Looking around my studio, surrounded by what might appear, as chaos to some, is a playground for creativity. Paint Junkies, the name of my studio, came about by doing just that.
We recently bought a house on a lake that has a separate cottage, which I use as my studio. This has been a game-changer for me. At the least, it has kept my house clean. I went from having art projects and sample boards strewn all over the house to having one fabulous, contained space.
My studio is a happy home to hundreds (my husband might say more) of different paint/creative products that at any given time can spark an “aha!” moment of inspiration.
I grew up in Southern Indiana, one of six kids. My mom was a stay-at-home mom and an artist. I remember being in awe of a painting she did of a black stallion that I found while exploring the attic. The most artistic thing I had done as a kid was to take (forced) piano lessons, of which I am now very grateful. My artistic journey advanced much later while working as a general contractor in Indiana building spec homes and loving the final steps of choosing all of the fun stuff (cabinets, carpet, paint).
When my husband, Kevin, was offered a new position in Decatur, Illinois, we jumped on the opportunity for him and that allowed me to be a stay-at-home mom to our two fabulous children, Hannah and Lincoln. When my children were of school age, I worked for a short time selling real estate. I met someone who knew a lady that did decorative paint finishes, thus reigniting my love of design, texture and color from my general contractor days. I stumbled into my current career of faux finishing, and I am so glad that I did.
“When things go wrong, don’t go with them.” – Elvis
One of my favorite commercial projects was making over a fabulous Mexican restaurant in Decatur. It was a lot of working through the night and early mornings while the restaurant was not open for business. I loved the freedom I had to use vibrant finishes and colors. It is so fun to see the transformation of an ordinary space into something extraordinary.
Over the past several years, I have been privileged to take workshops and to teach at the Faux Retreat and the annual ArtFusion event, both hosted by Kathy Boyd. These events overflow with talented artists who love to share their knowledge and craft. As Bill Nye says, “everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” This is so true in the art world. I always feel like I learn so much more from artists taking my workshops than what they learn from me.
I enjoy working in several different mediums, but one of my all-time favorites is epoxy/resin. I teach a workshop called ArtScapes, a mixed media art class, focused on using epoxy/resin. There is something so satisfying about creating with a medium that has a “mind of its own”. I usually start with an idea of what I want to create, but the very nature of the medium dictates the outcome.
I’m not only a paint junkie. I love magazines, books and traveling to help get into the creative flow. I went to Paris this spring and came back with lots of photos. There is so much inspiration everywhere. If I were to offer one piece of advice to someone wanting to live a creative life, it would be to just start.
My son was recently home from grad school and gave me some words of wisdom stating, “you’re going to live the rest of your life in the present.” Isn’t it awesome when you learn from your kids?
I’m off to the studio to create something fabulous. Paint Junkies is my happy place.
Procrastination is the slow death of creativity.