My painting studio is located above our garage, and attached beside is my husband’s shop. During my local watercolour class recently, one of my students commented, “Every time we’ve come, your husband is working in there.”

Seeing as Wade works 11 hour days and these classes take place in the evening, it is pretty evident that he’s a hard worker, although he’s always made it a priority to be home nights with his family. Wade would shrug off any compliments about his work ethic. To him it’s pretty obvious that if he wants to get his latest hot rod project finished, he’s going to have to spend a few hours in the shop in the evening. And he’s right. Five years of evenings and weekends were what it took to build his rat rod, and that requires dedication even when the project gets difficult or tedious. I can’t tell you  how many times he came in to report, “Well, that didn’t work. I have to take the carburetor/brakes/rear end/flangwobbler (I’m out of truck part names) apart and start over.” He didn’t give up, even when he had no idea what to do next and we sat at the computer arguing about how to phrase the Google search for answers.

rat rod portrait bwrat rod portrait bw

Wade has always been an inspiration to me, the example I’ve needed in order to persevere. Whether it’s digging my van out of a snowbank or trying to get a painting just right, I have often stuck with something just a little longer than I would have on my own, because I respect his work ethic and know how he recognizes “not quitting” as a sign of character.

I started writing this post because I wanted to talk about seeing my own hard work pay off as my art business grows. I’m seeing opportunities and possibilities that I couldn’t have dreamed of a year or two ago, but in writing about my own hard work, it always comes back to the one who really taught me how to stick with what matters to me. I’m so thankful for him and how he has shown me that passion alone isn’t productive, but when you focus that passion, make a few sacrifices and work for your dreams you will see results.

Red Floral in progress, watercolour by Angela Fehr

I can’t expect that those results will always be business success, recognition or growth of my career as an artist (although I am seeing some of that now and it’s very exciting), but the strength of character and pride of achievement hold real and lasting value. These are things I want my children to learn, and to see modeled in our home, and I’m thankful that is something they can see in our lives.