A Homeless Artist

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"Nine Month Distraction" acrylic on Paper, 9" x 12" -- each sphere represents one month my life has been distracted or put on hold by moving, so far.
“Nine Month Distraction” acrylic on Paper, 9″ x 12″ — each sphere represents one month my life has been distracted or put on hold by moving, so far.

Here’s an update on what happened to this former Minnesota artist: Me.

(This is not a light and humorous story of how fun it is to move across the country.)

I have moved to Atlanta Georgia, but am currently in temporary housing (a cheap hotel) so I’m spending most of my time looking for a place to live. I have no house, no studio, and very few art supplies.  99% of my art supplies are on my moving truck which is in storage and will be in storage for another month, for all of August! I am going stir-crazy, as you can imagine, with the inability to paint and the lack of space and materials to really do anything other than digital art or drawings. It’s not my usual form of art so it’s coming to me slowly, especially since I’m spending most of my time looking for a house.

The housing market in the Atlanta area has gone from bad to worse in the last six months. What was once available and affordable has disappeared. What is left is small and over-priced.

In case you don’t know the story:

Last November my husband began commuting from Minnesota to Georgia for his job. He’d fly out every Sunday and come home on Friday or Saturday for a day, or a day-1/2, at home. Meanwhile I weathered one of the worst winters I’ve ever lived through in Minnesota virtually alone, with my dog. Sam was formally offered the job in Atlanta in May. Actually I had been looking for homes in the Atlanta area since January because I saw the move was probably going to be happening. (We do own a small home in the west side of St. Cloud, very small, but we owned it and I had an art studio in it that spread into two rooms.)

We tried to buy a home remotely, with me in MN and Sam in GA, but that’s tough. Sam does not have the eye for detail that I have… so the first house we offered to buy had all kinds of problems. Termites, cracked and bowed foundation, major holes all over it inside and out. Just really a mess of a house. Failing to notice these things prior to the inspection cost us $450 for that inspection, which pointed out the obvious problems and thereafter we withdrew our offer for the house.

Our second attempt at remote home buying turned out to be a never-ending short sale. To home buyers out there, beware of the short sale, it can be a nightmarish process, and don’t necessarily believe what your real estate agent tells you about it either. The listing agent in this particular short sale led us on and on, and lied to us for over two months about it being approved, when in fact, no approval was coming and did not come. The agent promised us all sorts of things that weren’t true. We found out agents have no problem making things up, and after two months of waiting, the offer fell through. (The agent is still lying to us about the house closing and is now in fact misrepresenting us to the bank that owns the house and we have threatened her with legal action!)

Meanwhile, this hotel is sucking up our dwindling funds that were meant for a house and some furniture. We are also still paying for a myriad of things back in Minnesota: utilities and water for the house we moved out of, and a lawn service to keep the grass mowed, and insurance on the house too. Oh yeah, and property taxes are due in October in Minnesota. It’s like we still live there. (What am I doing here in Georgia?)

Well, we had to move here. It wasn’t my first choice, truth be told.  I have always wanted to live near the ocean and here I am in another landlocked location.

Sam’s employer gave him a deadline, that he had to be living here in Georgia and at work the 7th of July. No surprise there, of course they were tired of paying him to fly back and forth. So the moving was on. More than once I considered not moving. I almost didn’t. Leaving everything behind is very hard, and that includes my parents who are quite old and who knows if I’ll ever even see them again.

Moving is hell, let me tell ya. We had 25 years worth of stuff in that house and lots of it had to go in a big trash bin. It was absolutely amazing how much stuff we had that we hadn’t even seen for 10 years, much less used! Eventually, we got everything packed up and sold or given away. Yes, I threw away and gave away paintings. I also was forced to sell some dirt cheap. Just some of my older ones, but I had to get rid of some things that I didn’t feel were worth taking with me. The majority of my paintings are on a truck along with my easels, my paint, my brushes, and everything else. (I did find a Michael‘s store not far from my hotel, just discovered it yesterday, so I will be going to get some supplies this week, hopefully.)

At present, I am unable to sell anything, make new paintings of any decent size (I do have watercolor paper with me but it’s small) and my online stores are sitting vacant and silent and unused. And some of them I have to pay for, so that is another expense I can’t afford. And since we have had to unexpectedly live in a hotel, our funds are sliding through our fingers like sand. The kind of house we can now afford is getting smaller and smaller. I’m worried I won’t be able to get a house with enough room for a studio of any size soon, if this keeps going.

Our housing situation is not good but yes, my husband has a good job. What I have is a dog to walk and a laptop. I don’t even have a mailing address. I have never in my entire life been this homeless and this adrift. I’ve been broke before, but I have never lived in a cheap hotel for longer than a week and now I’m going on 4 weeks and looking at another month. All I can do is attempt to hang in there and meanwhile, do something constructive like watch art and design videos on Skilshare. Oh yeah, I’ve been watching a lot of movies too. At least my cheap hotel has free HBO and Comedy Central, keeping me sane. I even got my Apple TV box to work here so that also helps a lot.

After writing all this, I am now feeling like I should get out my watercolor paper and do something creative, like the Jetstream art I talked about last week on Art of Impact. After I finally find a place to live, I’ll be starting from square one with all my projects, like Art of Impact, all my shows, all my art fairs, all everything I’ve become comfortable doing for years and years. The thought of starting over honestly makes me feel exhausted. So there will be small steps for me here in Georgia (and don’t expect me to jump into things while I’m still in the process of moving.)

And oh yeah, I am going to custom make and design websites for artists and photographers building on what I’ve already done for various artists and art groups. It’s called Boundless Websites and I invite everyone to check it out. (I’m doing it now, so don’t wait for the website to be finished, which is pretty ironic isn’t it.)

I’m going to find something to make a piece of abstract art with to illustrate this article or it’s just me complaining. I can’t wait to see what I’ll come up with. No judging! I’m in a hotel!

Also taking walks in various parks like this one by the Chattahoochee River. That smile is just a cover . . . .*

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*Eureka — I found five tubes of acrylic paint that I threw in a plastic bucket that ended up in the vehicle we drove to Georgia. This painting above is a finger painting using those paints. Each sphere represents one month my life has been totally distracted (or upended) by moving.