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« Get Out of Your Own Way - Just Start | Main | 'We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.' »

I am an Artist - The Journey



Hello Lovely Inspired One....

How are you?  

I wanted to share this article with you all.  I recently posted it the iStudio...and the response was amazing....

I originally shared it at Simply Hue.

I'd like to do a series on the subject of claiming our 'artist'....

your comments will be a huge asset to the subject...

I'd love to hear your thoughts...

xxo, Kim


I am an Artist - The Ups & Downs of it All

About 13 years ago, I decided to call myself an ARTIST.

And I took great offence when people asked me if I still did crafts. It really bugged me. :)

Slowly people caught on. And when they would ask me what I did, I would say matter of factly,“I am an artist”. At first it felt kind of weird, but now it feels just right. 

If we create, and we all should, I think we truly need to claim it, no matter what our art may be!! Perhaps it’s cooking or baking, writing, sewing, or photography. If it’s your passion, it is ART. 

Art is pure and wonderful and full of light and darkness and depth. 

Since i claimed the title of ARTIST, there have been ups, downs, and plenty of in betweens. 

But one thing i know for sure... when i claimed it, life took on a whole new meaning.

It allowed me to declare: 

I would get my art published in magazines

I would have a licensing rep and print publisher

I would develop a line of primitive art

I would have my work on giftware and in people’s homes

it allowed my dreams to come true, over and over

And it lead me to this moment, sharing this with you.

Claiming the title of Artist.... was the best gift i could have given myself. It opened up a rather small world into something big and amazing. It allowed me to be more than just a mother and wife. It gave me an identity of my own.

Your dreams do not have to be my dreams. Perhaps your dream would be to paint a mural, take a class, buy a camera, learn to stitch or sew, start writing, or create a blog.

Claiming my artist has lead me on an amazing journey. Has it been perfect? Heck no! That’s where the ups and the downs come in. 

We have been way up there, not a care in the world, and we have been way down low. We were sailing along, thinking we had made looking back. All our struggles were over (at least financially). But it kinda all crashed. I’m grateful for the crash. It may be the best thing that has ever happened to me. It lead me to this moment, sharing with you. It lead me to my camera and this very blog.... It lead me to put my faith back in God....To trust and believe that with Him all things would be okay.

You see, if things kept going so perfectly i would not be here. I would still be in my ‘perfect world’. I probably would not have fallen in love with my camera. I would not have started my blog, the 2bbb blog, the iStudio blog... and I definitely would not have been here, connecting with all of you.

As an artist, I have to create. It’s not an option. So between balancing the artist in me, with the reality of life... it can be a challenge. 

Oh, the reality of it all. Teenage sons, dirty dishes, laundry, messy house, bills to pay, interruption upon interruption, meals to make, books to keep, stacks of paper, knocks on the door, phone calls, family needs... i could go on. ‘sigh’

There are no dreamy actions that you can order that will turn your life right side up. There are no magic photoshop tools to fix it all. Hey, perhaps that is why i am madly in love with photoshop? Hmmmm... It’s a little like magic. It reminds me of the old sitcom "Bewitched". Gosh I loved when Sam would just wiggle her nose and everything would be just right. ‘sigh’

But if life were that easy, would I be so reflective? If things had continued so smoothly would i be so grateful? No, I don’t think so. But as I move forward and upward, I vow to stay on the ground, if that makes sense. To be smart in the things I must be smart about. To dream the things i must dream about.

Being an artist has taught me to believe...with every morsel of myself... that anything is POSSIBLE. Anything. 

And to believe that there is an artist in all of us.



Have you found your artist? Have you claimed the role? Are you scared to claim it? What steps have you taken to claim the title? How has it changed you? What is the hardest part about it, what is the best part about it? I’d love to hear.



Reader Comments (31)

Well, I am far from calling myself an artist - because I am not.
What I have started calling myself though, is a "Photographer".
I was always the hobbyist, or I like to take pictures.

It seemed like I was faking if I called myself a photographer - Like I was trying to be someone ... and then it dawned on me. I AM someone. At first I was apologetic when I used the "title". People just don't believe you when you say it as if you're ashamed of your work. However, it has since grown on me and I am comfortable with that title now. Not only am I a Photographer, I am a published, award winning photographer. Those two accomplishments never would have happened either if I hadn't gotten the nerve to promote myself and my photos. Now, I am starting to make some returns on my images and getting business contracts. 2010 was a good year to start and 2011 will be even better!

