Carving Out Time for Art with Danielle Krysa

Happy New Year, friends! As I reflected on 2015, my proudest achievement was taking the steps to cultivate this inkling of an idea, into a weekly series that has far surpassed the 10 people I intended to interview. In fact, my goal for 2016 is to write a book on this topic with my friend Heather Kirtland, because there are so many mothers who could really use it.  So thank you to everyone for your positive feedback on this passion project that keeps me taking one step further. It’s become what I’m most excited about during the work week. It makes me feel like a contributing member or our big dreaming creative community when I’m not able to paint much.

I wanted to kick off the year with someone really special, because she is the first person I think of when it comes to inspiring, encouraging, and empowering other artists. Danielle Krysa (aka The Jealous Curator) shares her own vulnerable stories so candidly, and has helped thousands of people to realize they are not alone with creative blocks, self doubt, or not thinking they are talented enough to be an artist. Her story resonates with me particularly, as I really doubted myself as an artist in college and my twenties, and then discounted my own work for a long time. Thankfully, that has since changed, but thank you to Danielle for sharing her story with so many. That takes a ton of bravery.

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She is also pretty much the nicest person from what I can tell via email and listening to her podcast “Art for Your Ear”. I am so excited to see you bring a little paint back into your lovely and hysterical collages. You cannot look at her recent collages without reading the clever captions. They make me laugh and transport me to a place that feels like the mid-60s with pink bathrooms, tiki bar drinks, and the air of exasperation from a housewife that needs her GD cocktail already, but is still a nice lady. (The one below is my favorite).

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“Ellen was having a wonderful time… now, if Hal would just take the GD photo she could prove it to everyone”

Thank you so much for sharing your insight, Danielle! I’m so excited for your newest book and please let me know when you’re in Miami, won’t you? I’ll buy you a cocktail with an umbrella in it for good measure.


Tell us about yourself. How old are your children? Where can we find you?

Let’s see… well, I went to art school (majored in painting and printmaking), and then did a post-grad in graphic design. I have worked as a designer for years, and ended up as a creative director of digital design at an ad agency… and then I left to have my son. He’s nine now. After he was born I never really went back. I started freelancing but was also really wanting to get back into the fine art world. That’s when I launched by my art blog, The Jealous Curator (Charlie was about two and half at the time).

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You can find me here:

Podcast: art for your ear 

Books: Creative Block & Collage 

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Creative Block by Danielle Krysa

How has your approach to painting, your processes, medium, or your inspiration changed since having children?

He was really the reason I started making art again. I had taken a really loooooong break (after a terrible art school experience right before I graduated), and mainly just concentrated on design. When I decided to stay home with him I suddenly started to feel those creative fires start to burn again. Granted, I didn’t have very much time to make anything, but when he napped I would make pieces that focused on what I was experiencing as his mama. I did a series called “Dog Days” because when he was about two or three he would literally spend full days lost in his little imagination… sometimes he was a dog, a sheep, a dinosaur… it ran the gamut really. I also did another series, titled “Type-A Mama”, because I was going through this weird time when i was trying to be the best mom EVER (a left-over from my over achiever, ad agency days)… an at-home-mom workaholic you might say. It was also this moment in time that inspired me to really look at what I wanted to be doing creatively, and before I knew it I had started the blog.

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Dog Days. 2009.

 

Is it easy or difficult for you to find/make time to create? Did you have to give anything up? Do you have advice on what works for you?

Well, it’s getting a lot easier now that he’s nine! It was hard in the beginning, but I did my best to carve out little chunks of time for creativity. I have a very supportive husband who suggested I get studio space out of the house where I could go a couple of times a week… that way I couldn’t be distracted by a toddler that wanted to play, or by a pile of laundry that I believed needed to be done immediately. Life is still really busy right now though – Charlie has lots of activities, I have a day job, I run the blog (and everything that comes along with that) so I’ve had to DECIDE to make time. I set aside chunks of my weekend where I don’t do anything else. Just make collages. I usually give my boys a head’s up that they’re going to have to pick up some take-out because I’m going right through till bedtime! You know… when you get on a roll, you get on a roll! As far as The Jealous Curator goes, it’s very much part of my every day. It takes just as much time as my full-time day job… so I basically have two jobs at the moment.

