Monica didn’t mean to change my life.
But she did.
I was browsing Pinterest and came across a cute illustration. I followed the link and it led me to Smart Creative Women. MIND BLOWN.
I perused. I bookmarked. I came back the next day. And the next. And soon it became an addiction.
I cleaned dishes, folded laundry, and painted while I listened to Monica interview some of the most awesome and creative women.
After I finished listening to all the interviews I wanted to hear more about her. So I listened to her pep talks and read the blog posts.
In this blog post she encouraged her readers to try a technique she was using in her Smart Creative Style course. You make a Pinterest board and pin only the images that speak to your heart, the ones you must always be able to find because they are so special. And when you are all done you take a step back, minimize your screen, and analyze.
So I tried this exercise and discovered that I like light blue the most, not turquoise. I loved the images of feminine and sweet 20s girls, not the 50s girls. How could this be? My house has turquoise everywhere! I loved it before it was cool. I love Doris Day and her fashion in her movies. But this is what I pinned, and this is what I felt was part of me.
This SIMPLE exercise was enlightening. So then Monica announced that the next round of Smart Creative Style Course was enrolling…and that there would be two opportunities to win a scholarship. I knew I MUST take this course!! I didn’t know how it would happen, but I felt like I belonged in this class. I prayed. And I hoped.
And I lost.
Sarah Jane Studios (the cutest and sweetest children’s illustrator) gave away the first scholarship and I lost. But alas, there was one more!
Jeanean Morrison, the darling, friendly, fabulous fabric designer and artist, was giving away a scholarship. So I entered.
AND I WON!!!!!
Holy moly, it was amazing. I received a notification on my phone that an email just came in. The title said “You Won!” I knew exactly what it was! I screamed, I danced with my 3 year old daughter for ten minutes around our house, I called my husband with a voice that sounded as if we had won the lottery.
But really, I had.
Because this was the catalyst for change.
I still don’t even know what is going to happen because of this opportunity, but I know deep down in my soul that God blessed me with this with His perfect timing. After YEARS of thinking I was mediocre with nothing new to bring to the world (so why bother trying?) I was beginning to see that what I loved and what I could put on paper had not been done before.
And then we began the class.
Monica sent each of us the cutest journal that she had made especially for us. I filled every single page.
I have taken one other online course and that was in college for Educational Technology. Now THAT was a snoozefest. But Monica’s intro video had music, a dance, and sparkles (I am NOT kidding---she wore sequins, which made me love her even more)!
There was a video from Monica for each lesson (two times a week). In addition, she had amazing, knowledgeable, and famous guest teachers, links to relevant articles, PDF downloads, and knowledge that took her years of acquiring summed up and shared with us in ONE course.
So I first off, I learned.
I was such a good student. I read everything and did all the assignments.
But what makes Monica a talented teacher is how she posed questions and really made us reflect on our answers. Oh and this gal has a way with words! We would make Pinterest boards on a particular topic (i.e., nature, art, fashion, etc) and then post a link on the private Facebook page. Everyone would click through, look at it, and then comment on the things they saw and felt. While most of us would come up with a line or two of analysis, she would see things that no one else saw and relay it in such an encouraging and in depth manner. I would always have to go look at the board again so I could recognize what she had pointed out.
Because we were encouraged to comment and post questions, there were even friendships that were formed. The Facebook group that is created for each class remains open forever so that any time we feel like posting something there are our classmates ready to respond.
So now the class is over. The dust is finally settling. I had a crazy breakthrough. I was in the shower and I realized my perspective was heavily influenced on my LOVE of literature. Dare I say obsession? A child that plays Librarian? That was me.
This is what I realized was true for me: we are all heroines in our story.
My view of the world is skewed and is seen through the eyes of written words where time doesn’t exist. You can spend pages describing ten seconds. The heroines are your friends, yet they are also you. You can go wherever within the confines of your bed or backyard.
This is ONE aspect of the many things I learned about myself.
I could go on and on.
But most importantly, I learned that there is no one else like me. Yet, there are so many others that feel the same. And maybe, just maybe, my art will speak to them. Maybe I don’t create exact replicas of still life setups (and I could if I worked hard at it—but do I find it enjoyable? No.). But I do paint things from that corner of my mind.
That place where imaginary is real.
I like that I KNOW what I like and I know WHY I like it. I can see new images, feel excited by them, and I can also trace it back linearly to the reason.
For example, looking at pins of brides in nature in their white dresses enchants me. Why? Because I like femininityàromanceà1910sàsimplicityàthe solitude before change.
But MY thinking will not match ANYONE else’s. We might be similar, but yours is going to come from a completely different place, thus a different order, and a few different words that completely change the outcome.
Monica has given me the tools to discover what I love (and I can do this continually!). She is the ultimate cheerleader, the mentor, and the friend. I have never met her, nor have I even spoken to her on the phone, but I know that I adore her. She is completely transparent, honest, and authentic. I know that who she is in her videos is who she is while at Target, cooking dinner, and at a party. She creates an online classroom that is full of love, encouragement, and self-discovery.
This class is truly priceless.
I don’t care who you are, you need to take this class. Even if you think you completely know yourself (which I thought I did!!) you will walk away surprised and left thinking about it for months, but touched forever. The addition of all the practical and helpful business advice blends in beautifully and will enhance any creative person and business.
And so I close with a heartfelt thank you to Jenean Morrison for being my fairy godmother. Your generosity has changed me and inspired me. And thank you to Monica Lee for blessing people with your talents as a teacher and artist.
Thank you will never be enough.
Life has gotten busy!! I just thought I would share with you a few of my recent instagram photos. I am working on a fresh Summer line that sports brighter and warmer colors plus hints of gold!
It has been so much fun to paint with gold. It is the Martha Stewart Metallic Acrylic Gold paint. It is perfect!! I love how it shines at a slant in the sun. It shows up beautifully on my watercolor paper.
I am inspired this summer by lovely images of red, coral, pink, yellow, and orange flowers. I am painting a lot of beautiful white dresses, geometric shapes, and the sweetness of friendship. These images are some finished pieces and works in progress.
In my personal life I have been busy finishing up the school year. I substitute teach (mostly kindergarten) and was lucky enough to get to sub in my son's class this year while his darling and smart teacher wrote the curriculum for our district's Common Core program. We went to the Kinder awards ceremony this morning and it was so cute. I am so proud of my sweet little boy. He completed his first year of school, conquered a broken leg, and grew up a lot.
Here he is with the robot he built with his tablemates. He was very proud! I heard the teachers had *lots* of fun spray painting these beasts. His teacher allowed each table to create a robot using odds and ends (cereal boxes, party hats, foam spheres) as closure to their 2D and 3D shapes unit. They were adorable. I thought the gold spray paint looked the best. If I get the chance on Monday I will take more pictures of the different robots (5 total).
I am already starting a Summer pinterest board. I always say I am going to accomplish a lot during the time off, but that doesn't always happen... I love all those "schedules" and weekly planners. I need a plan...because if there isn't one then I will just paint and laze about. There are only so many Summers left with my little ones actually wanting to spend time with me!
I hope all of you have a great Summer ahead of you!
Though it may be hot, there WILL be fun!
I am a watercolor artist located in Southern California.
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