My artistic journey: What I've learned and where I'm going
It’s been a bit since I started this blog, website, and the artistic journey that I’ve been traveling on, and I feel like it’s a good time to (re)introduce myself.
Short story: I am an avid daydreamer who is passionate about creating artwork that sparks the soul. Art should inspire you to feel and find joy in the simple things life has to offer. Art should spark the soul.
When I'm not creating, I am on a mission to teach and inspire others to find their way back from burnout. Art has always been an outlet but it was alcohol ink that truly saved me from a life that I was not enjoying- I was burnt out and starving for something more. I invite all artists and creatives to spark their learning and join me as we create space for healing and growth.
When I started my artistic journey I never imagined having my artwork in homes all over the U.S. and internationally. I also never imagined meeting and teaching wonderful artists and creatives from all over the world. It's been the most surreal adventure. An adventure that I would like to share with you, so let's dig in!
Mini Martha is my name and Art is my game (Circa 1993).
Creativity has been a large part of my life for as long as I can remember. I was dubbed 'Mini Martha' (after Martha Stewart, of course) by my father as a small child because I was constantly creating something. Of course, in my younger years, I was mostly using noodles, homemade glue, water-based paint, and Crayola crayons for my mediums of choice. But, I'll tell you, I still had some minor league success with the basics. I won my first city-wide coloring contest at the age of 7, and I believe winning that contest was the catalyst for my artistic journey. I haven't stopped coloring my way through life since that day.
The Great Expedition (1993-2018)
I come from a family who believes in education and ‘real’ jobs, so I went to college planning to work in hospital management. Fortunately, (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it) when I graduated from college it was during one of the recessions. Meaning I happily took the first job I was offered, which happened to be working in education.
I’ve worked various jobs in higher education for the past 11 years while also earning my master’s degree and my PhD. (well almost, ABD gal here!). I have basically gone through the motions in my career- earning and doing the next thing because it was the expectation. I don’t think I have ever wanted any of the degrees I have earned they were more or less requirements for the career journey I had selected.
As you can image, working full-time while earning advanced degrees is extremely stressful. The mental tole from my career choice was wreaking havoc on my body. It was during this time that I realized I need some other outlet- something more creative than my job or studies were offering me.
I wasn’t sure where to begin because for most of my life, I have struggled to find my niche medium. I've dabbled in many art mediums including acrylic, oil, watercolor, pen, pencil, charcoal (among others), and I’ve tried many types of craft including, quilting, pattern making, scrapbooks, and knitting. I've tried it all, and nothing ever felt right.
I consider everything prior to 2018 to be the exploratory years because it took me a bit to figure out my calling. However, if it weren't for the exploration, I wouldn't have developed an understanding and appreciation for color theory, composition, texture, and color interactions (hello, any analytical creators out there?!).
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo (2018)
Do you remember the moment in your life where you really connected with something or someone? For me, it was fall 2018, the seasonal change (in case you're wondering, fall leads to winter, and winter is my least favorite season) was getting to me and my current life situation was especially challenging for me. At this point in my life, I was finishing up course
work for my PhD. and working full-time as an academic advisor and lecturer at a local university. To say I was stressed would be a complete understatement; I was stressed to the max! I was also feeling low and unfulfilled by the trajectory of my career. Thankfully, when I get in these moods, I seek creative adventures as an outlet. As luck would have it, my next creative adventure would take me down a path I never expected.
The magic all started the day I found Alcohol Ink. I was scrolling through Instagram, and an artist popped up on the explore page, who was creating collage works using alcohol ink. I loved the color and creative approach she was using and did a bit of research to find out what medium she was using. From there, I purchased my first set of inks from Jacquard Products and never looked back.
Since 2018, I've spent time honing my skills as an alcohol ink abstract painter. I believe you must bring your whole self to the table if you want to thrive in today's crazy world; your personality, your sense of humor, a little sparkle, and, most importantly, your heart. All of these elements brought me to start Mandy Marie Art. It hasn’t been an easy road, but nothing in life is free! Looking back, I can’t say I would change a thing because each part of my life journey has brought me to this very moment.
That's it from me, let's meet up again.