Artists, Where Did You Learn the Value of Hard Work?

Over the last several weeks, I’ve been writing about the hard work and discipline it takes to create art. From what I’ve heard from readers, and what I’ve observed as I’ve interacted with artists, you all are a hard-working group of individuals!

This series of posts has had me thinking a lot about work ethic and the hard work it takes to make a successful career.  I’ve reflected on how I learned to work, and I’ve wondered if I’m doing enough to instill a love of hard work in my children.

How I Learned to Work Hard

I am very grateful to my parents for instilling in me a love of hard work. My dad, who is a painter, and my mother, who has worked as his business manager since he first began his career, are two of the hardest working people I know. They have labored tirelessly to build my father’s career since the late 1970’s. Their example alone would have given me a great perspective on the value of hard work, but they went much further to teach me first-hand the value of work.

From a very early age, I remember my mother giving me and my siblings responsibilities around the house. We learned how to clean and help cook. We were expected to do well in school without being hounded to finish our homework.

My family on a recent pilgrimage to the dome home

Around 1979, my parent began building a geodesic dome in Southern Idaho. This dome was to serve as our futuristic, highly-efficient home. Dad was a bit of a visionary and loved Buckminster Fuller’s vision for the future of architecture. Dad believed he could use some innovative materials, build the house by hand himself, and create an amazingly artistic home in less than a year. Well, it’s now been almost forty years since he started building the dome home, and it’s still not finished!

It took almost ten years to complete it to a point that we could move into it, but the interior is still pretty rough. To be fair, in addition to the technical aspects of building this house, my parents had a lot going on in their lives. The were working to secure Dad’s reputation in the art world and to make a living selling Dad’s art, and they were busy raising a huge family – I’m the oldest of my parent’s nine children! Eventually my parents bought a home in Arizona, where they spend most of their time now, and the dome became a kind of crazy cabin where they spend their summers.

The interior of the dome – still not quite finished . . .

While the building project was a bit ill-fated from the start, building the dome gave me countless opportunities to do hard, physical labor. I remember digging trenches with a pickaxe and shovel, I mixed concrete, I carried tons of cinder-blocks, and I drove hundreds of nails. I watched the structure rise from the ground and saw how my work impacted the progress of the building project. I remember some blisters and muscle-aches, but also remember feeling proud of the adult-like work I was doing.

As a teenager, I also joined the family art business. My father taught me how to build stretcher frames and how to stretch his custom canvases. I learned how to use a miter saw and the importance of quality-control. I thought it was pretty cool that my handiwork was ending up in the homes of art collectors. Dad paid me for each canvas I built, and by managing the money I earned, I learned the importance of saving and thrift.

I don’t want to make my childhood sound too idyllic – there were a lot of challenges along the way (don’t worry, I’m working on the memoire now!), but I have no doubt that my parents did a great job of preparing me to face the world and to embrace hard work.

Parents Play a Big Role In Teaching the Value of Work, But So Can Others

As I’ve reached out to readers to ask where they learned to work, I’ve come to see that my experience was far from unique. Parents obviously play a big role in the development of work ethic, along with other important role models. Here are some insights from artists who responded to the question “Where did you learn the value of hard work?”

 

That is an easy one – from my father and his work ethic. How did my father teach me work ethic? He had me drive the old Chevy truck down the hill in compound gear while they loaded the hay. When I could not reach the pedals and had to turn the truck off to stop it. He had me drive nails and fix things that would have been easier to do by himself. He did not yell at me when I dug a duck pond and accidentally drowned one of the sheep, just took me to a better place in the pasture and had me dig a new one there. He took me on long rides in the mountains, and complimented me on the things I did and made. He did not care what my grades were in school IF I had done my best.

