A few months before my daughter Anna was born, about three years ago, I wasn't making art much at all. There was the quarterly production of Brain,Child that, thank goodness, kept my pen moving but there wasn't much else. My sketchbooks were full of words but not images. I was still trying to figure out the mother/artist balance. For years, I had put a cover on that birdcage. Many artistic mothers talk about how their creativity sprung alive when they had their children, but not for me. There were no sleeping child sketches and no big bag of ideas was dropped off by the stork along with the baby. I didn't mind too much though. I was very busy as you could imagine.
I remember the week that the tides turned. I was in Duck, NC (where I seem to have a lot of epiphanies) at the beach, pregnant with my daughter and just trying to hold on to my sanity with the two boys tugging on every part of me. I thought, I've just plain lost myself. So I employed a rather logical method (weird for me, I know):
1. No time to make art
2. Kids always getting into my stuff
3. Can never finish anything
4. Want to use more elements and media in my art and I don't know how to
1. In between diaper changes and at night no matter how tired just do a little I told myself...anything was better than nothing.
2. Put a high table in my kitchen. I have a tall table that the kids can not reach (well, at the time)...from Ikea- love Ikea. It's positioned right in the middle of the mayhem. I kept my eye on things. I'd work in tiny, miniscule increments-not noticeable to the untrained eye.
3. Work small (which works for my kind of art anyway).
4. Go to the bookstore and find a book about collage. Duh, why hadn't I thought of that before.
Why am I re-hashing all of this? Loyal readers, you know most of this already. I am re-telling this story because the book I found became my like, art bible. I used it, referenced it, adapted it to my style. It was four years of art school all wrapped up into a beautiful and inspirational package. It was my "A Ha" moment, thank you Oprah. I know I sound gushy and that's so not like me. But honestly, if you asked me what changed everything, it was that night in Borders in the Art section and this one copy peeking off the shelf. It should have said For Beth. I tucked it under my arm, checked out and went off to my soccer game that night knowing that things were changing, moving in the right direction for me.
The book was Collage Discovery Workshop by Claudine Hellmuth (see above).
The other day she (Claudine Hellmuth, that is) contacted me. She loves my work. Would she be able to use some my images in an online course she was teaching?
The world works in funny and creative ways.
I told her I was honored.
I'm honored and grateful for all of the friends who support me and let me know everyday that my art makes them smile, reminds them of good times, tells a story. Thank you.