Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Painting Parent - Abigail McBride


Every Morning 24x20
 
Today's interview is with Abigail McBride

 
• How many children do you have? What are their ages?

Two boys. They are 5 and 3 years old.
• How did your artistic career begin?

About 2 generations ago with my grandmother, Frances Karlsson. She was the first in the family to pursue art with a passion and her influence and heritage came to me. I was about 8 years old when she gave me my first ‘official art lesson.’ I was about 14 when I began studying with a determined mind that I would do this with everything I had.

• What is your Parenting/work/art situation?

I keep a studio in the house and do portrait commissions, still life and plein air landscape. Galleries on the east coast represent my work and I will participate in regional shows and exhibits. I’ve been very fortunate to be able to participate in a few museum shows as well. I love to teach, so a class at the college (Anne Arundel Community College,) a few private students and a weekend workshop once a year fleshes out my work situation. I use babysitters for special events during the week, but I generally work from home and that flexibility has allowed me to keep the kids out of full time daycare.

• When do you make time to do your art and do you have a regular art routine?

The parenting context is shifting sand so my strategies for making time are many, varied and constantly changing. The one constant is the night. When everyone goes to bed I can work. This has forced me to learn to paint from photos and references. It has really opened up a whole other world of painting ideas.

I do find teaching and having shows lends a useful structure to my routine. The deadlines for a show or commission are helpful to me. When I have an outdoor still life going I keep to a strict schedule to return to it each day at the same time while the weather is similar.

•Do your children get involved with your art?

Not really in the making of it but they are enough in my head and part of my life that I don’t really feel I can give a solid no. They are more involved in the running the business part of it. They have occasionally helped me carry cardboard when loading the car. I have found ways to include them in framing and sometimes photographing my work. And they often accompany me in delivering work.

Well, there is one way. When I have a child portrait session I let the kids play together for the first 45 minutes. It helps them relax and gives me a chance to observe the child I will paint.

Do they inspire aspects of your art?

Oh yes! I think that’s inevitable. You can’t help but paint from a very personal point of view and becoming a parent is probably the most impactful shift in my life thus far.

• How has having children changed your artwork?

I once told my Father “I will never paint babies or flowers. I am going to be a REAL artist.” Then I had kids and planted a garden. I am eating those words big time.

To be perfectly honest I was a bit of a diva before having kids. I only worked from life or direct observation, and only in the best light conditions of early morning and late afternoon. And I held fairly strictly to painting in the way I was taught.

Starting a family blew all of that lifestyle out the door. I had to learn how to work at night, from references in small and interrupted windows of time. It has unexpectedly given me more skills and made me think more deeply about why I paint and what role I believe artists are playing in our culture. It’s pretty crazy because before having them I assumed children would only be a detriment to my work and career. It has changed the game and some things are hard that were once easy but overall they are an amazing gift.

How does making time for artwork influence other household tasks?

It has inspired me to the greatest heights of efficiency I can achieve.

But as a family we all take responsibility for household things. Who ever does it best or is logistically better positioned takes care of it. Generally I do childcare coordination, cooking, laundry and technology because I don’t mind those chores and can make it happen more easily. My husband cleans all the floors, bathrooms and handles paperwork among other things. We split the yard. The kids pick up their toys and know how to get a sponge or towel to clean up their own spills. We will train them up as they grow to pitch in more at age appropriate levels. 
 


• Have different ages of your children been more difficult to make time for artwork and in which ways?

Infant:
• Baby wearing carriers (Moby Wrap, Baby Bjorn and Ring Sling)
• Naptime
• Babysitters
When they were tiny babies I would hold them while I painted. I realized that I could nurse and paint at the same time using certain baby carriers. I even did some plein air work while nursing! That is because I am crazy.
J But I suppose that’s what it takes to go after a dream! Nap time is also a great time to work and they sleep a great deal at this age. I could set up baby monitors and even paint still life in the yard. This was actually the easiest stage for me so far.