Dale Ashcroft, Cache Valley, UT

I never shunned hard work. As a child, grew up on a farm with six siblings.  We all had chores to do, and there wasn’t any, “I don’t want to”.  After marriage at an early age to a Military Man, moved so many times, three daughters, many times he was overseas while I was the only adult..work had to be done.  When I started college after all three were in school, I went for Art Education as a way for me to earn a living,  if anything happened to my husband…and because I have always loved doing, seeing Art.
Yes, doing Art is hard work, but it is so satisfying and I love it!
Patricia Pope, Orlando Florida

 

My grandparents and parents set a very fine example of hard work, which they instilled in me at an early age, they also taught me to give 1000% to anything I am involved with, not room for slacking.

Joseph Marion, Santa Fe, NM

 

Throughout my life I have worked on projects and initiatives in the community that created opportunities for people to improve their lives. What I learnt from that is that if I love doing something it is not hard work. The hard work for me is getting to do the work, once I am creating or teaching it ceases to be work for me. I get frustrated and get things wrong but love the challenge of making it ‘right’. I get lost in the creative process and seeing something come into being that was not there before. What a privilege to be able to do that, to have the courage and commitment to create something and ‘put it out there’ and hope it has some good influence on those who receive or are in proximity to it. Of course I had to learn how to quilt and paint and went through some tough times to learn the basics but once I had those down the world of creativity opened up for me. Hard work for me is having to do things that don’t enable me to feel I am creating something of value. Art is not hard work once I get to it. My sister bought me a wonderful canvas for my birthday that says ‘Do more of what makes you sparkle’. Creating makes me sparkle.

Chrissie Hawkes, Cambridge, UK

 

As to the value of hard work, as a young man in collage I was a member of the schools rifle team. I held national records, won a national championship, and was named to the collegiate All American rifle team. Those achievements took an enormous amount of hard work and discipline. I believe that if you want to be the the best at anything, it has to be your passion and you have to work harder than anyone else.

Bob Hays

 

It was never a question of “IF” my father would go to work. He was a very dedicated employee. On weekends both my parents worked on a ski resort. When the resort was closed, they still went and worked helping build, clear brush, whatever was needed. I learned that if someone needed help, you just pitched in in any way you could. I don’t have any memories of my father complaining.

Vicki Gough, Hesston, KS

 

I grew up is rural eastern North Carolina. Both my parents had working class jobs. We were not affluent but they made ends meet. At 16 I worked in the tobacco fields in the summer. I was a store clerk at a discount store while in high school. I apply the work ethic I learned then to my art.

Rick Bennet

How Did You Learn the Value of Work?

Where did you learn to work hard? What experiences in your life prepared you for the work you do as an artist? What did your parents teach you about work? How did you teach your children the value of work? Share your thoughts, comments and experiences below.

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40 Comments

  1. It was really fun to read about family projects and how you contributed to them Jason.
    I saw my single mom (with 3 kids) develop an excellent work ethic. She supported us with jobs as a bookkeeper. Fortunately, for her, she was able to find work wherever well lived.

    While in college, I had a full scholarship, but I worked in food service at the student union about 20 hours a week. Later, I waitressed 2 nights a week during my senior year at the University. After graduation, I worked full time for a large computer company for around 10 years.

    I had no one to supply my needs, so either I worked, or starved. My mom couldn’t really contribute to my post high school education, so I was on my own. I didn’t have enough money to own car, but a bicycle worked just fine since I lived in a dorm on campus.

    All that said, I work very hard as an artist, perhaps harder than any other job I’ve had. It really takes all I’ve got in hours and effort and learning. Running one’s own business is so much more intense than working for someone else. (you know that tho).
    The hardest part about being an artist/entrepreneur is that I’m the boss. When someone else paid me, of course I did what I was expected to, but now I know that if I slack off, no one will fire me.

    On days when I’m feeling discouraged, it’s easy for me to think, “Well, this is so hard, and if I don’t do it, no one will get hurt.” My husband makes enough money – I won’t starve if I don’t sell paintings. I imagine it’s easier to stay motivated when one is hungry and needs that income to pay the bills. Perhaps when my husband retires, I’ll feel differently.
    Most artists would create whether they got paid for it or not, so it’s nice to make an income with it.

