love that arty mama: Soraya Nulliah

Happy Valentines day and welcome to the 6th and final love that arty mama interview! I feel so honoured to have hosted this series, to have such talented artists share their lives so openly, and to have such wonderful, supportive readers. You have been so kind and loving, to me and the mamas I interviewed. Thank you! Please show this mama the same kind of loving. She deserves it!

Over to Soraya…

Soraya Nulliah and Tara

* Please tell us a little bit about yourself and the type of art you make.

I am a wife, mommy, mixed media artist, blogger, budding photographer, seeker and creative. I have one child (my daughter Tara) who is soon to be 4. I paint mixed media art that is very woman centered. My art speaks of the journey of the human soul; of our sufferings as well as our joy. I feel that in the honest sharing of our stories we find the opportunity to heal ourselves and inspire others to do the same.

* Roughly how often do you make art? Roughly how many hours per day or week?

I make art whenever I can!! As all of us mammas know, it is difficult to balance everything (work/family/personal time) so I don’t have any set hours right now. A few months ago, Tara gave up her afternoon naps so that has been challenging for me. Prior to that, we both took a short nap and that allowed me to stay up in my studio until 1 or 2 a.m. painting. Now, however , by 9 p.m. I am exhausted!! So I go to bed early and wake up at 4:30 or so and get into my studio at that time. On Saturdays I generally have about 5 hours in my studio (Tim and Tara are out doing daddy/daughter stuff!!). So…to give you an hourly estimate…I would say maybe 12 -16 hours or more.

* Do you keep regular working (art) hours, or do you fit art in whenever?

I do both! I keep my regular hours as well as fit my art in whenever! Recently, I put a drop cloth on my kitchen counter and spread out some canvases and work on things here and there. It works out well because I can apply layers (gesso, collage, paint splatters) and allow them to dry. I used to work on really huge canvases before I became a mom (36 x 40”) but now I work pretty small so I can work on 4-5 paintings at once.

* Do you plan/ schedule your art time in advance?

I try to but I always allow for unexpected incidents like illness, appointments and such. So if I have a deadline I try to complete it as soon as possible in case something comes up (no procrastinating anymore!!).

* Do you have any rituals that take you from Soraya the mum to Soraya the artist?

I would like to say yes but the truth is that, most often, I am multi-tasking so throughout the day, I work on my art for 10-15 mins. while Tara is occupied and I go back and forth. A small thing I do, when I have a few solid hours in my studio is light some candles. I have a mini altar on my studio table and that seems to help me transition into painting. I also hold an intention in my heart and mind (a fairly recent ritual that I absolutely love!) before I start painting and helps me make the shift. For the most part, though, I don’t separate being a mom from being an artist. I carry all that heightened passion, emotion, love, excitement, joy from my mothering into my art. I try to bring all of me to whatever I do…so when I am mothering I bring the artist in me as well and vice versa.

On the other side of broken by Soraya Nulliah

* How has having children affected your work (working process, subjects, etc)? And how has art affected your mothering?

For me, I became more ambitious about my art after I became a mom. My art became more truthful and raw and I started seeing it as a record of my journey. All of a sudden it became extremely important to do my work, to address the things that are important to me. I know how important it is for my daughter to see me do the work I love and follow my dreams and I hope one day she will do the same.

I think being an artist allows me the freedom to view mothering in a creative light as well. I don’t think there is any one “right” way to do things with Tara and I try to be as flexible as possible while enjoying the mothering journey. I carry a lot of lessons from my creative life right into mothering and find that they apply quite well. Also, Tara has been exposed to all kinds of art ever since she was born. Our house is filled with art (sculptures, paintings, fabrics) and I take her to children’s museums as well. I want her to experience art as an everyday part of life and not as something that is separate from day to day living.

* Does your family get involved in your art making?

Absolutely! Tara has been painting since she was about a year old. We are always making art, collages, crafts…it’s one of her absolute favorite things to do! I love setting out her art supplies and easel and us working a little side by side. My husband gets involved in my art from a completely different perspective; he is extremely supportive and does quite a lot of the housework (I know, I’m very lucky!!) so it frees up my time a little. My family is proud of the work I do and that, to me, is success.