Mobile Baby – Toddler:
• Mother’s helper
• Babysitters
• Naptime
• Play Yard XT and water
Mobility is a game changer. I also used outdoor play yard fencing to get some extra time when they woke up. Setting them up with a shallow bucket of water and some cups can really extend your time. This was probably the most challenging window for me because I had both an infant and a toddler. Even with the mother’s helper there was a great deal of need for Mommy. But everything with kids moves quickly and this phase was over in what seems like a blink now.


Child (Up to 5yrs. That’s as far as we’ve gotten.):
• Babysitters
• Preschool/Kindergarten
• Play with siblings!
• TV
Things start getting easier here. My best strategy involves not letting them watch a lot of TV so they are capable of long stretches of independent creative play. Then when I do let them watch a show they are totally entranced. When they both hit school age I expect it to get one notch easier again.
••Bonus if you can find another Painting Parent**
I have occasionally found other parents with kids around the same age or with kids old enough to be babysitters. This is pure gold. We have a Painting Play Date. You split the cost of a sitter. While the kids play you paint. It’s often a still life but I’ve done plein air landscape too. It is a wonderful feeling to talk art and parenting with someone in a similar situation. If I could find the right group it would be amazing to hire a nanny or two and actually travel to different locations to paint.
 

How do you encourage your children to be artistic?

I don’t. I do encourage them to be problem solvers which is creative thinking. Children are naturally artistic but I want them to come into their own. I think they are sort of automatically soaking in some elements of being artistic just be being around art and artists the same way I did.

Do you feel extra pressure as an artist to raise your children to be artistic?

No, but I do feel some extra pressure for the things I do in their world to be artistic. Like party decorations, cakes and invitations.

In what ways does being an artist make being a parent harder or easier?

My creative problem solving skills are helpful but that is not a skill limited to artists.

Do you think being a parent affects the way you are perceived as an artist?

No. Before I had them I thought it would. I noticed a perception shift when I got married but not when I became a parent.


Abigailmcbride.com

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Painting Parent - Heather Theurer



Heather Theurer, Artist and Parent

 
Blue Ribbon

How many children do you have? What are their ages?

                     I have 5 children: 16 (boy), 13 (girl), 10 (girl), and 8 (identical twin boys)
Adoration

How did your artistic career begin?

                     When I could pick up a pencil :) When my parents asked me at the age of 3 what I was going to grow up to be, I said, “a famous artist.” I’ve been working at that ever since. I finally went “professional” about 18 years ago.

What is your Parenting/work/art situation?

Etherium
                     I have a great husband who supports me in all three of those roles. My studio is an open, walk-through space in our home, so my kids are always able and welcome to be a part of what I do, although that doesn’t necessarily make it easy to accomplish projects! But now that all of them are in school, I do get a few precious quiet hours during the day to focus only on my artwork. Art is my passion, but my family is my love, so there is a delicate balance that I am always very aware of and that requires specific attention so that I don’t mess up what’s most important. And sometimes that means putting my art aside.

When do you make time to do your art and do you have a regular art routine?

                     I try to make it as regular as possible, although this doesn’t always happen. I have to be pretty flexible with a large family. During the daylight hours, however, when there’s the best light to work with is when I make specific time to create.

Lilo and Stitch
Do your children get involved with your art?

                     That depends on how you look at it! :) When they were younger they got involved—a lot! When I’d sell a painting, I’d say that the buyer was really getting two artists for the price of one because some little fingers decided to work on the piece while I was out of the room. Now that their older, some of my kids have decided that they’re not quite so interested in art as before, which is okay, but a couple of them really love it too. My daughter who’s 10 blows me away with what she creates and she loves to learn new techniques as I learn them. If she keeps it up, she’ll be way ahead of me as an adult!

Do they inspire aspects of your art?

                     Absolutely. Most of my paintings in some way or another have been inspired by them. Either by an experience or struggle we were going through, or simply something they said or did that sparked an idea. I’ve actually snagged some ideas from drawings my 10 year old drew for one of my dragons.

Spread
 
How has having children changed your artwork?

                     I think it has matured my artwork. Great art, in my opinion, is created as a result of deep life experiences translated into the medium you’re working in. This comes in many forms, but life with my children has expanded my view of life and the universe and the eternities in a way that has given my art a new dimension and depth of meaning that wasn’t there before I had them.

