Thoughts on a year of creating, and other musings.
I’m just going to put this out there…I can’t figure out how to start this blog. I have started and stopped writing a few dozen times since sitting down. Jotting down a sentence, only to delete it because it’s just not ‘right’. First I looked for a quote that encapsulated what I was trying to say, but then realized that I did the same thing for my bio for this website, so I ditched that. Then I tried coming up with a flashy first sentence, something to really catch the reader’s eye…but that got me nowhere real quick. So I walked away for a few minutes, grabbed some wine (it solves so many of life’s problems, right?!) and came back to the blank screen. “Just start, you have no idea what you’re going to write, but maybe it will come to you.” And then, it hit me…‘Just Starting’ is exactly how this whole website, no, this whole business, came to be, so what better way to kick this chapter of my adventure off than to just start…
3 years ago, a dear friend of mine painted some shoes for me and my family to wear to go to Disneyland. At the time, I was creating paintings (mainly Christmas watercolor cards for family) and drawing in the comfort of my own home, and the fact that she was putting herself and her art out there was really inspiring. I was wearing hours and hours worth of her art on my feet, no one else had the exact same shoes I did. It felt great knowing that I was helping support her passions as an artist. Mostly, though, the shoes brought us, and those who saw them, joy. Because of her art, we had interactions and fun conversations with people we never otherwise would have, conversations we still talk about to this day. I commented to my husband (more times than he probably preferred) that it must be so fun to be able to create for other people. He finally asked, “Why don’t you do it, too? You could totally paint something for me and the kids!” Absolutely not, was my response. Did I have a reason for this response? No. It was probably fear that it wouldn’t work that caused the knee-jerk reaction, but the thought of painting something that someone else would wear that I painted was like telling me that pigs could fly. For some reason it seemed like a dream that someone else could live instead of me.
Then, around mid 2020, after being quarantined for several months, I was going stir-crazy. My kids were doing school from home, my husband had started a demanding new job (which we were very lucky to find given the times), and I had just found out my part-time stay at home job would be ending. It was a whirlwind (2020 was for all of us right?) and I needed an outlet. I needed something to get out all of the stresses of the times we were living in. I needed to paint. So I ordered the shoes, and some paint, and…
…I just started.
I started with shoes for my daughter, who LOVES Phantom of the Opera. “I want the Phantom AND Christine AND the Chandelier, mom.” A tall order for a then 4-year-old. I spent days staring at the blank shoes and wondering how the heck the idea in my head would translate onto the canvas of the shoe. And then one night I just went for it, mixed some paint, and put the brush down. Painting those shoes was the escape I needed. To be honest, I didn’t even care if my daughter ever wore them. I just knew I wanted to keep painting shoes and clothing and anything I could get my hands on. I had painted and drawn on canvases for years, but having something on an item of clothing that could be worn was a whole different level of cool. After I finished the shoes, I made an Instagram page and posted the next day. The response was overwhelming, in the very best way. Suddenly pigs flying and me having the opportunity to paint for others weren’t sounding so surreal.
Fast forward to today, and here we are, 1 year to the day (June 11th) of that first Instagram post. It is impossible to convey what the past year has meant to me, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt like Sally Field at the Oscars, “You like me, you really like me!” Being able to bring people’s ideas to life AND send them out into the world is indescribable, so I won’t even bother trying to. The meaning that you all put into your vision for what you want me to paint is really special, and often times heartwarming. From adding a name on the back of a shoe to remember a spouse that recently passed, to adding a meaningful quote to a shoe that is personal to the recipeint, to adding the literal coordinates of a place that is near and dear to a client’s heart, you let me into your worlds for a little while, and that has meant so much, especially in a year when many of us were so far apart. Thank you all for being here for this first year, you challenge me to be a better artist, and a better human, and for that I am forever grateful.
What will the next year look like? If 2020 taught me anything it is that life is unexpected in so many ways, who knows what June 11, 2022 will bring. Heck, I don’t even know what the next blog post will be about (suggestions in the comments welcome…let’s make this a fun space for all of us!), but I do know that it will be full of starting new things, meeting new people, and painting for others, which doesn’t seem so surreal anymore.
To those who have supported this adventure over the past year, thank you. You know who you are, and I literally wouldn’t be here without your support. To those who are just finding this space, nice to meet you! I hope you find a spot and make yourself comfortable, thank you for taking the time to check things out. To my husband, thank you for always supporting me in my passions. You give me the space to dive head first into whatever crazy idea I have, all while encouraging me to reach goals I never thought I could. I don’t take a single bit of that for granted, and never will. A special thank you, though, goes out to my children. They are my reason, and my biggest hope in this life is that they can look at their parents (or anyone really), and know that literally anything is possible, whether they want to be the President of the United States, a loving parent who works hard to make a living for their family (hey hubby!), or someone who paints on unconventional surfaces. I will always tell them what I am going to leave you with…