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#1 of 29 Old 02-08-2009, 01:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Are there any other SAHM artists who struggle with finding the time and energy to be creative? I feel like it took me until my dd was 1 to find any energy at all to paint, but I still struggle with it. I know I could work at night after she goes to sleep and the dishes are done, but it is hard. I am lucky to trade childcare so I have 5-10 hours a week at least. This has been a huge blessing.
What do you do to create this space for yourself?
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#2 of 29 Old 02-08-2009, 09:32 PM
 
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I'm lucky enough that 3 y/o dd and 2 month old ds will nap at the same time once a day. BUT, that doesn't mean I end up spending that 1-2 hour alone time doing something creative. I've always struggled with motivating myself to take some artistic action... reguardless of the medium. Just today I set out to do someupdated natural light self protraits during nap time while sun was coming in my living room window. Unfortunatly, about 10 shots in my cam had some sort of internal glitch and now needs to be sent to the manufactorer for probably 10 days to be fixed : .

I don't have many creative works to show for the last 3 years... or the last 7 years since graduating high school for that matter. I'd like to know the secret. I'd like to figure out how to convince myself that the TINY bit of "freetime" I get should be used on the arts. I don't have any options for having anyone watch the kiddos so I can spend some time being uninterrupted because I am EBFing and can't be away for long enough to get anything done. Before ds was born I'd usually just take dd with me on photo shooting outtings but, also couldn't do the portrait work or remote locations I wanted because I couldn't exactly take a 3 year old on a shoot with any sort of client or to anywhere dangerous or difficult to get to. I paint or do pencil work every now and then but, it's honestly 6 months between finished peices saddly (and they aren't very impressive). Anything else I get done is more on the crafty side and doesn't really count IMO.

ugh.... I've been struggling with my creative self and expression for years!

~TRACY, wife to loving dh, mommy to dd (10/05), ds(12/08), 3 kitties, & 2 pups.
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#3 of 29 Old 02-09-2009, 03:34 PM
 
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good heavens, you mean I'm not the only one??? I am a handweaver, and i have a five month old boy who I adore, but man is it hard to find the time to get into the studio. I can certainly weave with him in a sling or while he's sleeping, but dressing the loom and even getting the brainspace to design projects at all is next to impossible right now. I guess it'll get easier as he gets older... I hope. In the meantime, you're not alone! I sympathize!
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#4 of 29 Old 02-10-2009, 03:15 AM
 
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good heavens, you mean I'm not the only one??? I am a handweaver, and i have a five month old boy who I adore, but man is it hard to find the time to get into the studio. I can certainly weave with him in a sling or while he's sleeping, but dressing the loom and even getting the brainspace to design projects at all is next to impossible right now. I guess it'll get easier as he gets older... I hope. In the meantime, you're not alone! I sympathize!
You just reminded me of fond memories from childhood. My mom was a weaver and I can remember going out to her little studio that was built onto our garage. My brother and I would play on the floor happily while my mom sat at her giant loom.

There was always some kind of soothing music on and sun coming in the windows. I remember the smell in the studio. It smelled of natural yarns (my mom was also a spinner and did a tad bit of knitting as well) and dried herbs and plants (she also used to make little smell-good sachets for sock drawers and such that were filled with yummy smelling dried things). I forgot all about that until just now! I was under 5 years old then.

So if you end up just plopping your kiddo on the floor of the studio and letting them venture on their own while you entertain yourself weaving, certainly don't feel bad about it! I apparently had locked away good memories from early childhood that you just released! Maybe it's time to give some of those same memories to your little one.
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#5 of 29 Old 02-12-2009, 10:49 AM
 
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Thanks for the positive reinforcement! My mom is a potter, and i have similar memories to yours of the weaving studio, only I remember the clay smell, and the hum of her wheel, listening to her hands make "slimy" sounds on the clay. I think its really wonderful that we can give the memory of our creative spaces to our kids. My father is a photographer, and I also remember being old enough to help him in the darkroom, and how grown up I felt and proud of the work we did together. I look forward to my boy being old enough to engage in creative works of his own!
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#6 of 29 Old 02-13-2009, 04:56 AM
 
