To get out of my darkest moments I would paint and draw, the creative trance really can do wonders and for a few hours at a time I would forget my life. Posting daily on Instagram held me accountable, and of course my advertising brain was still fully functioning and after people started offering to buy my artwork - this idea starting building. It was true, the better my feed looked, the more money people would offer.Read More
"Being an artist keeps me in constant conversation with the world around me. A ceaseless observer. I now go out of my way to share the things I notice, colors, shapes, patterns, light, with my children as I encourage them to slow down and pay attention to their surrounding environment as well.
This ceaseless observation extends to my internal world as well and as a mother I am often questioning how I can become a better person in all realms in order to serve my children and ultimately myself.
As my daughter has gotten older she sometimes questions my choices and I constantly try to explain that my hope is that her seeing me pursue my passions regardless of societal expectations will allow her to do the same as she finds herself in similar situations. I hope that my son is able to find the same lessons as he matures." - Cassia CoggerRead More
"Funny thing, life doesn’t stop for The 100 Day Project. Nope, it doesn’t. There were many days I had to dig very deep to create a project worthy of sharing. Throughout The 100 Day Project, I’ve been one of the primary caregivers for my sweet Momma G, who’s in her final life chapter. Diagnosed with terminal breast cancer weeks before the project started and given months to live, I wanted to put the project on the back burner, to put LIFE off until next year, to use it as an easy out. She wouldn’t hear of it! So, in the midst of nursing visits, doctor’s appointments , hospice appointments, needles, and a lot of hand holding and tears, I chose to channel my sadness and grief into this project. Many pieces were created in my studio. Others sketched out while I watched her sleep. The connection between nature, life, death, my art, has never been more evident to me then now." - Lisa McLindenRead More
Transitions are a normal part of life. Although I am sure we can admit that change isn't easy, it can leave us feeling uncomfortable especially if we are facing the unknown. What has been the most significant transition in your life so far?
Transitions are inevitable. I can think of many that have happened. One that really stands out and seemed really scary at the time was when I initially changed "careers" from teacher to hairstylist. I wasn't married with a second income. Had massive amounts of student loans, and was making a big choice based on a strong intuition. Completely unnerving, and life changing. Thankfully my intuition didn't steer me in the wrong direction. The great thing about getting older is you start to see patterns in the underlying meaning behind choices you make over time. Each choice I've made was a choice that would bring me closer to being able to live an artist life. So each transition has been somewhat significant to me, because it keeps bringing me closer to what I am here to discover for this life of mine.
On the flip side I feel like some transition tend to happen organically and naturally as well. Have there been times that you have found yourself at point B wondering how you got there?
Oh my goodness yes. I would have to say the transition from the timid tiny little part of me that started to listen to my intuition of making painting a full time priority and being terrified to put myself out there, to actually doing both of those things. There were a few years of major discomfort since both transitions (changing careers, and taking charge of what I feel called to do) happened back to back. But I think each step prepares you for the next. And the second transition of putting my art into the world, happened over two years, so organically, that when I look back, I'm proud, and totally surprised it happened and that people have responded to it at all!
A fun fact that we both share is our career as hair stylist juxtaposed with our artistic practice. I came to my career as a stylist in a-round-about way. What lead you on that path? How did that transition effect your art?
This is kind of a long answer. I came to be a hairstylist because I was at a crossroads in my previous career. I studied Elementary education and fine art in college. After I graduated I ended up getting a job as a preschool director for the same university I went to school at. I loved the creativity of designing curriculum and taught mostly Montessori to about 30, 3-5 year olds. There were so many things I loved about what I was doing, but three things happened. One thing was that, for some reason, I couldn't shake the feeling that I was supposed to move towards something else. Secondly, 2008 and the bad economy. I wasn't able to survive on the smaller income that I was given, and the school couldn't afford to pay me a standard teacher salary. Thirdly, I would have to go back to school to get my Masters in Education if I wanted to keep my teachers license in WA. So I started searching. Looking for doors to open. Pursuing my art career seemed way to muddy to navigate at the time, so I kept painting on the side, but ignored that voice of putting my work out. One thing I always put money away for was, getting my hair done. Even if I had to eat Ramen for the month, hair was "important"! (Maybe a tad vain and irresponsible, but led me where I am now). Whenever I got my hair done at the salon I went to, I always noticed how happy all he stylists were. I was also drawn to its creativity and design element. I started asking my hairstylist questions about the career as a whole. Not only was she one of the owners of the salon but a good friend of mine. As soon as I started asking questions about being a hairstylist, she immediately kept saying, "Do it! Do it!" So... I went back to school and, did it. Now I work at that same salon!
