I Choose to Live Creatively…with Kids

Me and My Girls

Recently there was an article circling around the web about a lady in the creative industry who was interviewed on why she doesn’t want children. I honestly don’t know why I read it, because usually I don’t click on article links, but this time I did. And I was intrigued. Apparently this is a controversial subject, and I felt sorry for the people who felt they needed to leave negative comments toward her about it.

Now, I usually tend to shy away from controversial subjects, but this subjected stirred something inside me. It didn’t upset me, but her argument toward this subject gave me a discontentment and somewhat of an “off” feeling, for lack of better words. She is entitled to her opinion, but I took this creative entrepreneur to be naive.

I slept on it.

Certain parts of the article kept resurfacing in my head the next day. So I took that as a sign that I needed to write out my thoughts. For me, my experience with my children is totally different than what I could have ever expected.

See, there was a point in my life when my hubby and I first got married that I wasn’t for sure if I wanted to have children. I only confided in a few people about it, but it was a legitimate concern I had. And I remember feeling terribly guilty for feeling this way. I was young, naïve, a little selfish, and I enjoyed my freedom.

Four years later, my feelings changed, and my hubby and I decided together that we would try. We were both nervous as heck, but I knew by then that I did indeed want to be a Mother. We tried for 3 years. And test after test, my doctor finally told me I was infertile.

Anyone who has experienced that feeling knows how absolutely devastating that is. But this is a whole other blog post.

Long story short, after my hubby returned from his next deployment, I ended up getting pregnant. When I found out it was a girl, I named her Faith. Because, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

She was a gift. My life was changed forever.

Fast forward 7 years later, I have 2 beautiful girls. They both are completely unique and offer different challenges, but they are the best things that ever happened to me. Of course, it’s hard at times. I find it difficult to balance the time to fit everything in that I’d like to do creatively, especially now that I’m homeschooling, too. But I have realized that the world I live in with my girls has opened up a whole new dimension to my creative life. There are things that I would have never done if it weren’t for them.

There is great value in seeing the world through my children’s eyes, and nurturing their creative spirit. And there is greater significance in showing my children that dreams can be achieved through diligence and perseverance. By being an example through my own creative journey, and showing my girls that it is important to do what you love, I hope to instill in them a deeper meaning of “success” and self worth. They are a vital part of my creative journey, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Of course I understand that the responsibilities I have towards my girls may limit the short term progression of my own artistic goals, but I do not consider it a limitation. I would rather be there for my girls every step of this journey and share with them what I do, make art and create with them, than pursue a demanding artist career at this time. I want to learn with them. I want them to know they are the most important part of my creative life. I want to savor the light in their eyes as they watch me paint and ask me if they can paint, too. And I let them. Because it’s not just about me, it’s about them, too.

I watch my oldest daughter get a piece of computer paper and put it in front of our 16 month old. Next, she puts a crayon in her hand. My little one squeals with delight as she fists that crayon in her hand, puts it to the paper, and watches the color explode (rather haphazardly). I lock eyes with Faith and we laugh.

That squeal? That’s how I feel every time I paint. That’s what it’s all about. And that’s what I want to experience with them.

I understand that these people that believe they don’t want children are entitled to their own opinion, but what if they are missing out on their greatest creative journey yet?

Thanks for reading,

Belinda

To the Hope of Spring

Flora Hope

Learn from yesterday, Live for today, Hope for tomorrow. ~ Albert Einstein

The snow finally melted with the rains that came through this week, and I have one thing on the mind – Spring. It actually warmed up to the 50s in Southern Illinois, and I was eager to get outside and feel this new found warmth. I stepped into our backyard garden and the fresh damp air surrounded me. Earthy. It smelled earthy and lovely. And I was reminded of the flowers that will be blooming soon, hopefully.