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I could not find a good enough chunk of time to paint again until the last 4 months. DD is 2 and DS is 4. And now I have this intense passion and fire to paint and sell, so I have room to paint more. I paint at night, which is horrid for color, but I get the occassional few hours on weekends when DH can take over DS and DD. I am on an art forum way more than MDC now. Updating my website, applying to art associations, checking out galleries.... anything. I'm going at 110% right now. Will eventually need rest or I will burn out.
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#7 of 29 Old 02-13-2009, 08:21 AM
 
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Prior to having a child, I asked an art professor who is a single mom how she finds studio time. She looked me in the eye and said, "When you know you have precisely ninety minutes of naptime, you become VERY efficient. You don't waste time sorting your pencils or tidying the studio."

I have a FT job, plus the child, and for the first year, I got NOTHING done with my art. All my energy, creative and life, went into the child. After his first birthday, things have been somewhat better. Here are my observations about how to keep making work:

1. Pick projects that are do-able. Make small items. Paint postcard-sized pictures, not life-size murals. It will make you feel good to FINISH something.

2. Set aside a small chunk of every day (an hour if you can swing it) and make that commitment to work on your art during that hour, and not for a minute more.

3. Make things that you can pick up and put down without feeling like you have totally lost your creative train of thought. Handwork is good for this. If you have to put down your crocheting to comfort a screaming baby, it's easier to go back to where you left off than if you are in deep concentration.

4. Have some "fodder work" that you do to keep your ideas germinating. Keep a sketchbook, take snapshots, cut pictures out of magazines, doodle, collage, make an image bank.

5. Get some art-making buddies. If you have a group that gets together to either make work together or have group critiques, it will both give you a goal and give you a chance to get out of the house and away from your kids and reconnect with other artists and that part of you that is aching for a garret with a retractable ladder and a soundproof floor.

I am part of an art collective, and we just made an installation together in Indianapolis. It was my first trip away from my baby since he was born 18 months ago, and despite the hassle of pumping, it was such a wonderful energizer to be around my artist friends for a weekend.

6. Either get up early, before anyone else is awake, or stay up late, after everyone else has gone to sleep.

There's also the Sally Mann approach. Make work about your kids.
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#8 of 29 Old 02-14-2009, 02:18 AM
 
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I've been making more of an effort to get out and take pictures on the weekend when dh is home. Des is old enough now that I can slip out for an hour or two and not have to worry about him starving and being miserable the entire time I'm gone.
I just got a new camera today, so tomorrow dh is going to spend some quality time with the boys while I go out and be myself, instead of a mom for a bit.

Elizabeth wife to Matt , mom to Logan (2/21/01) , and little man Desmond (9/23/08)

Mourning the loss of her father: Robert Edward Dillon 5/31/52 - 01/03/2011

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#9 of 29 Old 02-18-2009, 12:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks!!!
It feels really good to know there are other parents out there who are making both happen. feel like I have been making both my family and my art happen, but sometimes I feel alone in it. I love having internet (and my blog) so that I am pushed by other artists. I miss that inspiring aspect of being in school.
It is also so true that if you know you have 90 mins of nap time you just DO it. Parenthood has made me so much more efficient with my time. This has been a blessing.

ps~I grew up with a mom-potter too, and the description of the pottery studio from a childlike perspective brought back so many memories for me too!

Kelcey... in love with DH, and DD born 10/13/07, and a little DS born 2/23/10!
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#10 of 29 Old 03-06-2009, 05:51 PM
 
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I take pictures on the weekends. I can't complain because my dd is 8 and she goes with me. But I would like to have more time for that!!
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#11 of 29 Old 03-17-2009, 11:16 AM
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I am a SAHM (for at least the next year), and a 'starving' artist. I weave and do metalsmithing. My daughter is not quite two months old and I haven't figured out how to accomplish much yet, unless you count making a card for one of our midwives.

I've thought of weaving with her in a sling but hadn't tried it yet. Glad to see (based on the post up above) that it's actually doable, but yes, I can see how dressing a loom will be difficult.

