Coffee, Sleep, Paper - In Gratitude, Part 1

It's November, home of my favorite holiday! This month I'm spending a few minutes each day writing about something for which I am thankful. Here is the first batch. Apple, acrylic on canvas, 4x4" by Sarah Atlee. Private commission. Apple, acrylic on canvas, 4 x 4 inches, by Sarah Atlee. Private commission.

Let's Start With the Basics

All of my basic needs are met. I have a home. I never go hungry. When I turn on the tap, clean water comes out. If I want hot water, I can have that too. Clothes? Not a problem, ever. All of my body parts work. I can get wherever I need to go. I'm able to do what I do because I don't have to worry about any of these things. I'm thankful for this every day of my life.

My Family Gets What I Do

Nobody I love ever asks me when I'm going to get a real job. Nobody I love tells me that art is dead or nobody's buying it anyway or there are more useful or important things I should be doing with my life. The people I love say that's awesome and good for you. They come to my shows. They buy my work, yes, using real money. They leave encouraging comments where I can read them. I feel lucky for a lot of reasons. This is a big one.

Sleeping In

I'm self-employed. My favorite part of this is that I almost never have to wake up to the sound of an alarm. I sleep until I'm done sleeping. Bliss. Years of experience and experimentation have taught me the impact of sleep on my working life. When I get enough, I have a great day and do good work. When I don't, I don't. It's that simple, and I'm so grateful that this is my life.

Drink my coffee while it's still hot, sketchbook drawing by Sarah Atlee

Drink my coffee while it's still hot, sketchbook drawing by Sarah Atlee

My Studio

I've had studio spaces both in and away from my home. Each has its advantages. Since moving to Austin last year, one room of our apartment has been my studio, the place where I spend most of my time. It's beautiful in a barely-controlled chaos kind of way. Sunlight streams through the windows. Our building is a very quiet place most days. I love rolling out of bed and coming straight in here to work, or just play around (it's a fine line). Yes, I'm sometimes distracted by dirty dishes or the grocery list, but I'm so glad to have this place.

My Sketchbook

I'm writing this note on the first page of a brand-new sketchbook. I'm very pleased with this one. The paper is toothy and absorbent, the binding is strong, the pages lay nice and flat. I've been keeping a sketchbook of some kind since about 1996. If the house is on fire, these precious books are what I'll grab first. They're a vital record of my growth as an artist. My sketchbook is my friend and confidante, my companion and co-conspirator. It's an extension of myself.


Literally the best thing ever.

Medallion, sketchbook drawing by Sarah Atlee

Medallion, sketchbook drawing by Sarah Atlee

What are you thankful for? Express your gratitude in the comments below.

Read Boundaries, Bracelets, and Biz Coaches - In Gratitude, Part 2 Read Monkeys, Quilts, and Toilet Art - In Gratitude, Part 3 Read It's the Little Things - In Gratitude, Part 4 Read Bonus Gratitude!