Back in the 1980s, I thought a lot about my dream house. I had a vision of a Key West-style white clapboard house with a giant porch that wraps all the way around. Because I love the sound of rain and thunder, I dreamed of sitting on that porch during massive rainstorms. The idea of a porch on each side of the house was to get out of the blowing rain so I could sit outside during a storm and stay dry.

“Soggy” might best describe today. But it’s beyond that. Imagine giant industrial-size fans like the ones they use on movie sets. Now imagine a firehose of water gushing out in front of those fans, which are grinding as fast as they possibly can and pointing toward the windows. Today, the rain is blowing sideways and the noise on the metal roof is almost deafening from inside the house.

I never built that dream house, but I do have that big long wraparound porch. I’m sitting here on my little red wicker couch in the corner of the porch. How that couch has not blown away is a mystery. All the other lawn furniture is in the garage because forecasters told us to store any objects that can fly away.

I’m wearing my bright red raincoat, which is making lots of noise in the strong wind, and though I’m dry in this little corner, I’m feeling a light mist from the blowing rain.

During the peak of the storm, which started on Thursday night, the house was shaking like a martini. We wondered if at any moment our metal roof would fly off and we would have rain on the inside.

We left Florida to escape hurricanes. Though Austin is inland and Hurricane Harvey was downgraded, it was a whopper of a storm.

One thing most people don’t know is that the barometric pressure of hurricanes puts many nearly-due pregnant moms into labor. In fact, some friends came up to our house during a storm and ended up going into labor; their daughter was born in a hospital that was using a generator to keep the lights on — and at the same time, in the delivery room next door, Marla Maples was giving birth to Tiffany, the daughter of our President. (Please no e-mails because I used the “p-word.”)

Unrelated to the storm, we’re celebrating three new babies.

Dean Pickering, who edits our art instruction videos, has just informed us of the birth of his new grandson, Ryan.

Allison Affourtit, who puts together the e-mails and e-mail graphics for our marketing lab, has just come back to work after the birth of her daughter, Sloane.

Turner Vinson, who works on our videos and photography and audio at our Plein Air Convention & Expo and Figurative Art Convention & Expo, is due to have his second child at any minute. He is out of the storm zone, but so far I’ve heard nothing. I’ve managed to get this e-mail out, despite power outages — somehow the cell towers are still operational nearby.

It’s fun to see more babies added to the family.

Over the years I’ve watched young people I’ve hired grow up, blossom into fine adults, get married, have kids, raise their kids, put their kids into college, and watch their kids get married and continue the amazing cycle of life.

Though I cannot claim to be the world’s best boss, I do try to keep up on the families, the pictures, and the things family members are experiencing. It’s one of the joys of my business life.

I’m reminded of this quote…

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” — Luke 12:48

When I was younger, I didn’t think much about the responsibility to care for what I’ve been blessed with. Yet today, as the family of co-workers grows, I realize I have accountability to these people. If I mess up, these kids don’t eat.

I think the same thing is true for those of us who are artists…

We have a responsibility to our “art family”… the people who buy our artwork and the people who help us sell it. We are a unified family.

When someone is paying me for my artwork, I feel an obligation to be the very best I can be. Not so that I look good, though that’s nice, but so my galleries are offering the very best of me.

For me that means…

  • Don’t be in a hurry.
  • Don’t cut corners.
  • Don’t settle for just getting it done. Only settle when it’s done well.
  • Provide the absolute finest work you can produce.
  • Be mindful of the long term, so your painting lives on for generations.
  • Be in a constant state of growth by learning from others.
  • Be responsible about quality preparation and materials to prevent cracking and to make sure the painting lasts for many, many years.
  • Picture the painting in a home as a portal, taking viewers to another place.

I was horrified when an artist friend told me he prepares his canvas with house paint in order to save money. When I told him that house paint peels over time and that his paintings won’t last, he said, “Who cares? I’ll be dead by then.”

Sadly, that’s not providing accountability to your buyer, who has trusted you to give them the very best.

No matter what you do … accountability and trust come with the territory.

I think most of us strive to live up to the expectations of others and understand that there is satisfaction in living up to the responsibilities we’ve been given.

I’d love to hear from you, and hear about the ways that you provide accountability in your daily life, whether it’s family, employees, students, work, or artwork. I’ve come to look forward to spending part of my morning listening to your stories. I hope you’ll take time to share yours with me.

Have a great week, and join me in celebrating new babies in the Streamline family. Oh, and I love seeing your families on Facebook and Instagram. Though I’m told I’ve reached my limit on “friends” on Facebook, you can still follow. That would be cool so I can see what you’re up to.