  2. I learned the value of hard work at a very young age. I found out that if I wanted something I had to work for it and I also had to keep it in good condition. I started drawing at a young age and had to work at it. After that it started to come easier for me. I drew cartoon characters then I drew my grandfather. I didn’t doodle in school like other kids I drew pictures . This is how I began .

  3. My mother always said “if you are going to do it, do it right”. That was suggested to me at a very early age and to this day that notion of integrity in one’s work is part of the woven fabric of my being. Sometimes this is a strength and sometimes it is a weakness.
    The weakness: I am a detailed craftsperson through and through. For exacmple I love, and demand, near perfection in my painting supports. Early in my career I built all of my stretchers sometimes with complex light boxes inside. All of these built within a 64th of an inch to square in the 107″ x 72″ x 4″ canvas supports. Today finding a builder to meet my standards has been… well difficult would be putting it mildly. I am lucky as now I have two amazing woodworkers in my artist complex that are extremely skilled and contentious.
    The strength: I take satisfaction in all that I do knowing that I take care every step of the way. This ethic is with me in the studio and was very helpful in my nearly two decades of teaching art in a private art college. I was able to see excellent work develope over the years. My classes were full of vibrant hard working individuals dedicated to their learning, their art, and each other. Yet, many of my colleagues would tell me that I work too hard. Well I didn’t then, nor do I now, know how to be any other way. Over the years my dedication and passionate involvement as a teacher and artist made the financially thankless job of college teaching, worth it. Now in the studio full time I have great pride.
    Yes, be great & have integrity in all that you do. This is my benchmark.

  4. Being born into the Canadian prairies, that, in and of itself instills a strong work ethic to my generation. Our parents survived the “Dirty 30’s”, the 2nd World War, and many of their generations parents/grandparents homesteaded the land. However, without question it was my Dad who demonstrated and instilled in me a very strong work and life ethic. If you started something – you finished it. If you put your name to something – it better be the best you can do. If you “joined” something, you were not to be a “quitter”. If you didn’t get it the first time – try again. Perseverance. Sometimes it seemed a curse (lol), but in the long run … I am forever grateful for his example.

  5. Both my parents were from the Great Depression era, and mostly for the better retained the mentality of that work ethic and self sufficiency, Often they bought or found materials and made what they needed around the house instead of buying it at the store, and it was always better quality and customized for about the tenth of the cost. Furniture, home improvements, garden, bee hives, maple syrup, toys, clothing. Dad would usually fix a broken toy instead of buying me a new one, even if it required making the parts.

    Then there was my little allowance epiphany. In the year 1977, 50 cents a week did not buy very much and I was very pissed that kids on my school bus got $5 – $10 a week, and I asked Dad how I could get $5 too. He told me to go mow the lawn, and I instantly realized that 2 hours of work for $5 was better than 50 cents for doing nothing.

  6. one observation made about Western society is our tendency o turn things on their head. In hard work–particularly hard ART work, that has been my experience. As I type this, I’m gearing up for my county fair. Last year, a quick little charcoal sketch that I started HOURS before the deadline took a merit. A few years ago a pencil portrait that I made just to get a feel for a new set of pencils didn’t turn out the way I wanted. I wouldn’t have taken it, but I had the entry and nothing else fit the lot. It too best of class. Another year, an assortment of zendoodle art cards that I threw together into a frame was a serious contender for grand champion. Meanwhile, pictures I’ve slaved over for weeks, carefully balancing warm light against cool shadow, building up glazes, hitting all the “checks” of a great painting, and being so perfect a match to what I had in mind when I started that I can’t improve on them even years later–those get whites (third) and pinks (fourth), even when there’s no placing above me, or get beat out by someone working out of 50-page (or shorter) kiddy-draw instruction books.