How does making time for artwork influence other household tasks?

                     Well, for one thing, the dishes don’t always get done. Or the laundry put away. I am pretty compulsive about working in a tidy house. It drives me nuts to have clutter floating around and tasks undone. That being said, if inspiration hits me hard enough, the rest of those things can completely melt away into nothingness and I can entirely ignore them for the moments I spend encompassed by that idea. When you’re transported into another world you’re recreating, the world you live in suddenly doesn’t exist anymore. It’s an awesome feeling while it lasts.

Have different ages of your children been more difficult to make time for artwork and in which ways?

                     It was a struggle while they were little, but nothing like it is now that they’re older. You’d think that they would be more independent, thus less demanding, but their schedules and homework and personal interests (and yes, sometimes attitudes!) have actually made it more difficult than before. Not to mention that my career has grown with them and the number of commissions, shows and projects I work on have increased, so that adds to the issue. So I’m always having to re-evaluate my schedule and workload to make sure that I’m not going to over-do it.

Stripey Dragon- Aubrey age  9
Massive Dragon Aubrey age 9
          
How do you encourage your children to be artistic?
         Seeing my kids create is a real joy for me, so I ask them to create for me whenever I can. I have them draw for their grandparents and relatives. I also save what they draw for me, framing some of them even. There are a myriad of opportunities to create and enter contests and things like that too, which I think is good for them as it provides a specific goal they can work for and reach. But I also know that creating good art requires skill, so along with positive reinforcement, I will offer critiques to challenge them to put in even more effort and thought and technique into what they create, to which they have responded in turn with some pretty amazing stuff.

Do you feel extra pressure as an artist to raise your children to be artistic?

Dripping Dragon by Aubrey age 9
                     I did at first, but not anymore. I’ve come to realize that my children are unique, both from other children around them and from me. Not all of them show an interest in being artistic, but what subjects they do show interest in, I think is amazing and I want to build them up in what they love. Even though my dad was a engineer, physicist and mathematician and always hoped that I’d do the same, he never put me down for wanting to be an artist and always encouraged it. The least I can do is the same for my children in what they like. But no matter what, I still try to squeeze in some kind of artistic endeavors into their lives because I know that learning to use the creative side of yourself is not only enjoyable, but is essential to succeeding in just about any other area of expertise. If you can see things pictured in your head or on paper, it’s far easier to figure out a problem or task, whether thats in math, science, english, you name it.

Have you seen your children take inspiration from your artwork?

                     Some, yes. My 10 year old (yeah, she’s the most artistically-inclined one of the bunch) used to copy and re-copy in pencil some of the paintings that I’d done. I was flattered! Until one day when she embellished one of “my” dragons with a twist of her own. Then I got excited! She had taken something she’d seen and made it hers. She owned it. And now she takes elements from nature and puts them together to make the most amazing creatures. All from a little bit of copying.

In what ways does being an artist make being a parent harder or easier?

                     It makes it easier because it gives me a way to escape into my own world when I need it. A world that is incorruptible except by me and is as perfect or imperfect as I want to make it. It makes it harder because inspiration doesn’t always come at the most convenient times. Life needs living and tasks need doing and children need loving more than a painting needs to be painted sometimes.

Triumph
Do you think being a parent affects the way you are perceived as an artist?

                     Most of the time, I get two main responses. The first is that people can’t believe that I have five kids and still have the time to be a full-time artist. Those people are always a little amazed that I can create what I do and balance all of that. The other response is one of a bit of disdain. Like having a family is a hinderance and therefore makes what I do a “hobby” rather than a career. But usually that’s because they’ve first heard of my kids and haven’t yet paid attention to the work that I do. Either way, I don’t really care. I do what I do because I love it, and yes, occasionally that means putting my art on the back burner for a while so I can take care of my family. If someone is going to like my art, then go ahead and like my art—instead of preconceiving ideas about it’s worth simply because of my family situation. The idea seems a little ludicrous, but it happens. Silly, I know.

Are there any other things about Balancing Painting and Parenting that you would like to share?