You are currently going through a big transition, building a house, working in a studio space outside your home. Do you feel a bit in limbo at the moment?
I absolutely feel in limbo at the moment! It seems like I'm just at the beginning of finding some sort of momentum in my heart's desire, and I can't fully lean into it. Juggling many important aspects of life all at once. Even though It's mostly all good things, doesn't mean it's easy. But the definition of limbo (for me) implies, that it's temporary. And in the grand scheme of life, this limbo is a gift. There's too much pain in most of the world, that the discomfort of limbo is nothing in comparison.
Do you have any advice on navigating your way through life's transitions? Is there a trick that you have found to make that in between time more manageable and less scary?
Keeping a bigger perspective is the only way to get through. I am extremely stubborn about finding silver linings. Going down the rabbit hole of feeling bad for myself or negative for too long is not an option. Don't get me wrong... I don't ignore the bad thoughts. I just don't let them take up room in my mind for too long. Guided meditation, prayer, painting and spending time with loved ones that listen, make a big difference also. I am 100% aware that having the opportunity to pursue my passion is not something to take for granted either, and I am extremely thankful that I can. As Elizabeth Gilbert coins in her book "Big Magic", I am willing to eat the "Shit Sandwich" in order to do what I've committed and vowed to do. And that attitude can get you a long way when road blocks arise in your artist journey.
My Bringing Up Baby series focuses on my day to day life right now with my three-year-old daughter. I'm doing it as a 100 day project (one black monochromatic watercolor painting each day) and am almost halfway through. I've been wanting to chronicle this particular time in our lives because it feels like such a brief moment; a moment that I want to always remember and that my daughter will love looking back on. It's my version of a journal. So many tiny things happen in our days right now, some hilarious, some heartwarming, some sad, and some that are completely unique to us and our relationship. For me, it started out as just that: painting scenes and stories that I thought were completely us and no one else, but I've found out, through comments on my series, that a lot of my story is actually a universal one. I love that. I love feeling connected to other mothers in that way.
I do one painting a day, which often seems like a lot, coupled with my other freelance work, but I so look forward to painting it each day. This series has so much meaning to me personally and so far has taught me so much about who I am as a mother and who I want to be. And in an artistic sense, working this quickly, with such a strict deadline each day, has taught me how to trust myself so much more, how to work within very limited boundaries, and how to very simply tell a story.
Brooke Smart is an illustrator based in Sandy, Utah, where she spends her days gathering ideas for stories and her nights telling those stories with her pen and paintbrush, inspired by her daughter, the wildest and most creative three-year-old in the world. She earned a BFA in Illustration from Brigham Young University in 2007.
Brooke recently won an honorable mention in the 2016 SCBWI Portfolio Showcase in NYC. She is currently working on her first picture book.
Creative Spaces is an ongoing series which asks artists to name three things they love about the spaces where they make their art. The spaces are as unique as the artists themselves, and we hope you'll be inspired and encouraged by seeing how they make things happen.Read More
"No, I have no regrets. I started painting when it was time for me to do that. It wasn’t until I came to the Hudson Valley and saw what I saw that I was moved to pick up a brush. Creative pursuits can’t be forced. It’s time to make art when you feel the need to create and that can happen at any time. I always remember that Grandma Moses, one of my favorites, didn’t start painting until she was 79." - Natalie Wargin, ArtistRead More
"I collect rocks from nearly everywhere I've been, it's always fun to hold another part of the planet in your hand." - Ellen ShermanRead More
"I love the idea that these cards could bring people together, especially these days when being glued to a screen is the norm. I hope these cards inspire a future game night, and even an appreciation for a beautiful art object you can hold in your hands." - Sarah FeroneRead More
"I've got two kids under the age of three, a husband who works from home, and a house where it seems there is always something needing to be cleaned/folded/organized. So, for me to be able to create, I have to get out of the house." - Siobhan VivianRead More
- This is to kick off our our hashtag challenge week. Share a picture of yourself and tell us a little about you! What do you create? Do you have a day job? Are you a parent, a student, a retiree? What else are you interested in? Have you done anything fun and exciting?
- What are you working on? This doesn't have to be a large scale completed work. What's mid process, what's in your sketchbook? Share it!
- Tell us how you find time to create and carve out time for art. What has helped you the most?
- Where do you create? We'd love to see where the magic happens. Studios, dining rooms, couches..Marissa has a rickety table and a shelf in her childhood bedroom right now...
Friday 5/13: #CreativePinkieSwear
- Have something you've been putting off but would really like to accomplish? Share it here! And we can hold each other accountable.