* As an artist mama, what do you consider your greatest challenges, and how do you overcome them?

The greatest challenge for me is time!!! Namely, the lack of time! And definitely …energy!! I am 44 years old so it is difficult for me to keep up with my 4 year old daughter, for sure! However, on the plus side, I rarely procrastinate anymore because I simply can’t afford to! The fact that my time is so limited forces me to prioritize. A few things that have really helped me:

* I have learned how to say no! With my time being so limited I have had to turn down projects/opportunities that I may have really wanted but I simply can’t do right now. And I’m okay with that because pretty soon, Tara is going to go off into the world and need my time less and less so I understand that I have this short time to have her completely to myself.

* When I get into my studio and am really super tired, I just start painting. I listen to audio books while I work and after a few minutes I get lost in my work.

* every moment counts! I always carry little notebooks with me wherever I go.  A few minutes here and there all add up. I have written entire blog posts, ideas for my paintings, to-do lists in this way.

* I take time out for myself. Whenever I feel as if I am getting burnt out I make time for solitude. Simple things like a half hour of reading a fave magazine, an artist date, writing in my journal, a cup of tea, a nap…whatever it takes.

* I have quotes posted up everywhere on my studio walls that really inspire me and see me through the difficult times. A couple of my fave ones are “meet yourself where you are” and this one right here by Bruce Lee “making way out of no way, using no limitation as limitation”.

Wisdom keepers daughter by Soraya Nulliah

* Do you sell or teach your art, locally or online?

I sell my art online (Etsy) but have not taught anywhere.

* 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 have a blog, a website, a Facebook page, a shop on Etsy and a twitter account. I think all of these social media avenues are helpful and they each have their strong points. For the longest time I was intimidated by Twitter and thought I really didn’t need yet another site to keep up with but now I love the micro blogging aspect of it! Just a quick word or two and a photo can speak volumes and connect us to anyone in the world! So I think trying out new things and seeing what resonates with us personally is really important because that comes through to others.

* Where can people find you (links to blog, etsy, etc)?

Blog
website
Etsy shop

***

Thank you so much to Soraya for taking part in the love that arty mama  interview series! All the pictures above are copyright Soraya Nulliah and were posted with permission. If you missed any of the interviews, or want to revisit them anytime for further inspiration, they can be found under the tag love that arty mama, or by clicking the button in the sidebar. Thanks again for your love and support!

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love that arty mama: Aimee Dolich

Welcome to the 5th installment in the love that arty mama interview series! And thank you so much for your wonderful comments on the previous ones, here and elsewhere. Today’s arty mama is as colourful as they come and does things with pens that I could only dream of.

Over to Aimee…

Aimee Dolich profile

* Please tell us a little bit about yourself and the type of art you make.

Hi Carin! Thanks for asking me to be part of your interview series! I’m a writer and illustrator (I prefer the term doodler!) and I have two girls who are 6 and 10. I love blending color and words into my art, and I draw upon (so to speak) my daily experiences for my inspiration.

* Roughly how often do you make art? Roughly how many hours per day or week?

I’ve never kept track, so I don’t know! It absolutely is a daily practice, though. Some days I only have time for a few minutes and others I’m working hours into the night. But I always make sure that I create something — otherwise I fall off the creative wagon, and it is all too easy to let that happen.

* Do you keep regular working (art) hours, or do you fit art in whenever?

When my kids were younger, I was a master at time manipulation. I’d squeeze in a minute here, five minutes there, whenever someone wasn’t throwing food or cutting open a bean bag. I actually create best that way, when I’m under pressure. When I know I don’t have time to strategize or plan, I’m forced to get right to it and some of my favorite ideas are born this way.

Daughter Love by Aimee Dolich

* Do you plan/ schedule your art time in advance?

I used to fly by the seat of my pants (see above) because I had to! Now I have more predictable hours since they are in school, but I have a lot going on outside of my art, so I have to plan ahead for it as best as I can. But as the saying goes, you can’t really schedule inspiration.

* Do you have any rituals that take you from Aimee the mum to Aimee the artist?