Anyway, it's nice to have found this thread.
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#12 of 29 Old 06-29-2009, 05:46 PM
 
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I am glad that I came into this forum and found this thread.

I am a SAHM with a degree in Art Education. I graduated from college and had my first baby 3 months later. I am now due with my 3rd baby 4 years later. Needless to say I haven't done any serious artwork in that whole period of time. Most of the time I forget about it but sometimes I am sad that I do not get to enjoy that part of my life.

I have several areas of interest including loom weaving, pottery, photography, and painting. I have a floor loom , a potter's wheel, and a fantastic digital camera. Now I just have to make the time...

Married to DH 7 years and have three fantastic kiddos! DS 6, DD 4, and DS 2 ...... lo and behold another is on the way!

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#13 of 29 Old 07-07-2009, 03:28 PM
 
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I have a hard enough time calling myself an 'artist' and claiming some time to 'do' art. But now that my dd is almost 3 I can work for a few stretches at a time. I just finished a watercolor/ink while she was napping. For the past 3ish years, I've only sketched, occas. painting when she napped. She likes to watch me work but of course makes it harder for me to concentrate on what I'm doing. I do think it's important for kids to have memories of their parents 'doing' their art, whatever it is. It inspires them to be artists as well. I remember my own mother and grandmother painting and drawing when I was a kid.

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#14 of 29 Old 07-07-2009, 05:04 PM
 
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Ladies, you all CAN do it! I see I posted in February. And since that time I did burn out. But I then went down to a slower, steadier and healthier gear. I make sure I get one or two nights a week after the kids are in bed and one afternoon every other weekend.

Efforts pay off: Since January I have painted 4 very large canvases, made promotional material, updated my website, visited galleries, and have had an exhibition at an office space, having a second one starting the 22nd, an open studio in September, an exhibit in October and another in November. http://www.abrosenlund.com/paintings/
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#15 of 29 Old 07-07-2009, 06:14 PM
 
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Oooh, me, me!!

I'm a homeschooling mommy artist; I just finished by studio art BFA courses last semester. My DD lived with me at the studio! I actually found it easier when she was smaller (she's almost 6 now and is "over" the novelty of mom working in the studio). I will say that I barely did any serious work until she was about 2; I was so busy with life and being a mom.

I'm going to keep taking classes toward my Art History degree, and this is our first year homeschooling. So, I do not have a lot of time for my own work, but I really needed a hiatus after the intensity of the degree program, so I'm happy to let myself rest a bit now.

A couple of ideas: try to do 5 drawings a day---these can be super quick blind contour/contour drawings, a brush and ink gesture, automatic drawing, etc. DD and I just sat down and spent 15 minutes or so doing blind contour drawings....we each did about 4-5. I know this isn't "marketable" or a masterpiece, but it's keeping me in my art brain.

Or, try to do 30 portraits in 30 days. or 10 portraits in 10 days, or whatever you feel you can commit to. It doesn't matter if the portraits come out fabulous or not, the point is just to keep working. You can spend as much or as little time as you want--even a 2 minute portrait of your DP while sleeping, ya dig?

Also, gesture drawings---take the sketch book to the park and try to bust out a quick 5 gestures before pushing the LO on the swing, etc.

If your LOs are older, you can do nature observation drawings together; bring paper and wc pencils and just spend time sitting in nature and drawing together.

We've also been doing "art history". So far all we've talked about is self-portraits, looking at famous self portraits, talking about the difference between realistic and abstracted self portraits, etc.

Starting in September, I'll be teaching a printmaking class one day a week, so I'm looking forward to that as an outlet for my "professional" work. I'm a bit nervous about the commitment though, what with the time and energy consumed by homeschooling/sahm-ing.

Another idea is to work in media that kids will be able to join in, like batik (kids can use cold wax resist), water color, or very simple printmaking (they do stamps while you do linoleum or whatnot).

