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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!).
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.
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!