“What do you want, what do you really, really want?”
I could hear Bob Proctor’s words echoing in my ears as I faced him across the small desk my husband and I were seated at just a few weeks ago… I responded in my head without speaking the words— “To be financially successful as an Internationally Renowned Canine and Equine Portrait Artist, composing works that draw upon the inner love my clients feel for their animals and creating a mirror image of that love in the art I produce that reflects an atmosphere of positive energy around which my clients can live and work. Wow, but to say it without fear of criticism was a whole other thing!
Growing up as the daughter of an artist, it was one thing to know you had the raw talent and to understand that you had to work hard at using that gift from God in a meaningful way to become a true artist, but it was also driven firmly into my soul that artists do not make money off of their gifts— you had to find a respectable career and paint for fun!
That’s what my mom did, and when she died a year ago, we had dozens of gallery quality works of her art for which to find proper homes.
Years ago, I painfully stepped away from my family’s strong beliefs about the arts, and had begun not only the work to hone my skills as a fine artist, but had made the decision to actually work as an artist.
I first chose books to illustrate as a more respectable way to dip my toe as a professional “artist;” but then came the flicker of my passion to create works that were truly meaningful to me— portraits of animals that conveyed the spirit of each subject. I knew I was on the right journey when my client David O’Neill stepped into my life— he approached me about painting his two labs, Sam and Captain. It was the “Law of Attraction” in the making because David and I instantly connected and I understood what he wanted me to do for him as an artist and I also understood that I could listen to his words describing the unconditional love he felt for his dogs and convey his vision on paper through the skills I had spent years refining.
Later David described what he felt I had created in painting his two portraits of Sam and Captain:
“A picture [photograph] is taken from the outside looking in— it’s one snap shot in time; but a true portrait is built from the inside looking out and that’s why she spent so much time trying to understand why these dogs were so special to me and what made them so special.”
David’s words cemented in me that what I do in my work as an artist is also symbolic of what I want to be as a person— to show my insides to the world in my thoughts, actions, and words and not fear the criticism and negativity we all know is there waiting to squash our dreams to be and do our best.
I paint dogs and horses for a living and I know I can trust my animals with my life— just like David O’Neill experienced when he nearly drowned on a hunting trip and Sam pulled him safely to shore where an ambulance awaited him.
In short, we must learn to trust our gut and surround ourselves with the right team to make our dreams a reality. It takes inner strength and persistence, but I know I am taking the right steps for a fulfilling journey.
Are you pursuing your dream?
Marie Fritz Perry
Marie’s work as a sporting dog artist was featured in the December 2013 issue of Gun Dog Magazine. This was a great honor, following her inclusion as one of ten canine artists recommended by AKC’s Family Dog Magazine in their July 2013 magazine issue. She has been an oil and pastel artist for over twenty years. You can see the passion she has in pursuing her dream and get more information on her work by going to: www.MarieFritzPerry.com