I have come across so many people who, after telling them that I am an artist, tell me how much they wish they would have stepped out on this or that dream. I’m not saying in any way that we are all meant to be artists, writers, and musicians… who would do our nation’s taxes? But it’s sad to me that many of those people set down their dream because a well-meaning (hopefully) parent or other figure in their life told them they should find a path that would really support them financially. Then after twenty or more years they wish they would have stayed true. I can’t tell you how grateful that I am that isn’t my story. Not in any way. I am so blessed that both my parents, upon hearing my dream of going to school for art, said they believed I could do it - even though I wasn’t any sort of child art genius. I have the sketches to prove that. They believed that if I worked hard I could do it. I think about that every day; the discussions with my mom at this great little Greek café on Ft Myers beach and talking to my dad in his shop over the homey smell of paint thinner and bondo. Having the stamp of approval from them has made a massive difference. Without their guidance, both when I was young and especially now that I’m older, this would be a greatly different story. My mom has a great creative eye and my dad has worked creatively with his hands for years. I have thankfully caught the best of both in my DNA. I wish there were more space for words here. I’m sure there will be more to come.
Then I met my lovely wife. Shortly thereafter, her parents, hard-working farmers, met this aspiring artist from the city asking to marry their only (in like 200 years) daughter… wow. But it is also such a blessing to me that they looked at us and saw themselves at that age. Donnica’s dad told me that his first milk check was enough to cover the feed bill for those cows that provided that milk. Sounded a lot like some of my first checks. I remember going to the feed store with her dad pretty early on and him introducing me as an artist, “but the hard working kind.” Her six (SIX!!) brothers are beginning to come around. To have parents that are proud of you is gift. To have that plus in-laws that also believe in you?? Every day I could wake up and spend the day thanking God for such a blessing and it wouldn’t be wasted.
Of course there are many things that also go into this story; I’m grateful my parents have seen me work hard since my first job at the ice cream shop when I was 15. They know that if I said I was going to be a famous musician it would have been right to laugh in my face. Not every idea is a great one. But it takes a village to raise an artist. And we have been perfectly placed in our village. Mom and dad, there aren’t enough words. To the Paynes, I am greatly humbled that you would have looked at me ten years ago and believed I could take care of your only daughter. Thankful isn’t a strong enough word, but it’s a start.
I know Scott has already addressed our families, but I also want to add my appreciation. This particular blog is about him and the art business, but I am equally thankful for parents and in-laws who support me! As his wife (and biggest fan!), I am thankful that he didn’t have to overcome damage from parents’ “helpful” (as he mentioned) advice to quit on his calling. I appreciate that he had this firm foundation of support from them to be a launching pad into his future and that you built a strong confidence in him to continue! And, it is beautiful and endearing to see him as a 38 year old man continue to glean wisdom and guidance from his parents, whether it be how to apply automotive clear coat from his dad or exploring a new creative outlet (like this writing) from his mom! Thank you both for the man you created and developed and for loving and supporting me too! It is not lost on me how rare it is to truly love and be loved by your in-laws, and for that I am SO thankful!
As for my family, words can’t express how much I appreciate my own parents’ support. Selling a city-boy artist to a bunch of farmer brothers wasn’t easy! But my sweet daddy led the way by relating to Scott as a business owner. (He does like to share that story about the milk check being the same amount as the feed bill, leaving nothing to pay personal bills or buy groceries). As a man who was the father of the first girl in five generations, he could’ve degraded Scott for not providing during those lean years, but instead he drew on his years of experience to encourage and speak life into us personally and into the business. My parents’ generosity was crucial at times and is a model for our own. My mom also supported us in unexpected ways with words, gifts and timely phone calls as she shares being the silent CEO of a company! (Don’t tell my daddy or Scott, but I think we all know who is in charge of these operations!)
Since we’ve known our parents all of our lives, it would be easy for this post to extend over pages and hours. Hopefully this reader’s digest version gives you just an inkling of how grateful we are for a lifetime of support from them and of our great hope to prolong the legacy of thanksgiving and generosity we have received!
Thank you all for following along with our story. Until next time,
Scott and Donnica