and your weekend texture.....
Remember the dream post I shared a few weeks ago? :) I told you that I was going to tell you 'my story' Well, I'm back with a tour of my studio and my story..... The studio ties in with my journey.... hopefully by the end of this post it will all come together.
And of course, I have a lovely little texture for you to try as well. Stay tuned.
Okay, so let's start at the beginning...in a fast forward kind of way.
I was born in Manitoba...Canada in 1968. I was the youngest in a family of 2... just me and my older brother. We lived in a few places before we settled in the town my Dad grew up in... and the town I live in today. (I was 12)
I was fortunate to grow up with good friends and a supportive family. My life, all in all was GOOD.
As a kid I always said I wanted to be a teacher and I secretly dreamt of being an artist. The funny part was, I never made art. But I could totally imagine being an artist. I remember feeling different, yet not sure why that was.
I met my husband John when I was 19 and I was married at 21. I had Brett 13 months later and Bryce 15 1/2 months after that. By the time I was 23 I was a mother of 2 boys. We moved into the house we still live in...and the house of my dreams in 1992.
It's pretty crazy....but growing up we lived just across the street and a few houses down from this old house...and I said, one day I would live here. Seriously, I really did!
So, when I saw this house come up for sale in the local paper I was determined that we come and take a look at it. The timing was brilliant. We were just about to buy a modular home. The deal was almost signed. Character homes, like like this old girl do not come up for sale very often. Anyhow, I walked in, fell instantly in love...turned to John and said, we have to buy this house! And that was that... it all worked out. Okay it wasn't nearly as simple as that....it took some major work to make it happen... But it did!! We moved in and 6 months later, John got his job at the hospital across the street from where we lived. The job we prayed he would get and the job that allowed me to quit my full time job and stay at home with the boys.
I tell you the house story, because to me it is all part of my journey to this very day. If it was not for this old house, I would not have started painting. It's also a perfect example of how stating your intentions can make things happen. I was a teenager who stated her intentions to a friend.... 'I am going to live in that house someday!'
I wanted to fill our antique home with old worn, primitive pieces.... But there was no money for decorating. Money was tight, to say the least. And so, I went out and bought a few brushes, some paint...a few surfaces....and started attempting to make my own pieces to fill our home. Thinking back to my first work... I could cringe... But, at the time, I thought it was beautiful.....
To make a long story short... my painting lead to a few craft fairs....to selling my signs on ebay....and then to a publisher who licensed my work.
And so I think you can see how this old house was a huge part of my journey...
So I painted and painted....I started working in our basement... but it was too dreary and damp. So I squished the boys into one bedroom and took over the spare room. I outgrew the spare room, and they outgrew sharing a room.... so I took over the dining room. And well, it was not pretty. And my mother was horrified... She's very neat and clean...and organized. Imagine our lovely old dining room table covered in drop cloths pine boards, paint, stain, rags.... etc.... I'm sure my Mom had a hard time visiting...... it was really quite terrible.
My parents had a little stash of money and they gifted it to me and my brother.... But mine came with another gift....
a gift of my dad's hands and time to build me my very own studio!! Woo hoo.... DREAM come true... BIG TIME!!
That gift was more than money and space...It was.... 'we believe in you.... now go....DO what you seem to have to do....and make your dreams come true!'
While I was working away at my art, I was also running a home daycare. I would look after kids in the day and make art after the boys went to bed...into the wee hours of the morning. It was hard, but so worth it.
The studio was the launch of my for-real business.... I don't think I would be here today, doing what I love if it weren't for that... Ya know?
Life progressed, the boys grew up. I was making art full time. Business was good! My art was on prints, giftware, wallpaper, calendars etc. Seriously, so fabulous! I was able to do what I love and I was getting paid well for it. Woo hoo! Finally, we were able to pay the bills and have a little room for extras. It was amazing. I remember walking Andy and thinking wow, I am so blessed. Thank you God!
And then......it all came crashing down.
Brett was 16 and Bryce was entering 15. They were good boys. Bryce was always very strong willed.....right from the beginning. But man oh man... the teen years hit him HARD. And so began the hardest experience of our lives. Bryce started to change. I knew he was struggling, but there seemed to be very little we could do or say to help him. He was lost and as much as I wanted to hold out my hands and bring him back, he just could not grab hold.
I will spare you the details, but let's just say it was the beginning of the longest and most difficult 2 1/2 years of my life. I lived, trapped in fear. It felt like I was always on the edge of my seat, waiting for the worst to happen. I felt scared and alone. I think that may be part of my issue with friendship. Let's just say, during that time, friendship really let me down.
And as hard as it was for me, it was nothing compared to the turmoil Bryce was in. My son was living in his own personal hell...and everyday he struggled to hold on.
3 years ago this coming May, all my fears and worries seemed to come true...in one phone call. It was after midnight when the phone rang....I knew it was going to be awful news. And it was. Thankfully no one was physically hurt. I can not share the details, it is Bryce's story to tell... but it was the beginning of a long lonely journey of recovery for us all. Let's just say, living in a tiny town, when someone you love makes some really bad choices is very lonely. People don't look at you. People don't call you...and people definitely judge you!
This was also the beginning of Bryce's new life. He had no choice, but to start over. As awful as it all was, it was part of his journey and our journey. And we survived. He survived and he made it through and is doing much better now.
During that two plus years I slowly quit painting. I had no desire to create.... I just sat a lot... in fear. In fact, I became a prisoner of that fear. It owned me! As much as all the worry and what if's changed nothing, fixed nothing... it was all I knew. It consumed me. My husband kept moving, working, living. Thankfully. But I just stopped. And sat and feared.... and asked why? over and over and over again... Why?
Fear robbed me of my creativity...and over time I quit working completely.That wonderful income that we had coming in, also started to fade away.
After that phone call in the middle of the night, I realized no matter, what life goes one. And one day, my camera called to me. I took it on the trail and my life changed. I felt as though I was reborn. Literally the art started to pour out of me. This time through my camera. Eventually I picked up the brushes again, but not to paint signs...instead to paint textures.
Okay I will leave you here...and share PART 2 another day.....
It's the good part.... the dreamy part...the mondo beyondo... CRAZY.....BEYOND belief... AWESOME...somebody pinch me....are you serious? no way!! part!!!
And so how bout a texture to end the tale? I call this one music lovin'.... I think it's a 'gooder'....
Click HERE to download it.
Love & gratitude...always....