My Unique Story
Who would have thought a chubby, country girl with no art training would be known for her creativity! Earlier in life I worked as a teacher of children with learning disabilities, then as a counselor in the field of psychology and later law. A desire to help others flows throughout my working career. My last employment was with the state of Tennessee as the commissioner’s designee attorney in the legal field of administrative law. In 2012 I felt God was leading me to leave this interesting, good paying job. You have to understand that I wasn’t use to hearing from God in this way, even though I’d been Christian since age 9. It took me about 1 ½ years to know that this was God not just my own sometimes lazy, selfish nature; but through a miraculous confirmation I knew it was God and I resigned from my job.
Art soon became a fascination of mine. I loved to visit art museums and craved to be around creative people. I did not see myself as an artist, so I decided my interests were meant to encourage artists. In believing God would open a new door and give me a better job than the one I left, I began to follow the teachings of Dan Miller and his book, 48 Days to the Work You Love. Dan Miller was located about 90 minutes from me, so when he advertised a 3-day retreat entitled, Calling All Creatives, I signed up. I knew I would find the answer of what I was to do next at this retreat. At the final campfire session, I still did not have an answer of exactly what I should do next, but I had formed a friendship with Joanne, Dan’s wife, and Dorsey McHugh, who co-authored the book with Joanne, Be Your Finest Art. During the next few years Joanne became a friend, encourager, mentor, and example to me as I attended weekly art days with other creatives in the Miller studio, called, The Sanctuary. We would sometime have special art instructors teach us, but most days we would just bring our own projects and work on them in the room filled with helpful creative artists. I began to paint and experiment with different mediums. With the encouragement of Joanne, I was selected as an exhibiting artist at the Martin Master’s Art Event in Franklin. I sold several paintings at the show and signed up over 35 participants for my beginning class on painting with alcohol inks to be held at the Sanctuary. I was amazed at how people bought my art and loved my classes. God had not given me a job; he had given me a life!
My life as an artist is ever expanding. I joined the Matt Tommey Mentorship Program which includes spiritual, artistic, and business mentorship. I learn new skills every time I create. For more scarry fun, I raise honeybees and experienced people begging to buy my local honey during the Covid-19 shutdowns in 2020. I love the complexity of nature and bees are fascinating complex insects. You can often find bees in my paintings, whether they are obvious or hidden. I grow gardens and sometimes have chickens. My most loved art is vivid, colorful, and flowing. Purchasers often see things in the pictures that I had not seen myself. I love for a viewer to become a part of the creation by seeing something in the art that is a part of his/her own life story. My art is a form of story telling where the viewer becomes a creator. A story that cannot sometimes be put into words but one that flows from heart to heart.
Each time I begin to create, I ask God to partner with me in the creation and to use it to reveal his glory and healing power. On several occasions I am positive God used my art to comfort. One occasion involved an encounter at an art festival with a tearful woman whose husband had died of a heart attach in a distant county the day before. I gave her a painting of the eclipse of the sun, as I explained that the light will come again after darkness like it did in the eclipse that year. A second occasion involved a woman who was dying with a painful lung disease. She could hardly speak, but she called me from the nursing home where my gift had been hung on her wall. She told me how much it meant to her and said, “I hope this doesn’t make you mad, but I would like your picture to be buried with me.” She had loved the ocean and she saw the ocean in the picture. Tears flowed from my eyes after I got off the phone. Another piece of my art specifically passed to a recipient through a will where it was listed with her other valuables. You might be thinking right now that I must be a wonderful artist, but I honestly say that in all three of these circumstances the painting were some of what I considered my worst art!
I love to create, and I love to help others so naturally with my background my art is now flowing into the field of art therapy. I also offer a service where I go into a customer’s home and assist them in choosing colors and creating a piece of art to hang in a particular place of need in their home. I like to refer to this service as, ”Turning a House into a Home with Personalized Art”. If a customer just insists that he/she is not creative and does not want to try, or really desires a piece of my art that was made especially for them; I will create a piece myself to match the colors and design of a particular space of need in their home and hang it for them.
Creativity has helped me grow into a better person and yes, you are creative whether you ever see it or not. Henry David Thoreau said, "The question is not what you look at, but what you see."