                     Everyone’s situation is unique, so it would be tough to give particular advice on it, but if I had one thought that I could share, it would be to follow your heart. Not in a selfish, personally indulging kind of way, but in a real, true-to-your-soul kind of way. God gives us gifts for a reason and we have to find that reason. The ability to create art is a gift. My children are a gift. Life is a gift. Treat those things as such and you can’t go wrong.

 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Painting Parent - Katie Berggren

Katie Berggren is one of the first Mother Artists whose career I started to follow, while a very different style than my own work her paintings speak to similar issues of family and relationships. She has been a wonderful mentor always willing to help me when I have a question about art business and she has a real heart for mothers and children.


Carry On
How many children do you have? What are their ages?

My boys are 8 & 10 years old.

How did your artistic career begin?

I have always wanted to be an artist among other things :) doesn’t every artist say that? I started as a designer (in business) but kept doing art. Eventually, I said goodbye to design and decided to do art full-time. Being able to work at home was very important to me, even before I had children.

What is your Parenting/work/art situation?

During the school year I work in my studio/office while my boys are at school. I also fit in work in the evenings, sometimes, after they are sleeping. My time in the studio/office bounces strategically and crazily from canvas to computer and back again. Working on my own terms is good for me because I like to bounce from one thing to another when the urge strikes :)

Do your children get involved with your art?

My boys like to draw and my youngest likes to paint. They like to create comic books and such and sell them to me from their comic book studio (closet under the stairs). They help me with my business tasks, as well.

Close Knit
Do they inspire aspects of your art?

Most definitely. I get very inspired when I spend quiet time alone with them in the rocking chair or at bedtime. We love to read together (mama reading) so we get lots of quiet, cozy time together.

How has having children changed your artwork?

Before I became pregnant I was creating art featuring birds, nests, eggs, children, nature, bugs and such. After becoming a mother, my artwork turned to figures and couplets and families. I realize, though, that even early on there was a nurturing and earthy connection form to my work.

How does making time for artwork influence other household tasks?

Over the years I have pushed the scales toward artwork and business and family time being a larger priority than housework. However, I believe in a tidy home, so that means that over the years I have simplified our possessions and systems to make cleaning really easy. My family cleans with me every Sunday (my boys vac their own rooms and strip their beds, put away their toys and laundry) and my husband and I do tasks throughout the week. I make use of a basket at the bottom of the stairs for
misplaced toys that need to go upstairs, laundry areas/baskets so things don’t sit around on the floor, a basket for shoes at the entry way, and a basket for books in the living room. Everything has a place, and that makes me happy.

Currently I am willing to let a floor not get vacuumed if I am more inspired to paint. That did not use to be the case when my children were younger. I was much harder on myself back then. I now realize that no one is going to die if some dishes sit overnight, or if the garbage doesn’t go out in the eve.

Have different ages of your children been more difficult to make time for artwork and in which ways?

It was tougher when they were younger. Now that they are older, they are happy to be in the studio with me while I work, and they design computer games, create things with paper and cardboard, or play together on their computers.

Feed My Soul
How do you encourage your children to be artistic?

I’ve always kept a bin of “Might Come In Handy” stuff around, ever since the very beginning. When I would find something curious or neat, I’d throw it in. The big got VERY big and has since been simplified. But my boys know they can dig in it for string and plastic bits, craft doo-dads and such. This bin has been such a great tool at getting my boys creative and creating. It has been one of my saving graces over the years.

Do you feel extra pressure as an artist to raise your children to be artistic?

Nope!

In what ways does being an artist make being a parent harder or easier?

It’s easier because they get to see me living my dream and doing what I want to do. It raises communication about how we can follow our gifts and dreams and desires and find a way to make a living doing them. My boys are both set on being entrepreneurs.

I think being a parent is “hard” all on its own for a variety of reasons, some of them self-inflicted. Being an artist doesn’t make it harder, I don’t think. Our creativity and resourcefulness comes in handy in teaching life lessons and our striving to make a living and work hard can come in handy in teaching deferred gratification and caring for others.

Do you think being a parent affects the way you are perceived as an artist?

