Saying I'm self-taught is a stretch. I've had loads of mentors and teachers through the years. In my early college years I took art classes on a scholarship, but not enough to minor in it and my major was in business. Life went another direction. I fully believed that artists starve (NOTE that's past tense!), and I wanted the security of being able to provide for my family. That said, I love that I have that background as it has really allowed me to explore my art in a more relaxed way. It also helps me use this business of selling art to support charity instead of my family.
I've taken art classes at The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Callenwolde Fine Arts Center, and most recently at Spruill Center for the Arts. Since Spruill is closer to where I work it's the best place outside of my home for me to explore and do some creative cross training. I've taken painting, drawing, stained glass, and metalsmithing classes there in pursuit of what I like to call "creative cross-training".
Saying 'Thank you!' by giving back to the Universe is important. Probably one of the most important things we can do with our time on this planet. This is for all sorts of reasons, but the biggest is that being grateful makes us more joyful...and when we are filled with a bone deep joy we are more willing to help the people around us and that spreads the joy.
I also believe in being the difference that I want to see in the world. I want to see more people helping each other without being forced by a third party to do so. So, I'm stepping up to do that first.
My current causes are about taking better care of animals and children...two populations that cannot stand up for their own rights. I donate time and money to support Furkids, Inc. That's a non-profit, no-kill animal shelter in Atlanta, Ga. They do awesome work and 3 of my 4 'furkids' came through that organization.
I also support the Boys and Girls Club and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption...because parents have to work....and kids need a safe place to go after school. Recently, my husband and I decided to expand our family and chose to adopt from the state foster care system. There is a desperate need to get kids into safe and loving homes with families that will care for them. Through this process, I've learned so much about the prejudice against these children that I didn't even know existed until I started telling others that I wanted to adopt from foster care. These children are NOT there because of what they've done, they are there because of what their parents have done (or not). We are blessed that we can provide a secure home for children that need a family (which was so perfect for us because we were a family that wanted more children - win-win!). This has become a HUGE passion of mine. My new son and daughter are awesome and amazing people and I'm really, really looking forward to helping and watching them learn and grow. There are lots of good non-profit agencies out there working with state foster care agencies and I encourage each of you to donate your time or your dollars....just do it. Please.
Because I feel so strongly about my work to give back, I am committed to donating at least 50% of my profits from the sale of my art back to charity. Last year, with your help, I was able to donate to these organizations as well as One Tree Planted....because I really, really like to paint on paper and wood...I need to offset that or I'll feel forever guilty. :-)
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