Artist Meets Mother

An Interview With Andrea Soos

Using vibrant colours, bold shapes and intricate line the work of Andrea Soos is a beauty to behold  As a regular contributor to the Artist Meets Mother hashtag I have  been keen to chat to Andrea about her practice for sometime and I am excited to feature her today. In this interview Andrea talks about her mother artist journey, how she doesn't strive for perfection as a mother artist and how her work is expanding now she more time to spend in her studio. 

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Tell me a bit about your art. What inspires your practice?

My art is very process driven. I really have no idea what the finished piece will look like. When I really let go and allow the process to carry me is when I achieve the best results. My paintings are very much a playful approach to drawing and mark making and are inspired by a long standing sketchbook practice that I am finally exploring on a large scale.

Can you share anything of your journey as a mother with us? How many children do you have?

I have 2 boys, ages 9 & 13. Both have seen the evolution of my art career as a teacher in the schools and galleries, to teaching at my home studio, then a studio owner and now returning to working at home again (though in a newly built backyard studio!) I realize that being home for them after school or being available to take them to their baseball practices is just as important as it was to be with them when they were toddlers (and just as time consuming!) so I am transitioning back to working from home for now. Teaching art was a great part time job to help me stay creative and practicing art while they were little.

Do you feel that motherhood has changed your experience as an artist?

I think that I have always worked quickly but being a mom means squeaking out a few minutes or an hour here or there so my art became faster, more layered and spontanious. I don't have time to be perfect, which is great because I don't know that art should be perfect.

Tell me a bit about your process. Is your process different now to how it was when they were small?  

If I am working large i use acrylics, drawing tools, spray paint and paint pens to get a variety of layers and marks.  My paper pieces and my sketchbooks often include a bit of collage and gouache or watercolour too. I used to only work small or under 42x48 but now that i have a bit longer in my studio hours, i am exploring big pieces (up to 65 x 75 so far)

Describe to us your work space. Where do you create?

My new space is only 100 square feet so it is very purpose built. One side is a wall to wall counter with shelves and drawers underneath. The other wall is plain, with no wall sockets, light switches or windows so I can tack up my large canvases. The only furniture is 3 rolling carts and an easel.  

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What positives do you feel being a mother brings to your artistic practice?

I think that my art is about not being too precious or perfect and so it is a way I can ease some of the worries or anxieties I get with the role of being a mother. My mom likes to point out that i am more controlled in my real life and less so in my art, so it must my therapy. It certainly brings me a sense of well being if I can get some studio time in each day - I am a better mother on those days.

What challenges does it bring?

Time is always the challenge. Being present and available for the kids and my art practice is a tricky balance and it is always changing. I think moving my studio home will help a lot. The last three years of running a teaching studio and trying to paint out of that space was hard on me and my family. Running a small business is time consuming and trying to fit in my own art practice as well as my family was trying. I made the decision to focus on my art full time and though that means losing the studio I built and loved, I think it is the right decision for us right now.

Do you feel being an artist benefits your parenting in anyway?

Definitely!  It makes me calmer and more relaxed if I have had even 10 minutes of creative time. 

Where can we see more of your art?

You can find me on my website, on Instagram and on Facebook.

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For more art by inspiring mother artists follow our Instagram feed @ArtistMeetsMother or scroll through the Artist Meets Mother category here on my blog.

Are you an artist balancing motherhood and art? Join our community and tag your art with the hashtag #artistmeetsmother.


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The images used in this post were photographed by Sarah MacNeill and Berkley Vopnfjord.

An Interview With Meredith C. Bullock

Perhaps one of my favorite artists on my Instagram feed the beautifully vibrant and minimal paintings of Meredith C. Bullock bring me such joy.  I have been keen to have her share her experiences of running a successful art business whilst being a mother to her small child and I was super excited when she agreed to do an Artists Meets Mother interview last year.  Unfortunately shortly after her responses to my questions appeared in my inbox I became very sick in pregnancy and my art practice and my blog had to be temporarily shelved whilst I focused on mine and my babies health. Since completing this interview Meredith has safely delivered her second child and is taking a temporary break from her art business to focus on mothering her boys.  I am none the less very pleased to finally bring to you today our interview from last summer. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have.

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Tell me a bit about your art. What inspires you to paint?

Art is how I understand myself and the world around me—it's how I process what I see, what I feel, what I experience. 

What inspires me is endless, honestly. But what directly and most closely inspires my work are past and current experiences and how I process them emotionally.
I recently minimized my art practice and work to fit into more pockets of time as a stay home mother. Previously my work would take days and multiple layers of paint to complete. I missed the feeling of completing a piece of work in a day like I used to before I became a mother. So I looked at my process and figured out where I could minimize my process in order to complete a painting in a sitting, better yet, in an hour or less. I stopped mixing paint and instead started to use ink, I traded in canvas for paper, I stopped layering my art to complete the painting in one sitting (no drying time), and I simplified my gestures into more precise shapes. All of these changes made a huge impact on my work visually and emotionally. I started to prefer the bold yet minimal lines and found I could (or had to) articulate my emotions with more clarity.

Describe to us your workspace. Where do you create? 

My art studio is in my home just off the kitchen and as you walk into our main home entrance. It offers me the ability to create in unexpected moments, during naptimes, and at night or early in the morning if I wish. I often wish I didn't have to share my studio with the entrance walkway of our home, or better yet even have it in my home at all, but I know for certain I would never have enough time to create if I had to drive to a separate location.

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Can you share anything of your journey as a mother with us? 

My journey as a mother so far has been quite a roller coaster! At first I couldn't believe the immense joy and love I felt. I honestly didn't know I could love anything the way I loved my son. After a few months I started to miss my old life and the freedom (and sleep) I once had. Especially my creative life. I was just coming off the 100 day project of creating nearly everyday then I went to..
creating nothing for weeks, maybe even months. It was hard, really hard. But eventually after 3 or 4 months I started to find more time to create and around 8/9 months we hired a nanny to watch my son a few days a week. Then when he was a year, when he was breastfeeding less during the day, we enrolled him into daycare a few days per week. He continues to go to daycare 2 days per week and is enrolled in next year's program for the same thing. We're expecting our second baby (another boy!) in July so we're unsure how everything will look when we have two boys but we're excited to find out. I imagine the first 6 months will somewhat easy for finding creative time because the baby will be so little and my older son will be going to daycare 2 days per week. But what I have learned from my past experience is to not expect too much or plan too much because you just never know how everything will pan out once the baby comes. So we're going to take it one day at a time.

How many children do you have? 

I have an almost 2 year old son and another boy coming in July.

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Do you feel that motherhood has changed your experience as an artist? 

It definitely has. Becoming a mother changes everything. It changes the amount of time you have, the emotions you have, the energy you have, your interests, your focus, and your expectations. Because I desire to be the best mom I can, I mould my creative life around that. So that means less time creating and more time mothering. It also means my passions of being a great mom comes through my work and often times my son along side me as I create. I recently created a painting while he painted his own painting beside me. Just when I thought I was finished he moved my paper and caused me to mess up my work. I was a bit angry but attempted to fix it. Then he grabbed my brush as I was painting and messed up what I was doing again. I was so frustrated, I yelled at him. Then I continued to repair the painting to what I thought would look nice and the guilt set in. I realized my art was far better because he 'helped' than it was before he had any part of it at all. That right there is artist meets mother.

Tell me a bit about your process. Do you involve your children in your art at all or is your time spent creating time for yourself?

If I can help it, I plan my creative time without my son. But sometimes there are times I paint with him in my studio. I like the idea of collaborating with my son but haven't embarked on that journey yet, except for the accidental example I mentioned earlier. We do create crayon drawing together all of the time but I consider that art more fun than real artwork I feel I'm still learning how to blend him into my studio time. I imagine it'll get better and easier with time and age.

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What positives do you feel being a mother brings to your artistic practice? 

Wow, great question! Becoming a mother has made me a better artist. Because my time is more precious than ever, I'm required to be more intentional about how I plan my creative time, which urges me to be more intentional about why I'm creating and what I'm creating about. My work is stronger because of the intention. I also feel because I'm a mother now I want to be the best I can be for my son to show him that...anything is possible whether your a mother or father or whether you're a stay at home parent or work full time. I want to show him being an artist is possible and beautiful and I'm hopeful he'll enjoy the experience of being surrounded by art and a mother who loves her life and what she does.

What challenges does it bring? 

It's certainly easier to create whenever I want and wherever I want. As a mother it's simply not possible. So the challenge is letting go of this idea of painting all day and night for days on end. And accepting that at this moment and stage of motherhood it's simply not a reality.

Being both a mother and an artist can be a difficult balance. How do you try and manage this? 

The best way I balance anything, especially motherhood with creativity, is with being intentional and by planning as much as possible. I take the time beforehand to plan what I'm going to paint, about so that when I drop my son off at daycare I can jump into painting the moment I return to my studio. It also means my schedule and planner is full of notes, priorities and timelines.

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Self care is important as a mother. Do you feel that being an artist benefits your parenting in any way?

I'm more balanced, calm, happier, and full of joy because I do what I love and therefore I'm a better parent.

Where can we see more of your artwork? 

My most recent work along with the best descriptions are on Instagram. You can also find more on my website at meredithcbullock.com

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For more art by inspiring mother artists follow our Instagram feed @ArtistMeetsMother or scroll through the Artist Meets Mother category here on my blog.

