Mama’s got a brand new bag

To see more art, please visit Kellie Snider Art and my Instagram at the.kellie.

Listen to this while you’re reading: Mama’s Got A Brand New Bag

It’s weird how often something you didn’t expect turns out to be the best thing that could ever have happened to a person.

On October 27 I was laid off from my job as an animal shelter behaviorist. I’d been doing that work in different places for nearly 13 years, and it was wearing me down. I wasn’t happy, but was hoping to reach full retirement age before hitting the road. I had been hearing hints of trouble to come, like a question about when I would be moving out of my office. (My response, “Am I moving out of my office?”) Comments about my age. There were the crashing waves of compassion fatigue that go hand-in-hand with animal welfare work, too, but those were nothing new.

I got the call on my day off, and was awakened from a sound sleep. You would think I’d have an emotional outburst of one sort or another, but I didn’t. I didn’t cry, I wasn’t angry. The thing is, I wasn’t surprised. It was Covid Times, it was 2020, and it was many other things I won’t get into here, but the lay off wasn’t a surprise. I have Major Depressive Disorder, so this very well could have sent me under my lead blanket, but it didn’t. Instead, day after day, I felt better. I was concerned, but not worried, about financial things. The low-grade depression that I carried most of my career began to lift. I applied for unemployment and insurance subsidies. I drank tea in the morning and I didn’t go to work.

Before I was laid off, my grad school friend, Katrina, asked if she could buy my Mardi Gras Bourbon Orleans painting for her sister. All of us studied Behavior Analysis at the University of North Texas, and we all lived in New Orleans for a time before we knew each other. (Well, they knew each other.) I was delighted, but I was having trouble with the paint not drying. It took months before I felt it could safely be packed up to ship. By then I had been laid off my job.

Then this thing happened. I have always been an artist, even when I was doing other things for money. I started doing a lot of painting and posting things on Facebook.

My Grandnieces, Heidi and Charlie

But then the coolest thing happened. People started asking me to paint things for them. Lots of dogs. Some grandkids.

A Facebook Friend’s daughter and son-in-law own this handsome dog.
My friend, Lea’s, grandson, Derrell

Even some foxes.

My friend, Rebecca’s property hosts litters of foxes in the spring.

I’ve been painting since November, pretty much non-stop. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do with my life. It took me long enough.

Stay tuned.

~ Kellie

Categories: Uncategorized

Kellie Snider, MS

When I was a young child, my father, my grandmother, an uncle, and a teacher noticed and complimented my talent and interest in drawing. My family didn’t know how to help me make a career in art, but they made sure I knew that my art was a good thing. I was fortunate to grow up in a time when the arts were still considered an essential part of a well-rounded education. I had a very good art teacher in elementary school, and I was able to continue studying art throughout middle school and high school. I even ventured a couple of years of college-level art study.

My education in art did not include the business of art, so I went off and got a traditional job as a draftsman, the kind that drew with pencils and templates on sheets of vellum, spread across massive desks. (I always named my desks Carlisle.) I worked for an oil company, a shipyard, a power company, and for NASA’s Johnson Space Center TV Department. I was there during some pivotal moments in space history. I also met the man I would marry. I stayed home to raise our kids for a few years, and while doing that I worked as a freelance writer and did some freelance art as well. But then I got a deep interest in animal behavior thanks to an aggressive cockatoo we had, got an advanced degree in behavior analysis and launched a career in animal welfare. That career lasted nearly 15 years, and it nearly did me in. The burnout and compassion fatigue was overwhelming.

When I was laid off from a director’s position in animal welfare during Covid Times, I began to paint to help ground myself. People began to show an interest in my painting and I got many requests for commissions. That was when I realized that I could learn the business side of art and be a real live artist full time.

I have never been happier in my professional life. I wake up every day, have a lovely cup of tea with breakfast, and head to my studio. My days are rich and peaceful. I’ve come home for trained as a behavior analyst, but I am what Barbara Sher called a Scanner. I'm interested in a lot of different things, and once I learn a lot about them I'm ready to learn something new. But all the things involve somebody's behavior. This blog is about how behavior and different activities intersect.

Constructional Approaches will be discussed a lot.