Fair’s Fair

Storm over the Equinox Watercolor 5″x5″

Saturday, Thing2 packed up his origami books and I packed up my watercolors and doodles and drove over to the Harvest Festival in Arlington, VT.

We didn’t expect to retire on our earnings (there was a mega old-time fair in nearby Peru, VT on the same day drawing serious crowds), but it was the biggest craft market of the year in our town, and we thought we might be able to buy an ice cream at the Dairy Bar when the day was over.

So we setup the tent, hung a few paintings and magnets and origami swans and sat down to wait.

We didn’t sit for long or for long throughout the day.

I had hoped to sell a few magnets but was happily shocked when watercolors – even ones I thought were borderline duds (and had almost made into bookmarks) –  started coming off the pegboards and out of the tent.  T2, who was watching my sales closely, began mentally converting dollars to chocolate sprinkles and adding a bounce to each step.

I could do this, whispered a voice inside my head. Wait, I think I am doing this.

T2 must have a direct line to the chorus in my head because as I sat down for a break, he wrapped his arms around my neck and said, “Mom you should just sell your pictures for a job.”

You gotta love getting job advice from someone who hasn’t yet been told by the world (and he ain’t gonna hear it here) that you can’t make a job out of art or music or anything outside an office.  It’s delivered with just enough conviction to make you realize that it may actually be happening.

I hugged him back and said, “That’s a pretty good idea, buddy.”

And that’s reason #5628 why I love that kid.  I ended up taking them all out to dinner.

Sunday, Sunday

Take Me Home, Watercolor 12x18
Take Me Home, Watercolor 12×18

A day of rest can mean a lot of things.

Around here it means inking a cartoon and finishing a banner for a website and a day of painting.

This is the final version of a painting that began with Kissing Frogs. One of the things I’m slowly learning is that you have to draw a line in the sand and tell yourself the work or painting is done – even if you think there are things you could have done better.   It’s the only way to keep moving forward.


If you are interested in purchasing this piece, please leave a comment or message me at rachel @ rachebarlow.com

Kissing Frogs


For the last few months I’ve been drawing and painting like an addict. The truth is, I’ve been a drawing addict since I was old enough to bored in school, but art school wasn’t an option when I graduated high school, and it’s even less of one now.  Like a lot of people, I swallowed the mantra that art is a hobby, not a job.

Not too long ago, however, I heard a really happy story on NPR about the health of most of our 401(k)s and IRAs.  The upshot was that if you’re middle class and in your 40s, you’re almost as likely to be hit by lightning twice as accumulate enough retirement funds to, well, retire.

The danger of that happening is reaching crisis proportions.

Unless, like me, you’re a Simpson’s fan and are familiar with the term ‘Crisi-tunity’, where in crisis there is opportunity.  If you look for it. Sometimes you have to grasp at it like a straw, but I’m good at grasping, and the crisitunity came at a time when upheaval at work had me questioning what I really wanted to do with my life.

Then my sister reminded me of two things.  The first was that I had never been able to really stop drawing. The second thing was something universal – the idea that if you can find a way to get paid to do what you love, you’ll never work another day in your life.

She’s pretty smart for being two years younger – it’s one of the things I love about her.  That universal was the opportunity, and, after spending two blissful weeks of daily drawing on vacation, I decided to take that opportunity.

The first step on that journey was to get better.

A lot better.

Everyone knows, the more frogs you kiss, the sooner you get to that handsome prince – or that painting someone wants to put on their wall or in their children’s book.  So, I’ve got a nice and growing collection of frogs in my studio right now, and I haven’t slept more than 10 hours since I began feeding my addiction.  But I’m pretty sure there’s a handsome, salable prince – or even two – waiting in the stacks of paper somewhere.  Finding them may be a big job, but the zietgeist and my sister are very right.  It definitely doesn’t feel like work.




It’s time for a little housekeeping.

I know, I know.  Not a word I use very often, but the blog has been undergoing some renovation as I try to organize cartoons and blog posts, as well as sketches and paintings.

I’ve added a new page (My Sketchy Life) just for illustrations and tried to organize the two cartoons I do now.  I’ll also be adding a serial comic to that page in the near future, so keep checking back.

I know many folks come here to feed their inner smarty pants, and, fully supporting that, have decided that doodles and any other art for art’s sake  will appear on the blog but will not appear in the feeds.  If you want to check out artsy posts on a regular basis without having doodle in your inbox, you can also like me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/PickingMyBattles).