Are you an artist balancing motherhood and art? Join our community and tag your art with the hashtag #artistmeetsmother.


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An Interview With Francine Hsu Davis

Sitting down now after a long day, baby finally asleep in her basket, kids finally asleep not in their own beds I am pleased to  have the opportunity once again to share with you an insight into the processes and experiences of inspiring women practicing their art whilst raising their children. Today In this Artist Meets Mother interview painter Francine Hsu Davis talks about art, mum guilt and how she keeps all of her plates spinning.

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Tell me a bit about your art. What inspires you to paint?

I primarily paint urban landscapes and memories of places using oil (and occasionally mixed media with oil).  Growing up in NYC has definitely had a huge impact on my work, but more recently, I have been inspired by living abroad in Asia where I explored/learned about where my family came from.  I have always felt a bit of a split as many Asian Americans do when they have immigrant parents but grow up in a different culture.  So I paint moments that I do not want to forget as a way of cataloguing the cultures I straddle.  Mostly, I am drawn to urban environments for their color, texture, and energy.

Can you share anything of your journey as a mother with us? How many children do you have?

I have two feisty daughters who have learned that to get through art openings and studio openings, they should find the snack table first.  I worked as an architect for over a decade and when the kids were young, I barely saw them.  I remember "pumping and dumping" at the airport on a work trip and just feeling like this is all wrong.  They were in daycare most of the day and my mother would pick them up and feed them dinner.  Then one day, tired of the rat race, I decided we needed a big change.  We sold everything and moved to Taipei so that I could spend full time with the kids.  Missing them daily was the spark needed to rethink my career (that and the desire to paint, of course). 

Do you feel that motherhood has changed your experience as an artist?

Absolutely.  For the longest time, I did not want to identify myself as a mother/artist or a female artist.  I just wanted to be an "Artist".  I realize now that it is impossible to separate that part of me.  It effects my efficiency, my organization, my creativity, my drive, etc.  Most importantly, I think it has brought me courage.  Courage to carve my own path so my kids know they can do it too and courage to paint like no ones looking.  The artist life can be lonely, but we can also care too much about what people think of our work.  It could be a combination of getting older and being a mother that I realize not seeing the finish line is ok.  You don't just stop being a mother one day and I don't plan on stopping being an artist either.  My roles as both will change as my kids go through different developmental stages.

Tell me a bit about your process. Do you involve your children in your art at all or is your time spent creating time for yourself?

I used to draw people on the subway during my daily commute.  While living abroad, I went out almost daily to sketch urban scenes.  I use those experiences of drawing from life as well as reference photos to create new oil paintings.  For my large "Memories" series, I completed last year, I made collages first and then created paintings based on those collages.  My kids are involved in almost all the aspects of my art life except when I am putting paint on canvas (although in a crunch, they have a painting station in my studio).  They are there with me to install shows, attend art openings, package and mail paintings.  They also see me work on my website or do marketing work in between homework sessions and helping them with piano.

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Describe to us your work space. Where do you create?

I moved to the Bay Area of California to a small apartment and tried to paint in it for the first week (I unpacked boxes very efficiently).  I quickly found that I could no longer put work away when it came to family time and by the second week had found a great studio 10 minutes away by car.  I first rented a storage space that had been cleaned up for me.  A year later, someone within the same art space needed a studio mate, so I now share a much larger space with a sign painter.  There is a ton of light, super tall ceilings, but I am almost always freezing in there.  No space is perfect, but this one has been the perfect fit for the time being.

What positives do you feel being a mother brings to your artistic practice?

Being a mother means bringing your super powers to an artistic practice.  I mean, really, if you can keep a newborn alive, survive toddlerhood, and be the only one in the entire family not to get the flu, then being an artist should be a vacation right?  Not really, but I definitely think there a ton of positives that being a mother can bring to any career.  When you are the CEO, CFO, COO and Chief of everything else of a household, you tend to be able to handle multiple spinning plates in the air.  I hung a show recently and the owner commented how professionally and timely it was completed and my response was, I don't have any other choice, I have to go pick up my kids so I had to plan ahead, know where everything was going and just do it.  On the flip side, being a mother has also taught me that you can plan as much as you want, but no one really has to stick with it.  Tell a baby, they were supposed to nap an hour ago and see if she cares.  Being an artist (much like a mother), often means just rolling with it.

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What challenges does it bring?

As a mother of younger kids, I definitely do not have the luxury of time.  As much as I would love to stand around and chat with my studio mates, there's always a sense of urgency, that I need to use my time efficiently.  While I love to be efficient in other aspects of my life, it is not so great for art if it is a constant pressure buzzing in my head.  I have all kinds of alarms set on my phone because one of my biggest worries is that I will be in such a flow state painting that I will forget to pick up my kids.  Then there's mom guilt.  Everyone's life looks different, but for myself, I definitely put a lot of pressure on myself to make sure my kids have healthy homemade meals so I prep Breakfast, Snack, Lunch, Afterschool Snack, and dinner 5 days a week at minimum.  I've tried to lighten up a bit on this one.  There's guilt when I'm away from the studio and there's guilt when I'm away from the kids.  It's just something that I think I have to work on my own mindset.

Being both a mother and an artist can be a difficult balance. How do you try and manage this?

Being a mother, a wife, and a daughter...is difficult and then to toss in artist to the mix, it can just seem crazy some days.  Balance exists in a different form for me that changes daily, weekly, constantly.  I try to keep most of the rest of my life organized so that I can make a mess and be free in the studio.  Helping everyone understand that mom doesn't need to and can't always do everything for you is a good start.  Now that the kids are a little older, I've also been much better about sharing drawing materials and tools.  Even though they've always had their own kid sets, they are always curious about the types of pens, pencils, brushes, paint, that I use.  I'll let them share the tools that I keep at home (watercolor palettes, pencils, brush markers, gel pens, etc.)

Self care is important as a mother. Do you feel that allowing yourself the time to create then goes on to benefit your parenting in any way?

I can get super grumpy if I don't get studio time in.  I try to keep "office hours" so Monday- Friday, for the most part, which are my days to create while the kids are at school.  I have learned in recent months though that prolonged intense time of making can really put a stress on your body and patience level.  I've started to limit my office hours a little to allow myself time out of the studio to just do cartwheels on the grass with the kids and go to the gym.  Seeing art is also a kind of self care to me, so I try to decide which ones to do on my own and which ones would be enjoyable for the kids as well.  I hope one day they will thank me for all the museums and galleries I drag them to.

Where can we see more of your artwork?

You can see more of my artwork on my website: www.francinehd.com and Instagram: @francinehd

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For more art by inspiring mother artists follow our Instagram feed @ArtistMeetsMother or scroll through the Artist Meets Mother category here on my blog.

Are you an artist balancing motherhood and art? Join our community and tag your art with the hashtag #artistmeetsmother.

An Interview With Megan Gray

Directly influenced by the power of nature mother artist Megan Gray paints inspiring oil landscapes Painting from her home studio Megan successfully balances her practice with being the mother of three. She shares with us today her mother artist journey. 

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Tell me a bit about your art. What inspires you to paint?

I am mainly a landscape painter working in oils, charcoal, gouache, and watercolor. My work is heavily influenced by my time spent outdoors, and my love for the natural setting. Sometimes I use photos for reference, other times I just let whatever needs to come out do so on the canvas.

Can you share anything of your journey as a mother with us? How many children do you have?

I am a mother of three children ages 10, 8, and 4. If you had asked me when I was younger if I would ever marry and have children I would have said no. Being a child of divorce I didn't think I was really up to the task. I thought I would be a failure. Then I met my husband and quickly realized that life isn't just about me. I knew that together we made each other better and stronger, and that I was confident that we could handle parenting successfully together. But hey, it's not over yet and the kids I'm sure will complain about how we were crazy parents! 

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Do you feel that motherhood has changed your experience as an artist?

They honestly made me the artist I am today. Without their presence I don't think I would have ever felt that push to create. I would have never realized how much I needed to make art. Seems once all the time in the world became shortened by other responsibilities I realized it goes fast, and I couldn't wait to make time for my art anymore. 

Tell me a bit about your process. Do you involve your children in your art at all or is your time spent creating time for yourself?

I tend to work smaller, though I'm trying to do larger paintings. Smaller paintings help me to work quickly and feel like I'm accomplishing more. My kids are always welcome to create alongside of me, my youngest usually is the one he chooses to do so. However, all of my kids will watch me paint and tell me what they think of my work. I also ask for their advice sometimes. They give great feedback on what they like and don't. We homeschool, so we all have work and hobbies that we do all day long. We constantly create, learn, and experience life at the same time. Sometimes it's messy and frustrating, and other times it all goes smoothly. I also work a lot at night when everyone is asleep. That way I can focus and don't feel I'm missing out with my kids.

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Describe to us your workspace. Where do you create?

Well, we are currently living full-time in an RV, so I have a little corner where I paint. Another reason why I tend to paint smaller art. When it's nice out I take my set-up outside. It's nice because the kids play outside and I get work done at the same time. No guilt because we are all outside getting fresh air and having a good time. Not sure what the future holds at the moment. Maybe a house, or maybe we will actually use this RV to travel. Still figuring things out. Eventually we want to set down roots, and I wouldn't mind having more space to create.

What positives do you feel being a mother brings to your artistic practice?

