Kevin McCain Art in the Garden Show

What It’s Like to Live With an Artist

My honey is a professional artist, in case you didn’t know. In fact, he’s the one who created the illustration for the cover of Gift of the Phoenix. We’ve been married 3 1/2 years–it’s the second go-round for both of us–and one of the first things that sparked our interest in each other is our respective creative professions.

Well. He was the professional. I, on the other hand, hadn’t published my first book yet. But somehow he knew (way before I did) that publication was a foregone conclusion.

Anyway, I’m not sure what I thought it would be like to live with an artist, but there were some things I didn’t expect.

For example.

A working art studio requires a lot of space. Not just for the studio, but for storage. We have quite a large area devoted to storing paintings, frames, stretcher bars, blank canvases, staple guns (yes, plural), art supplies, sketch books, drawings, etc. etc etc. Plus a work table for stretching canvas and framing. My husband also teaches art classes out of our home, so one room is a dedicated classroom.

It’s actually pretty awesome. I’m not much of an artist, but I like just about anything to do with art, so being more or less surrounded by it makes me happy. It gives a cool vibe to the house. (My house pre-Kevin had no such vibe. Just saying.)

Maybe one day I’ll throw on a black turtleneck and beanie just to complete the look.

Another surprise. I thought the painting process went like this: start painting, finish painting, rinse and repeat.

But no. Unfinished paintings can kick around the studio for years before an artist decides how to ‘resolve’ it. And they’re everywhere. In the studio. In the storage room. In the classroom.


Kevin McCain works in progress

See that painting of the fall aspens on the bottom there? I’ve been waiting for him to finish that one for over a year now. I adore it. If he’s not careful, I’ll throw it on the wall along with this other unfinished painting I liked enough to hang.

Unfinished sunset

Speaking of wall space, we got plenty. Like, an overabundance. Way more than we did when I lived in a house meant for me and my three boys. Our house now fits our combined six kids plus two businesses (including one that takes up a fair amount of space).

I had very little in the way of wall art. But no worries. No naked walls around here, I assure you.

Some paintings are not for sale. Artists call this the “private collection,” which is a term I dig. Don’t ask me why. But I also have designated wall space for those paintings I fall in love with but don’t get to keep because they’re destined for some gallery or another. I rotate those on our walls before we have to say goodbye.

And that’s another thing about being an artist. You create this beautiful thing and then you have to see it go away. Forever. It’s not like writing a book where I can revisit that story any time I want. I still have it. No. When a painting is gone, it’s gone.

Course, artists go through emotions similar to writers, which means sometimes by the time Kevin is done with a painting he’s so sick of looking at it he can’t wait to get it out the door.

Speaking of which, artists have their neurotic moments. Just like us writers. This is one of the reasons Kevin and I get along so well. We understand each other. We get the drive. The craziness. The highs. The lows. The fears. The passion. We know how to encourage each other along the challenging path of creative entrepreneurship. And not take the craziness too seriously.

Another thing I did not see coming is this: decor objects travel in this house. It’s like they’ve got their own little legs or something. But not to worry.

If an object is missing:

Fireplace mantle with painting and vases

I know right where to find it:

Vase in the classroom

I don’t know how many times Kevin’s students have drawn or painted that vase.

What else? Oh yeah.

Free snacks. Artists come with free snacks. Did you know that? Well, they do. When Kevin has an art show or opening that’s catered with amazing hors d’oeuvres, as the spouse I get to tag along and dig in for free. Browsing art at a show while basking in the glow of bacon-wrapped figs with brie all adds to the illusion of my hipness. And ’tis yummy.

Perhaps that’s how I can sum up what it’s like to live with an artist.

Yummy hipness.

Now where’s my beanie?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>