December 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMonica

when i first read this post of yours....i cried...that day i woke up and it struck me that that is what i ARTIST....i am still somewhat reluctant to voice those words but they give me inner strength everyday...i'm afraid of peoples criticism, of the harsh words and eyeball rolls at to what i am trying...the life i am living, and the dreams i am reaching..but someday i will not let them sting me anymore as i am an ARTIST on a journey...
*thank you* SO much for the strength and encouragement are a blessing...

prairie hugs,

December 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkristin

Such a wonderful post, Kim! I really gets me thinking! I think I've never dared calling myself an artist and I even deny myself calling "creative", I would never dare to go as far as call myself a photographer... maybe I really should start to do that now...!

December 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRosie Grey

Oh..there is so much to say reflect upon..more.

I've been struggling with the title 'artist' for awhile now. What does it mean? And - how is it measured..and even more - validated? Is 'selling' and making money at it what defines you and it? Or - is it something much deeper and more compelling than that? And - how is it that we give ourselves permission to stretch and grow from that inner artist..and not from the where and how the world might define us?

Every time I read this - what you wrote - it evokes something different in me. New thoughts. New questions. I'm not sure I've - yet - embraced the title or taken on the role of 'artist'..but I'm working on it and towards that direction. Thank-you for your ongoing inspiration.

December 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarcie

It seems like everywhere I turn these days I am bumping into The Artist's Way! I am bound and determine to read it over the holidays... I love this post! I have recently claimed that I am an artist and photographer - but only to my online creative community. I haven't yet announced it to my "real world" friends/family but the ones that know me well, already know. :) Baby steps for now. But I have to say, ever since I did start claiming it - which has only been a few weeks now! - I have felt a kind of clearing in my openness...and a knowing that I'll figure it all out.

December 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKate D

I'm so glad I discovered your blog! I have been inspired in everything I do since readiing your posts and seeing your "art". I love it. I am determined to start a new project after Christmas to see if I can market my product. Congratulations Kim, way to go! b

December 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbarb

I found you from Jillsy Girl. I love your site. I’m going to poke around a little bit, but don’t worry I’ll put everything back where I found it!!

December 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Ever since I was about 6 I knew I wanted to be an artist and got a lot of support from my family for it, majored in it in college and got an MA in sculpture eventually. Over the decades I have been riddled with self-doubt about it off and on because it can be a choice that requires a lot of bravery to claim your unique and usually different view from the status quo. But there is nothing more thrilling and satisfying than to be creative, to be at your own forefront of creativity. It is ALWAYS worth it. You are definitely not crazy or weird. It's a gift! As long as your efforts come from your heart, you will be fine. There are a lot of people who want claim their artistic self, but are afraid. Go for it!! The rewards are great! Many blessings to all artists, and to you, Kim, for your wonderful work.

December 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNancyL

This really spoke to my heart... I call myself a happy snapper and i know i am creative... and i like to do things myself... even create my own textures... make art out of anything... If i don't create i go crazy... but i struggle with thinking of myself as anything other than a happy snapper and a happy (well not even all that happy) crafter... I know i am an artist... but to let myself really acknowledge it or tell anyone is really scary to me...

December 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSharon Kaldor

Hi Kim

I loved that you asked this question. I think we all struggle with this title, I think we feel too boastful if we announce to the world that we consider ourselves Artists.

I too took offense when some people would say 'are you still doing your crafts' and I realized that we need to feel proud of ourselves and other will take notice.

These days I live a creative life all day everyday and it feels like I have come home, I am so comfortable with who I am, something I think I must have been fighting most of my life. Growing up I was the only one I knew who was creative so I was the odd ball. As I grew older and my comfort zone expanded I began to meet other artists and I began to relax. These days I surround myself with 'like minds' and truly love my life and who I am.

We need to nurture and continue to develop ourselves as Artists and be proud of what we do. I am.

