I came into this world with the inherent knowledge that I was a creator...a maker...my hands an extension of my soul.
My dad is a carpenter. He showed me that tools were doors that unlocked new worlds. With each new tool, I became empowered to create more, build more, be more resourceful. I have always had the belief that I could do anything I put my mind to when given the right tools.
My mom sat behind the sewing machine that straddled the wood-paneled wall between the living room and dining room of my childhood home. She used to make Christmas ornaments using nylons stuffed with batting of Santa and Mrs. Claus. I can remember Mrs. Claus having these wire-framed reading glasses sitting right at the end of her nose.
Neither of my parents sat me down to teach me their craft...but through osmosis, I saw what was possible.
I spent most of my time as a kid making art. I sat on the front porch of my first home with a big box of crayolas and paper contently coloring away the hours, and at 5, when we moved to a new home, I found a new spot on the second floor back porch to spread out my art supplies and create.
It was always about a feeling for me. I was never trying to create something for the sake of the actual creation...creating was simply a way for me to feel...at peace, maybe...or fulfilled...or perhaps most like myself. It's really quite hard to describe.
It took me almost 3 decades of making art to find my artists' stride.
That really is the biggest struggle for artists. They know that they are artists...but understanding how do be an artist is a journey. I don't mean the fundamentals of making art...as anyone can learn that...I mean the thing that clicks and allows an artist to share exactly in the way that they envision, what their message to the world is through their art.
My journey to find my voice took me through devouring artist magazines, taking classes at the local community college, copying the styles of all the artists that I admired, creating a line of kids artwork that I sold on Etsy, and a window of time that I created folk art that I called my Small Town series.
I used to cringe when I would come across an old piece of artwork that I created before establishing my unique voice. Now, I practice gratitude...each piece was a warm-up for the work I am creating today.
Then I think about the work I'll be creating in 10 years. And again, I look at the work I am creating today thinking about what lessons these pieces have taught me that will make my future work better, more meaningful, more impactful for those that connect to it.
For the artists out there that are reading this, and who are still searching for their unique voice: No matter where you are on that journey, your efforts matter, the art you are creating today matters because it is part of the bigger story.
For the art collectors and supporters, thank you for being part of the journey. As we create our work, we create it as much for you as for ourselves. The idea that our work will continue to create meaning and connection for those that view it is what drives us to continue creating.