Let’s get this blogging thing started with a subject that I know a lot about, Jodi Ferrier! Looking at the list I made last week is now super intimidating (although quite inspiring) so with Lindsay Heider's request, I will start here.
1. I did not know I had any artistic talent until I was a senior in high school. I grew up in Rockville, MD, and it wasn’t until I had to either fulfill an art requirement or fill an elective (it’s all a bit fuzzy from back then) that I ended up in Mr. Moran’s art class. What I remember a lot about that class was the smell of coffee and cigarettes on his breath, but mostly I remember the realization that I could draw. We had an assignment where we had to choose a photo from a magazine reproduce it by drawing with pencil. I don’t remember much instruction at all, but what I do remember was being absolutely astonished that I was able to make a likeness of this woman I had chosen to draw, and even enjoyed doing it. My mom framed and hung that drawing in our house until a few years ago when she passed away, and for some stupid reason, I threw that drawing away. Wish I had not done that, but that does bring me to number 2.
2. I have never really thought of my artwork as sacred. I have given away so much of my artwork since the time I started making things in college. I would finish a piece and if a friend wanted it, I basically said sure. I never really thought my artwork was anything unique, and perhaps it was that I thought I would just make another drawing or painting and why should I hang on to the ones I have. Let someone else enjoy it. That is still my feeling, except now I have plenty of responsibilities and sadly, need to make some money. I love giving people the opportunity to have original art in their home and wish I could just still say, “You like that painting, here you go.”
3. My mom was an amazing artist, and so is her sister. I remember my mom taking an art class when I was about 9 and watching her fulfill one of her assignments which was to draw something from life. She choose to draw our well loved sofa, with all its indentations and squashed pillows. It was magical! She was able to capture that sofa and all its personality with just a pencil on a piece of paper. Of course, she never thought it was anything great (hmm, wonder where I get it) but I thought she was incredible. How could she do that?!?! Those classes were short lived, but later in her life she revisited her art by drawing super intricate doodles (which now people call zentangle) which I think was a form of meditation for her. The tiny pieces of art are on hundreds of notecards with patterns that are so intricate and graphic, each unique and visually beautiful, just like her.
4. My husband and I travelled the country by bicycle (yes, I did say bicycle) for a year before starting our own business. It was then we discovered the most amazing murals covering building exteriors, something which Jarrett wanted to try. When we returned in the summer of 1994, after working as a freelance graphic designer and Jarrett as a barrista at Starbucks, we decided to start a creative services business offering graphic design, murals & custom painting, which we still run today. Why the name Schwa Design Group? Good question. Short answer, schwa is the unstressed vowel and we like to think of ourselves as the unstressed creatives. But the real story is this: we had a friend who wanted his stage name (should he ever become a famous musician) to be Schwa. We loved that idea so we stole it! But Schwa alone was too ambiguous for a business so we added design to explain more what it was and because we wanted to appear bigger at the time, we added group. Had we known about how important email addresses and urls would be back then, we certainly would have chosen a shorter name!
5. I paint every Thursday with Joyce McCarten and a small select group of amazing artists. We have 5 hours each week where we not only get amazing and valuable guidance by Joyce, but we share ideas from movies to marketing to art history to art aspirations. We give each other feedback on our work and push ourselves to places we wouldn't go in our own studios. I feel so lucky! Joyce has been my true inspiration and without her, I never would have followed this passion. Thank you Joyce!
Sorry, I can't help myself (Quote from Paige)
5.5. I love listening to podcasts, most especially Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income. (I am desperately trying to find a passive income to support my passion for painting so if you have any ideas, let me know). I hope to paint in oils again soon, I love the fall, I wish I had reconnected with painting 10 years earlier, I miss my mom, I have the most incredible friends, and above all, I adore my family – my three amazing teenagers, my incredibly supportive and talented husband and the most adorable dog you could ever find.