Time management. Having kids has really helped me to make time for what is most important and to figure out what doesn't need to be done now, or maybe ever. I'm not perfect, and we don't have a set schedule really, but I know now what is most important to me. What my time is best used for.

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What challenges does it bring?

Having patience with myself, life, and being a parent is my biggest challenge. Trying not to worry too much as well. It's all a constant learning and growing experience.

Being both a mother and an artist can be a difficult balance. How do you try and manage this?

Balance isn't set in stone. It looks completely different from day to day, person to person. Being okay in the present moment and listening to what we all truly need in a given moment is how I try to keep it level. When someone is sick, hurt, or needs more cuddles then that is what is most important. The art can always wait. My kids and husband come first. When I get frustrated I try to remember that at the end and I am not going to want to be surrounded by my paintings. I'm going to want my children and family around me. That reminder always helps me when things get tough. 

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Self care is important as a mother. Do you feel that allowing yourself the time to create then goes on to benefit your parenting in any way?

Absolutely! We all are better in my family when we make space for ourselves. When my youngest is creating I leave her alone unless she asks for help. When my oldest says he needs space we give that to him. I think all of us respectfully giving each other room to thrive helps me to give myself space. Of course my kids are getting older so it's easier now. When they were babies this was a major challenge, so there was a lot more nap time painting sessions and hours stolen late at night for my art too. Less sleep and more coffee. Again, it's all about patience and doing what needs to be done in that present moment. Being fluid and not strict with schedules has always helped me.

Where can we see more of your artwork?

Here is all the ways you can find or contact me:
Wwww.megangrayarts.com Emegangrayarts@yahoo.com 
Follow the Creative Journey:  Facebook * Instagram * Twitter

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For more art by inspiring mother artists follow our Instagram feed @ArtistMeetsMother or scroll through the Artist Meets Mother category here on my blog.

Are you an artist balancing motherhood and art? Join our community and tag your art with the hashtag #artistmeetsmother.

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Lesley Eaton - Expecting Great Joy As An Artist In The Reality Of Motherhood

I am excited to bring to you today a guest post by the lovely Lesley Eaton from Peppered Paper. Lesley creates beautifully vibrant collages out of paper that is splashed with spills and splatters from her painting process. She creates these works whilst caring for her two young sons. Here she shares with us her thoughts on her artist journey and learning to let go of expectation as a mother artist. 


In one of my first blog posts as a mama I mention the idea of this blurry stage of motherhood. I think I was referring to the newborn stage/ nursing stage/ toddler stage/ bringing home baby brother stage/ repeat... but five years later I still can't seem to reign in focus for any consistent period of time. So, with an almost four-year-old and a five-year-old, I still feel very much in that blurry stage. Maybe it has to do with lack of sleep, the continuous reel of questions from two little boys demanding answers, not ever knowing what to expect next in motherhood, or what to prepare for dinner for that matter; it seems this blurry stage may be a little bit more long term than I anticipated. And, if I'm being honest, I had no idea what to anticipate. It seems impossible to express and to really comprehend beforehand that both the greatest joys and struggles come with the title of mom.

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One of my recurring struggles as a mama has to do with claiming the title of artist. I often hear myself saying things like, "I'm an artist, but I have two little boys at home." I don't even know my intent saying this, but it certainly sounds like I'm saying, "I'm an artist, but not really." Or, "I'm an artist, but let me make sure you know the hard work I'm doing is at home, and also that's why I look so tired." I'm working on being able to say, "I'm an artist." Period.

I am an artist. I am a mama. I'm truly convicted that neither calling is a mistake. And now, part of that calling seems to be reconciling the two. I keep having to remind myself of the wisdom someone recently passed along saying that balance is not a reasonable goal. She explained that there would be times when the mom job would place significantly more demands on me than the other roles in my life would, and vice versa. So, I'm working on letting go of my expectations that everything should be perfectly balanced, and easy. I'm learning to embrace the idea that there is much more ebb and flow, ups and downs, than perfectly maintained equilibrium. This is much easier said than done for me. I want it all. I want to be full time mom, full time artist, preparing home cooked meals every night, baking and crafting with the kids, gardening, with a perfectly clean house all the time. I know, you can laugh with/ at me for still desiring a clean house all the time.

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All this to say, while it still is, and likely always will be, a huge struggle for me to let go of some of my desires and perfectionist tendencies, I'm slowly starting to appreciate the beautiful push motherhood has given me to embrace my calling as an artist, to confidently claim the title, to fight for my creative self and to make space to keep growing and expressing. Acknowledging that at times these spaces will be in little spurts with lots of interruptions, and at other times giving myself the freedom to make big pushes, asking for lots of help in the form of babysitters and boxes of mac n' cheese. And knowing when I need to close up shop for a bit, like when we welcome our third baby this summer!, that I will be expected back when the time is right, to push through struggles and expect great joy and fulfillment creating as I was created to, as an artist and a mother.

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You can find more of Lesley's work over on her website or Instagram account.

For more art by inspiring
 mother artists follow our Instagram feed @ArtistMeetsMother.

Are you an artist balancing motherhood and art? Join our community and tag your art with the hashtag #artistmeetsmother
If you have a post you would like to share with the readers of my blog about your experiences as a mother artist please get in touch. I would love to hear from you. 

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A Day In The Life Of - Sticks + Ink

My apologies for the lack of Artist Meets Mother posts over the summer. As those who follow me on Instagram probably know I have been suffering with horrendous pregnancy sickness and a lot of things needed to be shelved for a while whilst I focused on getting through each day. I am excited to come back today to bring you the first of a new series of Artists Meets Mother posts, " A Day In The Life of". Have you ever wondered how other women manage to balance their time between their art and motherhood? This series is your chance to find out.

Our first "A Day In The Life Of" post is from abstract artist Sticks + Ink


My day starts at 6.30am when I get up to do my morning physiotherapy exercises. They take a good 35 mins twice a day which I find hard to fit in, but getting up early helps get one set ticked off the list - hopefully before my children wake up! Another reason for getting up so early is so that I have time to get some chores done before I drop to children to school. I try and to at least get one load of washing done and hung on the washing line and all the mess from breakfast taken care of. That way I can head straight to my studio from the school run and utilize as much of my morning time when I’m at my most refreshed and productive.

Its 8.20am and I am walking my boys to school, the sun is shining and the entire time they are at school I get to go into my studio, so today is already a great day!

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On my way home I nip to my post office to post some artwork to a collector, and as I am having an open studio this weekend I pick up some gorgeous tulips too.

9.45am I'm back at home it takes 5 attempts to leave the house as I keep remembering things I need at my studio, I’ve only been in 3 weeks so still hauling bits there everytime I go in.

10.05am I've arrived at my studio which is about a ten minute drive from my house and before I can play with my paints I get out my notebook to consult my 'Mother of All Lists' and using the ABC123 method I note down on a post-it which tasks I need to get done in the 4.5 hours I have before I'm collecting the kids again.

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I always write 'creative painting day' at the top of my list on a Thursday as a reminder to myself that I'm supposed to keep Thursday for creative fun stuff and not let the constant admin pressures eat into my creative playtime! I get through about half of what I set up to do - hanging a bunch of canvases for my open studio, work on some merchandise ideas and play in my sketchbook!

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4pm back home after picking up the kids so it's time to make dinner, tonight I'm making meatballs and a marinara sauce with spaghetti. Halfway through cooking I remember the children have a cake sale at school tomorrow so I start making chocolate rice crispie cakes at the same time. I then burn my arm and wonder why us Mums are being asked to juggle cake making when we already have so much on our plates. I vow that next time I'll just give the class rep a tenner and cut out this hassle!

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4.30pm I sit down with the children and eat dinner together, I try and do this as often as I can, no tv on, just a bit of family time together for me to hear about their day. I love that the kitchen is usually cleaned up by 5.30 which helps me get more stuff done in the evening.

17.10 I'm starting to feel a bit tired which means if I don’t get the washing up and packed lunches done now there's a danger I won't do it at all.

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I put on a podcast to help me push through the fact that I really don't want to do either and I'm aware I have three loads of clean washing on the bed waiting for me to put away. When I feel like this I mentally picture something I can reward myself with once I've got though these chores. Today I decide that the moment the kids are in bed I'm going to collapse on the (tidy) bed upstairs, open the windows and relax with a cup of tea and a good book.

17.15 For now, pod cast on, I'm going to try and get everything done by 18.30. Let's see if I manage it!

17.36 where did 20 minutes go? Got distracted by kids asking for their seventh post dinner snack and Instagram private messages pinging. Ok the chores start now!

18.05 washing up done and my back is really aching so before I do all the awkward bending involved with sorting out the laundry I lie flat on the bed for 10 mins and take that opportunity to write my daily Instagram post.

18.30 ok got very distracted and ended up splurging on some jewelry from Le Lou Ula! Post done, better get this laundry mountain dealt with whilst I can keep my eyes open. I call the boys up for their bath whilst I'm at it.

18.55 Half way through the laundry I had bright idea to start putting aside piles of clean clothes for our up coming holiday at the same time! Kids are getting bored in the bath so hand them a canister of Paw Patrol mouldable bath foam to keep them occupied a bit longer. Ignoring the fact I think they are emptying the whole thing - I need to get the laundry mountain dealt with and a clean and tidy bed to be able to relax later!