Thanks Kim

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSheila Cain-Sample

What an inspiring article Kim. Thank you so much. As for your questions...
Have you found your artist?
I have defintely found my artist.
Have you claimed the role? Are you scared to claim it?
I am terrified to call myself and artist. I fear all the 'others' that call themselves artist will sneer at me.
What steps have you taken to claim the title?
Like you, I am MADLY in love with photoshop, and people look at me when I say that as if to say, you've really lost it!
How has it changed you?
I am so much happier now that I have found my creative outlet.
What is the hardest part about it, what is the best part about it?
My frustration that I don't have the skills, that I compare myself to everyone else and find myself wanting. But I love it so much I just keep on trying.

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRoberta T

I think one reason I have experienced reluctance in calling myself an artist/photographer is because art is counter-culture to the so-called "American Dream". When I was in Commercial Art school I actually had a guy snarl at me that the only reason you want to do this is because you want to "play all day". I guess he didn't realize that deadlines, marketing plans that hit the wall and don't stick, and trying to figure out what the heck a non-taxable item is, have a way of taking all the fun out of play. Art is a fun, healing, powerful medium, but to some "left-brain outsiders" we need to go find a "real job". If you're one of the blessed few who are making an income with your art, THEN you're acceptable to society. So then the equation is, success equals value. Well, I disagree with that, too. If you are using your gift (at whatever skill level) and it is bringing joy to yourself and others, then keep going. The wonderful thing about art is that it is very subjective. Some will like it and some won't. And my favorite saying about art: "If I create a piece of art in the forest and no one sees it, is it really art?" Art must be shared. I LOVE how you share your art Kim.

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

@ Monica
thank you for sharing... really love the way you described the discomfort.... and making it believable in the way you express so true. congrats on your 2010 successes and here's to 2011....

@kristin.... you are INDEED an ARTIST.... it can certainly stir our inner soul.... powerful stuff! go forth and continue to show the world just how AMAZING you are. :) xxo, Kim

@Rosie - you must... you must... you MUST. :)

@kate d. -it will definitely reveal itself.... and even though I've been at this for a long time... my family doesn't quite understand it all.... lol..... my kindred spirits are almost all online friends.... I'm blessed to have my friend pg who gets me right here though....and I do believe there are many hidden artists around me.... but they just aren't saying it out loud. :) I just finally bought the Artist Way.... I hope to share more about it here....

@Nancy L - don't you think...if it lives within you... eventually you have to acknowledge it and set it free.... :) 'sigh'..... the force is far too strong to ignore. :)

@Julie - thank you for this quote.... truly... 'If I create a piece of art in the forest and no one sees it, is it really art?"

@Sharon- oh please, please .....consider allowing yourself to claim the role.... it may be the best gift you ever gave yourself.... :)

@Sheila - i relate to so much that you have shared here.... and I'm so happy for you.... such a gift to live our days doing what we love.... one to celebrate.... for sure!

@Roberta - i would think the comparison thing is a huge wall for many... the fact that you are continually growing, reaching, striving is the key.... no need for comparison.... :) you are awesome!

December 17, 2010 | Registered CommenterKim Klassen

What an intriguing issue. I find that I keep raising the bar for what it will take for me to accept myself as an artist. First it was the compliments of a photog that I admired; then it was getting some photos accepted by Getty; then it was actually selling some photos through Getty. I so appreciate you posting your thoughts because my ever-raising bar approach is going no where. I have to accept myself as an artist, and nothing more.

thank you.

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLorraine

Kim, I found you and your blog about a month ago. In that time, I have read your posts eagerly, but haven't commented...until now. You are not only an amazing artist, but also a very compelling author! My dear, you have such gifts! To give the artists around the world the words we need to identify our own feelings - THAT is an art! And I particularly love the part about your bill paying and interruptions and life in general...we all struggle with that and you just give it such wonderful reality. I love your textures, I love your words and I love your photos...and THANK YOU for walking the path you've walked in life to get to where you are; bringing us all along in our evolution as artists!

December 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnnette

I loved that book I studied it with agroup of friends and we did the lessons together. It changed my life. I still love the book and way of life. Jenny

December 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenny Short

I think it's great that at least on-line we can share these thoughts and feelings. I have recently declared myself a textile artist - but I love photography also, and that is why I am enjoying learning more about Elements through your courses.
The sad thing is that often our friends don't appreciate that it is actually quite difficult to move forward to that word "artist", and they smile and look at us a little sadly.
I am a 60-something retiree in Scotland, and not many of my friends realise that I take this all so seriously. So I really appreciate finding kindred spirits on-line here.
Best wishes to you all, and especially to you Kim for sharing your feelings and for your honesty.
I'll be following you for a long time to come!!