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“in hindsight, rick wished he’d picked truth instead of dare”

 

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“The first and last time Mary-Jo forgot to pack the sun hats”

How does being an artist make you a better mother to your children? What do you hope they take away from seeing you as an artist doing something that fulfills you?

My son is very creative and has been since he was really little. I don’t know if that’s just in his DNA (my mom is a very accomplished painter), or if it’s from him seeing how important creativity is to me. He used to paint everything – including himself – but as he’s gotten older he’s become more interested in writing than visual art. I’ve written a few books about art, and the other day he said, “Mommy, you’re an author right? I think I’d like to be an author one day too.” Heart. Melted.

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Little Painted Charlie!

Where do you paint or create? What are your favorite things about your workspace and what would you improve? Do you ever create art with your kids?

Three years ago we moved into a new house – a new house with an extra room! That space has become my studio. Most of the time it looks like a bomb went off, but it’s great because I can just close the door! I think my favorite thing is the built in shelves that go from floor to ceiling along one small wall. I have supplies there, but also weird little objects and art from other artists I love (including some “early work” by Charlie). I could use a little more natural light in there, but my poodle lamp ($2 at my local thrift shop) is doing it’s best. For my Jealous Curator work, I’m at my computer in my home office – my favorite thing about that room is the view of the lake, and the view of my handsome husband (who also works from home). I used to make art with charlie all the time, but as I said, it’s more about writing for him now. That of course won’t stop me from including this masterpiece he did for me when he was four… this was his “fish phase” – salmon and yellow fin tuna, clearly.

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Fish artwork by her son Charlie. Artwork by Danielle Krysa.
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Sculptures by Amanda Smith. Cake by Martha Rich.

Do you have any big goals or dreams for your art that you’d like to share? What would be your dream project?

Right now I’m just trying to make collages as often as I can. Normally I write about other artists, so I’m trying very hard to share my own work. It’s weird. But, I just wrote a new book (due out Fall 2016) all about self-doubt, inner critics, fear of sharing, etc … so I should probably take my own advice and start putting myself out there a little more!

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“frank had always been a bit of a thrill-seeker”
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“no matter how long he sat there, he just couldn’t get his head around the whole ‘minimalism’ thing.”
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“oh yes, gerry would try a little bit of everything before this night was through”
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View from Danielle’s Office

 

Photographs provided by Danielle Krysa.

Website for  Martha Rich

Website for Amanda Smith

P.S. As a lover of minimalism, that is my 2nd favorite because it’s so true!

P.P.S. I wouldn’t quit my dayjob with a view like the one from Danielle’s office. Wow…

Carving Out Time for Art with Lisa Rydin Erickson

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I’m so excited to share this interview with Lisa Rydin Erickson. This interview gives me a lot of hope and inspiration. She has worked full time, raised 2 wonderful now teenagers, found time to create, and found a way to make use of her commute by using her iPad to create digital art in addition to painting and ink. I just love the paintings that she’s been doing lately in addition to her digital art. How fun to see how varied it is and how she changes her medium to fit where she is! Thank you so much Lisa. You have given me some perspective that I truly needed, and I’m sure others will agree.

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Tell us about yourself. How old are your children? Where can we find you?

Hi there, I am an artist and mom now of teenagers. You can find me at lisarydinerickson.com or on Instagram @lisarydinerickson

I’ve been raising kids for the past 19 years with my husband. I’ve been an artist since maybe always and also a dental hygienist for the past 20+ years. While I still think of myself as a traditional canvas painter, since 2011 I have been painting on my iPad. This process makes a digital file and has allowed me to make prints and cards that I can get into local and not so local stores. I’ve done a lot of art projects in various forms but It’s only been in the last couple years that I have pursued an art business.

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How has your approach to painting, your processes, medium, or your inspiration changed since having children?

I’ve had a lot of fun with different mediums over the years fitting into whatever medium was appropriate and available at the time. Sometimes my easel was upstairs in my bedroom where I could close the door, sometimes it was downstairs. Really when I set up in the dining room in the middle of everything between the kitchen and living room I ended up getting the most work done. I am always available and centrally located, ha. Lots of interruptions but all for the win. It has always been the act of creating that was what needed to be released or what I needed to do to remain me. Often while the kids were young I did projects at their school, I was an art mom, the mom that could help with painting a labyrinth or a class mural or teach an art lesson.

