Why does everything have to feel so right?

A sketch by Ferdinand Horvath

A sketch by Ferdinand Horvath from the book "They Drew as They Pleased Vol. 1: The Hidden Art of Disney's Golden AgeThe 1930s"

My name is Elisabeth Svendby Holen. I got the last part added on when I got married 18 months ago, at the age of 46, and it feels RIGHT. I never thought it would, but it serves its purpose. I want to share the family name of my new family; my husband, and my stepdaughter. We are a forever unit, and I love that. I will keep my birth name in my art though. I will sign my paintings with Elisabeth Svendby, how I was born, and that also feels RIGHT. 

Now to what never feels right, although I keep taking others advice, and trying it anyway. When I first started my art business about 8 years ago, I was used to making brands, in my web designer career. So the first thing I did was create a fun brand with a catchy name, "Ella By". After a while though, I just could not seem to make it work, and I switched back to using my real name again on everything. That time I also signed my paintings with Ella By. Signing with my real again name felt so right.

After a few more years of "being myself" again, I wanted to boost my business skills and signed up for a 3 month course, that came highly recommended. I loved the course. In the process, and while trying hard to succeed in the course, I put on my designer hat again, and was persuaded to change to a simple business name, that was easy to remember and type. This time I went with abbreviations, and ended up with Studio Elisa S. I tried to get used to it for almost a year, BUT, it never felt quite right. I felt like a desgin store. Whenever I met people, had open studio, or talked to people about my art, my website and my brand, I felt that naging feeling. People kept asking what I wanted to be called, Elisa or Elisabeth. I have always called myself the latter, however much I have wanted someone to give me some sort of nick name. Something was off.

I am not saying the teachers were wrong, but it was wrong for me. So, right now, I am changing it all back. And it feels really great!

So the lesson is that before I make big decisions like this, to sit on my hands and calm the freak down, get some perspective, ask some people I respect and take a good hard look at my own gut feelings about it. I have to remember to ask myself what feels right for ME. Luckily, I never stopped signing my paintings with my real name, which is a relief. No real damage done!

So why does it have to feel right? How come a business expert can't make this decision for me? This project of making and offering my paintings to the world, is a highly personal one. I work very hard to stay true to my own feelings, likes, dislikes, and make sure that I absolutely love what I make. I have programmed alarms to go off whenever I feel something is inauthentic to me, or like I am not loving it. So whenever I meet people and have to introduce myself as someone I am not, those alarms go off. That is not something that I want happening if I can avoid it. So whenever it does, I need to fix it before it throws my whole practice off course. This is what I am doing now. I hope you like it, because it's staying ;)

Thank you for reading my little story, and putting up with all the back and forth!

Love,

Elisabeth

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