Good luck, mamas! I wish there was an art mommy tribe!! All my artist friends are young, single, and free; they don't realize the challenges of working as an artist and taking care of a family.
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#16 of 29 Old 07-23-2009, 11:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Allison R~ Your work is great! and I appreciate the encouragement!

and Craft Media Hero you have some nice ideas of keeping "fit" artistically too.

It IS possible to be creative and productive while being a SAHM but it can be so tough. All my other artist friends are single, stay up all night and paint, types too. I wouldn't say I am jealous of them because I wouldn't give up what I have as a mother for anything. I feel proud of the discipline I have created around my art this past year. My husband is also super supportive, and is a carpenter, so on his days he gets rained out I make art ALL day. I know this is such a blessing. But, I just found out I am pregnant again, and am already struggling to keep it together. It is a journey for sure.
Here is my etsy site if you would like to see my work.

Kelcey... in love with DH, and DD born 10/13/07, and a little DS born 2/23/10!
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#17 of 29 Old 08-05-2009, 01:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kcparker View Post
Prior to having a child, I asked an art professor who is a single mom how she finds studio time. She looked me in the eye and said, "When you know you have precisely ninety minutes of naptime, you become VERY efficient. You don't waste time sorting your pencils or tidying the studio."

I have a FT job, plus the child, and for the first year, I got NOTHING done with my art. All my energy, creative and life, went into the child. After his first birthday, things have been somewhat better. Here are my observations about how to keep making work:

1. Pick projects that are do-able. Make small items. Paint postcard-sized pictures, not life-size murals. It will make you feel good to FINISH something.

2. Set aside a small chunk of every day (an hour if you can swing it) and make that commitment to work on your art during that hour, and not for a minute more.

3. Make things that you can pick up and put down without feeling like you have totally lost your creative train of thought. Handwork is good for this. If you have to put down your crocheting to comfort a screaming baby, it's easier to go back to where you left off than if you are in deep concentration.

4. Have some "fodder work" that you do to keep your ideas germinating. Keep a sketchbook, take snapshots, cut pictures out of magazines, doodle, collage, make an image bank.

5. Get some art-making buddies. If you have a group that gets together to either make work together or have group critiques, it will both give you a goal and give you a chance to get out of the house and away from your kids and reconnect with other artists and that part of you that is aching for a garret with a retractable ladder and a soundproof floor.

I am part of an art collective, and we just made an installation together in Indianapolis. It was my first trip away from my baby since he was born 18 months ago, and despite the hassle of pumping, it was such a wonderful energizer to be around my artist friends for a weekend.

6. Either get up early, before anyone else is awake, or stay up late, after everyone else has gone to sleep.

There's also the Sally Mann approach. Make work about your kids.
I realise this is months old, but I just had to say that this post has helped me tremendously! I've bookmarked it and I re-read it when I'm feeling overwhelmed & need motivation.
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#18 of 29 Old 08-05-2009, 01:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by craft_media_hero View Post
Oooh, me, me!!

I'm a homeschooling mommy artist; I just finished by studio art BFA courses last semester. My DD lived with me at the studio! I actually found it easier when she was smaller (she's almost 6 now and is "over" the novelty of mom working in the studio). I will say that I barely did any serious work until she was about 2; I was so busy with life and being a mom.

I'm going to keep taking classes toward my Art History degree, and this is our first year homeschooling. So, I do not have a lot of time for my own work, but I really needed a hiatus after the intensity of the degree program, so I'm happy to let myself rest a bit now.

A couple of ideas: try to do 5 drawings a day---these can be super quick blind contour/contour drawings, a brush and ink gesture, automatic drawing, etc. DD and I just sat down and spent 15 minutes or so doing blind contour drawings....we each did about 4-5. I know this isn't "marketable" or a masterpiece, but it's keeping me in my art brain.

Or, try to do 30 portraits in 30 days. or 10 portraits in 10 days, or whatever you feel you can commit to. It doesn't matter if the portraits come out fabulous or not, the point is just to keep working. You can spend as much or as little time as you want--even a 2 minute portrait of your DP while sleeping, ya dig?

Also, gesture drawings---take the sketch book to the park and try to bust out a quick 5 gestures before pushing the LO on the swing, etc.