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One of my biggest goals raising kids was that I didn’t ever want them to say that they were bored. They always had ideas and I always tried to get supplies together and try them. I learned early on that they were most excited about the ideas that THEY had and so we ran with those and I just facilitated getting supplies and trying to make it real. My daughter one time wanted to knit a sleeping bag. I had her do the math and knit a small square time it and measure the size of a sleeping bag and then we bought some cheap yarn and she began her project. Never finished but hey at 10, that counts for ambition. My son loved mechanical things and always wanted to take everything apart so we would get things at thrift stores and he would spend hours taking things apart. So sculpture, knitting, drawing, cooking and baking all fed into a creative day.

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Is it easy or difficult for you to find/make time to create? Did you have to give anything up? Do you have advice on what works for you?

Now it is a bit easier to find time as they are teenagers. They are less demanding but even as teens my studio is still in the dining room in the middle of the house and there are still constant interruptions. I didn’t have the option to not work outside the home or pay for childcare or stay home once they were in school. I couldn’t stay up late doing art because I got up early for work. I’m sure that I could have done more art. I really yearned to be a full time artist and have a studio and stay home. My focus was to have them here with me and know that I cared about their projects and show them that I was happy making things and they could be also. It worked out well, they always had something that they were interested in and now are very self directed and have that love of learning and making instilled. My daughter used to pull the paintbrush out of my hand and tell me that she wanted to use the brush that was working better. So cute. Now I could easily pull the paintbrush out of her hand. She is a good artist. I did get work done somehow, I think working beside them with their projects as we still do.

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How does being an artist make you a better mother to your children? What do you hope they take away from seeing you as an artist doing something that fulfills you?

Yes, you have to be yourself and if you are an artist you need to find some time whether they are sitting on your lap while you are sewing or drawing or you are staying up late or early or one evening a week of un interrupted time. I sometimes thought that even one evening a week outside for a few hours on a regular schedule would have been great. It’s a good question to ask, what makes me happy, what do I need, am I fulfilled doing a small project of drawing or do I really need to work on a 40 hour mural even just once a year.

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Actually I did yearly paint a 55’x15’ mural for a small dance school which was so much fun. I really looked forward to that time of year for almost 10 years. My daughter really loved coming and helping with that. When she was three she stood at the edge just shaking with excitement holding a brush and I mostly gave her a large area to paint with one color. She was excited to be part and later was skilled enough to help. Other times I just filled notebooks full of small colored pencil drawings or watercolors or pastels, little bits of time when the kids could color on their own works at the same time as we sat together. I would see that with the teachers at their preschool just sitting and doodling while the kids worked on their own drawings. What you can’t learn from those amazing preschool teachers.

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Where do you paint or create? What are your favorite things about your workspace and what would you improve? Do you ever create art with your kids?

My studio is in the dining room. This works the best. I think someday it would be nice to have a studio somewhere but ideally it would be within my living space, just a huge room. I have tried different rooms in the house. My easel was in a separate room with bad light and nothing got done there. It has been up in my bedroom which worked some. I started drawing on my iPad on the commute to work and this is really where I have gotten momentum. I drew on the way to and from work daily. The iPad was a portable studio and I could work with color and design and line which I really love.

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I always created when the kids were around. I still do. I used to share the dining room table with my daughter when she was age 8-12. All rooms are up for art grabs in our house. If someone has a project, my son with computers, my husband building a guitar, my daughter making any number of sewing or art projects we just spread out and work. Again that letting go of the perfect house has worked for us.

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Do you have any tips to streamline / delegate / outsource household and childcare activities so that you can focus more time on your art? Has your lifestyle changed in any major ways?