19.30 After a couple of stories cosied up in my bed my kids are down. I'm so tired I'm heading straight downstairs to collapse on the sofa with some trashy tv.

20.30 One episode of The Real Housewives of Cheshire is enough to get my equilibrium back.Time to do some work on my laptop, I’ve just released an eBook all about my success on Instagram and sharing how I’ve achieved it. I have so many ideas for more tips and tricks I’m still picking up along the way that I’m getting my thoughts down and shaping an idea for my next book.

21.30 Husband gets home just as I’m heading up to bed. Feeling thankful my laundry is done and I can see the bed!

If you would like to see more artwork by Sticks + Ink you can find her on InstagramFacebook and Etsy.

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An Interview With Arna Bartz

Filled with vibrant swirls of colour and inspired by womanhood, motherhood and birth mother artist Arna Baartz lives and breathes creativity. I am so excited to finally bring you this interview Arna did for me all the way back in February sharing with us her practice and how she balances art and motherhood to live an abundant and authentic life. 

Tell me a bit about your art. What inspires you to create?

I am inspired by desire to expand my whole self, my creative self, my emotional and spiritual self and even my physical capacity to understand this amazing universe! Art helps me do this, different colours cause me to think different thoughts and ask unusual questions and as I paint I feel and hear the answers to many of my questions. Some work is extremely conceptual whilst other pieces are gentle and more meditative.  Life inspires me, magic and mystery!

Can you share anything of your journey as a mother with us? How many children do you have?

I have eight children aged from 28 down to 7, 6 boys and two daughters. I had babies at 17 and it has been an extraordinary journey. Motherhood has been in itself, a creative journey of personal development. Art is something i was always able to do with my children and really the one thing that seemed to work for all of us! Messy, fun, activities that sometimes evolved into truly magnificent collaborative artworks. 

I am very proud of my beautiful children in all their diversity, they have and continue to bring me into an expanded place of love and awareness. 

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Do you feel that motherhood has changed your experience as an artist?

Yes I do, all my parenting regrets and guilt of which I had a lot has been processed through the use of art. I don't think my artistic process would be the same at all if I hadn't had children. I started making art to sell when I was about 20 yrs old and it was then all inspired by pregnancy, breastfeeding and birth, this really helped me express my fascination for the feminine principle and inspired the use of colour in a connected therapeutic way, the feelings of woman, motherhood and birth are so powerful.

Tell me a bit about your process. Do you involve your children in your art at all or is your time spent creating time just for yourself? 

My children have always been involved in my artistic process, they make art at the same time I make art they make mess that I paint around! These kids are so creative and are amazing teachers, not only of self-expression but also of looseness and individual style. some of my children are natural graphic designer, other abstract phenomenons, some sketchers extraordinaire, sculptors too, I learn a hell of a lot watching the way my kids let go to the medium they choose!

Having said this I also make time to create for myself, and this is important, time where I can question my process and hear the insight that comes from my work. Time to be inspired by something majestic that I cant actually explain, opening the channel to a creative force powerful. wonderful and sometimes scary!

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Describe to us your work space. Where do you create? 

I create everywhere in my house, in my bed, on the veranda, in my office out in the backyard down in the shed, the kids just meander around creating as they go too. I have now established a studio away from home where the kids don't create, this is more my own space. 

What positives do you feel being a mother brings to your artistic practice? 

I think being a mother gives us a unique opportunity to enter our creative process with an extremely open channel. We must open in so many ways on all levels to give birth, there is such power in Motherhood. WOMAN is divine and expansive. Whether we take the opportunity to open and receive the energy is up to us but we do have the option. This brings something wild and wonderful to my world and work that I  am truly excited about.

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What challenges does it bring? 

Well the challenges I feel about motherhood and art are just the challenges any mother probably feels, the noise level and chaos sometimes gets to me and I get stressed and overwhelmed then can't create very well. If I am not careful I could (and have been in the past) be resentful, as though the kids are stopping me from making art. But with my personal development practice I KNOW that it is only me not settling into the present and relaxing my body heart and mind that is stopping me. You have to go with the ebb and flow you know... recognising when the energy is there and when it is quiet time. 

Being both a mother and an artist can be a difficult balance. How do you try and manage this? 

It is as I said previously about being very present and aware in my life so that I recognise when to rest and when to work, when it is just playful art and when something more serious is occurring. self-awareness is key to managing anything but particularly other human beings! Emotional intelligence development is key! I also promote my children's art this helps in bringing balance and purpose to the whole family art affair!. There is so much to be gained from allowing ourselves to love a child's unsophisticated but extraordinarily evocative marks (see the eagles attached).

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Self care and having independent interests is important as a mother. Do you feel that being an artist benefits your parenting in any way? 

Yes because being an artist allows me to see outside of boxes, I am not locked into anyone else opinion of who i am or who they think i should be. I am used to being seen as strange or rebellious , it is part of my own artistic identity, so i offer this to my children the opportunity to really imagine anything they want and create it. Art is a fantastic metaphor for deliberate creation! It benefits my parenting because I am not as scared by the unexpected and I know that one awful layer of paint can very well transform quickly into something awesome ALSO sometimes you just have to let go and art teaches me that too!! 

Where can we see more of your artwork? 

You can see more artwork on www.artofkundalini.com, on Facebook and through my Emotional Intelligence art program www.theiamprogram.com 

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For more art by inspiring mother artists follow our Instagram feed @ArtistMeetsMother or scroll through the Artist Meets Mother category here on my blog.

Are you an artist balancing motherhood and art? Join our community and tag your art with the hashtag #artistmeetsmother.

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An Interview With Julie Marriott

Vibrant colours and beautiful floral forms, the work of artist Julie Marriott frequently brightens my Instagram news feed. Her work in many ways radiates the joy of nature. I am more then excited today to bring you this Artist Meets Mother interview where Julie shares with us her practice and why she feels that it is better to strive for "harmony" as a mother artist opposed to "balance." 

Tell me a bit about your art. What inspires you to paint?

I love to paint the lush beauty of nature in bright, joyful, expressive colors. Florals are my favorite subject and my primary medium is acrylic. I also am a surface pattern designer, which means I create patterns to be printed on textiles and other products. Each of these art forms presents its own unique type of creative “problem” to be solved, and I love that unexpected adventure!  Fundamentally, the act of creating a physical object that I can hold and enjoy is wonderfully fulfilling to me.   

Can you share anything of your journey as a mother with us? How many children do you have?

My husband and I have one child so far, our daughter, Violet. She just turned two-years-old, so you could say that I'm still comparatively new to this whole mom thing!  I chose to quit my job as an art instructor to stay home with her full-time and am so happy with that decision.  Violet has a sweet, curious, playful personality and has recently been saying “mama paint!” when she sees videos of me painting or she wanders into my studio.  She LOVES to paint with her own set of art materials and I hope to foster and encourage that creativity as she grows up.

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Do you feel that motherhood has changed your experience as an artist?

Yes! Becoming a mom definitely made me realize in a new way how important art-making is to me and has given me more focus.  Honestly, in the very early days I felt pretty frustrated because I had all these ideas I wanted to work on, and no time!  I’d never had that type of driven urge to create before.  When our lives settled down into more of a routine, being faced with little pockets of free time forced me to be way more intentional about what I wanted to do with my art.  I also felt a drive to build a more serious business around my art, which has been my focus these last two years.

Tell me a bit about your process. Do you involve your children in your art at all or is your time spent creating time for yourself?

When Violet gets a bit older, I would love for her to join me in my studio.  But for now, nap time is my art making time!  I’ve been really blessed that she is a great napper, so I use that chunk of time primarily as studio time.  Some days I prep for an upcoming painting workshop, do computer work, or take photos.  But if it’s a painting day, that is my favorite!  I usually squeeze out my acrylics and get straight to work, free-handing my composition onto the canvas and fitting it together organically like a puzzle as I go along. I often use photo references for individual blooms, but rarely for the whole gathering.  The adventure of not quite knowing how the painting will end up is exciting!  Pinterest is my favorite go-to inspiration resource, so if I get stuck as I’m painting, I often hop on there to find new color palettes and flower varieties.

Right now, I’m working on a series of paintings I call the Garden Girls that incorporate the human figure along with my florals.  Because they are on a larger scale and are a bit more complex, I sketch out my basic composition onto the canvas with a Prismacolor pencil before I start painting.  

At this stage of my life, acrylics are my best friend because they dry so quickly and allow me to get more done in a sitting.  Often you’ll find me hitting up my painting with a blow dryer to get it done even faster! 

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Describe to us your workspace. Where do you create?

My studio is in one corner of our house’s spare bedroom, which also doubles as our home office and extra storage space!  The walls and most of the furniture are white, which keeps the space bright and airy.  Even though it's tiny, I'm just thankful to have a dedicated space where I can make a mess and not worry about cleaning it all up at the end of the day. I still remember my art professors in college saying that it’s ten times harder to gather the momentum to create if you have the barrier of setting your space up every time.  So true!!

I have a little drafting table by the window where I work on my smaller paintings, my trusty turquoise IKEA cart for all my painting supplies, and two small bookshelves for all the rest.  My foldable travel easel hides in the corner until I need it for larger canvases.  A recent addition to my studio (and my new favorite thing!) is a shelf I built above my desk to display my finished paintings. It's really inspiring to have those around me as I work. 

What positives do you feel being a mother brings to your artistic practice?

