Despite studying art in college, Lorraine Loots' career took a different path. Her decision to paint a tiny illustration each day was a personal challenge to remain creative.
Now the rise in popularity of the South African's tiny paintings on social media have led her to a big life change.
Her work was featured on "CBS This Morning."
June 18, 2014
Each piece, painted by Loot's very steady hands, is about the size of a quarter -- or two South African Rands
"I wish I could have been a brain surgeon, actually," Loots says, laughing. "But I wasted my years of study doing art."
August 19, 2014
She started painting small because it's what she could finish in an hour.
September 8, 2014
The one-hour limit didn't last long. Loots began posting her art in actual size on Instagram and requests from followers to make purchases came pouring in. She was soon painting full-time.
September 10, 2014
When she started, her paintings were selling for about $40. Today they're going for nearly $1,000.
September 11, 2014
"I'm a very sentimental person, and I've always wanted to keep a journal. And I've just always loved the idea of marking every day and remembering where you were and what you did and just really grasping hold of it and putting it down," Loots says.
September 13, 2014
Loots sold all of the 730 paintings she created in 2013 and 2014. Prints of her pieces are being displayed in the "Ants in NYC" exhibit at a Brooklyn gallery, serving as a retrospective of a two-year career.
October 15, 2014
"I'm little embarrassed about the earlier stuff," Loots says. "I don't know, I think that's one of the nice things about a show like this, is that you can actually see progression and you can see that it's not just a pointless exercise. You grow as an artist and your style changes and you learn things and I think that's wonderful about it. But yes, I feel very proud."
October 22, 2014
"I see it as fun. You can't be too serious about something like that," Loots says. "It is my job, but if I see it as my job it becomes something different to what it started as."
365 days of painting for ants
Now, she calls herself a painter.
"Some people, the work is all about concept, and for me it's lot about the skill and the time and the patience that it takes to actually put paint to paper, so that's a painter in my mind," Loots says.
Watch Lorraine Loots' full story on "CBS This Morning."