufactured watercolor paper. The agent put me in contact with three different people to see if I could buy at a discount to teach. It was evident, right from the beginning that I carried no clout and it was not going to be easy. I set up to teach 100 people a month because that is what my business plan showed I would need to make the money I needed to make from teaching. I would need to have $1000 per month in sales from art supplies I manufactured or original art.
I returned to the doctors each month and each month I was encouraged. In four months I was given a clean bill of health…my blood pressure was great and the damage to my eye had not reached my retina and no longer showed signs of damage.
I taught with my second choice of watercolor paint, a good paint, but not American made and I taught with my second choice of water brushes and my second choice of watercolor paper. And I kept sending the corporate office for each of these companies photos of my students with their paintings…
Maybe it was the photos or maybe it was the stories I told them about students coming to me to tell me how learning how to paint in watercolor had changed their lives, and how they were journaling with their paintings and making greeting cards and framing their art and giving it as gifts. Just all around happy people were taking my classes.
I knew I had found my niche in the art world, but I needed the better products at a better price. I kept trying. Daniel Smith was the first to pay attention and tell me they wanted to help and help they did. And now they advertise me and my art with a dot card with a dot of each of the Daniel Smith Colors I use on my palette.
And now I have the relationship with Global Arts with 100% cotton watercolor paper, so starting now my students get to paint all the time on 100% cotton watercolor paper. Global Arts Fluid 100. Yes, I am proud, but mainly I am proud of my students and how encouraging they have been to try what I ask them to try and keep working at it.
I will keep it up and someday Pentel will know who KMcElwaine® and Keep The White Space® is.