Hello my lovelies. Welcome back to the love that arty mama interview series. I have a wonderful interview with you today from Sadee Schilling, whose art and words always speak right to my heart.
Take it away Sadee…
* Please tell us a little bit about yourself and the type of art you make.
Hi, I’m Sadee Schilling, mama to Eowyn and Penelope–two German-American princesses who just celebrated their fourth and third birthdays. At the moment we are living in Hamburg, Germany with our handsome German husband/daddy. I am a watercolor and collage artist who enjoys creating carefully detailed illustrations as well as mixed-media pieces that incorporate “messier” textures and bits of vintage and grungy paper, but still retain a strong attention to detail.
* Roughly how often do you make art? Roughly how many hours per day or week? * Do you keep regular working (art) hours, or do you fit art in whenever? * Do you plan/ schedule your art time in advance?
I do my very best to make art everyday if I can, even if it’s just playing a little in my sketchbook. Creating is meditative for me–it grounds me and reminds me of who I am. I am a Highly Sensitive Person, and I have discovered that making art is the best way for me to process life in general! If I have been in a grouchy mood for days on end, or have become overly-emotional, my husband has learned to ask me, “when was the last time you painted?” And sure enough, my sense of well-being and general outlook on life is always brought back into balance with just an hour or two at my worktable.
My girls started preschool this fall, which means that now I have a few hours to myself everyday. I try to use at least two or three of those hours exclusively to make art, and sometimes I work a bit more in the evenings too if I’m not worn out. On the weekends, my husband and I usually plan an hour or two for me to work while he’s out with the kids or keeping them busy in the apartment. The truth is that sometimes I work better when they’re around! I love hearing them playing in the background, laughing or singing (yes, even fighting too)! When they were babies, I got used to squeezing in a little art here and there–I thrived on it, actually. Of course I craved time to myself, but I also learned that life is so much more expansive when I let them be a part of my sense of self and resist that feeling of resentment that we moms sometimes get that our kids are “holding us back” from the things that we really want to do. I would rather look at it this way: my kids provide unending inspiration and force me to “play” more than I would on my own!
* Do you have any rituals that take you from Sadee the mum to Sadee the artist? * How has having children affected your work (working process, subjects, etc)? And how has art affected your mothering? * Does your family get involved in your art making?
I always wanted to be an artist, but I never felt the joy of creativity and inspiration just “flow” out of me until I was pregnant with my first daughter. Seriously, wetting the watercolors and watching them run onto the paper was my strongest pregnancy craving! It was then that I created my first collection of watercolor illustrations, based on a friend’s idea for a children’s book that celebrated all the little moments mothers and fathers share with their children. In the years since–as the sometimes harder realities of parenthood have set in–I have started cutting up paper and adding collage elements to my watercolor paintings, sort of as a commentary on how so often in life we balance the precious and delicate with the messy and rough.Without the experience of being a mama to my little girls, I never would have “found myself” as an artist; I don’t think I would have started cutting up paper or had an interesting story to tell. I like to say that my daughters taught me the art of “loving a thing to pieces,” that sometimes we need to just jump and splash in life’s “puddles” because joy comes when we abandon ourselves to the mess.
I think the most important thing about my work is that I let my life overflow into my art, and my art overflow into my life. Sadee the mom and Sadee the artist are pretty much the same person, because it was becoming Sadee the mom that truly birthed the artist within me! My “studio” is a corner of my living room where I have a worktable that is always a mess of supplies and works-in-progress. Somehow, my girls have learned that what I have going on in the studio-area is special, almost sacred. It’s not off-limits by any means; they love to peek at what I’ve been working on, to borrow my scissors or my colored pencils. But they never mess anything up and they consider it a great privilege when they get to pull up a chair and work beside me. Eowyn and Penelope have their own “worktable” across the room from mine, which is also always a mess of supplies and works-in-progress. My own work is often inspired by their ideas and drawings and I even keep bits and pieces of their artwork in my paper collection to use in future collages.
* As an artist mama, what do you consider your greatest challenges, and how do you overcome them?
At this point in my life I am super driven to turn my art and illustration into a career–it’s just something I feel called to do. At the same time, I have already been so blessed by these two little masterpieces–my beautiful daughters. I know that nothing else I could ever do or create in life could come close to bringing me as much joy as they do. So as most Arty Mamas probably do, I struggle with the balance of work-time and family-time. I think of myself as a stay-at-home-mom because in the truest sense, I am always home and always available when my kids need me. But making time is also a priority for me and sometimes I feel guilty because some of characteristics I always considered important for me to be a good mom and homemaker (like baking often and keeping a neat house) have become secondary in my job description. But I try to think of it like this: I am teaching my girls a myriad of creative possibilities and showing them that is is possible to watch your dreams come true!
* Do you sell or teach your art, locally or online?
I hope to teach art workshops in the near future.Currently I am writing an e-course–”Peace by Piece” which is a combination of my personal art story and techniques for processing life’s everyday struggles through creating mixed media art with water media and collage. And of course, I am making new art all of the time and keeping my Etsy shop stocked.
* 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?
My blog, “A Picturebook Life” has been a source of encouragement and accountability for me for the past two years. Because I am in an intense phase of making new art at the moment, and also a fairly intense phase in the life and development of my children, it’s been hard for me to find that extra ounce of energy to focus on promoting my art via social media. As a Highly Sensitive Person, the internet can be a dangerous source of over-stimulation for me. But I know networking online is a valuable resource and once I get myself into the right frame of mind, I really do enjoy doing it most of the time. Since life is always changing, I have a hunch that in the spring I will be ready to start a fresh program of dedication to sharing my heart and my art online.
Because of my more introverted, sensitive personality and love of the quiet family life, I have made the decision that having an art agent will be essential for me to move forward in my career. Again, once this winter “hibernation” phase has passed, I feel my portfolio and my heart will both be ready and open for this next step! (And I’m really excited!!!)
* Where can people find you (links to blog, etsy, etc)?
Thank you so much to Sadee for taking part in the interview series. I screamed out loud when I learned she is working on an e-course! Oh yes please! That’s one course I really want to take! All pictures above are copyright Sadee Schilling and posted with permission.
We’re now half way though the series! All interviews can be found under the tag love that arty mama, or by clicking the button below. Who’s next? Come back Saturday to find out!