Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Re-Birth of an Artist

I have been thinking a lot lately about how my art is evolving, and what it means to me to call myself an 'Artist'.
I decided it would be fun to share here a little bit about my artistic background.

I remember as a child drawing all of the time - but I was always drawn to any kind of artistic expression - picture me at six trying to make my tiny fingers move correctly so I could knit and crochet like my mother.  My brain could see how to do it, but I couldn't make my fingers produce consistent little rows...still I never gave up and eventually mastered the basics of crocheting and knitting, enough to make booties, scarves, and half a baby sweater once.

Drawing is something I remember doing from a very early age. I drew all the cartoon characters of that day, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Road Runner, Foghorn Leghorn.  Lots of birds from a bird book my Grandmother had, and really just anything that took my fancy.  I made homemade stationary and decorated the edges with tiny flowers and vines, made tons of cards and filled little lined paper pads with tons of little drawings.  I don't remember recieving a ton of support for my drawings when I was little; my mother was a single mother of five and stretched far too thin to take notice of my little artistic 'treasures'.  For that reason perhaps, I have never known, personally, if my art was ever any good. (an insecure artist, imagine!)     :-)

Through the years, I have had periods where I have completely submerged my artistic side, (putting myself through college working 3 jobs with two small children to raise) and focused on my cerebral side.   At other times I usually had some sort of craft going, sewing quilts, or children's clothing, or little stuffed animals for my kids, but drawing has taken a back seat for years at a time.

Fast forward to February of 2010. 

I was advised by a friend to start a blog about being a busy Mama of 7.  My passion at that point was writing writing writing! (that's still true to some extent.) So I started this little blog and reached out tenative fingers into blogland, exploring and looking for like-minded people, people who were creating something personal and sharing it with a community of creatives.

I was immediately inspired by all of the wonderful art based blogs I stumbled across.  I dusted off my sketchbook and graphite pencils, my colored pencils and pens, and started drawing again.

I can't really remember how, but I stumbled on the weekly art prompt 'Sunday Sketches' over at Sophia's Blue Chair Diary, where Sophia asks artists to share a sketch every Sunday and comment on the other participants.  This seemed like such a no-stress, fun way to draw regularly that I was inspired and started participating every week.  A tiny spark started to glow and I found myself looking forward to coming up with something new to share each week.

I'm pretty sure it is also through this co-op that I stumbled across the artwork of incredible artist Rebecca Anthony.  She was in the middle of completing a series of Diva canvases, and I was blown away by her intricate doodling on the faces of her Divas!  I remember mentally thinking "You can do that?" and answering "Yes, you CAN do that!"  It was like a damn of creativity opened up at that point, and I actually felt all the preconceived notions I had about drawing fly out the window. 

Several other artists along the way have also provided incredible inspiration:
Ces over at Ces and her Dishes
Jessie at The Purple Treebird
Lissa at A Chance of Sunshine
Heather at Rose Hill Designs
Eden at Draw Doodle And Decorate

And many many more!

Now I am developing my own 'style' I guess you'd call it, (I love detail work!) and I am learning to ask myself if like what I am doing, and to smile and accept that to me, at last, it is good.

I love sharing each piece with you all, and when I read your feedback, and lovely lovely comments, I am six again, glowing at the praise of those whose opinion matters to me, those who have inspired me week after week to push my self-imposed artistic limitations, and really bloom as an artist.

And with each piece I finish and love and share, each wonderfully supportive comment I read, I start to suspect that I may just be an 'Artist' some day!

So thank you to all of you who follow me and share my artistic journey.  Your comments, your blogs and writings and art and personal stories, all of it, mean so much to me!  I wish I could travel to meet all of you in person, sit and share coffee, and just enjoy getting to know you all better.  You have shared so much with me and your friendship and support have given me wings!



WrightStuff said...

Wouldn't it be lovely to have a coffee! Maybe we should 'meet' on msn or facebook and have a chat over a cuppa!

I have so enjoyed coming on this journey of rediscovery with you. Your story mirrors my own too - finding my art again has been the most wonderful discovery. And, like you, I have blogging to thank for it - more specifically the wonderful community of artists I have joined that have encouraged and supported me every step of the way. It's so great to have friends like you out there Julia!

Great post!

Diane said...

Isn't the internet a wonderful thing? Like-minded people can all connect and encourage each other. I can't imagine me doing what I'm doing right now if I hadn't started a blog--the creativity is contagious. I love that you knew you could do the type of art that you wanted to do--that's half the battle--just believing in yourself.

