January 13, 2022

Today, like every other 13 January, is a special day. The Let-Your-Dreams-Come-True-Day is meant to motivate people to achieve their goals. Or perhaps also to encourage people to first realize their own dreams.

It is a coincidence, but in fact in 5 days it will be the 2nd anniversary of the day I made my dream come true. The 18th of January 2020 was officially the day I started my own business as a freelance artist. A nice occasion, I think, to look back on the first two years of my self-employment - but above all on what this dream means to me.

A childhood dream

Like probably all children, I loved to paint when I was a little girl. I was a shy, withdrawn child. Painting helped me to express myself, to process experiences. That is still the case today.

Unfortunately, I did not grow up in an environment where creativity and sensitivity were valued. I was neither understood nor encouraged. Nevertheless, I kept this treasure. Sometimes I think of it, and I remember well, sitting on the windowsill of my room in the attic, observing nature out there, drawing and painting in all seasons. I wanted to be an artist. I wanted nothing more than to be an artist.

My dream was to study. It should be art and art history. I was inquisitive, wanted to immerse myself completely in the world of art. My mother's plans were different.

As already mentioned, she didn't think much of creativity and sensitivity - and of education only as much as was absolutely necessary. Studies, she thought, were not for me. I should get an education as soon as possible, earn money and finally pay board.

Today I know that I should have fought for my dream, for my own future. But that was not how I was brought up. It was to take many, many years. It was only when I was a mother of almost grown-up children that I managed to emancipate myself from the desire to gain my mother's approval and love.

At that time, however, I had no self-esteem, did what she asked and let her push me into a job that she considered "good enough" for me.


What probably happens to many childhood dreams happened to my dream. It fell behind. Art was always a subject for me, was part of my life. But a part I looked at from the outside.

Even if I had imagined otherwise, my life was not bad. I didn't choose my profession. It meant nothing to me, I didn't love it, but I was good at it. I achieved success, gained a little self-confidence. I fell in love, got married and became a mother.

Not only on the outside, but especially on the inside, being a mother completely redefined me. My children's unconditional love for me and mine for them - something I didn't know from my own childhood - made me see the world in a whole new way. Being able to experience a childhood together with them that was playful, full of desire and freedom to create without a goal - I believe that this phase still shapes my art today.

A first step towards myself had been taken. Nevertheless, I remained an observer in art for the time being. The demands in those years were high. My younger son was born with a disability, my marriage failed after 10 years, the financial situation was tense. I'm tempted to say I didn't have much time for myself. But the truth is, I didn't take it.

It came as it had to come. I could take no more. Physically and mentally burnt out, I eventually collapsed. And when I was down, art therapy was my salvation. Through art, I found access to myself and art no longer became just part of my life, but part of myself.

A new life

A lot of time has passed since then, and a lot has happened. I have worked on myself, learned to see myself and to respect my needs. A new love came into my life. And this man by my side supports me to the best of his ability. He is an artist himself, a writer, and the exchange with him enriches me every day.

I have never lost the contact with art that I regained through therapy. With the support of my partner, art has taken an ever larger place in my life. Together we visited museums, explored masterpieces, I took courses, joined other artists and created art every day. In 2017/2018, the idea of professionalizing myself as an artist emerged for the first time.

I looked into this a lot, did research, took start-up courses, talked to my partner who encouraged me a lot to take this step. I made all the preparations and at the end of 2019 I registered my freelance work with the tax office.


Dreams come true

Then in 2020 came the confirmation. Since 18.01.2020 I am officially listed as a freelance artist. Hooray!

Of course, not everything has been good since then. Barely two months after my official foundation came the first lockdown. That upset my plans for the time being. No more fairs and exhibitions!

So for the time being, I concentrated on showing my art online. There was - and is - a lot I still have to learn. Basically, everything went quite differently than I had imagined - some better, some worse.

I celebrated successes and failed in other places. But I am happy to have taken this step. The road ahead of me is still long. I have a lot to learn, I have to keep rethinking. Not only in art, but also as a businesswoman. But I feel comfortable in my skin. I am an artist!

Why am I telling you this?

I want to encourage you to make your dreams come true, too. Whether it's a big, life-changing dream or a very small one. Be brave, be strong, be yourself.

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About the Author Lea Finke

Lea Finke is an artist with all her soul. In her blog, she talks about inspiration, passion, and encounters with art.

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