Have you always made a living doing creative things?
Most of my life, yes. My mom encouraged creative thinking. She was a scientist, and creative thinking is absolutely necessary for science. Well, it is also necessary for art. From the 5th grade on, I knew I would be an artist. I spent 4 1/2 years in college doing fine arts. As a young mom, though I was thankful for my kids, I was miserable as an artist at that time. I would wake up every morning with two kids in diapers and a great desire to draw and paint, but I was not able to do so at all–and couldn’t for many years. During those years, I learned embroidery because I could put it down in an instant and pick it up in an instant. It was very helpful, but I still ached.
Crying out to God, I asked Him for relief and understanding. I had a dream one morning and thought it was from God. I saw myself receiving money for art work that day! Well, I thought it would be interesting to see how God would fulfill such a dream, especially since I had no car, no babysitter, and no job as an artist. By the end of the day, I had a sitter out of the blue, a car, and a job doing charcoal drawings of a brick layer’s beautiful and unique buildings. At the end of the interview, he pulled out his wallet and pulled out a $100 bill as a down payment for the work to be done. I took the message to heart. I had asked God if He would be my manager, my art manager. He was saying, “yes.” I could trust Him to manage and direct me and use me. How kind and encouraging to a young artistic mom!
What kind of creative things did you do as a child?
I always got awards for my science fair projects, but today, I realized I was just very good at creating a wonderful visual display of what I had discovered in my scientific adventure. I also did pastel illustrations of my history projects and other such assignments from 5th grade on. At that grade level on my own, I began to study visually how to draw 3D objects such as houses, trees, animals, and so on. This was a gift I needed since I was dyslexic and had a great difficulty reading. It gave me a sense of self worth and was very satisfying and exciting.
I also took piano for 12 years, and after the first six years, I began to own it as an avenue of self expression just like the visual arts. I also learned to play the 12 string guitar and the violin.
What other creative things do you like to do now as an adult?
I have recently taken up playing the mountain dulcimer. I’m having great fun joining in with others playing tunes together and singing here in Mountain View. This place is called the Folk Music Capital of the World. . .at least that’s what the signs say! There is a wonderful and rich culture of music and arts here. It is encouraged to join in any way that one has the unction to. You don’t have to be the best at anything. You don’t have to compete. Everyone is just encouraged to express their creativity and share it. This has been a wonderful place to grow and participate in the arts and music.
I also teach drawing again. I have classes at the Ozark Folk Center that run several times a year. I’m learning to waltz with my husband and jig dance as well. . .being inspired by so many others around me.
What kinds of things inspire you to be creative?
Nature was the first thing that inspired me to be creative–the beauty of it, the order, the emotion just spoke very loudly to me from early on as a child. As I watch relationships and God work in them, I am inspired to be creative, to express the beauty of how people grow together, learn to forgive, learn how to build life and grow in unity. It is a thing of beauty, and so I am inspired to create something beautiful in response. For me it’s that simple. For others it may be quite different.
What encouragement can you give to someone just discovering their creativity?
I believe, as the Bible says, that we were all created in the image of God. He is a creator, so we are all creative in some area. Not all will be creative in the same way. Creativity involves problem solving, exploring, observing, taking risks, working outside the box, getting instruction, being relaxed (though being energized is necessary too), and the process is usually quite enjoyable. Creative endeavors include science, math, visual arts, music, making clothes, cooking, teaching, and just anything that involves creative thinking in solving a problem. It is usually motivated by a passion and one can find that he or she is rather gifted at it (comes almost naturally). It always requires building skills in the endeavor through repetition and practice. So find what areas God created you to be creative in; explore, observe, get instruction, build skills, ask questions, make choices and decisions that are outside the box. Have fun discovering!
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