When the kids have activities carpools can give you some time and even when kids are busy with the activity you can have some time to draw. There are definitely stages of kids and stages for the amount of care that you need for kids. I never really stopped just going for it and trying to make things. Luckily I wasn’t a perfectionist so I just kept making. Because of that I think that people notice who you are and it builds from there, just jump in the river as a friend said and it will carry you. I did feel the pull so often that I wasn’t doing all that I was meant to do and would have loved to not have to have an outside of the home job, art became third. Things are a bit different now with more exposure online. I think that you can share what you are doing and have that relationship with other people who know and appreciate what you are doing with social media. Household care? I didn’t outsource any of it, most of it got done, nobody starved, everyone had some clean clothes to wear and we had a lot of fun. If you can afford to have someone come in and clean or cook or watch kids part time by all means do it.

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Do you have any big goals or dreams for your art that you’d like to share? What would be your dream project?

Dream projects.. well I would love to explore licensing and still figure out pattern making which I assume is related to licensing, that is my next goal and a trade show. I feel that it is always good to reassess where you are and what is next. I’m all about that and it is so helpful to keep you on track. I think also my dream it to feel fulfilled by the process of art making and feeling that I have made something that I am proud of and that someone can enjoy. I still love painting above all and always want to do more of that. Of course I would also love to show art in other countries, a way to travel.

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Carving Out Time for Art with Emily Jamison

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Emily Jamison inspires me since she  using her art as a way to help fund an adoption to complete their family. She has a video on her website that talks about the project, and you cannot help but feel your heart swell when you see Emily, her husband and adorable little girl share their story. You can watch the video here on www.emilyjamison.com. I wish them so many good wishes on their journey throughout this process.

Emily manages to find time to paint in addition to her job as a therapist and raising a little girl. She offers great advice on her Instagram, and recently mentioned that the balance of it all is unattainable, no matter what the self help books may say, but it can be better by saying yes and no to certain things. How smart and logical is that? I agree. When we are more realistic with our time and efforts, we are less likely to be disappointed. Thank you Emily for reminding me of that as well. Keep us posted on your adoption and I’m so excited for your family.

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Tell us about yourself. How old are your children? Where can we find you?

I’m Emily Jamison, an artist and therapist (but not an art therapist!) living in Asheville, North Carolina. I have one son, North, who will be two in January, and my husband and I are in the process of adopting our second child.

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How has your approach to painting, your processes, medium, or your inspiration changed since having children?

I did not start pursuing art as a profession until my son was about 4 months old. Although I had dabbled in small projects here and there prior to his birth (mostly for gifts to family members), it wasn’t until after he was born that I found the courage to publicize my work and begin the process of running a business as an artist. When I first opened my shop, I created digital prints with hand drawn illustrations. The work always happened during nap-time or after bedtime. However, I also work as a therapist during the day and often have work to finish on the computer at night. Over time, I began to get an itch to get away from the technological part of art, and around April 2015 I completely re-branded, created a new website, and began to dive into painting.

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Is it easy or difficult for you to find/make time to create? Did you have to give anything up? Do you have advice on what works for you?

Having a job outside of art (in addition to full-time mothering) certainly makes it difficult to find time to create, but I have gotten into a great routine of making time over the last several months. Thankfully we have a good sleeper for a child! We have also always been pretty regimented on his bedtime, for a number of reasons – I recognized early on that I needed significant time alone at night to get things done. Since he is still young and doesn’t play independently for long periods of time, I do not do any actual art (painting) while he is awake. I do, however, try to do as much logistical or prep work done during the daytime as I can. This can include anything from packaging, to cleaning the studio, to going to the post office. It is my goal to get as much non-painting work done during the day so that I maximize my time at night. Sometimes I will even lay out paints and materials so I can get right to work once he goes to bed.

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How does being an artist make you a better mother to your children? What do you hope they take away from seeing you as an artist doing something that fulfills you? 

For me, being an artist feeds a part of my soul that wasn’t fulfilled before. I believe that I am more wholly myself when my drive to create is being met. I hope that my children will see that being an artist can exist apart from a career, and that being creative can be expressed in a variety of ways, but that everyone is creative in their own right. I also hope that my children will take away the idea that self-fulfillment is not selfish, but that it is a necessary part of self-care that makes you a better parent, sibling, and friend.

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Where do you paint or create? What are your favorite things about your workspace and what would you improve? Do you ever create art with your kids?

