My Story

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I thought I would share some of my story as an artist and how I came to be doing what I am doing. It means a lot to me that you are here reading this post, and I hope it will give you some insight or help you to connect with my work a little more.

 

As a young child we had a few art books in the house which I looked at over and over again. I can still remember each Cezanne painting featured in a paperback snapshot of his work. I was aware of “artist” as a present day career path, I think because of my aunt who is an artist. I didn’t see very much of her because we lived in different states, but she would send postcards of her paintings to the family and after they had been read and set aside, I would snatch them up and add them to my stash of inspiring pictures. I was so drawn in to these pictures that nearly took my breath away and I knew that I wanted to contribute to the world in a similar way as these artists. The beauty and fascination that I found in the art I was drawn to left me with an overwhelming desire to create. I thought "I want to be an artist".

 

Fast forward a few years and I wasn't feeling so confident about that inclination. The imposter syndrome had crept in and I kept thinking I wasn't good enough to be an artist and all kinds of other self degrading things. Turns out I just wasn't a realist. I'm not really sure where it came from but I had developed a very specific definition in my mind of what a true artist was. But eventually I realized that art was so much more than painting a photo realistic portrait and I determined that if I wanted it and worked hard at it, I could progress and accomplish my goals. Though I wasn't aware of it at this time in my life, I have come to love the quote from Bob Ross, "talent is a pursued interest. Anything that you are willing to practice, you can do".

 

I made a lot of things as a child, my parents are both very creative and my mom was always introducing some new craft to me, which I excitedly devoured. I took my first painting class that just so happened to be oil painting at Austin Community College when I was 16 and I was hooked. I painted and painted away in oils for nearly 10 years until the birth of my first son.

 

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After he was born I still craved making things but the task of making a painting seemed daunting. I didn't have a studio so painting meant exposing my baby to the fumes (not even an option) or working outside and dealing with the heat/cold/dark/4 dogs (from my duplex neighbor)/mosquitos/etc. But mostly I didn't have the time. The setup and teardown alone required 20 minutes and as a new mom, my availability was a few stolen minutes here and there. In short the medium was no longer suiting my needs so I began to explore others. I tried goache and then watercolor and began to fall in love with painting all over again.  Before long I found myself painting every spare moment I had. This new medium was so accessible to me. Working at my kitchen table and being able to start and stop at any point when my baby needed me felt so so freeing. I began to develop a daily routine of painting during naps and after bedtime. This was the first time in my life that my creative practice had been so consistent. My art making was more prolific than ever before and yet my time was more limited than ever! Something that happens when you become a parent is that your time becomes so precious that you stop wasting it!

 

I was painting this and that trying to find my way but thoroughly enjoying the process, when a friend commissioned me to paint a prickly pear. After that piece the plants kept coming and coming and coming. I was brought back to my childhood and was reminded of memories when my mom would have me create displays at the nursery. There were thousands of plants at my disposal and I was given the task of arranging them. I realized that minus the heavy lifting I was still arranging plants, only on paper now.

 

My parents own a garden center and most of my days growing up were spent there catching tadpoles, building forts among the leaves and branches, and touching fuzzy cacti even though I knew better. I learned names and species of plants. How to care for many varieties of plants. I learned about native (to Texas) plants as well as many adapted plants that thrive in our environment. I learned which plants butterflies love and which ones bees love. I saw plants react to different kinds of conditions, they looked different in survival mode than when they were in their ideal environment and thriving. I saw heirloom plants being passed down in generations and heard stories of great grandparents' begonia collections. Running around barefooted in the warm sunshine listening to the birds chirping surrounded by so many flowers and greenery are definitely among my best memories of childhood. I feel so blessed to have grown up in this way and my work now has become a lot about that experience and similar adventures in nature that I am enjoying with my own children. I want people to share in the joys that are to be found in plants and interacting with nature. According to several studies and I have found it to be true in my own life, plants really do make people happy. One of the things that has become more and more important to me as I am getting older is surrounding myself with good vibes, positivity, and people that are excited about life. I hope that my art portays these sentiments and that the viewer receives as much joy as I felt when creating it.

 

I am just delighted that God has created me to create! I really do believe that as his image bearers we are made to make things and I cannot express how thankful I am to be raising my two boys and making art. Of coarse I could not do this without YOU my friends, family, supporters, and collectors, who are encouraging me along the way and purchasing my art. THANK YOU!

Reasons to love a 100 day project (or any daily practice project)

Refines your skills.

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Practice makes perfect as the saying goes. Committing to work on your craft for 100 days gives you an opportunity to practice. And practice. And practice. No matter if your abilities are already developed or if you are just a beginner, setting a goal to improve your technique will be rewarding in the end, and there is always room for growth. I have been painting for many years pretty much completely with oils and I only made the switch to watercolor about a year ago, after the birth of my son. Committing to this project was a perfect opportunity to learn and explore techniques in this new medium. When I started the project I was so nervous and careful every time I put the brush down. Now I feel much more confident in my abilities and am not so fearful about messing up, which leads me to my next point...

 

Forces you not to be precious. I am still processing this, but I really think it is key. Some of the days you work on your project, you will not have as much time. Some of the days you will be tired. Some of the days you will not feel inspired. Some of your creations will not be good. But some of them WILL. I talk to so many people who have creative hopes or dreams but are so hindered in accomplishing them by fear. Fear of messing up, fear of not being good enough, fear of not having natural talent. But the thing is that when you start out, you are probably not going to be good, and even when you are more experienced you're still going to have bad days. But you have to push through the bad ones to get to the good ones. You must allow yourself to be creative. When I started this project I would really lament over a painting that had to be torn up, thinking what a waste of resources, paper and especially time (which as a mom IS very precious). But I am having a mind shift. Instead of thinking what a waste those hours were that I spent on those last 5 dud paintings, I'm starting to think about how those last 5 paintings that got torn up led me to this good one. They attributed to it and gave me the ability to accomplish it. When I see that messing up is all a part of the process, the creativity flows more freely.

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Creates a habit of practicing your craft. Common belief is that it takes 21 days to form a habit, but a recent study by the University College London suggests it's more like 66 days. Either way, 100 days should be plenty! I am really thankful for this aspect of the project. It got me motivated to prioritize and rearrange how I spend my time, and now painting after my boy goes to bed at night is just what I do. (I watch a LOT. LESS. NETFLIX. So worth it.) 

 

Pushes you to do the work when you don't feel like it. I did not stress myself out by the pressure to do this perfectly. I did have some missed days, because life. Nevertheless, there were many nights were I may not have painted had I not made this decision to paint every day.

So what do you think? Will you commit to a 100 day project?