Trusting the Journey
As a young girl, I held a passion for painting but chose a slightly different path of graphic design as I was excelling in the business and marketing arena. However, at 24, I came to the realization that one’s natural strengths/abilities do, indeed, lead you to your true passion, and I learned the importance of listening to that small, still voice inside.
So, I gathered my childhood passion and began painting. I packed up and headed to craft shows and art festivals on the weekends to sell my paintings. This ignited an inextinguishable fire inside of me. And, because timing always seems to be perfect (at least in hindsight), a little studio space inside a once-abandoned stove-and-mattress factory conveniently became available. It was then that I made the jump to trade in my corporate high heels for brushes and boots — and a journey of self-discovery took off.
During those fall and spring weekend craft shows, there were many moments of peace and many moments of doubt. I would ask myself, “What have I done?” I had a completely sufficient and safe career. But I realized the doubt only became louder the closer I came to stepping into my purpose. So, I continued to forge ahead.
Many twists and turns later, I realized that while I may have hung up my business suits, I still held tightly to my business mindset. I knew I had a heart for painting and fine arts — I even studied painting in London — but the next obstacle was turning that into a career.
After a decade of working in an “open” studio space where passersby could stop in and talk to me about my work, I decided to take it a step further and go the e-commerce route. Creating an Instagram and Facebook account was a game changer, as this allowed for further exposure and connection with others.
I soon began to receive emails with personal stories of how my art specifically touched someone’s life after a devastating loss. Then another story of how one of my paintings helped them cherish their childhood memories. More and more stories were flooding into my inbox. I then knew I was fully aligned with my purpose.
It’s an incredible feeling to know that your work is helping, even in the smallest way, to soothe someone’s pain and inspire them into their dreams.
I have had many honors throughout my career. Accepting an ongoing collaboration with the retail powerhouse Anthropologie for some of my bestselling pieces was a dream come true for a girl from a small town.
But my ultimate dream was realized four years ago, when one fateful morning while taking a coffee break, I saw a “for rent” sign on a retail building located on Main Street in beautiful historic downtown Franklin, which is brimming with adorable shops, restaurants and cafés. And in March 2020, I received the keys and opened the doors to my very own gallery. Navigating the roller coaster of ups and downs as lockdowns happened was scary, but together with my husband, and with my e-commerce store thriving, I was able to concentrate on creating even more meaningful works of art.
At one time a grocery store (in the early 1900s), the gallery space is thriving. Upon entering, customers are greeted by a 13-foot angel on the wall with the words, “Trust Your Journey.” It is a safe haven and inspiring space for all who enter. Creating a physical space that is an extension of the meaning of the work — peaceful and inspiring — was one of my main goals. I never know who is going to walk in the door. The stories that people share are just so special.
Upstairs, the exposed brick walls and old wooden floors in the loft have been the setting for several beautiful events, including rehearsal dinners, weddings, proposals, and even an elopement! Seeing the space become what it was meant to be has been the ultimate gift for me.
The gallery has allowed me to truly create an authentic, beautiful and inspiring space, and I am forever grateful for this opportunity that God has given me.
The world needs your specific gift. For me, pairing my artwork with someone’s heart — mentally, spiritually and emotionally — and making a connection with another human on a deeper level is the greatest gift I can offer.
A wife, busy mom to two beautiful girls, and living on a “mini” farm with my quarter horse, Jack, and a clucky henhouse, I have converted an old one-stall horse barn into my home studio and continue to paint with purpose to help inspire and encourage the viewer. I hope that my story is proof for other creatives that you can make a career out of your passion — you just have to trust your journey.