Marlene said...

I feel the same way about the bloggers I follow and call my friends. You are among them and inspire me also. You have blossomed so much since I first met you and I am so happy to have stumbled onto Sophia's blog and Sunday Sketches. It is the one activity I simply hate to miss, it means so much to me, and it is because of the people there.

art2cee2 said...

You are an artist and have been since you were born. Much like in the wizard of oz, you always had it within you, you just needed something to tell the world it is so. Your art has done that! I can see a lot of myself in your story. We cross so many hurdles in life and sometimes it is difficult to remember who we really are. There are just few things in life, for me and many other artists that we need to live....air, food, water, and art.

Heather said...

Oh Julia, this has touched me today. Lately I have been thinking the same things....I was always artistic, but never felt I could ever do anything worthwhile that someone else might like (other than my family! hee!)

I also feel as a woman with age i have come to know what i want and to be more confident...and think, YES, I can do this....and to truly follow my dreams.

You, my friend, are on a wonderful journey, your art is amazing and you have grown so much over the past year. It's been a joy to be with you along the way. It's people like you who i treasure here in the blog world. Can you imagine if we could all "meet" one day...that would be so wonderful to sit and talk to you over coffee.
Honestly, all of the Sunday Sketchers are like a group of friends to me! I look forward to "seeing" you all every week.
I am happy to know you! also, it's one of my biggest joys to be an inspiration to, i am sooo flattered, it's truly an honor. I thank you so much for that compliment.
Enjoy your day, Julia, hopefully you are being creative somehow!

Kristin said...

What a beautiful post! I agree - without my blog I would be nowhere near where I am now - fulfilling a spark I did not know I had - your story is wonderful! So good to visit with you again and I LOVE your piece below - the rose she is holding, her eyes . . . I think it's your best yet. And that's saying a lot since they are all so good . . . but I too love your attention to detail and design in your pieces - they are FAB, xoxo

Rebecca Anthony said...

Wow Julia, what a lovely post. I love to hear about your past and present artistic world! You are most definitely an artist my friend and remarkably good at the style you've created here! Thank you very much for the mention!
Thinking of you this morning with hopes you don't get touched by a wave. Terrifying news this morning! You are in WA right?

Nicola said...

What a lovely lovely post! You are so right and I feel exactly the same, I never thought that I would still be blogging over 2 years later and that it would become such an important part of my life. I think it's better than any art class I've ever done I've shared so many things with so many creative people like yourself that it really does keep me motivated and postive about my own work. I'm so awestruck by how much your work has grown since I started following you about a year ago. I have seen your confidence grow so much which your work shows and you have introduced me to a new style of work which I adore. I think that your Sepia Girl is breathtaking! I just love her, she is so perfect and I think it's a great piece to have finished just before this inspiring post! The detail in your work is so amazing I could stare at it forever. Thank you for sharing your art and your thoughts with us this last 12 months or so and I look forward to seeing you continue to grow it is sooooo exciting! :0)
Thank you also for your kind supportive comments on my work and passion always, it really does lift my spirits especially when I question myself!! :0)

Amalia K said...

This is such a beautiful and touching post, Julia. Thank you for sharing a little bit more about your lovely self. :)

I think your art has blossomed into a gorgeous delicate flower over such a short period of time, and I can see that your journey will know no boundaries because you do everything with your heart.

It's been such a pleasure knowing you and growing with you, my friend. I can't wait to see more of your work. :)


Ces said...

Thank you for the special mention. My internet access is spotty so I am not able to stay long. I will try and catch up.

Kristin Dudish said...

It is a beautiful thing to be able to watch your creative journey.
A very beautiful thing.

A great post...

Big hugs (and smiles, of course) to you, dear friend.


Debbie said...

Thank you for sharing your journey so far, and I'm so happy you started this blog! It's been fun to see your art progress and get to know you too! I look forward to Sunday's and coming to see your latest art! xoxo

Jessie said...

Julia, I am thrilled to have a mention, thank you so much! :)) I really enjoyed reading about your journey as an artist and I too, have had a large family (six children). I studied at art college as a mature student after my 5th child was born. I have more time these days but I find every day a challenge to keep at it and to keep up the inspiration. Thanks to lovely comments like yours I feel I'm not alone with this! xx

EVA said...

A wonderful, informative and touching post, Julia. You have definitely created a style that is yours and one that you excel at! I am intrigues every week to see what you will come up with next!

So true about this community! And THANK YOU!! It is wonderful getting to know YOU!!