Coffee (and at night, sometimes a glass of wine.) Peace. Quiet.

* How has having children affected your work (working process, subjects, etc)? And how has art affected your mothering?

In every way possible. I’m not sure that I’d be doing what I do now if it wasn’t for them. Kids have an amazing way of stimulating our senses and getting our latent creativity moving. They are also really good at shutting it down! I can’t even tell you how many times they’ve given me an idea, but I haven’t been able to act on it. Oh, the agony!

the things we do by Aimee Dolich

* Does your family get involved in your art making?

We rarely have elaborately planned projects or scheduled art time. But someone is always making something around here! Sometimes they join me, sometimes they don’t, but they are always curious as to what I’m up to, and they will often go off on their own & make things. My older one especially needs no encouragement whatsoever. If I let her be, she will take to her entire closet with a pair of scissors and reconfigure every item of clothing.

* As an artist mama, what do you consider your greatest challenges, and how do you overcome them?

I have to go back to my kids’ younger days in order to answer that one accurately. It’s so different when kids are little. They are constantly growing and discovering and experimenting and NEEDING. If we’re working 24/7 in the home, it’s a challenge. If we’re working both outside and in the home, it’s a challenge. Either way, we’re constrained for time and energy. When babies, toddlers and preschoolers are underfoot, our time is not our own. We are constantly maintaining order and making sure that everyone is OK, and some days that just means making sure that the household does not explode. It’s hard to find time for art on top of that, but it’s so important. I will say that I am very selfish in this regard (having me time), and so I have no problem whatsoever carving time out for myself to do it, even if it is only for a small chunk of time. There’s lots that you can do in 10 minutes: write a haiku, cut some paper, slap down some paint, learn a crochet stitch, give the kids a sponge full of water and tell them to ‘paint’ the floor while you compose yourself with a little crafty exploration. It’s a matter of getting creative about being creative. Find something that is easy, that fits into the rhythm of your life, and the daily practice will become a habit. And then of course they will get older and more self sufficient, leaving us wondering where their little baby years went.

A Village in my Mind by Aimee Dolich

* Do you sell or teach your art, locally or online?

I sell online almost 100%. I rarely sell locally, unless it’s a piece that is specific to a particular local area. I don’t do much in the way of teaching. I do a few select courses here and there, but teaching is something I much prefer doing in person than online.

* 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 was initially the way I connected with most people, but that was back in 2008, which was a digital eon ago. I still love the blog world, but now I’d say I connect mainly through Facebook and Instagram. The art community is wonderful and I enjoy that part even more than selling my work. I never imagined it would be such a rewarding thing to connect with fellow artists and parents everywhere, but I’ve made many connections that have turned into real live wonderful friendships.

Put Your Color On by Aimee Dolich

* Where can people find you?

Blog

Etsy

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

***

Thank you so much to Aimee for taking part in the interview series! All pictures above are copyright Aimee Dolich and posted with permission. As always, all the interviews in this series can be found under the tag love that arty mama, or by clicking the button below. Come back Thursday for a wonderful interview with our last arty mama.

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love that arty mama: Kristin Van Valkenburgh

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!

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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…

Kristin Van Valkenburgh profile

* 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.

I am Mommy by Kristin Van Valkenburgh

* 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.

Sasha by Kristin Van Valkenburgh

* 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.

If You're Going to Learn to Fly by Kristin Van Valkenburgh

* Where can people find you?

Blog
Etsy
Instagram
The Summer of Color

***

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.

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love that arty mama: Sadee Schilling

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…

Sadee Schilling profile

* 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.

Under the same stars by Sadee Schilling

* 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!

corner of Sadee Schilling's studio

corner of Sadee's studio

* 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.

studio 1 w

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.

Penny Watercoloring

marker cap fingers

Sadee Scilling's studio

* 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.

Raindrops by Sadee Schilling

* 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!!!)

Bunny by Sadee Schilling

* Where can people find you (links to blog, etsy, etc)?

Website

Blog

Etsy

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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!

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love that arty mama: Lise Meijer

Welcome back to the love that arty mama interview series! And thank you so much for your wonderful comments on Marcia’s post!

