Dansville ArtWorks Gallery

For the past two months, I’ve had the privilege of having three of my paintings on display at the Dansville ArtWorks Gallery in Dansville, NY.

This was the first gallery exhibit that Dansville ArtWorks has had. They’ve had pop up galleries here and there, but this was the first one in their new location.

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Reminiscing About Today

It’s not that often that I get personal on this blog. I always try to include a little look into my life and my thought process in my posts, especially when looking back on a piece I created, but that’s about it.

Well, today is going to be a little bit different.

When I was little, art was my passion. I wanted to be an artist more than anything.

My mom was always wonderful, making sure I was fully stocked up with pencils and markers, and she would order me any new supplies that I may want. I remember she once got this huge block of clay for me. It was so heavy that we couldn’t lift it, so whenever I’d want a piece of it, we’d have to drag it out of the closet, cut a piece off, then slide it back. It was hard, back breaking work, but that memory always makes me smile.

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Announcement: More

I’m finding it really hard to believe that April will mark the one year anniversary of Back to the Drawing Board.

Where has the time gone?!?

This past year has been a flurry of activity. In one year, I have completed 5 drawings, 12 paintings, and 4 murals, as well as set up at my first arts and crafts show and have sold numerous sets of note cards, earrings and prints.

I realize that this is only March, but I want to give you a head’s up for what is to come in Year 2:

More.

More time in my studio.

More time working on new products and projects.

More time developing and tweaking my skills.

Many of you who know me personally are probably asking yourselves how can I do that? I have three kids, a husband, a house, I run a daycare out of my house and have numerous other things that I have on my plate.

Yes, that is true. But changes are coming.

You see, my youngest child will be going to kindergarten this fall. Many stay-at-home moms jump at the chance to go back to work at that time, and that is a fantastic thing.

However, I am not normal, and have never claimed to be. I will not be going out into the world and getting a job. I want the freedom to be here when my kids need me, and staying at home allows me to have that.

In fact, I have already resigned from my day job: I will no longer be running a daycare out of my house, effective end of the 2014-15 school year. This was a really hard decision for us, but there are so many things going on in my life and with my family, that now was the time to stop.

One of the side benefits of this decision is that I can be here for Back to the Drawing Board. My business has grown so much in this past year, that I’m actually where I wanted to be in Year 3, but wasn’t expecting it until Year 5. I never in a million years would have dreamed that I’d be this busy with projects, but I am so so so thankful that I am here in this place. I have so many fun projects coming up, and they need more of my time and attention.

So with all that being said, keep an eye out in April for some fun anniversary things. Who knows, there might be new products launching, big sales going on, and maybe a giveaway or two!

What would you like to see Back to the Drawing Board do this year?

Q&A

Hey everyone! I’ve been getting asked some great questions lately, so after putting the word out on Facebook asking if there was anything else people wanted to know about me, here are all your answers!

How is this art business going? 

Things are going really really well. I’m surprised with how much positive feedback that I’ve been getting, and how many people are really interested in having me do pieces for them.

Is it overwhelming?

I don’t think it’s overwhelming with the amount of projects, but just the emotions of starting to really pursue my dream and have it be a reality is overwhelming! I do randomly burst into tears of joy because I never thought this would happen.

How is it fitting in with babysitting and family life?

It’s fitting in surprisingly well! I only work while kids are napping or sleeping, or if I have no babysitting kids and my kids are playing happily or doing art things with me. I told my husband that if the art business starts interfering with the family, that I would back off of it, that family comes first. So far, so good! I have a lot of big projects to work on this summer, so we’ll see how that works out.

Do you plan on quitting babysitting and just doing your art business?

At some point, yes. I don’t think I’m established enough for it to fully replace the babysitting at this time. Paigey is going to be getting braces soon, and we can’t afford that without having a steady source of income besides my husband’s income. I do love babysitting, and will miss it when I stop.

Who is your favorite artist?

I hate this question. I always get an eye roll or a groan when I answer! I think people expect me to have this obscure artist, and I disappoint them. It’s so very cliche: I absolutely love Vincent Van Gogh. And yes, my favorite painting of all time is Starry Night. Any of the impressionist painters inspire me, and I tend to prefer them over other artists. Dale Chihuly and Henri Matisse are new favorites as well.

And yes, for all you Whovians out there, the Doctor Who episode “Vincent and the Doctor” makes me cry like a baby every time I watch it.

What is the one drawing tool you cannot live without?

Oh, that would definitely be my eraser pencil! It’s awesome. You can sharpen it to get really tiny lines or cut the tip off and get fat lines, and I use it multiple times in each drawing I do.

I also love my kneaded eraser (you can mold it into any shape you want!) and my HB pencil.

I also finally got some blending sticks recently, and they are so much easier and less time consuming than using other things to blend. I think I’d get pretty cranky if I couldn’t use those, either.

I saw on Facebook that you actually have a studio?!? When did that happen?

Okay, it’s not an official beautiful art studio. It’s in my basement, and it’s been set up since we moved into our house in 2008. Now that I finally went through everything and organized it, I have space to work. It consists of a couple plastic rolling carts, a really old drafting table (I’m in the market for a new one), a stool, my beautiful new easel, and a bookcase. It’s not much and could use better lighting, but I have space to paint where the kids won’t get into my chemicals or paint. I just set up the kid’s easel in my studio area for our youngest today; he absolutely loved painting with me and is begging to do it again tomorrow.

