Chit-Chats: Lisa Maria Illustrations…

I’m really thrilled to be presenting this interview with Lisa Maria –a very sweet and talented multi-hyphenate. She juggles being a mum and pursuing her passion as a creative with aplomb, and the stunning works of art that she creates (she is self-taught!) are a testament to her dedication and talent.
I must also add that this is the perfect time to check out her art –you may find something for your friends, family, or that special someone, for Christmas! Visit Lisa here!

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I’m an artist, wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. All of those combined have made my life very full of happiness. In my day-to-day life, I try to spread joy and light to others and share what I’ve been given with all those that come across my path. I was home-schooled for all of my school years and have five sisters that I’m close to, so growing up in our house was a lot of fun! When I was eighteen I married my sweetheart and we quickly grew our family. I’m a few weeks away from turning twenty-four now, and have two beautiful boys aged three and one that keep my hands and my heart full!

What are your favourite mediums, and why do you gravitate toward them? 

I have fun with so many different media types, but two of my most favorite would be good old graphite pencils and watercolor paints. I love both of these media for completely opposite reasons. With pencils, I have much more control over what I’m doing, which I love for creating fine details in a piece of artwork. Something about holding a pencil in my hand is always so familiar, since I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. With watercolors, I love their fluidity and unpredictability! I love that while you can learn many different techniques, practice a lot and know what you’re going for, watercolor always has that element of surprise and a spirit of its own that’s always present. Often a painting will take a whole different direction than I had originally envisioned because of the nature of the medium, but it also often turns out cooler than I would have planned! Watching each layer unfold and watching how the water carries the pigment to all the different grooves of the paper can be pretty hypnotizing, and so very calming!

Can you share a little about how you find inspiration for the art you make?  (I know on your about page, you mention where you’ve lived, but I’m curious to know if anything else is a source, or simply to hear more about the aspects of your environments that inspire you!)

Definitely! There are a lot of things that inspire me, but memories, people, and places would be among the top three. I have many fond memories from when I was growing up. I was always using my imagination for play and a lot of my paintings are inspired by remembering what it felt like in those carefree moments, seeing the world through a child’s eyes, and trying my best to capture it all and make a time-capsule of sorts through my paintings. People inspire me all the time—I would say primarily other artists and admiring what they’ve created and accomplished, followed closely by friends and family. I could be inspired to create something by a shared experience, something someone says to me, or just how I feel about a person or event.

What was your entrepreneurial “Aha” moment?  How did you cross the divide from creative to career?

Honestly, it wasn’t until after my first child was born and I really started getting back into my artwork again that I realized how very much I loved and missed creating. Being a mom is a super rewarding but also super demanding job, and especially in that stage where I was new at everything and often felt overwhelmed, it was so wonderful to come back to my art and rediscover some freedom. Getting back in touch with my creative side was really just like reconnecting with an old friend. I guess from that renewed appreciation for being able to create, I realized that it was something I would love to eventually be able to do for a living.

How do you balance being a mum and an artist?  (Read: How do you stay awake after an all-nighter?!)  (Still can’t get over 3 AM! haha)

It’s difficult even at the best of times! Finding the time to do everything would be the biggest struggle for sure! I’m a stay-at/work-at-home mama, so whenever I had just one toddler it worked pretty well to get some work done while my son napped. I would also often work after he went to bed at night because he was a pretty good sleeper, but once my second boy came along and I was chasing a 2.5-year-old around while nursing a newborn full-time, I was just too exhausted for a while to do anything but exist. Not to mention my second son has pretty much been the complete opposite of my first—including sleeping habits—so fitting in time to create now has been a challenge. It often feels like a five-minutes-here, five-minutes-there sort of thing. I’ve continued to attempt to do most of my work after the kids are in bed, so working very late into the night (sometimes until morning when I’m preparing for an art show!) is something that happens frequently! A few times, when he was able, my darling of a husband has taken both boys out of the house for several hours while I get stuff done. Oh, and there’s also lots and lots of coffee consumption involved! 😀

What has been the biggest creative or business hurdle you have faced?

Knowing what direction I’m trying to go in with my business and having an organized plan for it all! I can’t honestly say that right now I’m ready for a full-fledged art career, even though I’d love it. While my kiddos are this little, most of my focus has been on building my family and I’m cool with that. I love working on my art, and I totally have plans to advance this side-business to a career later on (I think I’d love being a children’s book illustrator!) but right now I’m at a point where I’m just taking all the opportunities to get my art out there as they come, making opportunities when I can, and the rest of the time I’m working on balancing personal creative time with wiping baby bums and just keeping the tiny humans alive in general. Not to mention still making time to spend with my guy!

