Art is a Calling

In her book Art & Soul: Notes on Creating, artist Audrey Flack writes:

Art is a calling. Artists are not discovered in school. Artists do not just paint for themselves, and they don’t simply paint for an audience. They paint because they have to. There is something within the artists that has to be expressed. Every creation reveals something more about the universe and the artist. Some artists surface earlier than others, but all are born to the calling.

I’ve felt the call to claim my role as an artist throughout my life, and I’ve stumbled so many times trying to answer that call. But the only thing I’ve ever been sure of is that when I’m standing in front of a canvas with a paint-filled brush in hand, I’m doing something I was born to do.

After graduating from Clemson University with an art degree, I had huge dreams and a ton of debt. I wanted simply to continue my work as a studio artist. And although the starving artist stereotype is romantic, I needed a job. Luckily, Sealevel welcomed me back with open arms as it has a few times over the last seventeen years as I have pursued my dreams.

That was four years ago. And regretfully, I haven’t completed a painting since then. But working at Sealevel has allowed me to purchase two acres of land with an amazing view of Table Rock Mountain here in beautiful South Carolina. I have a small storage building turned cabin on the property, and I’ve almost finished building a painting studio. My goal was to recreate the studio experience I enjoyed so much in the Clemson art program. It has taken a lot of time and work, but very soon my land will provide the ultimate artist’s retreat. By the end of this year, I will be able to pick up where I left off four years ago. I’ll be making yet another attempt to answer the call. Wish me luck.


  1. Angela
    Posted March 26, 2010 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s got to be the most wonderful feeling to know what you are born to do and to have the ambition and means to live it out. I admire you for this. I’m sure EVERYTHING will work out great!

  2. Alison Kelley
    Posted May 2, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Jamie: I just stumbled across this and am very impressed with all you have accomplished. I would love to talk to you! Glad you are doing well and I am very envious of your cabin! 🙂 Take care and hopefully we’ll run into each other sometime!

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