If your LOs are older, you can do nature observation drawings together; bring paper and wc pencils and just spend time sitting in nature and drawing together.

We've also been doing "art history". So far all we've talked about is self-portraits, looking at famous self portraits, talking about the difference between realistic and abstracted self portraits, etc.

Starting in September, I'll be teaching a printmaking class one day a week, so I'm looking forward to that as an outlet for my "professional" work. I'm a bit nervous about the commitment though, what with the time and energy consumed by homeschooling/sahm-ing.

Another idea is to work in media that kids will be able to join in, like batik (kids can use cold wax resist), water color, or very simple printmaking (they do stamps while you do linoleum or whatnot).

Good luck, mamas! I wish there was an art mommy tribe!! All my artist friends are young, single, and free; they don't realize the challenges of working as an artist and taking care of a family.
This too.

My baby is 2 years old! How did that happen?!
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#19 of 29 Old 09-21-2009, 06:42 PM
 
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#20 of 29 Old 10-20-2009, 12:33 AM
 
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#21 of 29 Old 02-18-2013, 04:17 PM
 
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Old thread...but great inspiration for me, thanks all!
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#22 of 29 Old 10-04-2013, 09:17 AM
 
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Old thread...but great inspiration for me, thanks all!

 

Totally agree! I love reading this thread when I have a spare moment. So lovely to know that other mamas struggle to get creative but that there are WAYS of making it work. Thanks all :-)

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#23 of 29 Old 10-18-2013, 11:36 AM
 
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This really is a great thread. :) I'll chime in with my 2 bits.  I'm a mommy artist as well.  2 years ago I decided I wanted to show my kids that they can be whatever they want to be. I kept telling myself little negative thoughts before that... "I'm not good enough." "There's no money in art." "You'll never do anything with it."  "You have to be a slave to what other people want if you're an artist."  I decided to silence that part of me, and just do it.  And I did. I painted, I got creative, I got out into my community with my art a little more.  

 

And then I got pregnant again, and life went all wonky and now I have my amazing little boy, along with my two amazing girls.  My kids range in age from 11 months now, to 12 years old. BIG GAP!  My oldest also has severe Autism, so my hands are definitely FULL.  

 

Still, I'm starting to get back into it again.  I've got a commission for a 4-foot painting coming, and I'm working on illustrating an amazing children's book. I also currently have a piece on display at a gallery downtown in my hometown. I may not be making gobs of money but I am doing what I love and I am gradually becoming what I envision for being an "artist."

 

I hope in a few years to do art lessons with children and adults in my community, and hope to eventually gain a living from that, and partially from the sale of my work.

 

As for making time, I sketch during the evenings when the kids are in bed, and I paint during nap times.  I home school my 7 year old, and the baby is with me all the time, so it can be difficult, especially in a teeny tiny house.  It is important, though, not only for my own goals, but because I want my kids to see me being happy doing what I love, even though society may say that art isn't a "real job."  What matters is happiness. :)

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#24 of 29 Old 10-20-2013, 10:26 AM
 
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This really is a great thread. :) I'll chime in with my 2 bits.  I'm a mommy artist as well.  2 years ago I decided I wanted to show my kids that they can be whatever they want to be. I kept telling myself little negative thoughts before that... "I'm not good enough." "There's no money in art." "You'll never do anything with it."  "You have to be a slave to what other people want if you're an artist."  I decided to silence that part of me, and just do it.  And I did. I painted, I got creative, I got out into my community with my art a little more.  

 

And then I got pregnant again, and life went all wonky and now I have my amazing little boy, along with my two amazing girls.  My kids range in age from 11 months now, to 12 years old. BIG GAP!  My oldest also has severe Autism, so my hands are definitely FULL.  

 

Still, I'm starting to get back into it again.  I've got a commission for a 4-foot painting coming, and I'm working on illustrating an amazing children's book. I also currently have a piece on display at a gallery downtown in my hometown. I may not be making gobs of money but I am doing what I love and I am gradually becoming what I envision for being an "artist."