I am lucky enough to have part of our unfinished basement for my studio. It doesn’t offer much natural light, but is spacious and comfortable. There are several nails on the wall for vertical painting and a large table next to the only window, where I do most of the painting. The table overlooks the wooded area behind our house, providing a quiet, peaceful setting. I love having a space dedicated to making art, and I feel like it has given me more motivation to create. I love being able to leave materials out, having them at the ready for the next painting session. Since my time is so limited, I feel like this is super important in making my time efficient. The studio portion of the basement is adjacent to a large laundry room that has many of our son’s toys in it, and I dream of the day when I can paint during the daytime, while he plays independently, right in my sight. We have included several art materials in our son’s playroom, and I love to practice “drawing,” coloring, and playing Play-dough with him. I also dream of the day when he is painting on his easel right next to me.

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Do you have any tips to streamline / delegate / outsource household and childcare activities so that you can focus more time on your art? Has your lifestyle changed in any major ways?

Some of the tips that I have found that work for me are:

  • Get as much of the non-art work done during the day, with your child. This includes the cleaning, laundry, and other house chores. Make it into something they can do with you – teaching them along the way. This is a dual-purpose tip: it allows you to connect with your children AND it lets you get things done so that you can have time for your own pursuits later on.
  • Create a separate time for art. This may require earlier bedtimes for your children, or working something out with your partner so that he/she watches the children, but I think it is so important to have a focused time to be able to work/create.
  • Prepare in advance for creating. This may mean getting your space ready, getting your materials out, or just jotting down ideas during the day so that when you sit down and have hands-free/kid-free time, you can get right to it.

Having a small business on top of a job and motherhood has certainly forced me to be more efficient with my time, both personal and professional. Because all three of those things are important to me, I have made it my goal to be fully present while working (either as a therapist or artist), and then be able to leave it behind when I move to the next role (knowing, of course, that motherhood never stops!).

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Do you have any big goals or dreams for your art that you’d like to share? What would be your dream project?

At this time, all of our dreaming and scheming is going towards our pending adoption. We are directly using all of the funds from art sales for our adoption, and so much of my time and heart has been solely focused on that over the past few weeks. It is my goal, however, that once we are able to fund our own adoption, my art would be able to help give support to other families raising money for adoption. I’d love to partner with one family per month or quarter to create a specific print that they can sell for their fundraising efforts, with all of the proceeds going straight to them. I also dream of being able to use my paintings for a much wider variety of products, such as fabric, pillows, bags, stationery, and more! I have so many ideas in my head that I have to hold myself back sometimes and take it one day at a time, one painting at a time.

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I put this last picture as the interview graphic because I want to do this soon —  create a ton of wood surfaces to paint on! Thanks, Emily!

Carving Out Time for Art with Samantha Dion Baker

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I’m a big fan of the sketchbooks and illustrative style that Samantha Dion Baker shares daily on Instagram. She manages to find beauty in daily life, in the market trips and chores that others would deem mundane. She reminds me to always be curious about the world and that beauty and inspiration can be anywhere and in any form. You don’t need to have a dedicated light filled loft studio to create something daily (although nobody needs to apologize if they’re lucky enough to have one!). You can carry your sketchbook and some paints, or a pencil.

I also admire Samantha because she self-published a charming and gorgeous book of her 28 day trip to Scandanavia in 2015. When she found out I was interested in self-publishing my vignettes for The 100 Day Project, she offered to chat with me about her lessons learned. It’s not every day that people offer to help you fulfill your own dreams, yet I’ve found that it happens all of the time with women I know in our art community. So thank you, Samantha! You really are the coolest.

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Tell us about yourself. How old are your children? Where can we find you?

I am an illustrator. It’s sort of funny to say that when I’ve been working as a graphic designer for about 18 years… But it’s true. Now I am an illustrator, an artist, and, yes, still a graphic designer… It sort of all blends together these days. I came into this second career after my kids were off to school and I had time to re-think my life goals.

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I have two boys who are 11 and 7 years old. They are amazing and are my best friends.

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We live in Brooklyn, NY, right over the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s a wonderful place to create art and to raise children.

How has your approach to painting, your processes, medium, or your inspiration changed since having children?