  7. A great topic.

    I learned from my grandmother who lived to 103 and only stopped working when she turned 100. She was a master gardener before there was such a thing and spent hours in her beautiful gardens along with taking care of the house, the laundry, picking fruit in summer and then hours in the kitchen canning…you get the idea. But it was her beautiful gardens – the flowers – that occupied her most. She was up at dawn and worked long hours but always with a sense of joy about it.

    My favorite moment with her came during a visit when she was in her 90s. I went out to help her rake the grass of falling leaves, something she did every single day and no leaf was left on that green carpet. As we worked, she turned to and said quite seriously, “Honey, when you get tired, we’ll stop.”

    Everything I needed to know about a work ethic.

  8. My parents worked hard, and there was an expectation that didn’t need to be stated: I would work hard too. I got my first paying job at 8, and in my teen years did such unglamorous work as cleaning cabins at a resort, waiting tables, working an assembly line on the night shift at a factory, and (my favorite) picking up all the dozens and dozens of balls at a driving range, which had to be done in the dawn hours. Of course, I was also expected to keep my grades at the head of my class, so I could earn a scholarship for my education. So I studied with discipline too.

    By the time I reached my corporate career years, hard work and long hours were nothing new — which is good, because nothing less was going to cut it. Now that I’m a full time artist, the same discipline carries over: get up, get dressed, and get into the studio. Just do it.

  9. For me I think it came from watching and helping my parents and grandparents in their vegetable garden. Creating a work of art is much like gardening; a blank canvas, loads of planning, dedication and hard work!

  10. Good better best, never let it rest, until your good is better and your better best! That was written by a teacher in an autograph book I had in grade 8. It stuck with me.
    Like you Jason, I had parents who worked hard, and were good role models. They had us doing chores, and making full meals at the age of 12. I was all the better for that training. Nothing came for free.

  11. My folks taught me the value of work and making myself a better worker. I was given certain chores to do; and to teach me money management skills, I was also given a small allowance. When that allowance proved to be a bit small in relation to what I wanted to buy (horseback riding lessons), I asked my Dad for a raise. He taught me a great life lesson when he asked me what I was willing to take on to merit that raise — I had to be worth more to get more. That lesson has served me all my life. When I worked jobs, I always treated my employer’s’business like it was my business, with the vast majority of employers responding with offers of increased opportunities, better pay and bonuses as a result. Working for myself, as I do now, I know I have to give value added to my clients to make them happy to spend their money with me. (Thanks, Dad!)

  12. It was a combination of disciplined parents who expected excellence, piano lessons [and daily hour practice and regular recitals from 2nd grade on], assigned chores and excellence demanded and expected from teachers. Sports, honors classes in school, playing in various bands and working as an orderly in emergency rooms & surgery. Progress and perfection was expected in everything I did, everyone I interacted with. Later in life, I found that aerobic endurance sports fit in as well. Mastery of technique, hours spent practicing and building taught me that the rush of accomplishment, of overcoming obstacles made all of my labor worth it.

  13. I’m not sure I had “lessons” in how to work but I definitely had models in my family. this can easily urn into a memoir but I will spare you all. Besides, I”m pretty sure we’ve all had similar experiences. What I can say is that at every turn there was this balance (except putting up hay in August. Both my father and I found that to be an unlikeable task that needed to be accomplished post haste while the sun beat down).
    What I learned were: Skills and the knowledge that comes with using them in the context of the work at hand.
    -That a task should be satisfying and when it isn’t, it still requires your best effort and a satisfactory completion.
    -That all work, hard or otherwise, is interdependent on others’ work.
    -That working with is better than working on.
    -that being able to help out others is a highly valued character trait and should be exercised abundantly.
    -That hard work need not be always physical. Hard work is hard work.
    -That finding something to do with your skills and doing it is a valuable skill.

