As promised, I’m going to take you back to 2008….where my art journey began. At the time, I was a stay at home mom to an energetic 3yo. I had been "retired" from my career as a hairstylist/make-up artist for over 3 years. My husband (at the time) worked incredibly long hours, so I was “mom-ing” pretty much 24/7….aside from my 3 hour weekly visit from a cherished babysitter (basically so that I could try to run errands in peace). So many of you can relate to this scenario. I loved that I could be home with my daughter, but it can also be a mind-numbing experience. You kinda lose yourself in those early years…my days filled with feeding, nap schedules and toddler entertainment. I’ll admit, some days I miss it (but only for a minute or two).
I was craving an outlet....something just for me. Using my free time to run errands or squeeze in a workout was not nurturing that part of me that was slowly fading away. I realized that I NEEDED to be creative (and not just finger-painting and crafting with a toddler...although I enjoyed that very much). I guess I wanted something that challenged me, but was unable to really dive into anything creative at home with so many distractions.
I found an acrylic painting class that met on Wednesday evenings. I made a deal with my husband…either come home early enough for me to attend this class once a week or risk me having a complete and total emotional breakdown which would create a massive disruption to the routines that he held dear (I am only partially kidding here…some sort of breakdown was bound to happen if I didn’t start paying attention to my need for real creative nurturing and that man NEEDED his routines. Just a little creative bargaining, lol).
I was so excited to attend this class. I had been creative in the past…oil painting (in high school), crafts, scrapbooks, etc., but never acrylic painting. This was new enough to be exciting, but familiar enough to prevent frustration. This class provided just the right amount of instruction and freedom to create on my own terms. I could put my headphones on and escape into the world of color. To this day, I still prefer to paint with headphones or loud music in the background (which is why my current studio was built with soundproof walls…but, that’s jumping ahead. More on my studio later).
One of my first acrylic paintings: My Girl 2008
Initially, I dabbled in a wide variety of subjects…I even attempted to paint an image of my daughter….THE SINGLE MOST DIFFICULT THING THAT I HAVE EVER ATTEMPTED TO PAINT! (see photo). I realized then that painting people was not my thing. However, even though it is rough and lacking experience, I keep this painting hanging in my studio as a reminder of where I started and also, I think, as a reminder that I wasn’t trying to escape my daughter or my role as “mommy”. I was trying to be a better person…a better mom. Like they say on every flight, you must put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others. I was beginning to breath again...
Next time: Why flowers??