I come from a family of artists. I grew up in my grandmother’s sculpture studio and watched my mother create intricate illustrations in her home office. It was natural for me to pursue art as a career, so I got myself accepted to Cooper Union, where I studied everything the school had to offer. After graduating, I decided to work in design, always trying to avoid the computer, if possible, to work by hand, and to sneak my handwriting into my projects.

After a steady flow of design work in the non-profit sector, working mostly with art galleries and museums, I began to open my sketchbook more often. My boys inspired me, and pushed me to draw more. I realized I could do more by hand than just use my handwriting in projects. I could actually make the pictures I was drawing into part of my design process and thinking. The drawings I make in my book have opened up a whole new world of creativity for me. I only have a few clients left who don’t use me for these drawing skills. Some clients I’ve had for years who never knew I could draw have now asked me to illustrate for them. It has been an amazing and empowering transition.

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Is it easy or difficult for you to find/make time to create? Did you have to give anything up? Do you have advice on what works for you?

I am very much a creature of routine, but parenting and routine don’t always go hand in hand. We have to be flexible, and go with the flow. Throwing my sketchbook in my bag allows me to make time for my art wherever I am. Whether I’m at the playground, the soccer field, the doctor’s waiting room, it’s always right there. And I draw anything and everything: I draw what we eat, I draw a sign on the wall, I draw a quote that one of us has read and I think needs to be remembered, I draw the chair I’m sitting on, the cat that crosses our path… I’ve made the world around us a part of my process, and because of this I can find the time to create every day.

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How does being an artist make you a better mother to your children? What do you hope they take away from seeing you as an artist doing something that fulfills you?

Without a doubt, working daily on something I love has made me a better mother. I am still stressed, and drop balls all the time. I cannot tackle our family calendar, so have surrendered that job to my husband. I am constantly saying, “Wait one sec, I’m almost finished” or “wait, I have to snap a picture of this for my book” which sort of means I am not always 100% present for them, but clearly I am excited about my work. And that is the best thing for any child to see. To be happy, and love what you do. That’s all I want for them!

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Where do you paint or create? What are your favorite things about your workspace and what would you improve? Do you ever create art with your kids?

As I mentioned earlier, I take my art with me wherever I go. So NYC, Brooklyn, the places we travel, it is all my studio. I would absolutely love to get a studio space nearby in Brooklyn, so that I can transform my small drawings into larger pieces of art, but I think that’s a bit in the future. For now I need the flexibility.
Do I create art with my kids? YES! But I don’t do it in the typical way. I’m not a crafty mom. I take them to see art all over the world, and we discuss what we see, and they take this information with them into the world. I find it opens up creative conversations. With these conversations, occasionally a project comes into play. For example, we saw Matisse cut outs. So we came home and cut out shapes. Another time we went into a children’s section of a modern museum where they had rolls of colored tape, which then led to a crazy tape-art session at home. We draw on leaves together, that’s about as crafty as I get.

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Do you have any tips to streamline / delegate / outsource household and childcare activities so that you can focus more time on your art? Has your lifestyle changed in any major ways?

If there is a way to take your art with you, I recommend it. Some people need soft music, a clean work surface, and total quiet to be productive and creative. My life doesn’t allow for these circumstances, so I keep my studio in my bag. There are small tools you can buy, but all it takes is a piece of paper and a pencil or a travel set of watercolors, and you can carve out some time wherever you go.
My older son also just got an iPhone, which has been life-changing for all of us. He’s pretty independent, at 11 years old. I can send him to the store to buy some milk, or to the park to meet a friend. So I can tell moms of little ones, your time does become more free as your kids become independent. Of course, if your budget allows, a babysitter is everything! Hire one. And don’t feel guilty about it.

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Do you have any big goals or dreams for your art that you’d like to share? What would be your dream project?

I just self-published a book – a reproduction of my summer sketch journal (I do a page a day, and share it on Instagram @sdionbakerdesign). I only printed 30 copies at first, and they sold out in 4 days. I now have the 2nd edition available in my Etsy shop, and I plan produce a series of these reproductions, around once or twice a year.

It’s my dream to work with a publisher to do a series of journals, but for now it’s nice to have complete freedom. A goal would be to create a book on NYC, where I go to different cafes and points of interest, and make a new page each day. I’d probably want to work with a publisher for that sort of project…. I’m working towards this!