Nope! But then I have an artistic craft that ties in very nicely with being a mother :) Being a mom is a good thing for my career. I suppose some folks might think that since you are a parent you have/spend less time on your business or artwork.
Katie m. Berggren ~ Could this moment be yours?
Visit the site & blog: http://www.KmBerggren.com

 
 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Mary Untier of Knotts

Mary Untier of Knots
 
 
I was asked to do a commission based on the painting Mary Undoer of Knots, which is a favorite of Pope Francis.
 
 
"Mary Untier of Knots or Mary Undoer of Knots is the name of both a Marian devotion and a Baroque painting (German: Wallfahrtsbild or Gnadenbild) which represents that devotion. The painting by Johann Georg Melchior Schmidtner, of around 1700, is in the Catholic pilgrimage church of St. Peter am Perlach, otherwise known as the Perlach church, in Augsburg, Bavaria, Germany. Pope Francis saw the image while in Germany as a student and promoted her veneration in Latin America." - From Wikipedia
 This is the historical image I was working from. The size requested by the client dictated a cropping of the painting to focus on Mary's head and hands. I chose a model that had the look of a middle Eastern woman and sewed costuming for accurate references.
 
At first I tried to alter my references to more closely match the original painting but I quickly grew very frustrated with the anatomical exaggerations. I ended up restarting the painting completely and allowed the realism to be my focus.  The photographs of the painting were taken inside because it is currently pouring down rain so they do not have the best lighting but hopefully you can get the idea.



 


 
The full painting and Novena Prayer that is said with it.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Cast Drawing

Cast Drawing done in my Atelier class, this drawing took 4-6 weeks to complete. I do not remember exactly when I started it.

 
We have been enjoying the Fall




I have been working on several commissions and completing a few. It is great to have so many commissions to work on but it gives me less to post because the projects generally take longer and I have to use discretion about what I can post.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Painting Parent - Sharon Pomales

Painting Parent -  Sharon Pomales

How many children do you have? What are their ages?
We have between us 4 sons (21-24) and 1 daughter (8), three are my husbands, two are mine, but she's the only one who lives with us.

How did your artistic career begin?
I've been drawing and painting since I was 8, my dad was an artist too so as soon as he saw I had talent he encouraged and supported me to develop it.

What is your Parenting/work/art situation?
I paint during the time my daughter is at school, I leave her there in the morning at 8 and at 8:10 I'm painting. I usually skip lunch and stop at 1:50 pm to go pick her up at school. When we get home I make her lunch and do homework, then, I go back to the studio which is in my house so it's pretty convenient, my daughter also has a space in the studio to sit and make art if she wants to. At 5 or 5:30 I stop again to prepare dinner before my husband comes home from work, and I don't go back to the studio unless I have a deadline, in which case I will work until 9:30-10:00.

Do your children get involved with your art?

My daughter likes to draw and paint, that's why I made her her own art work space in my studio, plus she is also my model for many of the paintings.

Do they inspire aspects of your art?
Mariana is definitely my muse, I know every part of her so well that I could draw her blindfolded, I guess it also helps that I love her Infiniti times Infiniti times Infiniti

How has having children changed your artwork?
Sometimes I think that I don't paint certain things because I don't want to embarrass or offend my children, specially the older ones.

How does making time for artwork influence other household tasks?
When it comes to household tasks, I established that I would only clean on Fridays.

Have different ages of your children been more difficult to make time for artwork and in which ways?
When the kids were very little it was definitely difficult to work. I also had a full time job until a few years ago so painting used to be part time. I never participated before in any competitions or were part of any art organization until last year even though I've been an artist for more than 20 years ( but that's another story for a different blog :))

How do you encourage your children to be artistic?
Mariana says she likes art so I get her all the supplies she needs and I'm currently looking for art instruction for her, something like an atelier or art academy. I also take her to museums and every opening for shows (mine or someone else's).

Do you feel extra pressure as an artist to raise your children to be artistic?
But I don't feel any pressure to raise her to be artistic, she'll be what makes her happy.

Do you think being a parent affects the way you are perceived as an artist?. I don't think being a parent affects the way I'm perceived as an artist, but who knows what others are thinking


Are there any other things about Balancing Painting and Parenting that you would like to share?