Becoming a mom really forced me to become way more focused and purposeful with my time in the studio, which I know has propelled my personal style and art business in wonderful ways. Also, being a mom who hopes her daughter will grow up to be a good steward of her unique gifts and strengths has encouraged me to make the most of the creative gifts I’ve been given. 

What challenges does it bring?

Limited time is always the biggest factor.  Also, I would say switching back and forth between “mom mode” and “art-making mode” throughout the day is a challenge.  It’s hard to step away from a painting or design project I’m completely immersed in when my block of creative time is over.  Life just has to be more structured now.  I don’t have the freedom (or energy!) to stay up super late working on a projects anymore because my kiddo doesn’t sleep in!

Being both a mother and an artist can be a difficult balance. How do you try and manage this?

I recently listened to a podcast where the host said that “balance” is the wrong thing to be shooting for because it gives the impression that all areas of our lives need to be equal.  Instead, “harmony” is a better way to look at it, where the different parts of life in their different proportions harmonize and don’t battle one another.  I love this idea!  I think what helps me harmonize my various responsibilities as a wife, mother and artist is having regular times of day that are designated for different duties.  Often, I’ll wake up an hour before my daughter to give myself an extra chunk of time in the studio so I can relax and enjoy our day together even more.

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Self care is important as a mother. Do you feel that allowing yourself the time to create benefits your parenting in any way?

For sure! Being creative is a big part of who I am as a person, so my creative outlets are definitely like a breath of fresh air.  Having dedicated time to create is so fulfilling for me and I hope it makes me a happier mom!

Where can we see more of your artwork?

I’d love to keep in touch with you! Please visit juliemarriottart.com/keepintouch to see more of my work and join my colorful Friday Studio Notes newsletter.  

You can also find Julie on Instagram @juliemarriottart.

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For more art by inspiring mother artists by following our Instagram feed @ArtistMeetsMother. Are you an artist balancing motherhood and art? Join our community and tag your art with the hashtag #artistmeetsmother.

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An Interview With Charity Blansit

Finding the right balance between the life of an artist and the role of a mother is something that all mother artists struggle with. The mother artist relationship is often both motivating and frustrating at the same time. Many mother artists choose to include their children in their work both in terms of physical process but also as a creative influence. Other mother artists separate their art from their family life, thriving in the opportunity to honour their practice whilst dedicating time to their children. Charity Blansit is a mother artist who has truly adapted her practice to incorporate her identity as a mother whilst nurturing her daughters creative interests. Charity shares with us how she does this in this inspiring Artist Meets Mother interview.

Tell me a bit about your art. What inspires you to paint?

I am rather certain I have only painted two paintings in my life before becoming a mother (other than small watercolor and gauche paintings inside sketchbooks or pillow book dream journals).  I started painting together with my daughter because my studio is half of my loft apartment, and her world implores investigation of colors and textures.  Once she was old enough to talk she told me I could share “her” studio with her.  That having been said, I started painting with her on a series of sketches I had drawn in the Cercle Artistic de Sant LLuc, Barcelona, Spain. Previous to painting, I mostly enjoyed live drawing or creating projects from abandoned objects.  Manipulating and investigating materials in the studio is harmonious to my daughter existing around me and engaging when she wants.  I especially like projects people can interact with.


Can you share anything of your journey as a mother with us? How many children do you have?

I have one five-year-old daughter.  I am forty-one years old.  It took me a long time to make up my mind about conceiving a new life.  My husband was certain for several years before I decided to venture down that path.  His solidity as a parent and his consistent confidence in my artwork gives me an advantageous platform from which to choose to perform both fulltime energies it takes to be a mother and an artist.  I think that lastly there has been a lot of media interest in the life of mothers as artists due to the plasticity of creative structures that often mesh between the two worlds.  It is fascinating to see how female artists balance their productive forces. The reality is that children fixate on the survival that a mother represents animally.  My daughter loves the company of her father, but still at the age of five she often prefers that I am the one giving undivided attention. I have found time to focus alone in my studio a few hours every weekday since she was one and a half years old.  At that age, our shared space became literally destructively impossible.  She searched out constant exploration, interaction, and wreckage. I found myself loosing my edge.  I sought out and found an amazing group of nine other mothers sharing a “teacher” and a space with a patio where the children could investigate their worlds together from ten till two.  Having the first part of the day to focus on my work allows me a sane presence to her needs the latter half.  My daughter and I are still part of a similar group of families.  I am concerned about the next step into a Primary school that is up-to-date with the new educational paradigm that respects the interests and movement of children.  Spain does not allow non-institutional education after age five, and Barcelona only has a handful of schools that have kicked out the chairs.  I fell like I am getting sucked into a tangent… but this is what I am facing in my life right now from the perspective of an artist.  I feel like my daughter and I have a timer set on our lives of another year and a half to create as much as we can before the rules change.  Maybe she will be like her father and love school.  Or maybe we will find a creative option.  Regardless, she will come home everyday to art.  This is my present journey as a mother. 

Do you feel that motherhood has changed your experience as an artist?

Motherhood has decisively changed my experience as an artist.  I choose decisively because it was my decision to change.  I know a lot of female artists that find caregivers for their young children and set aside precise studio time like any other job, and their artwork is independent of their experience as a mother.  I think because I have always responded to what I come across in life, my artwork morphs into many directions.  When I became a mother it was a similar experience as when I was given a broken egg sculpture by Joan Brossa; I respond to the moment.  My daughter is the most innovative material I have ever dreamed of being able to create with.  However, I am also careful that she spends a lot of her own time working in her own space with her own materials.  She eventually gravitates to what I am doing, and in the latter part of the day I create things that she can interact with if she chooses.  We have recently taken several months of hiatus from painting, but she has been asking to paint again.  We stretch our own canvas together… and I want to start making our own oil primer.  It is a lot of work.  I often think about how much I cultivated and toiled as a child beside my mother in our garden.  It's all the same, making food or creating for food, everything is food

(Everything Is Food is a song from Robert Altman’s Popeye musical that I adored as a child, as does my daughter.)


Tell me a bit about your process. Do you involve your children in your art at all or is your time spent creating time for yourself?

I make time for myself in the morning till around two, every weekday.  This time is essential for the basic things first: getting emails out of the way, writing, organizing work space (which is usually chaotic anyway), and then focusing on a project.  I work on things that my daughter can´t be involved with.  I am presently creating a transformation of drawings I have on antique paper.  I am in the process of making them tangible and as unbreakable as possible.  The table with that project is totally off limits.  She has always respected my limits… or nearly always.

Describe to us your workspace. Where do you create?

My workspace is the only way into our home.  It is what is behind the door to and from a Barcelonian street.  I have approximately forty square meters with projects piled up on different tables.  It is a mess most of the time, but probably once a month I break down and put everything back in place.  Having a studio in the home gives me the flexibility I need.  I can weave my work in and out and around our lives.  After my daughter’s bedtime, I go to the studio.  If I wake up in the middle of the night, I can look at what I have been creating and reflect.  It is essential for me to have easy access. 


What positives do you feel being a mother brings to your artistic practice?

Art comes from childhood.  My daughter reminds me the way artistic brains function.  She has showed me a lot about contemporary mark making, and to work fast and walk away.  She still lives without mistakes; erasing is its own form of investigation.  I learn a lot from her perspective on life.


What challenges does it bring?

Indeed, it brings a few challenges.  A child´s head always seems to end up right in the middle of any shared experience.  She works fast and walks away.  I have to let go of my desire for controlling potential spills and random movements.  I will get splashed, or maybe paint in the face.  If I am working on a weaving or sewing project, there can be elements of frustration of capacities.  Sometimes my daughter would just rather climb on my back and pretend I'm a horse.  I could go on.

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Describe to us your workspace. Where do you create?

My workspace is the only way into our home.  It is what is behind the door to and from a Barcelonian street.  I have approximately forty square meters with projects piled up on different tables.  It is a mess most of the time, but probably once a month I break down and put everything back in place.  Having a studio in the home gives me the flexibility I need.  I can weave my work in and out and around our lives.  After my daughter’s bedtime, I go to the studio.  If I wake up in the middle of the night, I can look at what I have been creating and reflect.  It is essential for me to have easy access. 


What positives do you feel being a mother brings to your artistic practice?

Art comes from childhood.  My daughter reminds me the way artistic brains function.  She has showed me a lot about contemporary mark making, and to work fast and walk away.  She still lives without mistakes; erasing is its own form of investigation.  I learn a lot from her perspective on life.


What challenges does it bring?

Indeed, it brings a few challenges.  A child´s head always seems to end up right in the middle of any shared experience.  She works fast and walks away.  I have to let go of my desire for controlling potential spills and random movements.  I will get splashed, or maybe paint in the face.  If I am working on a weaving or sewing project, there can be elements of frustration of capacities.  Sometimes my daughter would just rather climb on my back and pretend I'm a horse.  I could go on.

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Being both a mother and an artist can be a difficult balance. How do you try and manage this?

I collect old plates from the street and throw them against the wall when she is in her playgroup.  Joke.  In an interview Louise Bourgeois said how important it was for her to break things sometimes. I doubt that was just because she was a mother as well.  I don´t feel like being a mother is much different than another other way of having to push forward.  I just keep creating however I can.  I think since becoming a mother I have less self-doubt, and doubt is much more complicated to work around than a child.


Self-care is important as a mother. Do you feel that being an artist benefits your parenting in any way?