December 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLorna

I really needed to see your post right now at this time. I love to create in anything that I do, that is how I am put together. However, in the last year I have felt an urgency to create more, to do all I can and to simply let my creativity out of it's hiding place and let it shine. I have felt an equal amount of fear as well. Fear of actually calling myself an artist, fear of not being able to do it after all, fear of not having time to express all that is in me.

After reading this post I also read your note about just "starting". Starting whatever it is that you long to do.
I can feel exactly what I want to do from deep in my soul and now I have received yet another message. There have been several recently. It is simply time to let it begin.

Thank You...

December 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJodi E

I am so praying... I have 2 mini schnauzers that I can't believe how much of my heart they own... I am praying for you too... hugs!! and Prayers!

December 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSharon Kaldor

I love the Artist's Way - I am a follower!!!

You totally inspire me and every blog entry I read helps me keep my focus - I am a photographer and artist

thank you Kim for being an ARTIST and sharing you life with us and inspiring me!!! You Rock!!

January 6, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdarlene
lovely post. I love your voice (I heard you on Raining Umbrellas podcast. I'm doing the Summer ecourse). I bought my first camera this month. I'm still very shy in all I do but decided to call myself an artist when I created a page on FB: :) I've published a book in 2009. people called it poetry and I found out I was a poet. it made sense. I've been an artist playing with words my whole life. writing short stories. now I'm into photography. I used to create blogs, learned all I could about templates on my own and wrote so many blogs since 2004. but I'm still very shy and I delete much of my work (I'm a bit perfectionist as well and a big judge of my own work, but I'm learning to let things be). I'm portuguese, so most of my writing wouldn't make sense to you, but this FB page and the blog behind it is in english and I feel I can reach so much more people right now. I'm very happy I found you on this journey :)
July 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAna Eugenio
I like this post, Kim. I'm new to your blog and to your SkinnyMini photoshop course I took (well, I did what I could with it and have A LONG WAY to go :)). Though art-with-a-pencil is my first creative love, I will continue to strive in photoshop and someday succeed).
I remember when I first said I was an artist. It was the first thing I said to a lady whose beautiful copper-penny palomino caught my eye when I passed her home on my way to a yard sale. Yes, I said those words and scared myself totally. It was awhile before I got over it, but I did recover. With permission, I came back to take photos of two horses at that property. As it turned out, she asked to see some of my work, then lent me her 35mm camera, showed me how to use it (no, I had no idea!) and when the photos were ready she requested two pencil portraits (pencil was the only medium I was working in, then---1991).
I agree with so many of the comments in response to this post of yours. I want to keep this short, though, as I must get to work on several pieces of art for exhibition at the beginning of October. Also, I just must comment on your "Just Start" post which I just discovered today.
Thank you, Kim, for your helpfulness and generosity to all of us. You help us more than you know.
August 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPat Wooldridge
The tears are flowing. This is all so very true..........especially the part about everyone taking from me and my creativity and energy flowing right out with every dish I wash, every piece of endless laundry that I fold (just to find it on the floor). All we women and mothers know about these challenges.

Oh, and the disorganized life I keep myself in. So............I vow to clean my office starting right now. I seem to keep it piled with this and that and never seem to find anything I am looking for. But I know that these piles keep my creativity covered. Once in awhile I am able to find a little bit of creativity but I think with the piles gone from my office I will have a place of my own to be creative once again and at peace at the same time. I will hang a sign that says PRIVATE! Hopefully everyone will stay out then. :)

I have been into photography for awhile now (2007) and just a few months ago my husband declared that I might be pretty good at it. :) He never has quite "GOT" what it is that I love to do so much. But now he seems a little more interested -A LITTLE - and tolerant so that is a good thing.

Kim, finding you has been a blessing and you give so much goodness to the people who love you, me included!!