Today I’m interviewing the wonderful Lise Meijer from Denmark. I found Lise when Kelly Rae Roberts posted a  tribute video of hers on her blog and have been an avid fan ever since. I think you’ll agree that her artwork is stunning!

Take it away Lise…

Mixed media artist Lise Meijer

* Please tell us a little bit about yourself and the type of art you make.

I am a mixed media artist, and I mostly use acrylic and papers on canvas, sometimes mixed with buttons, laces etc. I am also a storyteller, a singer-songwriter, a dancer, a teacher and a firm believer in sharing and nurturing the good things in this world….

In spite of what many people think; I am in many ways a quiet and private person. Happy in social dealings, but what I love most is to sit alone and create, for many uninterrupted hours if possible.

I am also one of those multitalented people who have had a very hard time choosing one creative outlet and giving it a direction in life. Combine this with being a mother for 2 (Celeste, 9 and Vincent, 6), and you have a possible pent-up, creatively unfulfilled person and a grumpy mother.

For some strange reason is was only after I had children that I understood that a truly creative work-life would never be an option unless I learned how to figure out what I wanted. And that I would have to dedicate many small steps to acting on those dreams, whilst learning to be a mother. I saw the unhappiness straight in the eye, and I began to take charge, one small step at a time. That was when our youngest was about a year, now 6 years ago.

That decision lead me to teaching creativity courses for adults, and eventually finding the way back to my first love: painting. I have now been painting again for about 2 years, and it is such a joy.

Sharing a Moment by Lise Meijer
* Roughly how often do you make art? Roughly how many hours per day or week?

About once a week, sometimes more when I am inspired about a painting and can find the energy and time to include some evenings. About 6 hours per week.

* Do you keep regular working (art) hours, or do you fit art in whenever?

I keep a very steady creating-schedule. Those 2 last years I have been able to dedicate one 6 hour-day per week to painting. Besides being an artist and a mother, I have different teaching jobs taking up 3 days a week, and when I can, I use the last week day to handle admin, PR, marketing ect. for my own little company.

* Do you plan/ schedule your art time in advance?

Yes, I do. The same weekday every week is scheduled for making art. I try to keep it “sacred”, non-negotiable with no phone calls, and no other obligations. Only ill children or fires get a higher priority! I have an arrangement that a neighbour family picks up the children from school that day, and I return the favor another day. That gives me one extra hour for making art, very precious time.

* Do you have any rituals that take you from Lise the mum to Lise the artist?

Absolutely, rituals are essential for me in getting ready, shifting and inviting inspiration. I do at least one, often two and sometimes all of the following 3 rituals in the morning:

  1. I write!!! I write “morningpages”, as described in Julia Cameron´s book “Creativity”.  Morningpages are essential to me in getting into a creative process. I can highly recommend using that tool.
  2. I make a very small and quick page, a “Creative quickie” in a journal assigned for that, using cut-outs from magazines and a few words. Max. 10 min´s. Gives me an instant feeling that I have already been creative, taking away any pressure.
  3. I dance 5-10 minutes to music. Works brilliant to get the body moving and the creative juices flowing.

I also practice doing a very simple, yet sometimes  very hard thing: I simply show up, take out the paint and the canvas, and begin. I may feel happy, I may feel horrible. But I am there. And that always seems to work, like luring a child into playing by sitting down with it, and simply beginning putting the blocks on top of each other. Soon they play along, and so does creativity, even on a “bad” day!

* How has having children affected your work (working process, subjects, etc)? And how has art affected your mothering?

Like I told, I only began creating/ pursuing a truly creative work-life after having children. Having no time for me made me very unhappy. I think I got so scared by the image of me as a worn-out mother, unable to pursue her own dreams, so I simply had to begin that journey, at first with very small steps.

* Does your family get involved in your art making?

My family is my greatest cheering crowd. They are so supportive and sweet, they come along to gallery openings and my husband has helped me putting hooks or frames on many paintings. And the children are very interested whenever I am working on a new painting. I made painting sessions with my daughter and some friends, and she has been in some of my workshops. But I never paint my own art alongside with my family. I need to be alone, fully concentrated. Otherwise I become a grumpy, yelling drama-queen, and that is not fair to either of us, so I avoid that. And respect my own boundaries.