  14. This is a prequel. Before I ended up on my uncle’s farm our home situation unraveled; terminal illness affects a whole family. My dad worked long hours, partly to cope. My older brother was buried in studies striving for a college scholarship. Household management sort of landed in my lap … I picked up the slack because an adolescent has less responsibilities.
    Betty Crocker taught me to cook and I figured out how to clean. In a vague awareness I realized structure with meals was better. I moved laundry day to Saturday. That routine was as orderly as our household was ever going to be again.
    Part of learning to work hard is understanding if I don’t do it it won’t get done. It was a matter of seeing a need and not assuming or waiting for someone else to do it. There were no assigned “chores” … it was recognizing a link in the chain was forever broken and I had to keep mine intact.
    My applied definition of hard work came from knowing a Viet Namese immigrant we called Dang. Dang worked as security guard and groundskeeper at the airport that based our ANG unit. He joined the AF to fast track his naturalization process. He lived in an old trailer on the property with a wife and three kids. He walked seven miles to the local college five days a week, studying to be a petroleum engineer.
    I never worked that hard and have nothing to complain about. Comparatively, art is easy.

  15. s a result of that thinking I did more to learn about art – I went to college & earned a BA in Art w/emphasis in fine art; I attended workshops;I traveled to some of the great art museums of the world, always needing to look at artwork that is exceptional because it always inspired me to work harder to try and achieve some form of excellence. So I can honestly say that it was my parents who taught me the benefits of hard work and determination.

  16. I come from a large family as well – six kids! My parents had to work hard to make ends meet while still maintaining time for their love of music which they instilled in their kids. I was the one who turned to art and wanted to learn more about it. As a result of that thinking I earned a BA degree in Art w/emphasis in Fine Art; I attended workshops; I traveled to some of the great art museums of the world always needing to look at exceptional art work because it inspired me to work harder to try and achieve some form of excellence. So I can honestly say that it was my parents who taught me the benefits of hard work and determination. Thank God.

  17. My parents were born to large families that had recently immigrated to Canada and knew little of the language. My mother is the oldest of 14 children and my father the oldest of 9. They lived through the dust bowl. They slept in a barn because there wasn’t enough room in the house for so many children. They drove to church huddled in the back of a wagon with heated stones, a blanket and each other to keep warm. They are the happiest bunch of people I know and their life experiences made them better.

    As the oldest children in each of their families, my parents left school early to help work the farm and raise their younger siblings. They achieved less than a 6th grade education. My mother left home at 14 to get a job so she could help out her parents. As I grew up, Mom cleaned houses, working for the same clients for over 25 years. My father was a fine craftsman with a head for numbers who could build anything. He had a 20 years career as a hospital carpentry manager.

    Saturday mornings my sisters and I were up by 8am and didn’t go out to play until chores were done. We babysat every weekend at .35/hour for spending money. I begged to get my first real job in the bakery at Woodward’s Department Store when I was 16. Throughout Art College my mom helped with my tuition and I worked at freelance jobs and church and community service. I learned how to sew my own clothes, cook, can fruit and tend a garden.

    My parents and grandparents worked hard, lived frugally and modeled financial independence. I am immensely grateful for their example. We would have been described as poor at times in my childhood but I benefited from all they did as I grew into an adult.

  18. My parents were not related to art in any way. I became an artist following my own call. I also happen to write digital music. Whether I pursue painting or music I follow my own schedule, my own rhythm, which may be different from that of other artists. I may work a lot for several day, painting one-two paintings per day, then I give myself a break doing music… I think an artist should have a fresh eye and sometimes stop doing art for a while just to have a feeling of missing painting. My best works are mostly created after such breaks..

  19. I grew up on a dairy farm in NE Wisconsin. By age 8, I had to collect eggs from the hens and feed the “young stock” in the barn. That meant climbing up in a hay mow, lugging hay bales over and pitching them down the shaft. I also had a couple of horses for which I was responsible. Dad always knew if I hadn’t been out to the barn to do my chores; the cattle would beller and the horses were restless. He’s say, “they aren’t going to feed themselves”. That certainly taught me discipline and responsibility. “You can either complain and do it, or simply do it” is a phrase I repeat to myself frequently. Just before leaving for college, I worked a summer in a local pickle factory, a pretty disgusting job, but it meant a little extra money. Summers throughout college, I worked at a paper mill in Green Bay. Dependability and hard work were the two lessons learned. I can thank my parents for my work ethic.

