We are chatting today with Faith Evans-Sills and Mati Rose-McDonough to hear about their new book "Painting the Sacred Within" and learn more about how they came together to start collaborative projects, e-courses and retreats. Mati and Faith have been such supportive and generous artists in the internet community, and we wish them much success in this new book and whatever follows! Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Faith and Mati.
How did the two of you come together to collaborate on this book? What did that process look like for you?
We met as part of the online community of artists on social media, we especially connected on Instagram where we created the tag #dailyadornment . There we had fun posting about how what we wear inspires us, check out the tag to see some vintage pictures of us and join in! We knew each other for years online before finally meeting in person at an art retreat in the woods of New Hampshire in 2014. We immediately felt a soul connection and that connection blossomed into deep friendship through conversations about our art and dreams.
In early 2015 we began to work collaboratively, after a phone conversation about how we wanted more community & accountability to paint, so we decided to create what we were longing for. Weeks later we launched our first e-course 52 Paintings, in which we challenged a community of artists to create a painting a week for a year. That same year we taught our first retreat together, our popular Pura Vida painting retreat in Costa Rica, which we have run for three years now. We found that as collaborators our working styles fit together very well and balanced each other's strengths and weaknesses. Together we naturally generated ideas and excitement for new projects! We went on to teach retreats in Morocco and Charleston together, as well as co-teaching two year long e-courses and most recently launching our brand new e-course Abstract Bliss.
Our book came about very organically. We had talked about ideas for books that we'd love to create, and in December 2015 we were approached by a book editor from North Light Books who asked if we had any book ideas. Quickly we sent back 3 ideas, one of those ideas was a book based on our popular year long online class. That proposal was not only accepted but fast tracked, so we found ourselves diving head first into writing our book over the first 7 months of 2016! What an adventure and learning process that was, and of course we had lots of ideas for future books as we were creating this first book together. After teaching and working together for years now, we continually inspire each other to be our best selves and to reflect that in our work!
Sharing and teaching is an important part of your life and practice, how has this evolved and impacted your lives and personal art work? Why is it so important to help others?
I like to operate in the world through a spirit of generosity, that there is always enough for everyone and within that I truly believe that the things that you are naturally good at are the things that you came to share with the world. So, I believe that part of my life's purpose is to inspire women as I help to connect them to their best selves through creating art. Mati and I incubated the idea of our book & our first e-course together after an inspiring phone chat about what we really wanted for the year ahead. We both said that we wanted to paint alongside others for community, accountability and inspiration. So, we decided to create what we most needed, in the hopes that others would find value in it too. This organic way of operating is the way that best serves my purpose in helping others, I have found that often what I am wanting are the same things that others are also longing for, so the offerings that we have created around those things fill the well. This has happened with our e-courses, as well as on our retreats. Getting to explore a new place and have adventures while creating art and gathering inspiration with a group of women is the best way to travel. The groups of women that gather for our classes and workshops continue to blow us away with their open hearts, bold creativity and the simple power of a supportive circle of women gathering close. We have learned as much from them as they from us.
If there was one thing you could tell the people in our community, what would it be?
One of my most important mantras, one I repeat daily is simply, "Begin Today". Often the hardest thing is taking that first step, but over time small steps in one direction can create big change. There is a quote by Karen Lamb that resonates so much: "A year from now you will wish you had started today." Applying this to our art practices we see how small changes built up over time will take your work in the direction that you want it to go. Through our book and classes we want to give women the tools that they need to make their work shine. The time is now!