Friday, October 30, 2015

My Creative Life: Motherhood

My daughter came along when I was in my 40's so my routines as an artist were already well ingrained. It was easy for me to see how I could take little bits of time here and there to be creative. I actually did a blog post answering the question, "how do you find the time?" because it was coming up in conversation so often. I really hope that you mothers and fathers of young people can find the time to do things that fulfill you. It's important for us parents to be happy and pursue our own goals in addition to helping our little people grow into great children and adults. So I wanted to share a bit about my version of being an artist and a mama in case it helps someone else. I know everyone's story is different and I'd love to hear your version of creativity and parenthood in the comments.

In other posts I wrote about my life as a musician, as an artist, and as a bookmaker. I always imagined that as a mother I would have no time to make art and that's why I put it off so long. I listened to an interview of Maurice Sendak in which he says that he never wanted to have children because he was too involved in his art. That's kind of how I felt. But now that I'm the mother of a 2 year old I have a totally different view. Being a mother is being in the middle of an explosion of creativity!

In the past I've been surrounded by art friends. Hopefully you know how that feels. You inspire each other, share your work, get feedback, brainstorm, and all those good things. Being a mom I spend way more time around little kids and other mothers than I do around artists. But that's actually a fine tradeoff. Kids love paint! Markers! Glue! Cats! Hugging trees! Running in grass! Laughing! Building castles! Pretend! Dirt! Rocks! Water! Stickers! Purple! Books! Dogs! Horses! Everything is new and worth exploring. And since I want to make children's books I just try and hold on to that little kid enthusiasm and reflect it in my artwork.

In my earlier life I've had lots of different jobs, some better than others. But what I really want to do is make artwork. I haven't been fortunate enough yet to be able to do that as my only job. Going to work for 7 to 10 hours a day used to make me so drained that I really didn't have any creative energy left. But being around my daughter seems to energize me. I wait until she's in bed and I go for it. Yes I'm tired, but it's a different kind of tired than retail-job-tired. So if there are any of you out there who are wondering if you will ever be able to make art again after having a kid, my answer is YES!

When your child wants to draw or paint or glue or build something, you can do it too! It's more fun for everyone when you get involved. Enjoy the process and have a nice conversation with your little one. When you play and are creative, ideas and inspiration will come along that you may have to put on hold. But soak up that good energy and jot down the ideas for later. Then after bedtime or when you have time to yourself you can be an adult artist again. It's a treat you owe yourself!

Rock towers

Drawing with Mama

Painting before breakfast

Sand castles

Necklaces for everyone


Art class

Animal houses

Drawing on the iPad

Crafts at the library

Plein Air Painting

This is the book I made from some of Tessa's paintings. I did a blog post with lots of photos of this book here.

Tessa's first art show! I was more excited than she was. :)

Whatever it is that you get excited about, share it with your children. I get excited about art, obviously. Drawing and painting are so great for fine motor skills, imagination, problem solving, and confidence- that means for you too, Mom! 


  1. I love seeing all your pictures!! Tessa's lucky to have her artist mommy! :)