Again, finding the time to do what I need to do to be successful is difficult right now. When I first started building on the idea of turning my art into a profitable business, I was definitely frustrated with how slow everything was going and with not having enough time to get everything done. I think in this past year especially though, I’ve been able to finally embrace the ebb and flow of it all, and I’ve gotten better at letting go of that nagging voice in the back of my head telling me I constantly need to be doing more, and instead just be present in the moment.

If someone wants to pursue a career as an artist, how would you recommend they go about it?

This is probably going to sound cliché and borderline cheesy, but I think the most important advice I would offer is just to never give up! Never think that you can’t do it, because you can. Things won’t always turn out the way you’ve planned it, but it doesn’t mean you should stop. I think that if someone has a true passion and is following where it leads, people will notice it for what it is. Success won’t always look like an overnight sensation; it may never bring you fame or a great fortune, but I’ve always loved those Michael Bublé lyrics—love what is true and the world will come to you—because I think they’re pretty accurate. If you make it a priority to do what you love to do and you’re doing your best to follow where that leads you, you can only be going forward. On the technical side though, I think being good at communicating with people is a must. Communication is such a huge aspect in building any type of business, but as an artist I think it’s really important to get yourself and your work out there whenever you can and to be accessible. It’s scary sometimes, but it’s one of the most efficient ways I know of to really gain experience, glean new information, and make connections.

From all the art you’ve created, do you have a favourite piece?

I think my favorite painting I’ve created so far is actually one among my very first watercolor paintings. Lakehouse Dock, which depicts a mother and child standing on a pier in the moonlight, holds a lot of symbolism for me. It was inspired by the experience of staying for a week at a beautiful lakehouse on Moosehead Lake in Maine. It had a lovely pier/dock stretching out on the water, which is where I spent the majority of my time while we were there. It was during the summer I was pregnant with my first child, and I just remember sitting there with my feet in the water, thinking about how much my future was going to change after the baby was born and being so happy, counting down the time to when I would finally be able to meet the baby I was carrying. It was a really special time for me, and every time I see the mother holding the child’s hand standing on the dock, it brings me back to those moments!

One thing you can’t live without as an artist?

My hands! No, seriously, though. I often send up thankful prayers that I’m able to create and work with my hands. It’s so fulfilling.

Favourite self-care routine?

Sleeping! It sounds like a basic necessity doesn’t it? Don’t be fooled! It’s astonishing how little sleep a person can get and still function. So yes, my favorite self-care routine would definitely be getting enough sleep! After that it would probably be doing a face-mask or giving myself a manicure and snuggling on the couch with my man, eating my favorite comfort food and binge-watching Downton Abbey. 

Are there any books you recommend?  1) For art/creativity 2) For a really great beach read.

Oddly enough, I can’t currently say I have one book on art in particular that I would recommend over any others. For a really great beach read though, I’d have to go with The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery, because it’s one of my all-time favorites! 🙂

Best-kept secret (restaurant/tea place/anything) in your hometown?

Brushstrokes. Technically it’s in my mom’s hometown, but I’m always going there. It’s an adorable little family-owned art supply shop that has such an old-fashioned yet timeless feel to it. It’s got a wide selection of supplies, and I love going in and perusing the watercolor papers and discovering the newest art supplies and different brands. It’s so much fun!

Can we have a peek at your studio, where all the magic happens? 🙂

You can, but you may be disappointed. Haha! My husband and I live in a small two-bedroom apartment, and with two kids and all of the stuff that entails, it’s been difficult keeping a designated space for creating! My “studio” started out as the kitchen table, stashing my supplies under our bed when I wasn’t working, which was a real headache. Then it moved to a more official spot in one half of our master bedroom, then when our second child was born it moved again to a corner of the living room. I’m excited to say that we are currently in the process of closing on a house in Maine though, and while it’s also currently only two bedrooms, we plan to build onto it. I will have my own actual studio yet!

Thank you, Lisa!

P.S. Do remember to stop by Lisa Maria Illustrations! I adore her whimsical art, vibrant yet dreamy colours, and her zest for life –it spills over into her creations and is truly infectious in the very best way. — Cx

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