Welcome back to the love that arty mama interview series. I’m so happy you’re here.
Before I introduce you to the next artist, I need to quickly take care of some tech stuff. Someone told me they have trouble commenting on the blog. If you do too, could you please email me at Carin (at) artfullycarin (dot) com, or leave a comment on my facebook page, or google + profile so I can get a better idea of what the problem is. Thank you!
I am so happy to bring you this interview with Kristin Van Valkenburgh today. Kristin was one of my first cheerleaders and arty friends when I picked up the paintbrushes again a few years ago, and hasn’t let off since! Her artwork is bright, whimsical and sparkly.
Over to Kristin…
* Please tell us a little bit about yourself and the type of art you make.
I’m a full-time Mommy to Kendra, a dinosaur-loving, 7-year-old little girl and a part-time Mixed Media and collage Artist who loves all things whimsical, colorful and bright. I enjoy painting pretty girls with big eyes, using bold candy colors and working with Swarovski crystals for the utmost in sparkle and shine.
* Roughly how often do you make art? Roughly how many hours per day or week?
Although I would love to lock myself in the studio all day, every day, being a Mommy just doesn’t allow for that. I do try to sneak in as much time as I can throughout the week, but in reality, it tends to equate to about 2 days a week – or approximately 12-15 hours – in the studio.
* Do you keep regular working (art) hours, or do you fit art in whenever? * Do you plan/ schedule your art time in advance?
This year I decided to start something new and schedule myself in the studio every Tuesday and Thursday. I now have an Etsy shop to fill and I want to allow for the greatest chance to succeed by giving myself the time to do so.
* Do you have any rituals that take you from Kristin the mum to Kristin the artist?
I have a fabulously messy, paint covered purple apron that I put on every time I work. It’s almost like putting on a uniform, signaling to myself and others that Mama’s busy.
* How has having children affected your work (working process, subjects, etc)? And how has art affected your mothering?
I honestly believe that one feeds the other. The majority of my art is focused on Motherhood or Mothering, so the little things that Kendra does are always influencing what comes out for me on paper. I am also an adoptive Mother and as such, I have found that the subjects of longing, hope and even fear have made their way to canvas or paper as well. Creating art allows me to digest some of my fears and put a positive spin on them. I find that whatever I need to hear at the time, my art is right there, whispering the answers.
I also believe that to be the best parent, I first need to be the best Me. Art gives me the peace and freedom to express myself as an individual while at the same time giving me the perspective (and sanity ) I need to patiently raise a little person. We teach our daughter that her job in life is to find what she is passionate about and to do that with all of her heart. I hope to be an example of that by doing what I love with all of my heart . . ..
* Does your family get involved in your art making?
Well, if you count the time that Kendra scribbled all over a vintage Christmas album (that I was saving for that perfect, yet-to-be-determined art project) when she was a toddler, then yes! But really, although my husband and daughter are both very supportive of me and my work, they don’t usually get too involved themselves. Although I do have to say that they are both very creative people and that the older Kendra gets, the more interested in drawing and painting she has become. Especially if it involves dinosaurs.
* As an artist mama, what do you consider your greatest challenges, and how do you overcome them?
I really think that the greatest challenge is time. As with most Moms, I have so many ideas swirling around in my head, so many things I want to dive into and start creating, but so little time to do it. Between the new Etsy shop, blogging and social media, volunteering at Kendra’s school once a week, trying to cook fresh, organic meals every day and well, everything else it takes to run a home, time is really the hardest thing to come by. On the other hand, I fully appreciate the opportunity I have to be at home and raise this little miracle so I have learned to try and give myself a break. It will all get done eventually . . .
* Do you sell or teach your art, locally or online?
I just opened my online Etsy shop before the holidays and am loving the community there. It’s a learning curve for sure, but I hope to continue to learn and get myself “out there” as much as possible. I’m also the happy host of a free online art event that takes place during the Summer called The Summer of Color.
* What tools (for example… blog? instagram? twitter? art fairs? gallery shows? etsy? facebook? word of mouth?) have you found the most helpful to get your art known?
I’m an active art blogger and am also a part of Facebook and Instagram. I think that social media is an incredible – and free – tool for artists to get exposure these days and I plan to continue to explore some other online options with that in mind as well. I also try and submit as much as I can to art magazines as they are another way to get your work in the public eye.
* Where can people find you?
Thank you so much to Kristin for taking part in the series! All pictures above are copyright Kristin Van Valkenburgh and are shared with permission. All other interviews in the series can be found under the tag love that arty mama, or by clicking the button below.