I’ve heard you mention you have kids. How many, how old are they, and are they artistic?

My husband and I are blessed with three amazing kids. Our daughter is 9, and then we have two boys, 6 1/2 and 4. They are definitely artistic, but in different ways. Our daughter loves to draw and paint, our older son is more along the lines of technical drawings (he’s the one who will draw a building and then go and try to recreate it with legos or blocks), and our youngest is just an inspiration to me. He is very particular about color and actually will play around with things like shadows or monochromatic layering in his collages. He sees color and pattern and puts things together I never would have even thought of. It’s really exciting to see my kids take after me in some sort of way; it makes up for them looking like their Daddy’s side of the family and not me!

When are you coming to visit your bestest friend of 20-21 years?

Soon, I hope and pray! I can’t wait to see you when you’re in the area in just over a week 🙂 I miss my gf, and the kids miss their aunt ❤

 

Thanks for all the questions, guys!

Is there anything else you want to know about me? Ask away, and I’ll do a second post later 🙂

When Dreams Come True

The first thing I ever wanted to be when I was growing up was an artist. I would color, paint, sculpt, and create as much as I could with anything I could get my hands on.

That dream died sometime through the years, but I specifically remember it really disappearing around the time I was in middle school. The art teacher and I had a personality conflict or something, and I didn’t like the way she taught. If things weren’t done the way she wanted, you got a bad grade. It doesn’t matter if you tried your best or tried something out of the box and creative, you were docked points and I really really didn’t like that. I felt like I was being trapped in Harry Chapin’s song “Flowers Are Red,” and that was not okay in my little brain.

I ended up pursuing the sciences in high school; I took all the science classes I could, and wanted to either a veterinarian or a high school science teacher, triple certified in biology, chemistry, and physics. I didn’t take any art classes, and that was okay with me. I mean, who really ends up being the first thing they ever wanted to be when they were little?

College was a wake up call. I did awful in my science classes. The only positive thing I got out of the classes is that was how my husband and I met (he is now a high school science teacher). My second semester of freshman year I had to take an art class to fill a requirement. I wasn’t too thrilled with having to take it, but sometimes sacrifices have to be made in order to move on with your life.

I remember the second week of class; we had just started working on our first assignment. I rushed back to my dorm and got started working on it. A couple of my friends stopped by to pick me up for our lunch date, and I dragged my feet out the door. I didn’t want to leave my project!

It was like that for the next couple weeks. I lived and breathed those projects. In my free time (ok, so even when I should have been studying for other classes), I found myself sketching again. I felt alive for the first time in years, and I didn’t want to lose that feeling.

This is what happens when you spend too much time working on an art project; sophomore year of college

As the semester went on, I made a huge decision. I filled out all the necessary paperwork, and became an art major. I remember calling my mom and telling her. I think at first she was a little hesitant (I think she pictured me as a starving artist, and I can’t say I blame her!), but almost right away  she supported me 100%. I called my grandparents next; my grandpa is into painting as well, and they were so excited for me. I remember them saying I had to go visit them, and when I did, they gave me some of my grandpa’s paints, brushes, and even his tabletop easel.

Eleven years have passed since I made that decision to switch my major (man I feel old saying that!). I have graduated college with a degree in Studio Art and a minor in Art History. I’ve done murals, paintings, and drawings for people and have an installment of six drawings on display full time at our church. I am the head decorator for our church’s vacation Bible school every year. I’ve helped people pick paint colors for their homes. I’ve taught art lessons both in my home, for a local home school group, and am teaching art classes at our local library for both adults and children a handful of times each year. Art is my life again, and it is amazing.

My youngest son will be going to kindergarten in just over a year. People are always asking me what I plan on doing when he goes to school. Will I continue to babysit? Will I get a job? What is my plan? I wasn’t always sure, but I had always hoped that I’d have time to really pursue my art. I’ve been praying about it lately, asking God to give me the desires of my heart: to be an artist. Here I am, just expecting it to naturally fall into place in my time, when Ryan goes to school. But that God of mine, he has a sense of humor. He said now is the time, he wants me to have my dream now. And here I am.

And I’m terrified. Each time I post a picture on Facebook I’m afraid that someone will look at my preview or even finished piece and say that I have no talent. That a five year old can do better than that. That no one is going to like what I do, and this dream will come crashing down around me.

I’m beyond excited. I love watching God work. I feel like he’s been telling me he’s wanted to give me this gift of pursuing my dream my entire life, that he’s been waiting 30 years for me to just reach out and take it. But I haven’t been ready. I’m still not sure I’m ready, but I’m here, trusting him.

I’m humbled. The fact that someone out there, or multiple someones, likes something I do so much that I have a list of projects to be working on. I get to do something I love and it makes people happy? That is just the coolest thing ever.

It also is exciting as my new business cards arrived in the mail this week. Seriously, it was like Christmas morning here! I know it’s been official for awhile that I’m an artist, but seeing it in writing makes it real: I am a real artist.

And it is an pretty awesome feeling having your dreams come true.