Illustrator Eileen Fitzgerald shares the rituals that keep her inspired

Find your ritual

From the way we drink our coffee in the morning to the way we set the table and invite others to gather around it, rituals are a cue to appear fully and find beauty in every moment. Here’s how some of our favorite people weave the ritual into their daily lives. Show all

It’s a cliché for a reason: 9-to-5 office workers crave an inspired workday—the freedom to adjust your schedule to match your energy, circadian rhythmsand freaks. And while fantasy still exists, few of us act on our desire. Of course, there is the leap of faith from security that comes with stepping away from the corporate domain. But by believing in yourself and believing in your talents, the dream of sharing your point of view through your chosen medium can become a reality. This is the truth and journey of that artist Eileen Fitzgerald knows well.

Although before moving on to her life and career as a painter, Aileen’s days were not tied to the repetitive rhythm of the 40-hour work week. Before becoming an artist, Aileen worked as a nurse. And though the schedule was unpredictable at times, he organized her days into a common work-life divide.

Eileen Fitzgerald on finding simple, natural beauty in every day

Now, as an artist and small business owner, the separation between her work and her life has developed into a difficult balancing act. Because when you pour your passion and perspective onto the canvas, the simultaneous fun and challenge can be all-encompassing. So much so that you can’t get away.

But stay away, Eileen. They are a certain kind of creative person who understands that inspiration can come from every experience, no matter how subtle. Aileen makes time for her morning bike ride, readingAnd swimming and playing with her daughter and gathering with her family.

At the core of it all is a deep sense of love for the connecting moments—the “cherished moments” and the conversations that fill them with their undeniably simple beauty.

We spoke with Eileen about how she navigates her days and creates the space to set herself up for inspiration at every turn. The conversation was enough to convince us: the artist’s life is not inherently beautiful. It takes work and perspective to find those things you connect with, the people you love, and the moments that leave you in awe.

What is the first thing you do every morning?

Satisfy any basic need that comes first to mind – hunger, sex, or bladder relief!

Tell us about your life as an artist, what does your typical day look like?

Every day is different because I juggle drawing time with administrative work. My ideal artist’s day begins with a bike ride to my downtown studio. I try to complete my least favorite tasks first – and that usually includes time at the computer. The sooner you finish your emails and orders, the faster you can set the scene for painting for the rest of the day!

What is one thing you commit to doing every single day, no matter what?

Searching for adventure or wondering throughout my day. It can be as common as a different detour on my bike path, as grand as a spontaneous trip to the river, and as subtle as finding a snail shell to show my daughter. It all seems on a similar scale to me, really. It comes naturally now and makes the contentment high.

How does the design of your space reflect your priorities and goals?

I am greatly influenced by my environment (at home and at work). I’ve always believed that your space is a physical reflection of your energy. I prefer to feel calm in the first place, which to me means “light and bright” in my design. The stimulation in my studio is low and soft, and I channel that energy into my paintings.

Are there daily or weekly routines that you always enjoy?

Action Square! Raise your favorite hand. There’s just something about sticking your fingers and toenails into the ground that’s just as basic. My daughter and I are often outside, so getting her involved in watering or planting is always a treat.

Do you have a favorite scent?

I keep thinking about which scents I enjoy the most. I burn candles constantly and enjoy a different scent each time.

How does music play a role in your daily life?

I love music on the go because it starts my day with singing and dancing. I’ll play a wide variety of music when painting – you’ll hear 6lack, Brothers Osborne, Khrangbin, Nathaniel Rateliff, HER, Ryan Bingham, Celeste, FKJ… I enjoy all types and hours of painting.

How do you stay active throughout the day?

If I need a dose of energy, I take a brisk walk outside the studio. The business district in downtown Austin is always busy and I come back feeling rejuvenated. It also doesn’t hurt to have a Houndstooth [Coffee] Right down the street.

Where do you turn for inspiration when you feel creatively blocked?

Offline, always. Feeling blocked doesn’t happen often because I’m executing my inspirations on a daily or weekly basis: grounding myself in nature, strolling through an antique mall, flipping through design/art/photography books.

How do you prioritize health and wellness?

Once you find things that you feel consistently good about, you tend to choose them. I like to feel good! I enjoy meal prepping to make easy meals for the week. Preparing a nutritious meal takes 2 minutes when you spend 1 hour on a Sunday to prepare. It’s even more rewarding when the ingredients are from the Sunday Farmers Market. I enjoy moving my body more by riding my bike. My bike commute to work is the best 30 minutes of my day!

What is the best career advice anyone has ever given you?

I honestly don’t know. I went against the career advice of many of those close to me when I changed careers, and that was a really tough time. I went against the artist’s professional advice and applied the practices that best support my energy and process. I think the best general advice I’ve heard and will give is “Energy is currency”.

What surprised you most about being an artist?

How deep is the connection? I was afraid that switching my career from nursing to painting would mean giving up my most cherished moments with people. I was very surprised to learn how much vulnerability is part of being an artist. The connections and conversations you have make me blow my mind.

How would you describe your work/life balance?

It was much easier to separate things when I was working as a nurse. I would get out of work and quit my job at work. Thoughts of “business” are constantly in my mind as an artist and small business owner. Once it’s time for dinner, I’m ready to enjoy cooking/reading/time with my people.

What is the best place in your house?

Home: backyard. I consider this an outdoor living room. If I work from home, you’ll find me at my coffee shop table outside of work. Completing emails while surrounded by bamboo and flowers is a climax balance.

Studio: I recently installed a new window in the back room of the studio, and the spot where the sun pours is the most comfortable place to work.

Name a fashion or self-care product you can’t live without:

My antique bracelet. I can’t remember the last time I took off my wrist, so it’s part of my body now.

You need to relax after a long day. What is your mode of transportation?

vintage. Just kidding, a stroll around the neighborhood. But a glass of wine while you cook a delicious meal never hurts.

What is your favorite time of the day and why?

Early in the morning. I get up early enough to make lunches and get ready before my daughter wakes up…and I try to spend at least 30 minutes hanging out with myself. My introverted self thrives if I start the day with reading or being outside.

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