  20. I learned about work ethics while raising my nine wonderful children and painting and going to art shows. I would apply for a show, get accepted, then work really hard to complete the paintings, cut my mats and frame the paintings. I was fortunate to have a great husband that encouraged me and made the living. I just had to take care of my art expenses..which happened to be a lot of money. I remember one particular gallery show that I had to have 50 paintings ready to hang in about two months. For me, that was hard work! But at this point, I feel like the hard work has paid off. Maybe not financially, but to me art is not all about making money, but giving the viewer something to look at and feel good about.

  21. I feel that when I am passionate about what I am doing that the work is easy, I just “let go” and trust myself and then the artwork more easily flows! I only need to stay true to myself and my passion and my senses and stay out of the way of the truth inside.
    On the other hand, doing the stuff ahead of “the passion” (dishes, housework, bills… ugh) takes much, much more discipline…I think of it as “chop wood, carry water” or what MUST be done before the bliss.

  22. Hard work – learned that one early! I was the best son my father ever had. (I’m a girl) Also grew up quite the tomboy. To date, I would still rather work in the dirt outside, than housework. My parents didn’t buy us a lot of stuff day to day. Birthday & Christmas presents for sure. After that, if I wanted something I had to earn the money to buy it. Worked all the way and paid for half of my college education. If I wanted that I had to earn it as well. I completed college as a Dental Hygienist – My husband and I doubled down – bought a farm and started raising cattle. (back to playing in the dirt) Held 2 jobs, in the Jaycees civic organization and the American Galloway Breeders Association. If you want stuff done roll up your sleeves. So, when I retired I took up watercolor painting. Work is easy, want something done………….

  23. I always work hard at what I love to do. It just comes naturally. I could do art all day, and sometimes have to remind myself not to become a workaholic so that I may continue to enjoy it.

  24. Also, a tough true answer…While growing up, if I did not do well, I was shamed. If I did good but not great, I was ignored. If I did great, there was no applause. It was expected.
    Very harsh. I interpreted it that if it was not GREAT, then don’t go forward with it. A very mixed blessing. I learned perfection, but not to expose my vulnerabilities, which made me very insecure until I felt that sure of myself. It also made me work that much harder to achieve anything because I would not risk it until it was that good. Hard work. Yes. And strong drive. But it is a wonder that such an upbringing could ever find its way to fruition. I found it a true but very difficult path.

  25. Well, I don’t seem to have much in common with people who learned discipline from the examples of their parents. I always loved art and would work on it until I was exhausted, driven by the desire to be better than I was. I remember a story about Socrates, who watched birds peck at a painting of grapes because they looked so real . . .that was my goal at the time. To be able to render images that rivaled what I saw. My parents were separated and then divorced when I was very young and I basically was on my own. Yes, my mom worked hard but never made me or my sister’s do many chores. I think it was the realization that I was on my own and that the best chance at being successful in life was to pursue what I did best . . .art. Being a perfectionist also drove me to want to do the best I could at what I loved.

  26. Hard work came when money and, so say privilege, ran out! My parents expected everything to be done for them often by us children. When I married a farmer and had my own children I had to teach myself. The hardest part is consistency, I’m very good at working in bursts but still I have to pace myself so as not to run out of steam and actually finish a task.
    The wonderful thing about art is that I naturally want to finish the task and make it as good as it’s possible to be.

  27. I grew up in a poor family & always knew that money could improve my life. The only way I have ever had to acquire money is to work hard for it. When I was a schoolboy, I had two paper-rounds & I haven’t stopped working had ever since.