August 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDebi
Dear Kim,
I have loved your posts and your partner in photography who retired last year. They are beautiful and have inspired me.
My art is painting and teaching painting. I would like to know how you do you have a web designer? Some of my viewers have asked me to teach them online and you're the only artist I know who does this. I don't know where to start. You may do it all yourself but probably have a program to do it with. I will appreciate your pointing me in a direction where I can teach and share what I know about painting with others online. I live in Holland part of the year and Texas the other part.
Thank you,
August 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenny Short
I believe there is an art to EVERYTHING. Baking bread, washing dishes, making a bed, painting, writing, working on cars...EVERYTHING. It's all in how we perceive the action as to whether we approach it artistically or just want to get it done and over with. Waitressing is an art which I don't have the coordination or speed of movement to be able to master. Rebuilding an engine is an art that has no appeal to me personally. During my life so far, I've expressed my need to create through many outlets. Sewing, drawing, cooking, writing, crochet, and much more. My first artistic endeavor was making doll skirts when I was about 5 years old. Sewing by hand, I remember being so excited to have created something. I never stopped creating.

Photography has intrigued me since I was quite young. To be able to take pictures and develop them has been a life-long dream. Husband Steve got me a digital camera a couple of years ago. I scanned all the film-photos collected from the past 75 years in our family. I have hundreds of photos from my new camera. But I wanted to do more with them. I learned "Artography" is a word. I learned about the ARTIST, Kim Klassen. And I am learning about PhotoShop Elements. Now I am truly 'becoming.' Becoming what? Becoming more...fulfilled, happy, creative. Kim, you have taught me so much of what I needed to know. And you are so encouraging. I will keep on keepin' on, for I am an artist. ;o)
September 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Deal
I have noticed a feeling of great freedom since I fully committed myself in time to my art!
Taking a walk a few days ago, the leaves rustling and the birds singing, I said to myself, nice and clear and strong, "I am an artist!." There was no faint reply, "Am I really?". All the emotions and sensitivities, that make up my quirky personality, made sense and had a use. I think many people feel that you have to make money to be an artist but I don't think this is true at all. Making money has little to do with it, though I think we deserve the right to be supported materially.

I just found your website and will be reading up!

September 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLorraine Young
You are an inspiration, Kim! -Such a beautiful heart. I always knew that I was an was simply who I was as a little girl. I made my own paper dolls & designed dresses for them at age 15, I was taking photos, scrapbooking and painting. As I young woman I silk-screened T-shirts & tie-died clothes I made & sold them at fairs. I even earned a Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts... Then life took me for a whirl. I fell in love, got married and began to take on my husband's dreams and aspirations, and in the process, forgot about my own. I ended up in his restaurant business, and after children & divorce, life became something to survive rather than celebrate...though I did express my art always...whether through cooking, writing, event planning, baking, and a myriad of other jobs I've taken on through the years to survive. Now, decades later, I am on a quest to reclaim myself, and my place as an artist. Your post really moved me...I desperatly want to give you a big hug!
November 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEniko
I loved this post! Thank you for sharing those words and encouraging my heart and my ARTsy inside. I need to quit using excuses and CLAIM my right to call myself an ARTIST too,. First time I've been here at your blog and I sure have enjoyed the visit.

♥Lee Ann
November 4, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter♥Lee Ann
Thank you for courage! I have a really hard time claiming the Artist in me...
November 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJymi Wilson
I cannot believe what I just read and love it with all my heart. I am a senior, and have always been very creative. Recently I joined a group of other digital artists and was inspired to create a canvas. I called it 'Create' and I wanted to hang it on my 'workroonm'. The workroom was meant to be called 'Studio'...I have never EVER had the courage to use the word 'studio' or 'artist' for myself, but started using the description about six months ago and I am very proud of it now. I have been published and I am still very hesitant and reluctant but I am getting stronger and feel more courageous using those words. I call my special room a 'studio' when I feel safe but it's still tough. It would all be so much easier if I had the support of my children but they don't understand. And I am afraid to be laughed at but to strangers I am now finally an artist. And my work
seems to be loved - it was published in Somerset Studio several times. Still, it takes courage to use the words.
I love your site and am a follower. I am so glad I am not alone.
December 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersabina
I discovered your site back in the summer and took your skinny mini course and am now doing your PSE essentials course and am loving working with textures. I started the Artist's Way a couple of months ago and have 3 more weeks to do. During that time I have realised I am an artist and a photographer and I have decided I want to have an exhibition of my work. First I'll have to produce enough work to exhibit (grin). Thank you for alll encouragement to those of us who fear what we really all are inside if only we had the bravery to acknowledge it.
December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

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