 Here I'm including only the paintings I've done of all our kids since the blog is about the parenting side of the artist. The last one is something my daughter did for a competition.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Painting Parent - Caesar Citraro

Painting Parent - Caesar Citraro

Still Life
18x24
oil
2013
How many children do you have? What are their ages? 
 
*I have Two Children… Ages Eight and Nine.


How did your artistic career begin?
*I graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1986. Soon after graduation I moved to Chicago and started work as an illustrator. About that time I also started working at the Art Institute of Chicago. I ended up working there for over 20 years. I was one of the people responsible for the care of works of art on paper. My official title was Conservation Technician and I worked primarily on the 19 and 20th century Print and Drawing collection. Part of my job was to travel to other museums and collectors homes working on their collections. Having such an up close and personal relationship with the objects, in a way, is really when my Artistic Career began.

What is your Parenting/work/art situation?
*I’m a full time Parent and a full time Artist. Both jobs never let me punch a clock or take a break… When the Kids were really young I would get up at 4:30 am and paint until they would get up. Then I would paint at night. I was a stay at home parent working out of my home studio. My wife works very long hours so I often was alone with the kids for weeks straight with no breaks. It was very fractured and not altogether healthy. Now that they are older and in school it’s much easier.


Tree Field
8x10
oil on canvas board
2014
When do you make time to do your art and do you have a regular art routine?
*Unless I take a break during the day, I am in the studio from 8:00 am until late afternoon, 4:00 or 5:00 Summer and Fall I teach, either in my studio of traveling around for Plein Air classes… In the Winter, I paint in the studio almost exclusively.

Do your children get involved with your art?
*My children always know what I’m working on. I show them my paintings and we talk about them. I have to admit though, my studio is not the most kid friendly place. Lots of paints, chemicals and fragile things. I do have them set up and make art on occasion, but for the most part my studio is where I work. I try and imagine my profession the way a Plumber or a Doctor might, it’s nice to have the kids visit and understand what their parents do, but in the end it’s my job.

Do they inspire aspects of your art?
*I try every day to find that pure childlike vision… it’s really hard, but my children often remind me of how to look and see. This is something that I will forever be thankful for.

How has having children changed your artwork?
*I’m not really sure, I don’t know what my paintings would be like if the never came along. I do know that when they were younger, for years, I was making art with very little sleep. I’m also sure I’m painting faster now than I used to. Having a tighter schedule has forced me to figure things out faster. This and the childlike vision thing I mentioned above.

How does making time for artwork influence other household tasks?
* I tend to be very organized so I schedule lots of things and make lots of household plans. I do all of the shopping, cooking and manage the day to day stuff here at home. I’m also aware as a parent that having some flexibility in my schedule is a rare thing these days, that most parents only dream of. Making time for my career is doable as long as I stay a bit flexible.

Forest First Light
24x24
oil
2013
Have different ages of your children been more difficult to make time for artwork and in which ways?
*When they were very young it was really hard physically. Crazy hours with no sleep. Now that they are older, it’s much harder psychologically for me. They are growing up so fast. I only have one shot to see this and to be a part of it. The time I spend at work take time away from them.

How do you encourage your children to be artistic?
*They went to an arts based school for the last 4 years, but other than that, not much… but here’s the thing. Everything about our/my life is encouraging them artistically. My kids honestly believe all parents are artistic and that all kids are encouraged at home to be creative and express them selves artistically. There are musical instruments all over the house, enough art supplies to start an art school, Two parents that understand the importance of the Arts and a dad that can help draw the tricky parts of their monster drawings. Being Artistic demands such a broad range of developmental skills I kind of feel that if the Kids are brought up in an Arts loving, empathetic and hard working environment then we’ve set them on a good path, wherever their lives take them.

Do you feel extra pressure as an artist to raise your children to be artistic?
*Nope. It’s just a fact that they are in an artistic environment and are being raised that way that is in the end important. They don’t know any thing different. , their lives lead them I think their exposure to the arts will have been valuable.

Have you seen your children take inspiration from your artwork?
*On occasion I see little references in their drawings to some of my paintings or subject matter and I try and give them little drawing tips and tricks. My youngest set up and old Plein Air easel in her room, so sometime she tries to paint like me.