Time to nurture by Lise Meijer

* As an artist mama, what do you consider your greatest challenges, and how do you overcome them?

That must be not being solely in charge of my own time….and the worst: ill children on painting-day. I want to be there for them and at the same time my artist heart is crying because that means me postponing creating for another week, or two, or even longer sometimes. That is so hard!

* Do you sell or teach your art, locally or online?

Yes, I sell my art in galleries or by direct contact via my homepage. I happily ship paintings internationally. My cards and posters can be bought in my webshop and in some shops in Denmark and Holland.

I have just begun teaching mixed media workshops locally, and I truly enjoy it.

* 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?

For me, following my own funny passion has been the most effective. More than any tool. As I told you, I also sing and write songs. About two years ago I first saw the art of Kelly Rae Roberts, and it instantly inspired me to begin painting again, after more than 15 years. Not knowing much about her, I was simply so moved and wrote her a song. Kelly Rae later shared that song on her extremely popular blog, and that lead to my first international sale.

Another time I was moved by an essay of a wonderful danish author, Majbritte Ulrikkeholm – and wrote her a small letter. She then visited my homepage, became a fan of my art and has generously shared it with her fans on FB, creating new openings for me here locally.

I am very humbled and thankful for those and many other magical incidences. It counts for them all that things opened when I was following my own true north, doing my bit and trusting the process rather than trying to calculate it. If it comes to tools, Facebook has been one of the quickest ways for me in connecting with people interested in my art. Blog/homepage has been essential too.

Rain by Lise Meijer

* Where can people find you?

Homepage/blog

Facebook

Etsy

Thank you Carin, for this wonderful opportunity!

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Thank you so much to Lise for doing this love that arty mama interview! All pictures above are copyright Lise Meijer and were posted with permission. Who’s next? Come back  Thursday to find out! As always, all interviews can be found under the love that arty mama tag or by clicking the button below.

Arty Mama 200

Love that arty mama: Marcia Beckett

Today’s the day guys!  And kicking off this love that arty mama interview series is Marcia Beckett.

I was first drawn to Marcia’s art because it’s super colourful, loose, and fun. It always makes me smile! Her art education blog is also a great resource for fun projects for me to do with the kids, both now and in the future. And we’re obviously on the same wavelength because wouldn’t you know it…she interviewed three artist mothers in the latest issue of Featuring Magazine (which I only realised after I started contacting people about this series)!!!

Over to Marcia…

Marcia Beckett profile picture

* Please tell us a little bit about yourself and the type of art you make.

Thanks so much for interviewing me, Carin! I am 33 years old and have one daughter named Daria who is about 3 1/2 years old. I love being a mom and would like to have more kids in the next few years. It is so amazing to watch Daria grow and I’m particularly enamored with her language development. It’s so fun to hear her talk and watch her unique personality emerge.

I enjoy many types of art. My artwork is usually bright and busy. My motto is: “More is more.” I love watercolor and acrylic painting, art journaling and creating mixed media art. I have also dabbled in ceramics, jewelry making, knitting, crocheting and scrapbooking. I have closets full of supplies to prove it!

painting retry by Marcia Beckett

* Roughly how often do you make art? Roughly how many hours per day or week?

I spend approximately 5-8 hours per week on my own personal art. During the summer I do not work, so I can spend more time on art. I am a school teacher, so it varies from week to week. Of course, I would love to make my own art every day but at this point in my life I have many other responsibilities.

* Do you keep regular working (art) hours, or do you fit art in whenever?

I fit art in whenever I can. I usually work on art for a few hours one night during the week and then for a few solid hours on a weekend night. Typically I wait until my daughter is asleep at night for my own art time.

* Do you plan/ schedule your art time in advance?

No. If I know my husband is having a night out with his guy friends, I will definitely plan on that night as being an “art night” for me. Otherwise, I just start when the mood strikes me and I don’t have other things I need to attend to.