  28. I was the middle kid of three. It was a great place to be. I was often left on my own to figure things out. We never got an allowance but there were always jobs around the house that paid. My mom had a chart – $.25/hr to iron, $.25 to clean up kitchen after dinner, $1 to clean the car inside and out. If we wanted something we had to work for it. There were many jobs that we didn’t get paid for. Doing them was fun and challenging. It was usually helping my mom do something. She and I tiled the screen porch, painted walls and washed windows. I always felt special because she trusted me to do these things. I am a bit ADHD but my mom always insisted- “you start something, you finish it.” My dad had his own business and at 14 I worked for him during summer vacations. I went in with him at 6:30am and came home at 6:30 pm. I ran the switchboard, learned basic bookkeeping and other secretarial jobs. I got $20/ week and paid $10/week for room and board. I felt lucky because none of my friends had jobs. My parents always assumed I could figure out how to do whatever I was asked to do. Because of this I developed a belief that I could do anything if I worked hard at it. I tried to raise my children the same way and all three are very hard workers and stand out in their fields. I was told I could do anything, so I believed it and I did it.

  29. I grew up in a family-run farm business that processed cattle from growing them right to selling meat products directly to consumers. That’s a rather nice way to say it! So Saturdays were filled with cutting up and bagging liver, crawling up on a pile of hides in order to preserve them with salt, cleaning out stalls, wrapping meat, and using my horse to check on the cattle in the back 60 acres. During the summers as soon as I was twelve, I accompanied my Dad to Animal Sales Barns and to farmers’ barns. While Dad was buying cattle for slaughter, I was looking for rams, Brown Swiss cattle and unwanted horses, all of which I could care for, train and sell them in the fall. The rule on the farm was that you only controlled an animal’s destiny if you owned it. Lots of work there, even though I am female. I learned how to barter, how to find the right customers, how to provide added value and how to respect the customer. My father taught me so much. Unfortunately despite Mom’s bold attempt, I never did learn much about the domestic aspects of life! I know that I was hired for my last and best job because I told the Director of Research that I was entrepreneurial and not afraid of hard work. That was 38 years ago and I am just about to retire from that company after many promotions up the ladder.

  30. I grew up in the upper-middle class suburb of Pasadena California and was raised in a previliaged household where my only chore was the dishes. I’m embarrassed to confess I was a pretty lazy kid. BUT, my parents did have the foresight not to dole out the cash! At age 16 they could have easily gave me a car and instead simply said “get a job a buy one! “. They didn’t help me find that job either. Basically my parents pushed me out of the nest upon high school graduation and left me to my own devices to either sink or swim. It was the desire for financial freedom that got me off my butt and into the very competitive workforce of Silicon Valley where I learned that work ethic and long hours paid off in spades. When I pursued an artistic life, it was deep passion that morphed me into a bit of a obsessive/compulsive , perfectionist, overachiever who works long hours in my studio. As a parent? Well I did follow my parents lead ….We must of done something right, I’m proud to say my millinal daughter has exceptional work ethic.

  31. Prison.

    Just kidding. I got my work ethic from my parents, and some of the artists I grew up around. And I developed my own work ethic from understanding commitment to things I believe in, like my work, my husband, and my parrot.

  32. I learned hard work from my mother. Dad worked hard, but he also played hard. Play for my dad often meant fishing on a creek bank or at a nearby lake. Mom never sat still. She would go fishing, but usually had other things to do like taking care of us kids or cooking up a meal while waiting on the fish to bite, or she would be working waiting tables at the local cafe while we played. You better not say, “I’m bored.” She would come up with a list of things for you to do. So, while waiting on the fish to bite, I started taking along my art supplies to keep busy. As a woman of a certain age and the eldest child, I’ve always had extra responsibilities regarding the care of family and home, so learning to balance career, home, family, and play just ca.e naturally. They are of course encouraged by a long list of Mom’s sayings: i.e. “use your head and save your feet,” “you can do anything you want if you just apply yourself,” and “you are so lazy, when I was your age I had to….fill in the blank,” etc, etc. For me art has always been play, so I find myself apologizing to my husband when I spend so many hours in my studio, but he just laughs and says he’s happy to see me enjoying the building he built for me. The work for me is having to stop painting and go back to the house!