Flowers planted not by my own hands, but by the previous owners of our home. They were two elderly women whose hobby was gardening…and they planted a very extensive flower garden in our limited back yard. So extensive in fact, that we had to call in the help of a local nursery to help us know how to maintain it. The nursery guy examined our lot and we were surprised to discover that many of the plants had been special ordered…exotic flowers, cacti, and things I honestly never saw in my life. There were over 50 different varieties of plants. It was an eclectic mix of flowers and foliage, and in the end we had to purge through it since it was too much for us to maintain. It was kind a of sad in a way. I felt bad going through it all and deciding what we were going to keep and what had to go. But it had to be done. We kept the rose bushes, lilies, daffodils, tulips, cherry blossom tree, magnolia tree, and a beautiful violet flower bush that blooms in July. But my favorite in our yard is the tulips.

Flora Survive 1

I remember as a girl waiting for the tulips to bloom. And finally, FINALLY they would poke through the soil…it was a sign that summer would soon be here and school would be out.

This year I feel that same anticipation (except for the school part). I can’t wait to see those little buds poking through. Beautiful tiger stripped lilies and tulips will bloom; and I will be happy as a lark sipping my lemonade, and watching the hummingbirds zip through our yard as I sit on my patio chair.

So here’s to the hope of Spring.

May it come quickly.

Flora Survive 2

 

*Original Art by Belle Ann Art.

Un-slump Yourself

I have this vintage Mother Goose Book from 1942. A library was having a book sale a few years ago and I managed to snatch it up before it was donated to some second-hand store. And it was here in this treasured book that I found out the rest of the story of Jack and Jill. Now, I know that all of you are probably sitting on the edge of your seat wondering…what? There’s more? YES! Apparently it doesn’t end with “And Jill came tumbling after.” And so I will enlighten your eager minds.

The entire poem goes like this:

Jack and Jill went up the hill

To fetch a pail of water.

Jack fell down and broke his crown,

And Jill came tumbling after.

Then up Jack got and home did trot,

As fast as he could caper.

He went to bed and plastered his head

With vinegar and brown paper.

I can’t say I have ever heard caper used as a verb in my generation. BUT I do believe the important thing about this poem is that after Jack fell, HE GOT UP. He fixed his head. He didn’t wallow in his pain but did what he had to do to fix himself…with vinegar and brown paper…probably would not have been my choice of treatment, but it worked for him. The point? When you’re down, get up anyway. Sometimes, I honestly don’t feel like doing anything. I get tired and worn out and sometimes I just want to crawl up in the fetal position and tune everything out. But it is in these moments where I push myself to create, push myself to do SOMETHING…anything…even if it’s small. Because self pity doesn’t take me anywhere worth going. So thank you, Jack, for the reminder to get up, even when you’re broken, and fix yourself.

I’m thinking of Dr. Suess’ book Oh The Places You’ll Go where he states:

“And when you’re in a slump,

You’re not in for much fun.

Un-slumping yourself

Is not easily done.”

Un-slumping yourself definitely takes effort. So in my slumpiness this week, I managed to get 2 journal pages done. I’m pleased with what I was able to accomplish despite the way I was feeling. Another reminder to keep at it, even when I don’t feel like it. 🙂

Thanks to those of you who have posted encouraging words in previous posts!

Painting My Way Through Journaling

When I was little, I had a diary that I filled with Lisa Frank stickers. I don’t remember really writing in it, but I remember the bright stickers of rainbows, roses, unicorns and panda faces. I loved that thing. One day I discovered Lisa Frank GLITTER stickers (they were really holographic, but they were shimmery and beautiful). It was life changing. I was discovering my love for color. And then Punky Brewster began to air on TV and all I wanted was to wear rainbow clothes and pig tails with yellow bobbles. But my hair wasn’t long enough, and all my clothes were handy-me-downs from my sister. My sister wasn’t into rainbow clothes.

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary. ~Pablo Picasso

Making time for art has become a priority in my life.  I think at some point everyone hits a certain place in their life where they come to a crossroads. You decide to either dwell in the past and on your “failures”, or learn from your experiences and choose to press forward. Someone once told me that everything that has happened in my life is because it was suppose to happen; where I am now is exactly where I am suppose to be; and where I choose to go from there is my decision.

Recently I’ve had to learn to embrace my limitations and work through them. I may not be able to run a business because of my health (I had a successful artisan business last year), but I’m not going to allow that to stifle my creativity. Through art I have been able to thrive, and it has brought me much peace.