I am much more careful with myself since becoming a mother.  I see a benefit in the artist´s way being parallel to the child´s way.  I am able to communicate with my daughter in the language of art.  I think art gives me an advantage to understanding the abstract way we first begin to communicate as humans.  She reminds me that artists are translating emotion and thought.  Art is therapy.  I gain the reminder of playfulness and my daughter learns the empowerment of another expression independent of words.  I think having the rebirth realization of the importance of the language of art makes me better as an artist and mother on a personal level of achievement.

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Where can we see more of your artwork?

I organized my website when my daughter was newly born.  You can see some of my projects there:  www.somanyprojects.com. I also sell my work through an art collective on Etsy - LaPolea and can be found on Saatchi Art.

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For more art by inspiring mother artists by following our Instagram feed @ArtistMeetsMother. Are you an artist balancing motherhood and art? Join our community and tag your art with the hashtag #artistmeetsmother.

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An Interview With Neslihan Ergül Colley

Inspired by colour, nature and the emotional experience, mother artist Neslihan Ergül Colley creates time for her art in the margins of her day. In this Artist Meets Mother interview she shares with us her practice and the motivations, influences and struggles that under pin her work. 

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Tell me a bit about your art. What inspires you to paint?

Vivid colors are what inspire me most.  I crave color and the mood it defines in a scene.  Often, just meditating and clearing my head leads certain colors to just pop into my mind, which then develop into a vision of the painting I want to create.  Emotion also has a strong effect on creating this vision. Sometimes a piece of music, a photograph, or a natural scene inspires an emotion.  This creates a snowball effect that attracts me to certain colors, which then develop into an image that supports that emotion.  All I have to do then is hold that vision and translate it to the canvas.  

Can you share anything of your journey as a mother with us? How many children do you have?

My husband and I have two children, Aiden and Sahra, who are now 11 and 9 years old, respectively. We were already busy adults, with both of us working full time jobs. When Aiden was born we made the decision to change our work schedules so that we wouldn’t have to send him to childcare. I cut my hours at work and my husband began working nights, while also writing his first novel. At the time I had an easel and canvas, but pursuing my passion for painting just didn’t seem to be an option with all that was going on at that time. Two years later Sahra was born and that definitely kept us busy. At first, I think being a mother limited my opportunity to paint.  Painting is a messy profession, and with two toddlers running amok it can be very difficult to settle into a routine that leaves time to pursue that passion, not to mention finding the energy.  So in the meantime I stuck to drawing.  I worked on concept art for my husband’s novel, but mostly I kept drawing for myself. At that time most of my friends and family didn’t even know I was an artist. I kept it mostly to myself, as a personal intimacy, an inward journey if you will. Once the kids got a little older, they created the “drawing club,” where we would gather in the loft and draw in our sketchbooks.  Now we paint and draw together all the time!

Do you feel that motherhood has changed your experience as an artist?

Absolutely!  I think being a mother has taught to be patient as an artist, to give time to a painting and see how it develops.  I’ve learned to sleep on a painting and come back it to it with fresh eyes the next day.  Probably most importantly, I think my kids have helped to be more optimistic and happy, to have that excitement each day and leave the adult self and all its worries behind.  Since my painting is largely affected by emotion, this makes a big difference in how approach art and how I paint.

Tell me a bit about your process. Do you involve your children in your art at all or is your time spent creating time for yourself?

I like to create from an uninstructed place, where I am free to let my emotions guide my brush.  I usually start with a feeling, or sometimes an image or color that invokes a certain emotion, and work forward from there.  I try to make the colors and scene in the painting match that emotion.  But every once in a while, a painting takes on a life of its own and I just have to step out of the way and let the painting be what it wants to be.  Depending on which direction a work takes, it could take anywhere from a few hours, to days or weeks depending on the number of layers and how long it takes me and the canvas to agree on a final product.  I prefer oil on canvas as a medium, which takes much longer to dry, though I do use acrylic as well at times.  It can be really hard to declare a painting done, too.  Sometimes I try to be a perfectionist and keep tweaking little bits and pieces until I finally have to stop myself.  I’ve dabbled in digital art some, as an illustrator for my husband’s children’s books.  This was quite the challenge, not just because I had to learn to use new software programs and an art tablet, but because the artwork itself starts with an expectation.  It comes with a preconceived notion of what the final product should be, which restricts the creative process some and makes it a bit harder for me.

For me, painting is a little bit of both a family activity and alone time for me, where I can disconnect from the stresses of life and recharge.  I often paint and draw with the kids.  I set them up a spot next to my easel and we all work on our projects together.  We love painting together, particularly watching Bob Ross on Netflix while we create. Especially my daughter; she’s a born artist.  She can draw for hours, meticulously adding detail to her art. But when the kids are off playing, I’m turning up the music, pouring a glass of wine, and finding my happy place somewhere between the brush strokes and the canvas.

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Describe to us your workspace. Where do you create?

Whenever it’s warm enough I paint outside, on our back porch.  We have an amazing view, with fields and open space right behind us all the way to the mountains.  It’s very inspiring, particularly near sunset.  When it gets too cold I move inside to my bedroom where I’ve set up a little art studio.  That way I get to stare at the painting I’m working on and visualize the next steps while I am resting. 

What positives do you feel being a mother brings to your artistic practice?

Art is an awesome activity that I can share with my kids.  It lets us spend quality time together doing something we all enjoy and forms a special bond between us.  On a personal level, being a mother changes a lot of things beyond just having something to do with kids.  It heightens your empathy and strengthens emotions, which is empowering for me since I start from an emotion and create outward from there.  In some cases, their life experiences inspire specific works, such as my son’s unfortunate incident with a stapler. While painful, it inspired a book by husband, who is an author, and subsequently a lot of artwork by me.  Having children expands your horizons and teaches you patience, which can directly translate into practicing art.

What challenges does it bring?

Time is probably the most challenging. Due to my husband’s opposite work schedule, our evening routines only involve one parent. After my day job, activities, homework, and dinner, there’s not much room left in the day for me to paint during the week unless I stay up late. Sometimes I do, if I’m particularly inspired, but it can be exhausting if you have a deadline to meet. Weekends can fill up fast with family time and friends, but I try to make sure I squeeze time into the schedule to paint. Summer is a bit different; that’s my time to bloom. I can usually set aside time to paint a couple of days during the week, and the added daylight inspires me more, and makes me crave certain colors. 

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Being both a mother and an artist can be a difficult balance. How do you try and manage this?

When my kids were born I knew I wanted to spend as much time with them as possible.  They grow up so fast!  I had an easel and some paints that sat in the closet collecting dust for many years.  I knew the day would come when it would be the perfect time to paint again.  Then one day, when my kids were six and four, I sent them out on a play date.  For the first time in years I picked up a brush.  I spent hours out on the back porch, soaking up the view, letting my emotion and passion for color guide me.  The next day I went straight to Michael’s and stocked up on canvas and paints and brushes and all the cool supplies my heart desired.  Since then I haven’t stopped.  It took some time to settle into a schedule where I could make sure I was spending the time I wanted with the kids and yet reserving time for art, too.  Now that they’re older and more independent it’s a lot easier to take that time for myself when I need it.  The best part is the kids love art too, so now we get to work together all the time.  They’re my biggest fans and they get inspired whenever I create a new piece.

Where can we see more of your artwork?

My artwork can be found at Fine Art America and on Instagram.  

Also, some of my original artwork will be on display at the Wasatch County Library, Utah from February 27th to May 7th, 2017.

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For more art by inspiring mother artists follow our Instagram feed @ArtistMeetsMother or scroll through the Artist Meets Mother category here on my blog.

Are you an artist balancing motherhood and art? Join our community and tag your art with the hashtag #artistmeetsmother.

An Interview With Chrissy Foreman Cranitch

The visionary art of artist Chrissy Foreman Cranitch is beautifully inspiring. Created in mixed media - acrylic, inks and collage, each of Chrissy's paintings take the viewer on a spiritual journey of vivid colour and intricate line. Self care, spiritual growth and mindfulness are important parts of Chrissy's practice and she encourages others to walk this path with her. Chrissy shares her process and her experiences as a mother artist in this Artist Meets Mother interview.

Tell me a bit about your art. What inspires you to paint?  

For me, art-making is an incredibly healing experience. I call my style, ‘Creating with Feeling,’ which is a fusion between intuitive art-making, personal therapy, self-care and spiritual enquiry. Using colourful mixed media acrylic paints, inks and collage on paper, canvas or journalling; I hope to share what it's like to live with an open heart and create a meaningful life as a Wife, Mama, Artist + Spiritual Being.

Can you share anything of your journey as a mother with us?

Mothering for me has always been a double edged-sword; full of dichotomy. There are days when I adore being a Mama and nurturing my son and other
days, full of exhaustion and frustration at the lack of time I have for my own personal endeavors (Art making!). After the first 18 months as a stay at home Mama, my husband lost his job and we decided to swap roles; with me being the breadwinner through my Art career + teaching, while he was the stay at home Dad. Initially I was so excited to have supported and allocated time for my Art-making! However, I was still experiencing post-natal depression and acute anxiety, which eventually in 2014 led to a nervous break-down. During this time, everything within me broke apart and I could barely function some days. It was terrifying. Yet during my recovery, I had the rare opportunity to rebuild and mindfully choose how I wanted to recreate myself and my Life. Since then, I’ve incorporated a great deal of self-care, meditation and mindfulness into my daily practice and this healing energy has flowed into all areas of my life; including my art, mothering and teaching. I’m still a work in progress - as we all are - yet I am finding more peace within myself on a more regular basis these days. I believe my son is more understanding, empathetic and connected with his own feelings as a result of our experiences together.

