ANNA Rubin of Sunshine Beach is a distinguished artist with her reputation starting to spread around the world.
To achieve her success she needed to be more than artistic. She had to be a risk-taker, a fighter, a self-promoter and a marketer.
Her intricate still-life paintings, which cast a contemporary slant on the works of the masters years before the invention of photography, have recently fetched about $20,000.
But prices are continuing to rise, with her latest work completed just this week, a still-life of hanging boxing gloves titled Peaceful Passion, expected to sell for almost $30,000.
Her story is largely about the leap of faith she took, away from a successful corporate career, into the artistic pursuit she had craved since her very early childhood.
"I must say, it was very difficult for me to start. I was so afraid to fail and I still have that," Ms Rubin said in a classic Russian accent.
"(I often ask myself) 'Am I really good enough? Is this stupid?'
"All of a sudden in the middle of the painting, I think it doesn't look really good any more and it seems silly, and the idea seems to be childish, and the feeling creeps up on me: 'Are you sure that you've still got it?' It's self-doubt."
With the new year still young, the honest words are perhaps recognisable and encouraging to local residents already resigned to another year in a less-than- satisfactory job, and struggling with the question whether to take a risk and jump into their dream career.
Ms Rubin did just that and hasn't looked back.
She is living proof that taking the risk can work, despite any nagging doubt and fear of failure.
"I've been there. I know exactly what it feels like, and I wish I broke through earlier," she explained of her daunting transition to an art career.
"But it had to feel right, and it will feel right if that is the right thing to happen with you; if you are destined to do what you dream of."
Ms Rubin grew up in a strict family in Russia and, although she was happiest as a child with a pencil and paper in her hand, her grandparents and mother demanded she study medicine, economics or law, rather than her preferred passions of art and architecture.
She chose economics and, while acknowledging her education helped her build a lucrative career restoring and selling post-war houses in Germany, France and Holland, her love of painting never left her.
It was only after moving to Australia in 2004 when she was faced with a personal crisis that demanded a major life decision that she chose to seriously chase her dream.
"I knew always I was going to do that, but it was always some time in the future; you know, this amazing dream," she said
"It sort of was far away and, all of a sudden, when I had the choice I had to make - right or left, there was nothing in between - that was it, that was for me 'yes, of course, I will choose this. Yes, of course I can do this.
"I have the backup and I have myself who really believes I can do that', because I already tried and I loved it."
Her artwork was initially rejected by major galleries, so she held a private exhibition for friends and colleagues at her then Maroochydore home and she sold all 17 paintings.
From there, her reputation grew and her artwork has featured in three Menzies Art Auctions catalogues, with each work selling above the price estimates.
One of her works, Forgiveness, sold in June 2012 for $19,990, a steep increase from $12,000 the year before.
Ms Rubin has opened up about her experiences, urging others considering a similar change to make sure they continued taking steps toward their goal, they learned from their struggles, and never abandoned the dream.
"The right time will come. You just don't have to give up that dream," she said.
"Do it, just do what you have to physically do. Is it sculpture? Is it painting? Is it sewing? Is it creating fashion? It is writing books?
"You have to find time to do that.
"If it is the right thing to happen, it will take over and over and over, every day a little bit more.
"If you really try and start it and show yourself that this is amazing - honestly - then you just have to go for it and you have to give it everything you've got.
"The time and everything will fall into place. The universe will show it to you - all the ingredients and all the puzzle pieces - and you just have to give it a go, to do what you want to do, to start doing that, because other than that you're never going to know.
"As much as I have created my art, my art has created me. I have changed so much, so, so much, so it will feel right. I'm so grateful for everything in my life - good and bad. Without that I wouldn't be here today talking to you. I wouldn't be doing this. I wouldn't be who I am."
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