Mary Hicks, Mixed Media ArtistCoach Creative Space", where we are both members. CCS is the website where Dan Goodwin, the Creativity Coach, pulls and prods us into being more happily creative than we ever thought we could possibly be! I don't remember just exactly how she and I first became acquainted, but we have been fast friends ever since! She is the cream to my coffee, my jam to my toast, my best online buddy and oh, how I wish we lived close to each other so we could visit "in person", but alas, we are miles and miles apart. We make the best of it though, with phone calls every week or two, and we "talk" on the computer daily through emails that fly back and forth. She has quickly become a treasured friend, and almost like a sister to me.
Another remarkable thing about Mary is her zest for life and her love for anything that involves creativity! It brings her such obvious joy that you can almost see her glowing through the internet connection...Her artwork reflects that joy of creating and she never goes a day without producing something artistic or creative- whether it is one of her faces she practices drawing every night before bed, an art journal page she just has to make, or a meal she cooks with her own special touches added. She is a bundle of energy, and it is a true honor to be able to call her my friend.
I decided to interview Mary for my first article in my series that I have titled, "Artistic Success??? By Who's Standards...?". If you read my previous blog post, then you already know that my idea of being a successful artist may be just a bit different than what many others may have. I consider someone a success if what they are doing makes them happy and gives them satisfaction. I don't measure success by the size of their paycheck, as long as the bills are getting paid. I mean, let's be realistic here, we all have to pay our bills. You can be making a whole lot of money doing something you hate,and just exist through life, but to me that isn't being successful or "living your life". It is, just as I wrote, simply existing.Besides, living that way will also lead to an early grave as well as depression and health problems, and none of us need that! We all deserve the opportunity to be happy in life, without just "existing"! Read on for the opportunity to get to know Mary a bit better and learn why she is so happy with her life...
You are obviously a very creative person. What is your favorite type of creative expression? How much time and how often do you spend creating?
Thanks, Laura! I love so many forms of creative expression - some which people may not even realize are creative. Probably my most natural form of creative expression is my sense of humor. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to make people laugh...and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to laugh. I believe that laughter lightens our loads, and subconsciously makes us take a step backwards and re-live/re-dream a previous moment that we took too seriously. I spend a lot of time in this creative format, both in public and behind the doors of our home. There's nothing like a family laughing together! In public, I love helping people realize that things aren't always so serious. It's a wonderful sight to see someone's eyes light up from laughing at how silly their seriousness is. Life is short! Make it fun. It doesn't have to be a party 24/7, but it needs to be lighter than society tries to force us to make it.
2. Do you create on a daily basis, or do you have any type of a set schedule for pursuing your artistic interests?
My artistic expression interests run the gamut from blogging/writing to altered books to SoulCollage© to gardening to abstract art to photography to my current experiment of "painting a face" every day. Right now, my emphasis is on my "daily face" but I'm itching to get busy and do some yummy layering in a art journal or altered book! Every day this month - before I go to bed - I've made myself sit down and create a "daily face" out of my head. They are improving; I'm not what I'd call a portrait painter by any stretch of the imagination! After I finish a face, however, I give it a little statement that sort of captures the expression of the face. Some are better than others - some are downright frightening! But they're each unique and I'm proud of this little experiment. It's been really fun.
3. Have you always been interested in some form of art and creative expression?
Remember the coloring books that had tracing paper in them? That was me - tracing and believing I was an artist. Somewhere between the time I was two and seven, I forgot how to draw. Isn't that sad? So I'm re-teaching myself...sort of like how I re-taught myself to play the piano after years of not playing. Now it's another one of my creative expressions, and I try to play for at least twenty minutes two or three times a week.
In high school, collages and doodling became an expressive form for me. My book (the grocery bag type - remember?) was always covered with doodles. And I loved making collages. I think my grades in high school were lower because I was so busy doodling I didn't ever really hear what my teachers were saying! But nobody ever encouraged my with my doodling, or my collaging. It wasn't until about two years ago that I admitted to myself there was an artist inside of me. I'm 58 years old!
4. Is your family supportive of your time spent creating?
I will limit this response to my immediate family - my husband and my son. To go further would be an interview about my Inner Critic, and we don't want to go there!
My husband is so totally supportive, and my son just loves to see what I'm up to. Sometimes, my son will join me in something and I love that sharing part of it. My husband thinks my "stuff" is great and is just patient and kind about the messes I've created with my art.
5. Just listening to you and looking at your art, it is obvious that it brings you a great amount of joy. What is it about the artistic process that brings you so much happiness and satisfaction?
Probably just the fact that I MADE THIS!! Not to blow my own horn, but truly, some of my stuff is awesome! It amazes me that it came from ME! It's very gratifying to share it with friends and family, and when they "Ooh and Aah" over it, it feels that much better. I'm selective with who I share with, too. Even my blog I will not share with my siblings. They live to far away for me to defend myself! I try to keep that from them, even though that may be hard to believe. Some of my art I've shared with my siblings and always immediately regret it. They're just too competitive for me, and I'm not looking for a gallery. I'm just trying to express myself in a unique way that give me great pleasure.
6. Do you ever involve your family members in your creative sessions? If so, has it helped your relationship in any way?
Like I said above, sometimes my son will sit with me and try something. He likes to draw, so I'm trying to encourage him to do more of that. My husband is interested, but not enough to sit down and paint with me! It's all good. It hasn't helped our relationship, but it hasn't hindered it. He's just happy that I'm loving what I do, and he is very encouraging. I'm very lucky.
7. Where do you see yourself creatively this time next year?
Whoa, that's a big question, Laura! Who knows? I would love to be part of a local art fair - to really "go public" with something. That's my most up-front wish at the moment; maybe it can happen this year!
8. What, if any, advice would you give someone else who was just beginning to start their creative journey?
Don't stop! Try everything until you find your niche. Be frugal, but give everything a good go. Be patient with yourself; some processes take longer to get a grip on than others. Sometimes, you'll know immediately that something isn't "for you." That's okay. Keep moving on. Keep trying. Don't be shy. Don't always listen to others, especially if you feel especially good about a certain process. Share with others. Play (well) with others! Get lots of fresh air. Once in awhile, clean your house and do a load of laundry. Have fun!
Well, wasn't that fun? I am so glad you were able to "meet" Mary and learn how laughter keeps her happy and creative! Don't forget to look for the next installment in my series about "Artistic Success"! Be sure to get my RSS feed so you will know when it is published!