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How many children do you have?

One (and done)!

Do you feel that motherhood has changed your experience as an artist?

Most definitely! Early on as a Mama I realised that with the reduced time I had available for my Art practices, I would really need to make each moment count. Before children, I would sit at one large painting and work on it over one or two days until it was complete. Now, I work on multiple Artworks in snippets, maybe an hour or two at a time, over weeks or months depending on the size of the piece.

I have also grown to be able to recognise that need-to-create-feeling in my body and express it in other ways with my son. For example, when he was a baby we would go on afternoon walks with each other to the beach and I would make nature mandalas in the sand, or take photographs of inspiring
shapes as we went. Now he’s just started school and for the first time since becoming a Mama, I’m experiencing an allocated day or two a week for my Arts practice. I think this is going to be a productive year because of everything I’ve learned about focus and time management these last 5 years!

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Tell me a bit about your process. Do you involve your children in your art at all or is your time spent creating time for yourself?

I have tried but it’s only the odd occasion my son wants to paint with me! Sometimes I’ll ask him to do some expressive finger painting with me in the
first few layers on canvas or I’ll cut up his hand prints and collage them into my work. I’ve shared a couple of videos of Max being involved in painting with
me [an example of which can be found HERE] - he loves being in front of the camera and often asks to create his own videos reviewing his toys! But most of the time, Art-making is my refuge from the demands of Motherhood. It’s a process where I go within and really refill my cup. I come back to the family after an hour of two of painting and I’m a much better Mama and Wife because of it.

Describe to us your workspace. Where do you create?

When we first moved to our home, I created an awesome, fully enclosed studio under the house equipped with cupboards full of resources, proper
lighting, painting storage, my computer desk, art library and my easel was always set up. It was awesome! But you know what …? I found it too difficult
to always negotiate stretches of time with my husband or parents to care for Max while I was shut away downstairs! So now, I’m more opportunistic; with my studio against the wall upstairs in our open plan lounge-dining area. I’ve got my computer-desk-come-art-table with two sets of iIKEA drawers either side, filled to the brim with all my creative essentials. I absolutely adore creating here - my little guy can be in the room right near me watching a movie or playing lego and I jump right in and take advantage of a spare half hour or two this affords me! People often ask me how I’m so prolific and this is how … lots and lots of small, golden moments of opportunity builds up over days, weeks and months into lots of Art!

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What positives do you feel being a mother brings to your artistic practice? What challenges does it bring?

Positives: My increased sense of empathy and capacity for feeling since becoming a Mama. As an Intuitive Artist, experience is all fuel for expression which translates into Artworks that feel much more deep, honest, authentic and real. It’s like Artistic medicine for me.

Negatives: An undercurrent feeling of rushing to get my stuff done, laced with occasions of resentment when I want more time, and guilt when I’m creating
while Max wants me to play with him.

Being both a mother and an artist can be a difficult balance. How do you try and manage this?

• 5-10 minutes of Meditation and Mindfulness practice every morning - this focuses my mind, grounds my body and settles my heart

• Taking opportunistic snippets of time when I can to create - this builds into completed Artworks over time

• Allocating special child-free time to paint each week - while partners, family, friends, kindy or school keeps my son safe and happy

• Asking for help - it has to happen, we can’t do everything ourselves without burning-out (so I’ve learned!)

• Writing creative tasks down and ticking them off when they’re done - this takes the overwhelm down a few notches and helps me feel I’m actually finishing something!

• Breathing into the feeling that I’ll never get it all done - and learning to be okay with that

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Self care is important as a mother. Do you feel that being an artist benefits your parenting in any way?

Hmmm … I would say that being an Artist enables me to naturally problem solve and apply this to my self-care needs. As I mentioned, this means being
opportunistic and taking time when I can, but it also means being real and honest with my family about my capacity and needs as a Human Being.
I think that being flexible and modelling good self-care can only help my son as he grows into his Life; understanding that everyone has different needs
and that self-care and refilling our own cups within, makes for a healthier, happier life.

Where can we see more of your artwork?

You can find me on my websiteInstagramFacebook or on Youtube.

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For more art by inspiring mother artists follow our Instagram feed @ArtistMeetsMother or scroll through the Artist Meets Mother category here on my blog.

Are you an artist balancing motherhood and art? Join our community and tag your art with the hashtag #artistmeetsmother.

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An Interview With Tara Flores

Inspired by scientific theory the art of Tara Flores is brilliantly vibrant and filled with a sense of high energy. Each large scale canvas is covered with lines, shapes and dashes visually representing the experience of life and the beauty of science. A mother of two, Tara successfully balances her passion for art and her responsibilities as a parent enriching her life and the life of her children in the process, I find out how she does it in this Artist Meets Mother interview. 

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Tell me a bit about your art. What inspires you to paint?

I paint multi-layered abstract pieces that usually include line work or dashes over top all the layers of washes and brushstrokes. My style has changed a little in the past year or two but I feel like I’m circling and narrowing in on what will be a way of working that holds my interest and feels right. I’ve always been interested in science and since art school I’ve been inspired by the movement of energy as it relates to emotion, communication, and health. I wonder about the microscopic mechanisms that allow us to feel such a crazy range of feelings and let other beings know what we want them to know. I’m also fascinated by the transition from health to illness and back again. In my recent series the dashes often represent photons and are meant to convey this movement of energy. In the past year or so I’ve also met a few wonderful artists online that I’m now collaborating with and that’s really exciting. It’s a fantastic feeling to have a vision and the opportunity to explore it and bring it into existence, but it’s a whole other experience to share that vision with someone else who is equally as excited and inspired. I think this year is going to involve a lot of boundary-pushing work and progress and I can’t wait.

Can you share anything of your journey as a mother with us? How many children do you have?

I have a 7 year old and a 1 year old. It’s a pretty interesting spread. On the one hand, my oldest is a really good helper with his little sister but some days I can’t help but think that if I had my kids closer together I’d be done with diapers by now, both would be in school and I would have the studio time I struggle for. Ultimately, if I’m honest with myself, it’s actually a good thing that it worked out the way that it did because I’m not a multi-tasker in the least. I have gotten to spend individual time with each of them as babies and really take time to bond, which I think is exactly what I needed. When I was pregnant with my first I was laid off from an office job. It was the end of 2008 and I ended up staying home until he went to preschool. I got another office job for a few years before I felt a serious urge to commit to my art career “full time.” Just after that we had our second and I’m still the main caregiver at home. I wouldn’t trade being able to be here for my kids but I would be remiss if I didn’t also acknowledge that it’s a tough position to be in. To feel like you’re doing the most important job in the world, obviously for your family but also in many ways for society, and struggle with issues of earning potential as a woman with not so flexible availability, the price of childcare, not to mention the degree to which the patriarchal expectations of the role of “housewife” affect your relationship. It’s all a lot to deal with.

Do you feel that motherhood has changed your experience as an artist?

I’ve found Motherhood to be hugely motivating in pretty much every area of life. Motherhood is inspiring in so many ways and has helped me become far more self-aware which is invaluable for an artist. I also think coming up against the complications with time, boundaries and finances that being a stay-at-home mom and creative entrepreneur presents has only proven to me how committed I am to nurturing and growing my creative practice and career. If I haven’t quit yet, I can’t think of a situation that would make me want to. I think some people want to grasp onto at least part of their pre-kid identity as an individual, and that’s valid, but I still think that there’s no part of you that Motherhood doesn’t change in some way- your views, your dreams, your depth and capacity to feel- so I can’t see how it wouldn’t affect my artistic views or what I choose to create.

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Tell me a bit about your process. Do you involve your children in your art at all or is your time spent creating time for yourself?

My process usually begins in my head. I get flashes of colors or shapes and recurring thoughts about a specific concept or palette and I know I’m close to a series. Sometimes it takes me a while to get my thoughts straight and actually start but I’m getting better at that. I’m way less self-conscious than I used to be about just getting something on the canvas and messing around until it starts flowing.

Part of that is the fact that I use house paint which isn’t nearly as expensive as artist’s oils or acrylics. Not that I think it’s the best choice health-wise, but I know for sure that my practice really flourished after I made that switch after school and stopped being so stingy and precious with the paint. I also work on several canvases at once. I feel like this helps to create a cohesive series because they can all inform each other in real time. Plus I feel like I’m being more productive, which helps when I’m painting for a show.

For commissions I work with the client, drawing direction from their favorite pieces from my portfolio and the space in their home where they want the work to hang. I always feel a responsibility as an artist to convey not only the value of art but the magic of it too, so to help my clients feel like a part of a process and really be invested in the piece, I offer the option to Document the Process. I sketch, take notes and photograph each stage, and share it with them as either a series of texts or emails as I go or a printed photo book at the end. Even as the artist I kind of want a book for each of my paintings.

