In 2007, life felt bland and I needed a beautiful view in my dining room. I grabbed a brush, a bottle of wine and painted a mural within a weekend. About a month later, I was commissioned for my first professional mural. Work and art became a balancing act as I juggled my hobby and my corporate job. Being an artist felt like a dream, just out of distance but I couldn’t stop painting.

In 2011, things really changed for my whole family. My mother was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. I couldn’t find joy in painting at that time unless it was for her. It was always for her. In 2013, when she passed, I realized I had no urge to create at all because she wasn’t here to enjoy it or be proud of it.

I sat staring at an empty easel for a year. That’s when I got a phone call from Indiana Members Foundation asking if I could teach group painting classes to raise money for Joan Wolfe Legacy Grant for the Arts in memory of my mother. This fundraiser, Canvas for a Cause has currently raised over $80,000 for local nonprofits.

mermaid mural
My purpose was truly found through my mother. Art became my way to heal and help others to heal. My vision now as an artist is to help humans of all ages learn, “when you love the art you create, it’s easier to love the life you create.” I focus more on how the art feels vs. how the art looks. We choose not to see imperfections as a way to improve, but rather to celebrate imperfection as part of our purpose.

Who would want to be perfect? Everyone’s art should look different. I don’t teach people to replicate my work. I show them how to make it their own and encourage them to be different. It’s ok not to be ok. The best lesson art teaches us about life, “It’s not about lowering expectations. It’s about removing them entirely.”