My Speciality is honoring motherhood with Henna Tattoos. I love to adorn pregnant and breastfeeding women with henna then make beautiful photos for them. I live in Lafayette, CO and travel the front range from Colorado Springs, Denver and as far North as Fort Collins to find my living works or art. I am also the creative director of Artfull Mother magazine - a local magazine devoted to the interests of mothers and the art that empowers them!
The first pregnancy henna of 2018! Mama-to-be requested bears and mountains... not really any large trees but flowers instead - especially succulents. Ideas were explored about the shape, position and filling of the bears. I gazed at succulents on my phone (a new request). When she said mountains, I ran upstairs to my desk, and sitting in the spotlight was a lovely little blue research drawing I'd done over Winter Holiday.
At the time, I was deep in the realm of self education, where I was drawing a whole series of landscapes as a form of spontaneous obsessive creative expression. I decided to take a break from "work", and not really turn on my computer much, not do any work for clients for the whole holiday. In the space and time that was left behind, I found myself relaxing by listening to podcasts (Design Matters by Debbie Millman is my currently favorite) and doodling. Then doodling progressed to an art idea that I've been wanting to work on, the progression from tiny flower to mountain top. I broke out lots of inspiration and began to bring it all together, trying out one new idea after another. There are so many ways to fill space. Dot after dot after dot, filling space, making stars or sand... leaf after leaf drawn, feeling the closeness of the trees, then the forest. What does it look like, when the trees get smaller? These are art problems I sat an solved with my blue sharpie with great satisfaction. I also played with layers of dirt and the mushrooms that grow under bushes. The piles of rock, the sediment ... I tried two big leaf shapes but they ended up looking like gravestones. Not so good. But perhaps as reminder of our ancestors. I am happy with the work I do, I love to be an artist. I love to make art so much that it's what I do when I'm on break, during the holidays...
10 years ago I started an art project, and 10 years later I have this giant file of model releases. 756 in all. My art project was never intended to go on this long, my original intention was for it to be short - an artistic exercise that would result in my first pregnancy. I really felt like it was a matter of time, inevitable, that I would have a baby too.
10 years ago I started an art project, and I am amazed at how far it's taken me. The hundreds of women I've met, and spent 1 to 30 hours painting each one. Every woman has a story, a life she wasn't expecting. The intention behind the project was twofold, 1) to celebrate another woman's pregnancy with love and 2) to find peace with my fertility journey. At first it was a little awkward, I'll admit. What I remember the most is the warmth which these first models exuded, who embraced me and opened up about their journey. Making art on their bellies, whose residents often kicked back, began my healing. Who can be in the presence of a baby (or unborn baby) and not feel peace like this? It washed over me and filled those cracks in my being that felt the pain of not having this experience.
For 10 years I have heard hundreds of struggles with infertility, and all manner of results. It was a journey that went on and on, and with each turn in the road, I felt ever more called to purse it, to keep on asking to hear more stories, have more models come over. I just really fell in love with this stage of life, in awe of the strength of a woman's body. It was a journey that I kept expecting to end with a baby, but that baby never came. With each woman I met, I found more and more peace from the project, and slowly came to accept that I would not get to experience pregnancy this lifetime.
10 years ago I started an art project, and averaged 6 models every month. It has been amazing to see to blossom into an Art Career. Not just pregnant women, but postpartum women, women who were breastfeeding, and then the last few years I have incorporated all kinds of women, in all stages of life, some who have never had or will have the role of mother. To find beauty in all, to make beauty of all, to listen.
10 years ago I started an art project and I'm so glad I did. It changed the course of my life. I especially give thanks to my amazing husband Rob, who has encouraged me to create more art since we first met, 13+ years ago. When I talked about doing this art project 10 years ago, Rob said to me, "Why don't you have each woman sign a model release? Then you can publish a book when you're done." This liberated me. Create a book! I went on to create 6.
This past winter holiday I chose to take a break from client work, and instead only work on art that I created solely for me. Every day I am drawn to create art of one kind or another.
What shapes do I admire in art? I have an immense collection of art that I marvel at. I pull out page after page of collages and gaze at new ways to make trees, grass, hills, flowers. My art needs some new ideas. In this day in age it is a thrill to be able to appreciate and aspire after so many artists around the world. I gaze at them daily on Instagram and love the influence of so many brilliant minds. It is time for my art work to grow and in these dark holiday months, I sit out, take time and let things blossom, let them come to fruition. I've always wanted to learn how to do draw better, adapt and flow with my natural style.
During the holiday I approached my art time as more of a time for artistic research & experimentation. I made up rules, like each page will have a border and we'll use just one color. Incorporate as many new ideas as you can. Tree is a top request (for henna!), for sure. And how many ways can I draw a tree? Express that ideas in plants, one living thing after another, blossoming, layers of awesomeness, hill after hill of natural beauty.
This holiday I practiced letting go of work, and only doing things for myself & our family. It was a really wonderful experience to immerse myself into this lifestyle of 3 generations under one roof - our daughter Aleah visited this holiday with her twin boys (2 years old!) - so in addition to our teenage daughters there were 7 people in our home! These dear boys sat in my lap for story after story and I have to say that It was a pleasure to get a chance to reread many favorites ... those who know me know that I LOVE reading aloud to kids.
I know I am unique, I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom, turned work-at-home, and I just gotta say I love creating a Harmonious Home. I love making art, especially henna, and I love that I have a studio to adorn women out of, but during this holiday, it was completely dismantled and put way, and instead became full of blocks and other toys that were joyously played with during the colder mornings and evenings.
It's been a while since I dove into a holiday this deep I made meals, played, and rested... and in my private time for myself, I listened to podcasts and drew. I drew and drew and drew ... I delved into a part of my work as an artist that feels luxurious: to follow my own creative desires. I'be been wanting to work on the idea of a landscape, stretching from the smallest little mushroom to the mountain peaks. Practicing that idea again and again, in way after way. I really feel like this holiday has been a wonderful opportunity to fill my well, and parts of me that had been dry for a long time felt the waters rising from deep in the earth and were nourished, blossoming new ideas, new inspirations, new things to try. It was such a marvelous holiday (except the part about all of us getting sick) and I feel truly blessed for the gift of family in my life.
Today's art formed under my hands, revealing the characteristics of this lovely lady's spirit animal: Octopus. What does it embody? She felt sensual, savvy, and intelligent. Crafting the details & photographing this beauty took about 3 hours in our lovely, warm studio in Lafayette.
As a mother of 3 daughters, I really love to talk to other mamas and meet their daughters. This bond is like no other! These photos are from a wonderful henna and photograph session earlier this fall. It took about an hour to adorn this mother and her daughter.
They returned 3 days later when the henna was peaking in color and we got these lovely images.
Our studio in Lafayette, Colorado is full of fabulous silky dress up, which this young lady used to create the outfit she's in. So fun!