.Cabinet of Curious Things 2 by Marcia Beckett

* Do you have any rituals that take you from Marcia the mum to Marcia the artist?

Honestly, no rituals necessary. I just pick up my supplies and start! Time is limited. However, usually when I start my artmaking, I will pour a glass of wine and turn on an artsy podcast or a true crime news feature to keep me company.

* How has having children affected your work (working process, subjects, etc)? And how has art affected your mothering?

I’ve actually started making more artwork since having my daughter. I can no longer do what I want whenever I want, so I feel like I need to make the most of my “free time”. I’m actually more productive than I have been before having a child. I also am making more positive artwork. There is so much negativity in the world that I need my art to be uplifting to myself.

* Does your family get involved in your art making?

My husband has no interest in art. He definitely supports me and would go to art museums with me (to make me happy) but it is just not his interest. That is fine with me, because he is interested in some things that I am not. My daughter enjoys painting and coloring too and she sometimes likes to help me with my scrapbook. I can’t wait until she gets older and has a longer attention span for art. We will have so many fun art adventures together.

Art by Marcia Beckett

* As an artist mama, what do you consider your greatest challenges, and how do you overcome them?

That is a hard question. Challenges of time, challenges of feeling like I am never doing enough, challenges of comparing myself to others, challenges of determining where I want to focus my energies…. I’m curious to see what other people have to say about this question.

* Do you sell or teach your art, locally or online?

My career is teaching elementary level art, grades K-6. I teach full-time in private school for gifted and talented (academically) kids. My educational background is in K-12 art education. I have taught numerous classes for kids through local recreation departments, summer camps, and after school. I have not taught adults, other than the occasional presentation at an art teacher conference. I have an etsy shop where I sell collage ephemera packs and some prints of my artwork. I have sold a few original artworks, but have not really put many of them out there. Mostly I have made art for people I know when they request them.

* 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 blogs have been a great way to connect with other artists/teachers and to share my artwork. I have participated in a lot of groups that have linkups which have brought people to my blog. I run a challenge and sharing blog called Artists in Blogland and write articles for a mixed media art magazine called Featuring. I have also enjoyed using Flickr to connect with people.

* Where can people find you?

Art Journaling, Mixed Media and more

Art Teaching Blog

Artists In Blogland

Etsy

Twitter

Flickr

Sketchbook Spread by Marcia Beckett

Thank you so much to Marcia for opening our love that arty mama interview series! All pictures above are copyright Marcia Beckett and were posted with permission. Please come back on Monday for another interview. All the interviews can be found under the tag “love that arty mama” as they’re posted, or by clicking the button below.

A mother’s love

A Mother's Love art journal page

Motherhood is by far the most important job I’ll ever do.

I fought long and hard to become a mother and am so happy to finally have those precious kiddos in my life. I’m so grateful I was entrusted with their lives. Entrusted to love them, care for them, teach them. To receive their love in return. They have made me a better person.

I’m grateful I can be here with them and for them all the time.

Yet art pulls me in every single day. It’s like a primal need deep within me. I have to make art every day to feel whole. It’s a vocation. It feeds my soul, my joy, my faith. And it makes me a kinder, more patient mother. If I don’t make art, I get crabby as hell.

So the most loving thing I can do for myself, my family and my friends is to make art.

But being an artist mama can be a lonely business. Working as an artist while caring for a family takes time and commitment. Sometimes sacrifices. Often compromises. It being a passion doesn’t change that.

I feel blessed to have met so many wonderful, super-talented artist mamas online. They have been a constant source of inspiration, support and encouragement these past few years. They make my life a whole lot richer and I love them to bits.

I think you’d love them too, so I have a real treat for you…

I’m thrilled to announce that in the fortnight leading up to Valentine’s Day I will post a series of interviews with arty mamas I adore. Starting this Saturday, six amazingly talented women will generously open up about their lives as artist mamas. They will share their working processes, their insights, and their trials and triumphs. You do not want to miss it!  (The button below, and the tag “love that arty mama” will always take you to the interviews).

See you Saturday!

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This art journal page was made using book pages, watersoluble crayons, acrylics, stamps, stencils, ink, and pen.