Being Married to an Artist

by Ginger on January 16, 2012

in Marriage

I’ve had people ask me before what it’s like to be married to an artist. I think what people really mean is “what’s it like to live with someone so creative all the time” but the reality is that every artist (like every person) is probably different. My husband, for example, is definitely not the stereotype of the flaky, flighty, head-in-the-clouds artist. In another life, in fact, my husband probably would have been a scientist of some kind, or maybe an engineer.

That said, he IS creative. He looks at the world in a much different way than I look at the world, and that difference can be astounding in how we approach everything from how to paint the living room to what to have for dinner to how we figure out our budget. His creativity is a wonderful thing, but one that I admit I don’t always have ANY idea what to do with.

There’s no way to really encompass what it’s like to live with every artist. There’s no way to really even encompass what it’s like to live with THIS artist. It’s so many wonderful, frustrating, awesome, bizarre, funny things that just…ARE. But there are some hints I can share. Being married to an artist can be:

  • paint flecks in all your sinks
  • pens you aren’t allowed to touch
  • animals who have learned not to walk on the art
  • art supplies in every room in the house
  • another trip to Michael’s/Aaron Brothers/Blick
  • “one minute while I sketch this idea”
  • spending more on paints and paper and other supplies than you spend on clothes
  • “hey, can you pose for me real quick?”
  • more clothes covered in paint than not
  • seeing the point when a person becomes an object when they’re being drawn
  • constant explanations of what font is on a menu/sign/billboard/commercial
  • more images in the “morgue file” on your computer than there are pictures of your kid
  • rewatching title credits on movies to see the animations again
  • hours of DVD extras looking at art/storyboards/how-they-did-thats
  • “no honey, those are daddy’s paints, not yours”
  • doodles on old bills
  • hand-drawn cards and gifts (sometimes)
  • the most awesome nursery ever

…among other things.

Mostly, being married to an artist, for me, has meant that I’ve had years of learning to look at the world differently. I may never see the details and shades my husband does, but I’ve learned to look for more than just the surface. It’s opened my eyes to see angles and curves and colors and shadows I’d never have looked for on my own. The world looks different when I try to view it the way my husband does…and a new perspective is always a good thing (even if the paint in the sink does drive me nuts).

emily @ the happy home January 16, 2012 at 10:17 am

there’s a sketch comedy group out there called “the whitest kids u know”. and they’ve done sketches about John Williams, the film composer. it begins with the faux john williams walking around his house, singing “doo doo doo da dootatoo doo” in random tones. i had to look at MY composer with wide eyes, and yell, “THIS! EXACTLY!” so, while my house is not covered in paint, i know where you’re coming from. EVERYTHING has a tune or a theme, or you’ll randomly hear the whistling of “the magnificent seven” come from the bathroom while he’s taking a shower. it’s weird but so wonderful.

Ginger January 17, 2012 at 9:17 pm

The random strikes of inspiration are my favorite–they crack me up when they come out of the blue!

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks January 16, 2012 at 10:42 am

This is a great post! My uncle is a film editor, but worked on TV commercials for years. In most homes, you turn down the TV when commercials come on. In his home, you stop and pay attention. It always drove me cah-razy (I lived with them for a bit). But, it’s his craft. And his way of looking at the world. And I grew to respect the vast knowledge he had for something I’d never have considered otherwise!

Ginger January 17, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Oh, that might drive me nuts! But goes to show that when you have a craft, you look for it everywhere!

Reading (and chickens) January 16, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Being married to an engineer who created two little mini-hims is difficult for me–I don’t see the world so analytically like them or have laser-sharp focus on the task at hand. Having a creative husband would be so…foreign!

Theresa January 16, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Although I am creative, I have this analytical side too. Probably why I love blogging. Now my Mr. is a musician , just replace all the art with drums, music, listen to this track, downloading this file, practicing, going out to play to keep my chops up & add in another trip to the music shop. Yes, I can relate. But, one thing is for sure our lives are full of color & sound we never had before. Meeting you via Sits 31dbbb. Come by when you get a chance! A new follower.

Ginger January 17, 2012 at 9:23 pm

It definitely brings added character and interest to life, that’s for sure! I wouldn’t change it for the world, either. Ok, except maybe the paint in my sink thing…

Jett January 16, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Well, you just know I loved this post….and ninety percent of that list I fully identify with! >:o)

Melinda@LookWhatMomFoundandDadtoo! January 18, 2012 at 11:53 am

it’s nice to have another set of eyes to look through.

