While growing up, Sharon Sudduth never knew what she wanted to be.
Sudduth, a featured artist at the OSU Art Festival during the past weekend, found herself filling many different roles: a journalist for a year, an interior designer for a few more years and then a leader in the Kansas Chamber of Commerce until 2012. By then, Sudduth was out of her 30s and still hadn't become who she wanted to be when she grew up, but her dream was to become an artist.
Her journey as an artist started when she was young.
"I've always been artistic," Sudduth said. "I took all the classes I could take in high school. I went to college on a scholarship for one year in art. And then I switched my major because I went to a college that didn't have a good art program. Plus, people said to me, 'You can't make a living with your art.' So, I believed them. Unfortunately."
In 2012, Sudduth's husband's job required them to move to Oklahoma, and she seized this opportunity for a fresh start and started painting. It was her determination that brought her to where she is today.
"I got up every day to paint," Sudduth said. "And taught myself how to paint. I had never painted up until that point."
She started with working to broaden her horizons as an artist. Before then, Sudduth had only painted nature, so she decided to push herself to paint human faces. She set a goal to paint 100 portraits. Her theory was if you do something 100 times, you will get good at it.
This challenge revealed Sudduth's preserving attitude. She thrives on challenging herself, and it’s how she has become successful.
"With each canvas, I wanted to push myself to paint something that was uncomfortable," Sudduth said.
Sudduth had another goal tied to the number 100.
After reading a post from a blogger, she has been determined to receive 100 rejections this year, either from art festivals or from other shows.
"The thing about getting 100 rejections," Sudduth said, "(is) one of your offers is bound to be accepted. You have to keep putting yourself out there."
Sudduth is living her dream, but her journey to do so did not happen overnight. Sudduth’s determination and dedication to her passions led her to her career.
Her lessons? Challenge oneself. Fail often. Never stop trying and pushing through. And above all, remember this life is a journey. We might never know what we want to be when we grow up, and that is OK.
"We all just have to keep in mind," Sudduth said. "With confidence and perseverance, the only way to go is up."