 

I hope in a few years to do art lessons with children and adults in my community, and hope to eventually gain a living from that, and partially from the sale of my work.

 

As for making time, I sketch during the evenings when the kids are in bed, and I paint during nap times.  I home school my 7 year old, and the baby is with me all the time, so it can be difficult, especially in a teeny tiny house.  It is important, though, not only for my own goals, but because I want my kids to see me being happy doing what I love, even though society may say that art isn't a "real job."  What matters is happiness. :)

Hey greenmamato2 - just thought I'd say that it's really inspiring for me to know that you overcame your negative thoughts and went for it - and to me it sounds like your art is keeping you happy. It also sounds like it has the potential for you to earn, which is great. I'd love to see your art... in fact all the SAHM's art. Perhaps we should start a new thread and share pictures?

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#25 of 29 Old 10-20-2013, 11:06 PM
 
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Thank you so much!! Yes, art makes me happy.  When I was growing up I wanted to be an artist, but it was so hard to think of that as a reality when being a "grown up" finally happened.  I married early, had babies young, and followed my husband around the country for his Army career.  Everything got put on hold for a long time.  Now that I'm in my 30's I've decided it is time to fashion the life that I want for myself.  By reaching for my goals I am able to show my children that the world is open to them.  :)

 

I met up with a friend and her daughter who I have been teaching art to.  My daughter asked her what she wanted to be when she grows up.  She said, "an artist."  This is what keeps pushing me forward. :)  I'll post a few photos of my recent paintings here. I've been on a mother/daughter kick. :)

 

 

 

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#26 of 29 Old 10-21-2013, 12:15 PM
 
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These are AMAZING! So beautiful... I love the mother-love in their eyes and the choice of colours; muted, subtle, feminine. Thanks so much for sharing - they are inspiring :-)

 

I will try to scan in some of my pictures (though I haven't got any mothering ones ready yet). Any other mamas want to share? I want to see MORE!

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#27 of 29 Old 10-27-2013, 01:43 PM
 
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Thank you so so much!! I would absolutely love to see some of your work.  Please post!

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#28 of 29 Old 10-27-2013, 03:31 PM
 
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not much time to post (and not much to report - but hoping to change that! ;)) but wanted to sub and say how much I love this inspiring thread - thanks to posters new and old! :love


~ Lucky wife of DH blowkiss.gifand loving mama to DS biggrinbounce.gif (04/11) ~

 

treehugger.gif * femalesling.GIF * ecbaby2.gif *cd.gif * familybed1.gif * bf.gif * namaste.gif *

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#29 of 29 Old 04-20-2014, 02:38 PM
 
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I agree!  This is an amazing thread!  I only had a chance to skim through it, but I find it inspiring and a comfort to know that there are many other artist mamas out there striving to bring out the creativity within.  Greenmamato2, your paintings are so beautiful, I am almost in tears.  You have captured what I wish I could capture on paper when I look at my two sweet little ones. 

I am a jewelry artist, and before I became a wife and mother, I was spoiled with all the studio time I wanted to create.  And while I know I created some great stuff, I wonder how different my work might have been if I had known then what I know now about being efficient.  I probably would have tried harder to develop my skills and refine my techniques, but then again, maybe I wouldn't have explored as much or made as many unique discoveries as I made over the years.  I believe everything is happening in my life as it was meant to, and motherhood will not only change the way I work as an artist, but is a tremendous opportunity to pass on a love of art and creativity to the next generation.

As much as I adore my children and am proud to be their mother, being a mom has done nothing to reduce my creative impulses.  And since my children are so young (DS is 3yrs, DD is 6 months), I don't get much time in to make art of any kind.  I haven't made more than a single pair of earrings since DD was born.  On my bench, gathering dust, are the pieces I started last Fall, and haven't touched since. 

Still, every morning, as my first cup of coffee is kicking in, the ideas start flowing, but I have no time even to sketch them out.  So, I've been trying to save them up in my head, with the hope that one day I will have the opportunity to retrieve some of them. 

Oh, I have so much more to write, but I'm out of time again!  Just glad I found this thread!

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