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Samantha-Dion-Baker


 

Thank you, Samantha! I cannot wait to see what new projects that 2016 brings for you.

Carving Out Time for Art with Emily Jeffords

Emily-Jeffords-Artist
When I think of Emily Jeffords, I think of two words. Lovely and gracious. Her art is lovely. Contemplative, meditative, serene, happy, and with a hint of goodness in the world. Emily herself is kind, genuine, and thoughtful. We have recently been commenting and messaging about how there needs to be more written about artist mothers, and she, Heather Kirtland and I all are finding we have a lot to say! We all agree that there needs to be more available to encourage others to find time for their art. What a wonderful conversation, and I know that her thousands of fans (there are literally thousands of them) would love to hear more about what Emily has to say on this topic. Since i had an interview with her in my queue to publish, it seemed like the perfect time to share her thoughts on this topic. Emily, thank you so much for participating in this series, and I look forward to chatting with you more about this moving forward!
Emily-Jeffords-Artist

Tell us about yourself. How old are your children? Where can we find you?
Hey! I’m Emily Jeffords, artist, mother, & writer (you can check out my work on EmilyJeffords.com and find me tucked away in my lovely studio in Greenville, SC). I have two little girls, ages 4 and 6 years old.
Emily-Jeffords-Artist

How has your approach to painting, your processes, medium, or your inspiration changed since having children?
While I was an artist before having kids, I really took my creative career seriously when I decided to stay home with my first baby. When she was a few months old I decided to do a painting a day which really jump-started my creative “career” and encouraged me to make a real thing of this! Since then, both my girls have been a big part of my creative process and belong in my studio just as much as I do. Having their perspective and joyful energy in my studio is SO beautiful and helpful when I’m in a slump.

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Is it easy or difficult for you to find/make time to create? Did you have to give anything up? Do you have advice on what works for you?
It is SO difficult to find time to create – especially if I’m out of the rhythm – but carving out time in the extra hours (which I always seem to be able to find when I try hard enough) is literally fuel for my soul. It can be tricky to balance life, work, family, creativity, laundry, health, grocery shopping – and honestly, sometimes I feel quite overwhelmed. I really enjoy saying NO to things that don’t fit my life, family, and goals. I am such a “yes” person by nature, but saying no gives me freedom and creative space.
Emily-Jeffords-Artist
How does being an artist make you a better mother to your children? What do you hope they take away from seeing you as an artist doing something that fulfills you?
The biggest perk to my job is that I’m in charge of everything. If I think my kids need to stay home and play, we can do that! If I need to work late into the night, I can! That flexibility ensures I can be present and engaged as much as possible. My husband and I also have consciously included curiosity and expression in into our kid’s life. Painting, making, drawing, writing… I don’t think they know a different way to think!
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Where do you paint or create? What are your favorite things about your workspace and what would you improve? Do you ever create art with your kids?
I paint in a beautiful 1890’s historic studio with soaring ceilings, white walls, and big windows. My kids have grown up in my studio – they used to nap on a little bed in the studio and now they sprawl on the floor, watercolors and markers close at hand.
Emily-Jeffords-Artist
Do you have any tips to streamline / delegate / outsource household and childcare activities so that you can focus more time on your art? Has your lifestyle changed in any major ways?
Admitting you need help is no failure. This took me a while to figure out – coming from a home where my mom really does do it ALL and so, so well. I rely on my husband heavily. We really are partners in life and when I feel overwhelmed he is quick to pick me up. We are homeschooling our two girls for the first few years of their education, but we hired a tutor to help with that enormous task a couple days a week. This gives me about 14 hours of solid studio time without distraction.
Emily-Jeffords-Artist
Do you have any big goals or dreams for your art that you’d like to share? What would be your dream project?
We are planning on spending a few months in Southern France next year. Needless to say, I’m dreaming BIG about that adventure! Walking in the same fields as Van Gogh, visiting Monet’s studio and gardens, visiting the town Picasso spent so much of his formative years in… it’s going to be so refreshing and exciting and inspiring.
Emily-Jeffords-Artist

Thank you, Emily! That trip sounds amazing. I cannot wait to live vicariously through you and see what magic you create!