Sarah BB @ East9thStreet January 18, 2012 at 4:47 pm

I wish there was some creativity in this family. Instead of paint specs in the sink, we have daily schedules and task lists. I’d love for a day to be able to see life from a creative view point!

Ginger January 22, 2012 at 9:38 pm

It’s definitely a nice balance–I’m the pragmatic one, he’s the creative one. Although I do sometimes wish ONE of us was the “make the budgets and get the taxes done early” one 🙂

Leslie January 19, 2012 at 3:16 am

That list made so made me giggle! I definitely know some of those flighty artist types, and it would drive me nuts! But seeing a different perspective on life is so refreshing too. I’m going to have to see if I can find pictures of your son’s nursery…I’m now dying to check it out!

Ginger January 22, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Oh, we’ve got plenty of flighty artist types in our circle–enough to know it would drive me INSANE to live with them! Thank goodness my husband’s not that kind!

Oh, and I should have linked to the nursery–here’s the post where I showed photos (he did all the painting, including the stripes, by HAND. Like a crazy person)…uh, photos after the kid became a mobile toddler: http://rambleramble.com/2010/11/28/the-remaking-of-a-favorite-room/

Margaret Almon January 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm

I’m married to an artist and I’m one too! We call our newsletter “No Bare Feet” because between the two of us with stained glass and mosaics, there are bits of glass everywhere. I have learned a lot from my husband about seeing the world differently though–he uses drafting tools, and has a gift for s-curves and precision and although we are both artists, we each have our own voice.

Ginger January 22, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Oh my goodness, No Bare Feet is an APT name! Bits of glass everywhere, I’m sure!

Jamie January 21, 2012 at 9:50 pm

More than anything it’s just a reminder about how we’re all different and view the world differently. And how we need to step in another’s shoes from time to time to see the world differently.

Ginger January 22, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Absolutely. I’m convinced that, while my husband may be an artist (which seems exotic to lots of people), the reality is we have a lot to learn from anyone who walks a different path than us!

Carol May 14, 2012 at 2:43 am

Your post caught my attention because my fiance is a professional artist (oil painting). I have always thought that wives of professional artists (i mean full-time professional, not amateur, and not doing commercial art/design either) have more to sacrifice than others. Artists do see the world very differently, but there’re also downsides to their lives. First, in terms of making money, if your artist husband can make a decent living with his art, great. But 95% of the professional artists are hovering around the poverty line, with no stable income, often with pressure to pay the rent (and even food). Being the wife of such an artist must be strong to hold up the family finances, yet not too strong to make the artist feel he’s incapable and loses his self-esteem. Another issue specific to living with artists is that they are often very self-opiniated, they are not used to express all their thoughts out to the other person in words.
Much stereotyping there, but I wonder if other wives/partners of professional artists agree with me.

Zee January 31, 2015 at 6:15 pm

Almost word for word I was nodding a powerful YES! I just married my artist and he is amazing! He does see the world differently and he helps me see fine details in things I otherwise would have glanced over then walked away. My life is much sweeter and more satisfying because of him and his artistic eye.

As far as starving artist goes that doesn’t exist in our household. We aren’t 6 figures but my husband has pushed himself to remain relevant. That means keeping his skill set sharp and always looking to learn something new to put in his tool box. He may not do fine art but he definitely makes sure that what he does stays up to date so he is always needed and become a very valuable employee.

If I have learned anything by being with him it is you MUST know business management as an artist and you must have a knowing of contracts. They don’t tell you that in college when you want to get an art degree. Know your rights and know when someone is trying to screw you over just to get free art from you. “You’ll get exposure,” doesn’t put food on the table. Get paid for the work, time, and materials you put into crafting your pieces. For whatever reason the world doesn’t take creatives seriously only when an artist dies do people pay more attention to their work it seems and that isn’t right.

I have rambled but I will say this, I wouldn’t trade this life with an artistic spouse for anything. I may need help getting through his quirkiness but it is a beautiful life that is rich and rewarding. If anyone decides to create a group for the spouses of artists let me know! We can help each other because we understand the whirlwind lives of the person we love and treasure!

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