Becoming a Full Time Artist

Becoming a Full Time Artist

Yep, you read that right. I'm becoming a full time artist.

In 2019 I graduated college with a BA in Visual Arts Education and got my educator's license to teach Kindergarten through 12 grade art. Right out of college I was hired at an Elementary School in Lakeville, Minnesota where I have stayed ever since.

In 2021 I began selling my artwork at art fairs and testing the water of money making through art. I realized not only could I make money, but it was a ton of fun! That quickly became my summer job and year round side-gig. 

In 2023 I realized I have unique skills as a teacher that I could bring to the fine art world. I began sharing tutorials and tips with the online world of instagram and eventually YouTube. Near the end of the 2023 I created Paint Me Pages and even my first Watercolor Workbook. These products brought my ability to teach into the hands of anyone and provided products to sell at markets besides my own art.

I've discovered I love teaching more people than just my elementary students. I started teaching classes to local Minnesotans of all ages during the summer of 2023 and have ramped up my class in 2024 too. I even created online courses so I can teach people the joy of watercolor whenever and wherever they are. 

Over the last year I've realized this side-gig of mine was taking up more mental space. I was thinking about my next tutorial as I filled paint trays at school. I no longer pinned kindergarten projects on Pinterest, but small business tips instead. The encouragement of family, friends, and strangers alike has been incredibly encouraging and definitely helped nudge me in this direction.

While I wont cover every little decision factor we went through to decide, Zach and I definitely didn't make the choice lightly. But all the numbers add up, the timing is right, and God has continually opened doors we thought would close.

My last day as an elementary art teacher is June 6th, 2024.

I will never forget the craziness of teaching 5-12 year olds. I probably won't miss the sassy attitudes, table licking, complaining, tattle-taleing, or days when nothing seems to go right...

But I will definitely miss the smiles, feeling famous walking through the lunch room, surprise drawings left in my mailbox, and the hugs.

I will miss hearing, "I want to be an art teacher too!", "turn your mistakes into masterpieces", "Hi Pencil! Hi Paintbrush! Hi Crayon!", "Hello my most amazing art teacher!","Art class is my favorite!", "MRS. WHETSTOOOOONE!"

I will miss my co-workers, who go above and beyond to care for, love, and somehow teach each and every child they interact with, and still have energy for silly games at our staff meetings.

I definitely mix up plenty of names, but I promise I know and love every one of those 786 kids and I will not forget how they impacted and taught me so much. I hope they look back on our art classes together and remember that they are an artist, they matter, and they are loved. 

This announcement comes with so much joy and excitement, but also sadness while reflecting on what I got to experience these last five years and what I will miss. I am a better person because of my time as a teacher.

Who knows? Maybe I'll go back one day, or even sub here or there. Teaching elementary artists will keep a special place in my heart.

I'll never stop being an art teacher, it just might look a bit different from here on out.

Stay creative,


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