I finished painting my tower journal page from Suzi’s Art Journal class this past week, and as I was finishing it, tears flooded my eyes. I know it may seem corny to cry over art, but each element in this painting represents something very specific, and the symbolism manifested itself intensely. Sometimes art is fun and uplifting…sometimes it’s deep and heavy. I think both are important as I am developing my skill…creating sentiment through my art, even if the sentiment is only for me. The depth allows me to find healing.

Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures. ~Henry Ward Beecher

On Monday evening I followed an art-along that taught a background technique, so the following journal page was kind of done on a whim through the inspiration of that. It signifies a lady looking back on her youth remembering simpler times.

Ah, the simplicity of a toddler! I was watching my daughter today as she made herself an igloo out of a large cardboard box…the “egloo,” as she called it, looked more like a tent with blankets for a door, but she was perfectly content pretending she was an Eskimo. I thought it was kind of ironic that she was pretending to be an Eskimo when we live in the middle of the desert. I wonder if Eskimo kids ever pretend to play in sand huts. Not that we live in those here in Mohave.

Take Two

So I started this blog in January…it’s now April and I have a whopping 1 post before this. Obviously, I’m not the greatest blogger. 🙂 I have the IDEA of a fantastic blog with beautiful pictures and inspiring posts…not for sure if this is in the stars for me, but I’m going to try this again. Take two.

I’m honestly still learning to balance it all…my family, my hobbies, my military life (which lately has been more then stressful), my art projects (which are very different then my hobbies), my facebook page, my friends, and now this blog. I wish I could say I had a wonderful, fantanstic reason for not posting…but I don’t. The week after I posted in January I ended up in an emergency facility with heart-stress symptoms…my heart is fine…I’m fine…it was just a stupid reaction I had to some supplements. My body is wierd like that and it took me about a month to recover. Since then I’ve buried myself in art seeking refuge in what I love to do…creating.

In January I stumbled across an article in a Somerset magazine about Suzi Blu and her Les Petite Academy…I signed up about the same time I wrote my last post and wasn’t able to really dive into the class I signed up for (Petite Dolls) because of my health. I knew I wanted to do mixed media, I just needed direction…and WOW did I get it! When I got to feeling better I immersed myself in practicing faces and Petite Dolls. Here is a finished painting I made:

Since then I’ve signed up for A Lovely Dream (art journal class), Portraits, and now her incredible Fairy class that started this month. I can’t get enough of Suzi’s techniques. BUT it’s more then techniques. I have found Les Petite to be a place of like minded artist that find healing through their art. It’s exactly what I needed.

Sancutary Art Journal Page:

For those who know Suzi, you know she is an amazingly unique talent. She is so unique in her teaching approach…she encourages people to not be perfectionist and shows us that through our imperfection beautiful art can manifest itself. She’s awesome…she’s real and she’s honest. It does not baffle me that her outreach is far and vast…she touches different cultures, countries, and ethnicities all over the world with her healing environment. She is bold, but she is passionate and sweet and spunky and hysterical…she has a way of reaching out to you when you are at your lowest and showing you that you are beautiful just the way you are…and that you can create beautiful things. She’s open and not afraid to admit to her own insecurities and in doing so people are drawn to her because she doesn’t pretend to be perfect. She doesn’t put on a facade. I think we see too many people around us “playing” the game of life…playing people…trying to get to the top…competing…backstabbing…using political agendas…criticizing…putting on a front…trying to “one up.” The drama is exhausting. I hate drama and I dislike people who cause it. But there’s something specially different about Suzi…she is none of these things AND she is successful…and I think it has a lot to do with her enriching quirky spirit. She is an original…there is absolutely nothing cliché about her. I love watching her…I love staying up until 2am watching portrait class videos and getting inspired. For me, I’m following Suzi…because right now Suzi makes me happy…but it’s even more than that. She puts a buzz in my soul that causes me to want to be exactly who I am. I am an artist…no matter if my medium is paint or fabric.

Thank you, Suzi, for featuring my journal design on your blog. It’s an honor to be one of your students.

Check out her workshops: http://suziblu.typepad.com/a_lovely_dream/workshop-love.html