Emily creates beautiful floral pieces and has been such a source of encouragement and wisdom to me. She is married and has 2 sweet boys. Read on to learn how she got started in painting and glean wisdom about how to juggle motherhood with pursuing an artistic career!
How did you get to where you are today with your art?
I began to paint with direction towards making it into a career when I was a senior in college. I had found a lot of online classes by women who were teaching different painting skills and I flew through the videos and loved it! Ever since then, I’ve been painting. A year or two later, I set up an Etsy shop with some big dreams surrounding it. Every year since then, I’ve zeroed in more on what I really want to do. I started doing craft shows in 2014, but have mainly focused on selling online. I feel like I started really late [in life] and I feel behind, so I’ve worked more on a portfolio and less on trying to get sales quickly. I have some big goals for this year that feel like I’m stepping forward into selling at a profit and for more than just a season or two during the year.
So you said that you learned by watching videos as a senior in college. When you were growing up, what was your artistic ability like?
Growing up, I loved basically any art you could hand me, so I painted a lot! My mom would check out a video from the library for me where they would lead you through a painting, and I’d do it over and over again. There wasn’t a focus where I’d tell my mom, “I love to paint!” I just loved crafts. So I’d sew, do macrame, and things like that. So I was always making something, and I’d say I was pretty proficient at those things. It’s surprising to me that it never occurred to me or my parents that of COURSE I would want to do something creative! But now, looking back, it makes all the sense in the world to me. I love to write and do anything creative.
So, the videos that you watched in college—what are some you’d recommend?
Yeah! So the woman that I found was Jeanne Oliver, and she gets a lot of other women and make painting or creative workshops. She and a woman named Christy Tomlinson had a lot of art journaling videos on youtube for free and I went through all of those first and then decided to ask for one of the workshops for my birthday. I got the one called “Studying the Masters” and I loved it. They’re more geared toward women who want to do art as a hobby, but I learned a lot of basic skills that I did not know because I had never gone to school for it.
Ok, so your timeline has been that you were always interested in art but didn’t try to make a career out of it until after college. But more recently, you’ve scaled back in your attempts to sell pieces to focus more on just painting, right?
My style has changed a lot because at first, I didn’t even know what I wanted to paint. If you’re always changing and not giving people something consistent in your art, they won’t want to come to you. Brands are consistent, and as some sense as an artist you become a brand. There’s obviously room for changing, but I don’t want to always be questioning myself.
Do you feel like you have found yourself as an artist?
I think I am definitely closer than I was! I feel a lot more confident in what inspires me to paint, what I want to paint, why, and how I will present myself online and with other people. I think that’s just due to time. Some people see social media as a bad thing, but I have learned so much through teachers on instagram. You can learn a lot from following them. It’s great to follow someone who you think, “In 10 years, I’d like to be like you or doing something similar to what you’re doing.”
Where would you recommend someone who is just starting out in art to go learn more?
I would recommend something like Skillshare if they didn’t have access to a community class. It is so valuable to meet with someone face to face and have them put eyes on your work. Many communities have something like that, but if you don’t, something like Skillshare is great because there’s a wide variety of classes and options. Creativebug is another online community. What I like about Skillshare is that you can submit your work and let the artist and others see it.
If a frazzled mom with a desire to have an art career asks for advice and you had 2 minutes to give her your best tip, what would that be?
I would say, “Don’t despise the time.” Don’t despise even 30 minutes of time. As a mom pursuing an art career, 30 minutes is plenty of time to do something. I used to think, “I don’t have 2 hours of time to finish this so I can’t do anything.” Because we have little time, that time becomes very valuable and we have to use it wisely. So really, use your time wisely! Don’t write off even 10 minutes of time. Lately, I’ve been using colored pencils because they require no clean up. Use your time wisely and you can get a lot done!
Thank you so much, Emily! Check out Emily’s instagram and website, and don’t forget to subscribe for the latest content below.