In what ways does being an artist make being a parent harder or easier?
*As a parent my first priority is to my kids. This is a decision I’ve made. Having said that, so far I haven’t had to chose between them and my art and I don’t feel my work has suffered.

Do you think being a parent affects the way you are perceived as an artist?
* What other people think of me is none of my business.

Are there any other things about Balancing Painting and Parenting that you would like to share?
*For me, working consistently and keeping my eyes on the bigger picture is what is important. Nothing related to making art or being a parent is easy, sometimes it’s just less hard. Both careers can be insanely rewarding, so I just keep doing them.

 


To see more of his art please visit http://citraroart.com/


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Judy Takacs Painting Parent and a Chick With Balls!

Judy Takacs

Painting Parent and a Chick With Balls!

Cancer Honeymoon
by Judy Judy Takacs, artist
How many children do you have? What are their ages?

3 boys, 19, 16 and 15

How did your artistic career begin?

In 1986 I got a BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art. I majored in Illustration and Portrait Painting. My first job out of school was as a graphic design assistant at a big 8 public accounting firm in Boston. Lots of pasting up graphs and charts, lots of typesetting, and as much illustration as I could possibly squeeze into any job I did. I also did any and every freelance design/illustration/portrait painting job that was offered to me. I also painted on my own time, taking life drawing and painting classes in the evening to ensure that I’d have access to live models.

The Introvert
by Judy Takács
What is your Parenting/work/art situation?

I paint 6 days a week for about 6-8 hours a day. I develop themes and paint series of work based on whatever theme I happen to be working on. I bounce back and forth from themes, working on one for months at a time until it’s time to freshen up and do another. Right now its my Chicks with Balls series, painting unsung female heroes, topless, holding balls. I find working on series keeps me from waking up and wondering what the heck I’m going to paint. I always have about 6-7 in various stages of finish so, there’s always something that’s dry enough…or still wet enough…for me to work on.

When do you make time to do your art and do you have a regular art routine?

Now the kids are in school all day, so, I’d like to say that as soon as they are off I run upastairs to my home studio with my coffee and start painting. Actually though, I spend an hour or so (sometimes more) taking care of my administrative stuff…marketing, updating facebook posts, entering shows, responding to emails, writing blog stories…I call this stuff “paintenance.” Then, with those odds and ends put to bed a little, I’m more free to focus on the painting.

Do your children get involved with your art?

I make them pose for me, from life and photos, I also have had them help me hang shows, transport art, carry stuff. I will teach them framing at some point too…THAT would be useful! One of the things I’ve done with their many MANY toddler drawings that I hate to throw away is incorporate them into paintings and life drawings.

Sweet Sloth
by Judy Takács
Do they inspire aspects of your art?

Absolutely. Nothing like painting what you know best. I made two paintings of my oldest son as he left for college, one was called, “Sweet Sloth” with him sleeping in various positions. This also played into my Seven Deadly Sins series. Then I painted another one of him called The Introvert. I blogged about this one too.  
How has having children changed your artwork?

For me there was no distinct before and after children, because before I had kids it was the late 80s and my life and the world in general were very different from what it is now. So many things have changed since then (technology being the absolute main one), that I can’t really pinpoint the changes that were made by having kids. I do know that when I got pregnant with my first I had already stopped oil painting because I had a very busy freelance graphic design/illustration business which was essential to our family as I supported my husband through his schooling, and there wasn’t any time left over for my personal art. And then once I had my first baby, and then the other two, there wasn’t time left for personal hygiene, let alone personal art. I continued to do the design work on a tapering freelance basis, but by the time I had 3 kids, I was a full time mom and my husband was able to support the family instead of me, so, I made the kids my full time job for about 8 years or so.

That said, I did try to use every single opportunity for creativity I could. I painted pottery, I designed sets for school music productions, I did our neighborhood newsletter, I designed brochures on a volunteer basis for lots of the organizations I was involved with, but I didn’t pick up an oil paint brush for a good 10 years until the elementary school asked me to paint a portrait of the retiring principal…as a surprise…from his school photo. I did it though, because opportunities are opportunities. I also continued to attend life drawing classes religiously.



