New Orleans-based artist and general weirdo, specializing in pet portraits.
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Melissa Vandiver | Blog

A behind-the-scenes look at the budding career of a real weirdo.

How to Lose Your Mind in 10 Days

I'm not saying I've lost my mind, but I can see how it can happen...

  • Forget to leave the house for three days
  • Get into an emotionally charged disagreement with a chihuahua
  • Spend a few nights in a row working into the wee hours of the evening tinkering with things that you end up changing back in the morning when you are clear of mind and spirit
  • Refresh your Instagram notifications every 5-10 minutes all day everyday
  • View everyone else in the world as "outside people"
  • Have dreams about the pets in your pet portraits

Self-employment is not making me weird at all! Why do you ask?

Me just dressed up for a typical day of work. Dress for the job you want!

Me just dressed up for a typical day of work. Dress for the job you want!

Three things: 1) it's been more than 10 days but I had to make the play on words work (you have to make sacrifices for true art). 2) I've actually been developing a lot of good habits, too, thank-you-very-much. 3) Now that I have de-programmed myself out of the rat race mentality a little, I am feeling a lot more relaxed. Not that I thought it would be easybut this is hard! For me, the most difficult part is staying on task because I have to be the one who does all the things, so my mind is jumping around and my to-do lists are impossibly long.

One of the greatest gifts of working from home has been that I am now capable of cooking almost all of our meals - something that I love doing but was generally too exhausted for. I know my husband is happy about it, because while he cooks plenty of the time, he doesn't love it, and he usually gets home a little late. My daily schedule is kind of settling to be like this: work for a few hours starting around 8 or 9 in the morning, take a long-ish lunch break and do some prep for dinner, run an errand if I have to, and then work until Jeff gets home and throw dinner together. It's should never go unmentioned, in these conversations about how great it is to work from home, that my husband and I are making significant sacrifices in other areas to pursue it, and there are moments when I go: oh my god, what am I doing?

But I'm feeling mostly optimistic about it. The crippling panic is wearing off.


Since we've last talked, I've painted a few Fancy Beasts: Ronnie and Pal, Riley, and a super secret gift pet portrait that I can't show you yet. I also want to give a special thank you to the customer who bought a painting from me where the proceeds will be donated to the Texas SPCA approximately six seconds after I announced the donation on Instagram

We had a winner drawn from my subscriber list - and there will be a new winner drawn every month. If you want to be part of the drawing, subscribe to get these blog posts and the occasional promotional email (cough cough discount codes cough cough really soon cough). Lemme tell ya, that list is pretty small right now, so the odds are in your favor.

On the horizon:

For those of you toying with the idea of ordering a custom pet portrait from me (or any custom art for that matter), let's think ahead about Christmas season (yeah, I know, Christmas creep and all, but you people are going to wait until last minute and I'm only one person who can only paint so fast). I'm not sure if this is still true, but my grandmother used to get all her Christmas shopping done by like September if I'm remembering correctly. So, life goals. Be like her.

I'll also be coming out with a piece of art (and prints) where all proceeds will benefit the Texas SPCA, and it will be available on my website - stay tuned! It will be the start of some ongoing charitable efforts I've had in mind for a while.

Thank you all for your continued support!


Ronnie & Pal

Melissa VandiverComment