As far as my kids and art go, I don’t actually involve my kids in what I create. I mentioned before that I’m a horrible multi-tasker and it’s so true. I’m a better functioning human if I’m able to focus and that means, no noise or interruptions or I’m totally thrown. I’d love to say that I let loose and play and create with my kids all the time but I don’t. We’ll paint and draw every now and then, and I try my best to keep my hands off what they do and my opinions to myself, but it’s tough. I think it would be easier if my studio wasn’t full of stuff they can’t touch and I hope that art is something we can share and talk about more when they’re a little bit older but for now I won’t push it. I like my alone time to process thoughts and create. I’ve also decided not to drag them through another museum or art fair until they’re good and ready. I trust they will be creative in their own ways.

Describe to us your workspace. Where do you create?

I have a space in our walk-out basement that has a few windows where I’ve set up my tables, easel and lights. It’s great because I’m in the house and that makes it easier with a little one. When she was tiny I would paint with her in an ergo but now that she’s bigger and able to climb out of the pack & play and cause general destruction, if she’s not being watched by someone else, I’m really not able to work. One notable thing about my studio space is that it doesn’t have doors that I can shut and lock the world out. It makes practicing boundaries a bit difficult for the family, especially my son, who is in second grade. I think it’s hard for him to recognize that I’m actually working when I’m sitting there playing around with paint in the basement.

What positives do you feel being a mother brings to your artistic practice?

Before I became a mother I didn’t quite understand how much I was capable of. I underestimated my strength and need for conviction and something to really devote myself to. Even though I went to art school, I wasn’t super confident or focused with my art. I took a few years off from painting after graduation (though this wasn’t really my intention) and then became a mother. My son turned one before I painted again but my practice and my faith in myself was renewed. Childbirth is hard and my first experience was not ideal but it changed me for the better. But after becoming a mom my time was suddenly not my own. I switched to acrylics, learned to loosen up and paint faster. I started working on multiple pieces at once and basically learned how to be more efficient. Knowing that I have more to worry about and care for than just myself has certainly strengthened my resolve to make my art business work. I’ve proven to myself, with the help of my children, that I can do hard things and that helps me every day.

What challenges does it bring?

Ha! Well, issues of time, money, energy come to mind. I’ve found myself having to work around my family’s schedule which means running to the studio when my son is in school and we can afford a nanny for my daughter or when my husband isn’t traveling for work and can take both kids out of the house for a while. But there’s always that pull to join them and just spend some family time. Sometimes I wonder why I put myself through the stress of getting my art career off the ground while I still have a toddler. In some ways it seems way more sane to pick it all back up once she’s in preschool in a year and a half, but at my core, I’m a painter. That’s my truth and I know that when I ignore it or prioritize too many things or people ahead of it, it hurts. The stress of it literally causes me physical pain if I let it build up and that’s what I think happens with most of us. People ignore their dreams or don’t say what they need to say and become unhappy and stressed with no authentic outlet and they end up with high blood pressure or anxiety attacks or cancer. Part of bringing a life into this world or choosing to raise and care for another life, is recognizing that life is short and there are no guarantees but that we’re here to give it our best. I think becoming a mother, with all of its challenges, helped to clarify that for me.

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Being both a mother and an artist can be a difficult balance. How do you try and manage this?

In the past year or so I’ve kind of traded in my idea or quest for balance for a respect for the natural cycles in life. We are cyclical beings. Just like the seasons come and go, I think there’s a time for everything. A time for focusing on work, a time for focusing on family, a time to pull back and relax and pay attention to self-care and a time to push harder for what you want to accomplish. You just can’t do it all at once and I don’t think women can “have it all,” at least not all at once. So maybe it ends up being balanced out with respect to the whole of your life, but it’s certainly not balanced day to day.

Self-care is important as a mother. Do you feel that being an artist benefits your parenting in any way?

I’m positive that being an artist benefits my parenting. It benefits me as a human at the most basic level. When I feel accomplished in the studio and that I’ve experienced a sense of flow and at least have attempted to bring my visions to life, I have a sense of fulfillment and positivity that allows me to know that my creativity is being tended to. Without that nagging feeling of being bombarded with ideas that aren’t acted upon, I have the headspace and patience to really be present with my kids or whatever life event presents itself. Hands down it is not like this all the time. I am not always present and 100% fulfilled, but that cause and effect relationship has played out enough times for me to recognize that this is how it works for me. So, I try my best to get in the studio as often as I can.

Where can we see more of your artwork?

My website is www.taraflores.com which has a portfolio page with artist statements for each series that explain a bit about what inspired the work. Available works are listed on Etsy and Saatchi Art and I share current work and works in progress on my Instagram account, @tarafloresart. As far as shows go, I have an upcoming show at Horseshoe in Seattle on view from April through June. 

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 For more art by inspiring mother artists follow our Instagram feed @ArtistMeetsMother.

Are you an artist balancing motherhood and art? Join our community and tag your art with the hashtag #artistmeetsmother.

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An Interview With Sarah Detweiler

The work of artist Sarah Detweiler is enriched with personal, emotive and maternal imagery. I have been drawn to her work since I first discovered her Instagram feed several months ago, perhaps because her paintings remind me of my own emotional experiences of motherhood. Today I am excited to share with you more about Sarah’s practice and her experiences of both art and motherhood.

Tell me a bit about your art. What inspires you to paint?

My style is always in flux, but most recently I have been working in watercolor or gouache on figurative paintings driven by feminine narratives, especially motherhood. My inspiration is drawn from my personal experiences with life and my relationship with others. Art has become a barometer for my quality of life. If I am not being creative in some form, then something is wrong.

Can you share anything of your journey as a mother with us? How many children do you have?

I am a stay-at-home mom to my 2 yr old daughter, Mia. I have often compared raising a young child to a science experiment where the variables change every day. My creative thinking now serves a new purpose when I am trying to figure out how I am going to get my daughter to eat fruit today. Having a creative relationship with my daughter has always been a priority to me, and I had her making art as early as I could. It was a magical moment when I made art with her for the first time.

Do you feel that motherhood has changed your experience as an artist?

Without question. When I was pregnant, I made less art than I thought I would. I expected it to be a very creative time, but didn’t realize how much energy the gestation process would take out of me. I did not have high hopes for finding that creative energy in early motherhood, but I surprised myself by picking up the paints again when my daughter was only 6 weeks old. My medium changed out of necessity. I don’t remember it being a conscious decision, but I found myself painting with watercolors in place of oils. I think the watercolors offered the opportunity of having a finished piece by the end of the evening so I could feel a sense of accomplishment. I also noticed that bright colors replaced the muted tones that I used to paint with. There is no denying the color that my daughter has added to my life. Motherhood has also become the forefront of the subject matter in my art.

Tell me a bit about your process. Do you involve your children in your art at all or is your time spent creating time for yourself?

I have always been most creative at night, which has its benefits and disadvantages as a mother. Right now it works because that is really the only time I can find to work on my art anyway, but it is extremely difficult to find the motivation after a full day of mothering. Often I will spend the day daydreaming about what I am going to work on that night. In the morning, my daughter loves to see what I worked on while she was sleeping.

I have to say that posting my art and images of my process onto social media has also become a part of my process in itself. Being a stay-at-home mom can be very isolating at times, and social media has offered an entirely new way of being seen or feeling relevant even if you are not exhibiting your work in galleries.

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Describe to us your workspace. Where do you create?

I feel very blessed to have a room in my home as my studio. I lived in New York for many years and was accustomed to painting on my bedroom floor in tiny apartments, so this feels like a dream. Despite having a studio, I still spend many evenings painting with my watercolors on the couch in front of the TV.

I also created a corner in my studio for my daughter to work on her art. I look forward to the day where our art making can be a more parallel process, but for now, when she is working in the studio, I am assisting her or collaborating with her.

What positives do you feel being a mother brings to your artistic practice?

My artistic practice has gained even more value in my life since becoming a mother. It gives me an identity outside of being a mother, which is incredibly important to my sense of self. The inspiration that motherhood has provided for my art has been endless. One of the first paintings that I made after I had my daughter turned into an illustrated book that I am working on that was entirely conceived while nursing my daughter to sleep at night. Also, time has more value to me now, so the moments that I get to work on my art feel more precious.

What challenges does it bring?

There is never enough time or energy, but you do it anyway. I recently gave myself the personal challenge of making art every day for 100 days. I really benefited from the self-discipline it took to commit to making art every day, and posting it on my Instagram account made me accountable. It also proved to me that I could manage a regular art practice as a mother. Because time is a constant challenge, I recently made the difficult decision to take a hiatus from commission work because with the little time that I do have to make art, I need to use it focusing on my personal practice.

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Being both a mother and an artist can be a difficult balance. How do you try and manage this?

Balance. That has become a magical word to me in motherhood. I don’t feel like I have it managed at all, but I “manage” by never giving up on the belief that balance is something that can be achieved.

Self care is important as a mother. Do you feel that being an artist benefits your parenting in any way?

 I find being a mother and an artist to be mutually rewarding experiences. It is the days after I have had a good night of art making that I feel I am able to be most present with my daughter. My experiences as a mother then provide inspiration for my art, and it becomes a cycle where they keep giving back to each other. That is when I feel most complete.

Where can we see more of your artwork?

Website: www.sarahdetweiler.com.  Etsy store: www.etsy.com/shop/SDArtifacts. Instagram: @SD_Artifacts

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For more art by inspiring mother artists follow our Instagram feed @ArtistMeetsMother.

Are you an artist balancing motherhood and art? Join our community and tag your art with the hashtag #artistmeetsmother.

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