  33. My grandparents raised me, and being that they were in poor health I HAD to help around the house and do anything I could, from as long as I can remember. I loved to help them shop, carry things, fix things with Grandpop, cook & do laundry with Grandma, etc. I didn’t know the word “chores” and I didn’t get an allowance; I just did things because I saw they needed to be done and my grandparents needed help. If you’re part of a household, you need to help keep it up, simple as that. Being raised like that translated into a good work ethic, because basically “you do what needs to be done, period”. You don’t wonder who else will do it, or think about how hard it is, or if the money’s worth it. You just do it!
    Also, at jobs I saw that going above & beyond got me praise & recognition. At a job when I was 17, I was moving, so I had to quit. I felt bad about leaving so I found them a replacement, and trained her! And moving out of apartments; you clean every nook & cranny and leave it how you got it. These things should be common sense, and they translate into all aspects of being a good person… a good work ethic, kindness, appreciation, cooperation, etc.

  34. Like so many, I worked on the farm as a kid. On a farm, the whole family works! I remember going home from driving the tractor for my Dad to pull corn as he walked beside the trailer. At home I was surprised to find my mother had a birthday cake all ready for me. It had my 5 candles on it! I had t realized I’d turned five that day!
    It was just another day on the farm.
    Mt husband grew up as a share-cropper in the depression of the ’30’s. When he was six years he was picking 100 pounds of cotton a day.
    If you didn’t work together the family didn’t have food to eat!

  35. Busy Hands are Happy Hands….. old adage but I have found this to be true. My parents worked hard and well…. you learn what you live. My best friend never stopped and the “Busy hands” quote I got from her.
    I am currently working on my 10,000 hours. Have been at it for 4 years now… painting and tracking the time I do this each day. If forces me to work and then … work even harder. I figure I will be there in one more year. With a little luck and a lot of hard work.

  36. I learned to work for what I wanted and observed this in my father. That foundation was imperative. The REAL secret to the ongoing motivation/hard work is to HAVE A REASON. You have to really dig deep. For me, not only do I want to heal others with my work but I do it to heal myself. And to take that FURTHER, I don’t want to work for a “boss” in a corporate setting again. I want to be IN CONTROL of my own time, my own projects, and my own money. I want to have the FREEDOM to be with my kids as I need to and come and go as I please. I want to get to a place where I am making enough money to feel safe, secure, and not live paycheck to paycheck. I want to be able to have the things I want. With all this in mind, I can stay motivated and work so hard toward having the things that are meaningful for me in my own life.

  37. Work in the studio is play for me AND work, too. I get lost in there and physically cringe when it’s time stop to do other things required of me. I messed up my knee by standing and painting for hours on end day after day (locking my knee without realizing it). So now the knee speaks daily to me as I continue to stand to paint and make time to sit every once in a while. Work in the studio refreshes my spirit , tires my eyes, energizes my brain and wears me out all at the same time. I wouldn’t change a thing.

  38. I was raised to work hard. My mom who was a single mom since I was 3 years old. My mom raided 4 kids alone as my dad only paid child support when she took him to court to get it. So we all did dishes, cooked, cleaned the house, mowed the lawn and did all the things a mom might normally do. My chore as a kid was to do the ironing. I hate it to this day.
    My mom worked to pay the bills as a secretary then became a realtor . We remodeled houses most of my life and resold them over and over again. I grew up in Aspen CO before the condos and trillionaires moved in. I us to clean private homes and condos. I dug post holes, painted, papered walls, insulated ceilings and walls, hung drywall, tapped and muddled. Whatever need to be done. We called my mom my mom a slave driver. But we all learned to work. I thought my two girls to work as well. They are appreciative of that now that they are grown up.
    I have done many things in my life and worked hard all my life.
    Always loved art and would rather be doing that than anything, that is still the same. Perfectionist as well. So detail is easy and perseverance as well. Not wf wild to dig in and get my hands dirty.

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