Thoughts on Being a Full Time Artist after quitting my job 3 Years ago

Written by Nathalie Kalbach. Posted in General Announcements

This has been part of my March Newsletter but I feel it is important enough to also post it on my blog :) I cannot believe I missed my 3 year mark last month  - In fact I totally forgot I was something else before until I talked on the phone with someone about how I became an artist and then I remembered. Strange ;)

It has been 3 years this February since I quit my job as a paralegal and become a full time artist. I wrote a blog post if it was worth quitting a well paid job to become an artist about two years ago. When I initially quit my job I told myself to try it for three years and see what happens. If I would not be able to  sustain, survive, be happy with it, I would go back and work as a paralegal again. Well…now after three years, I guess it is time to reflect on this :)

1. Making my life as an artist work is not the main goal

It had been quite a journey. Funny enough the obstacles were and are different from what I thought they would be. I have been extremely lucky that I have an amazing support team behind me. My husband, my friends, my family, my readers and students and my artist friends are the best support ever, cheering me on, listening, helping with advice,  I have no idea how I would have been able to get further in this journey without them.

I posted already about the money part of being a full time artist- nothing has changed here. You are not getting rich (yeah- you won’t believe how many people and companies are just assuming artists love to work for nothing and store products in their fridge) but getting rich has never been my goal either. Making an income that makes you feel you can sustain your work and yourself…that is a goal.

The challenges I faced and face is getting in a routine and balancing creative time with paper work, consulting, traveling, photo editing, working out classes, making samples, writing blog posts, answering emails  etc etc. I am still working on this  -I am getting better in putting away time each week for doing something creative just for myself – wether it be creating nonstop the whole day or going to MoMA. I learned for myself that I get very unhappy if I do not fuel my arting time and just try to make my life as an artist work …making my life as an artist work is part of the journey but not the main goal!

2. My former career was not useless

I have never been one to look back and regret things I did in my life. I loved studying law (ok that is a lie) and working in the law offices I worked at (that is true – I chose pro bono law offices and I had a great time there!). I do not regret this also for other reasons. I wouldn’t be who I am as an artist if it wasn’t for those experiences at the law office. A lot of my art journaling or my canvases are part  of this. On top knowing how to deal with stress, deadlines, grumpy emails, paperwork and taxes comes pretty much in handy.

3. I can do it – bring it on!
Becoming a full time artist and quitting my safe job has been the biggest and scariest decision in my life…until….I moved to the States.
I have had many sleepless nights and discussions with close friends before I quit my job – I have had many sleepless nights afterwards wondering if that was a good move too …mostly anytime something big and cool is about to happen falls through like a coin into the street gutter.  I tend to question all when this happens instead of counting the coins that are still remaining in my hand.
But I learned some other , often times even way better opportunities will open up and that the best thing about life is…that it goes on ;) And so I think that this helped me with being cool with the decision of moving to a foreign country. I can do it, I will work it out and I will enjoy the journey. So far I have. enjoyed this journey a lot.
Becoming a full time artist has made me more fearless in bigger life decisions.

4, Make Art …not war
I learned a lot about creating art itself the last three years. I learned that creating art is an argument with the attempt to work it out and not with the attempt to battle.
It is a state of mind how I like my work,  and enjoy the process It is not about “tackling” the canvas – it is about making the canvas my friend, introducing it to other art supplies aka  friends  and have them have a nice civilized discussion.

4. I have never been happier 
I truly can say this! Every time I get in the zone working on a big canvas, with cranked up music and into my elbows in paint. Every time I see my students being inspired by something I showed. Every time I see art work by other artist friends or in a museum and it touches my heart because I am the lucky one who can see this. Every time I see something on a stroll in the hood or hear something that inspires me and makes me want to run home to my studio and create. Every time I take my second cup of coffee into my studio seeing my supplies and itching to get started.
I have never been happier – I never want to quit being a full time artist!

So, I guess the verdict after the three years is…I will keep on being a full time artist – it was a good decision and rock on- that was the best decision ever ;) I will work on making it work even better in the next three years :) Time to finish this post and introduce a new canvas to some of my friends. See you soon!

huge hugs

A Farewell to the Prima Education Team

Written by Nathalie Kalbach. Posted in General Announcements

Although it was my own decision I am a bit sad to say good bye to the Prima Education Team. I have been with Prima since 2007 and had a fun time teaching Prima Workshops, creating CHA Projects, CHA Demos and other stuff. Seven years is a long time though and I feel it is time for a change – but today I would love to look back and show some of my favorite projects and workshops throughout those years with Prima.

Probably my all time favorite Prima Workshop I taught because it has so much personal meaning to me, is my Altered Book Class - I taught it throughout 2013.

This Canvas Workshop is another favorite of mine and I have taught it last year and will teach it again next month in Malaysia.


I loved this online Prima Class I did with Donna Downey in 2012 called “A Spoonful of Texture” – it is about texture – and it has a spoon on the cover…so what is not to love about it- LOL


I did have a lot of fun creating this little Sardine Tin for CHA2012

This card I made in 2009 and which was part of a blog tutorial for Prima, is still one of my favorite cards- as you can see I have always had a heart for funky bold colors ;)

This layout which I created in 2008 showed my love for texture and gesso already :) – funny when I look at all those projects I realize that my style was always evident

This Family Getaway Canvas which I taught in 2007/2008 was a big hit- and I still have it hanging on my studio wall

this is another layout from 2008 which was published in Somerset Memories- Loved painting on the paper – gosh I loved the bright Prima Papers so much :)



And this mini album class ” A Wonderful World” was also special for me because I taught it in NYC and that was in 2009 – the first time I taught a workshop in the U.S. – who would have thought I would ever live here- LOL.




Thank you Prima for having me for such a long time and actually believing in my skills as a teacher in the first place back in 2007 when I probably barely knew what I was doing in Europe ;) . Thank you also for inspiring me with your amazing products all those years to create projects and workshops which are still dear to my heart and meaningful to me. Thank you also to all my wonderful Education Team Colleagues- I have had a wonderful time whenever I saw you and spent time with you! A special thank you to Sharon, Cari and Denny – you three have been throughout all those years a wonderful support and I am happy to have been working with you guys!

Wishing you all a wonderful and prima ;) day

huge hugs





My Favorite Tool: A Brayer

Written by Nathalie Kalbach. Posted in General Announcements



If you ask me what my all time favorite Tool is …well besides my fingers ;) – it is a brayer. The versatility of a brayer is just immense. You can use it for printing, mixing colors together, stamping, background creating, you can make sure things get applied evenly, you can use it for mono printing, even painting. You can use it with acrylic paints, with inks, with spray paints, with acrylic media – it is just the coolest thing in the world :) Well…at least in my world. I even did once (2008) a whole class on brayer techniques and it was a lot of fun.

Here are three tutorials I posted the last couple months where the brayer played a big role :)

Positive/Negative Stenciling


Brayer Technique Background



Rubber Band Brayer Technique Background


So, what’s not to love about a brayer? ;)

Have a gorgeous day







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