Nina is grace under fire
by Judy Takács

How does making time for artwork influence other household tasks?

I have a cleaning person come in once a week to do the major cleaning. I do cooking, laundry, and all the zillions of other maintenance items that living in a house with 3 kids and a husband involves. In the summers I have kids do dishes and other chores, and I never EVVVVVVER do housekeeping stuff during painting time. I act like I have left the house and its not possible for me to do a household chore. I say this, however, as I am about to jump up and put laundry into the dryer, so even that mindset is only my ideal and guiding principle. I’m still the mom, and I do the house stuff and the kid stuff, but I love the art stuff the most, so it pulls me back. My husband works full time, and supports us all, so I hold up my end by taking care of home stuff…though

Have different ages of your children been more difficult to make time for artwork and in which ways?

Yes, I generally wasn’t able to make art while they were home when they were little, plus, I didn’t have a dedicated creativity space. I used their pockets of time in school to make art. When, back in 2001 I had my first day where my two little ones were in pre-school for two hours a week, I made a commitment to do art during that time…and only art. The very first day they were in preschool together, and my older one was in kindergarten, however happened to be 9-11. Right as I was leaving the preschool, the parents were gathered outside talking about how one plane hit the world trade center. Then the director came out and told us a second one just hit it… so that kind of ruined my first two hours of creativity time in about 5 years. Now they are teenagers and would totally leave me alone all day if I didn’t wake them and force them to spend time with me.

How do you encourage your children to be artistic?

Back when they were younger it was very easy. I had art supplies all over the place, I kept cardboard boxes, tubes, plastic stuff, boxes of just about anything. I had hot glue guns for everyone, including friends and they’d build forts and hideouts for their action heroes. And for boys, the idea of using a gun (along with the danger of the hot glue) to make art was the best. And of course some creative paraphanalia never got much action (painted glassward, shrinkydinks, weaving kits), other stuff was a hit. With three, and sometimes a friend or two over, they had to be on their own with the art stuff, so I never really made it for them or even with them. The results weren’t magazine-worthy, but they were their own, originality was king. I did try to make them clean up, but…you know how that goes. And often the cleanup time was more than the actual art time. I remember a horrible marbleized Easter Egg dying experience I had with my 2 year old…really what was I thinking?

Do you feel extra pressure as an artist to raise your children to be artistic?

Some, but, none of them is committed enough to art to make it a career. And that’s a good thing. My older two are computer guys and are very into programming now ( not just playing video games, but that’s a gateway drug for programmers…just sayin’). I try to encourage a creative spirit and creative problem solving and thinking outside the box. They don’t actually have to wield a brush to be creative.

In what ways does being an artist make being a parent harder or easier?

For me it makes it immensely easier. I have my studio right at home, so from a flexibility standpoint I function as a full-time mom. And sometimes if they have a school project or poster to do they will do it up in the studio with the exacto knives and my drawing table. And whenever they need posterboard, I have it. Same with colored pencils, gold markers, a paint brush…I have it. And if they’re home sick, I’ll let them curl up on my studio couch and snooze while I paint. Those days are always special. And snow days don’t bother me a bit…I actually love them!  

I remember when I just had one child and I was able to finish design projects and cook dinner and get my photo albums done and take him for a walk and nurse him 7 times a day, I felt like this parenting rock star. Then at about 5 months old he “woke up”…and was awake more and more and more and suddenly the world changed and I was this babbling idiot that couldn’t accomplish a single thing. So I said the hell with it and had two more and threw myself totally into the child raising for more than a few years. When I accepted that I wasn’t going to be a great artist at this point in my life, and that my kids were only going to be little for a short time, it got easier. I just stuck with my weekly life drawing class and immersed myself in the parenting, without always jumping up and trying to paint a bit, and feeling like I was cheating both. And now that they’re teenagers, I’ve still hopefully got some 40 years to be that “great artist” so that’s what I’m doing now…full force! Until the grandkids come of course!

Do you think being a parent affects the way you are perceived as an artist?

I’m trying to make it the new cool to be an artist/mom actually.