I have been afraid.
I have been afraid to call myself an artist. It was a scary thing shrouded in mystery. Being an artist meant drawing people. Being artist meant fine detail work. Being an artist meant getting paid. And yet I have always been drawn to create. I would proudly proclaim that I was creative, artsy, crafty, etc, but never the word artist. That word was good for other people, but not for me. I wasn’t good enough. I once quipped that I did everything but paint and sew.
Slowly I learned to do the things that scared me. After the birth of my first child I learned to sew. I was always interested but had no teacher. I found myself wanting to learn and with the time and resources to buy a beginner machine and set aside me time to learn. Eight years later I would still call myself a beginner, but I can put in a zipper and pleat (thanks to making hundreds of face masks in 2020). I’ve made zipper pouches for my girls, curtains for my bedroom, a passport book, purses, wallets, and masks – so many masks.
A few months after the birth of my second child I discovered furniture flipping and fell in love with painting furniture. But that was okay because it wasn’t ART, it was practical. It had a purpose. I didn’t need to know how to draw noses or paint every leaf on the tree. I happily painted furniture in glorious colors and lead me to start Butterfly Lady Designs.
The pandemic of 2020 led me to finally pick up a paint brush. At the beginning of the pandemic as the world shut down for a few weeks I purchased a subscription to ArtSnacks. Each month I get a bunch of random art supplies and I made whatever I want with those supplies. Some months I even get around to posting it to the ArtSnacks community page, where we can see what other have created with those same items (perhaps different color combos). My first box contained a single tub of deep green watercolor paint. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I put paint on my paper and I was hooked. I added in some of the purple watercolor pencils, some of the ink pens and before I knew it I was making art. So many of the other had pictures of things they had made, but I found myself enjoying the flow of not knowing what I was making (I can’t screw it up that way). Some months the box sat unopened while I madly painted furniture and perhaps avoided the scary box that said I was an artist. As the month went on I signed up for online water color classes, bought more paint. I find myself most at peace with a paint brush in my hand. More months and boxes meant more mediums to try. I routinely found myself enjoying the paints more than drawing or markers or anything that may be included. I began to watch artist videos on YouTube, studying tools and techniques.
In October of 2020 my oldest daughter admitted to cutting and beginning to think of ending her life. Once we got her settled and out of harm’s way, I had all these pent-up emotions and there were my paints and my canvases calling to me. Big slashing strokes of acrylic paint, splashing paints and just pouring my angst into the canvas helped me calm my own inner storm. I felt uncorked and every since the paintings are just flowing out of me. Painting is my favorite time of day.
In the year since the pandemic started I have gone an amazing journey of self-discovery. I overcame the fear and found peace through art. The products are my barn quilts, abstracts and my own developing art journal and a deep seated knowledge that I am and have always been an artist.
Now that I've outed myself as an artist - I've joined a community of artists through the website www.RedBubble.com. Red Bubble was created to help artists get their art out in the world. They will create the desired product (wall clocks, duvet covers, throw pillows, shirts, cell phone cases, etc.) with the selected design. Each item is made after it has been purchased so there is no wasted product sitting on shelves. The artists get a commission for anything sold with their designs on it. I've very excited to be partnering with a company devoted to sharing the arts. As I make new barn quilts or paint my abstracts they will be digitized and uploaded to Red Bubble. All the artworks pictured on this blog post are currently available.