Taking on art and spirituality. At least learning how to. For a long time now I have been wanting to know why I have been drawn to trees. As I mentioned in my last post of how I got started, I have often wondered why they showed up in my life. Something I didn’t talk about and that is what I did before I started with trees. Doodle. That’s about what I did. I sketched little things, like Holly Hobby, gulp! remember her? Nothing of importance or significant. Just doodling.
So, here I am going on 30 years of drawing trees. I have tried being philosophical about it but that isn’t my strong point. I am rather a simple minded person, I don’t understand complications. Meaning why have we made everything so difficult? Why is this human life such a struggle? My answer; because we made it so. Each person is an individual of expression of one. One of my favorite quotes, “We are not humans living a spiritual life but a spirit living a human life” -possible credit given to Dr. Wayne Dyer per the Quote Investigator. This simple quote has changed my perspective of life. For me, it turns every situation around.
Strange enough when I was writing this I was listening to an audio from Dr. Sue Mortor. She is an author, speaker, teacher and a doctor of Chiropractics. In her audio she talked about life being difficult and explained it very well. It is more than I want to explain right now so we’ll save that for another time.
So, let’s talk about art! I have released a new set of note cards. Again they are a set of 6 different designs. I have added a kraft brown envelope to this collection. I think they turned out very nice. Here’s the pic.
I have also updated some images on my Etsy and website. I had a busy day they other day with my photo shoot. I created about 28 videos, one for each bookmark and one for these new note cards. Each video is less than 15 seconds. This one is a favorite, having a bird in a tree with the birds in the background was brilliant!
These are my updates for now. Thanks for reading and watching and talk to you soon.
It was the summer of 1989. I graduated cosmetology school (hair school as we called back then) in March and was working at SuperCuts honing my skills and soaking up all the free education they offered. I lived in Wichita, Ks. I just moved into my own apartment in June. It was a renovated 3 story Hotel and I lived in a studio on the third floor and paid $175 a month. I was happy.
I was working full-time, had my own apartment and took the bus to work. My apartment building was just a few blocks from the river that ran through the middle of Downtown Wichita. I felt like I was getting settled in and it was time to start drawing again. About 3 months into my 6 month lease there was a leak in my studio roof and it rained on my drawing table I had set up. I talked to the landlord-who by the way was a fabulous gay friendly girl with dark hair and was very funny- she gave me a one bedroom on the second floor as compensation.
I am settled in again, my cozy one bedroom with no furniture except my daybed and warped drawing board. It was an open concept layout. As you walk into the front door it was open to my living, dining and kitchen. Straight ahead was a wall with narrow windows on each side. To the left was about 2 foot of space and to the right was my walled kitchen and the door to the bedroom and bath. I placed my daybed against the wall in between the windows. There was nothing in my bedroom but a small dresser.
I am now ready to draw something. I wanted something different from my usual tools, paper and pencils. So I bought 3 stretched canvases. Two of them measured 3 ft by 1 ft. the third, was a 10 by 12 inches. I laid them on the floor in front of me and asked myself out loud “WHAT DO I SEE?”
A tree trunk came to mind. Not the whole tree, just the trunk part. I thought “OK cool, I’ll draw a tree trunk” I positioned the canvas to start drawing length wise and grabbed my gel black ink pen and started drawing. If you don’t know anything about an artist canvas, then let me tell you, it’s very textured. So getting a smooth line on it is impossible. But that was OK because I was drawing a tree, they’re not smooth either.
I had no idea what it was going to look like or how big, I was just drawing a tree trunk. I went about my daily life and would draw in my spare time. I don’t recall having a TV. But I do remember listening to Hiroshima, Enya on my Walkman cassette player and laying flat on my back with the lights out and candles lit and just meditating and breathing. I really had no idea what I was doing, it just felt right at the time.
612 E. Douglas, Wichita, Ks. 67202
I found this image courtesy of Google Earth. Looks like they are still renting out as apartments. I looked at their site and prices have gone up. A studio starts at $599. And of course they are completely remodeled.
After I finished the tree trunk I thought “Now what?” I used the second canvas and turned it length wise parallel to the first piece and started on the branches of the tree. Fast forward a few more months and it’s time time top it off. A total of nine months later and after multiple ink pens I now had a finished drawing. I had completed my first tryptic art piece.
So that is how I started drawing trees. All three canvases were completed I later sold it for $275. I hope it’s doing well.
As I continued to draw my trees, I was determined to only draw with ink on canvas and paper. As an artist of any kind, you will get people that will offer suggestions all the time. I was reluctant to take any of them. I continued to draw in black and white for years. Until one day I looked at my work and thought, “wow this is really old school” I started experimenting with other techniques.
There you have it. My exciting story of how I started drawing trees. Now here it is September of 2020 and I am still drawing trees, only now they are a bit more colorful. I now paint with acrylics and use colored inks as well. I play with texture, like a home made paste with baking soda, glue and white liquid acrylic paint. Here are some examples.
Honestly, I am feeling like this took way too long to write and this is where I tend to just drop off with my stories. But, before I go, Let me tell you something. I sometimes look at my drawings and think “Holy shit! did I do that?” I think I could have gone to school and improved my skills a lot better then being stubborn and thinking I should be able to do it naturally without structure and instruction but I haven’t. So here I am, doing more intentional drawing and creating then I ever have. And I am happy.
A non-stylized shot from my desk. Even my computer is open as I am writing this post. For the first time in my life I believe I am truly doing what I love. It has taken me years to get to this point. Not that I wasn’t doing what I liked prior but I think it becomes about being fulfilled as well. I have always been a creative type of person. After being redirected as a high school student because of advice from a math teacher telling me to pursue something other than architecture due to the lack in math skills I had no idea what to do. I found myself going to a local community school for Fashion Merchandising, after completing that I now had a diploma in which I could work at a Dept. store dressing windows. Next…
I then enrolled into hair dressing school. This felt like a perfect fit and it was for a very long time. From 1989-2007. I thought it the best of all worlds. Interacting with people, being creative and the multiple avenues that it offered. Everything from working behind the chair, educating, instructing, platform artist, colorist, product sales to owning your own shop. (I never did) I spent my first four years in Kansas, where I obtained my license and then moved to Vegas in 1993. My license transferred to Nevada and it was easy to get a job.
My artwork was always in the foreground, it was never a large part of what I did. Not until after I was laid off from my “Salon Manger” position that I enrolled into a leadership class and pulled out my artwork and started showing it off. I got some great comments and feedback and then I would create gifts for people, such as cards, and small drawings. At this point I looked into showing my artwork around Vegas, Anything free or a minimal charge, like $25 for a submission. I was doing this to get exposure and feedback, not to win but to face my fears of rejection and maybe not being a good artist. I was and still consider myself a self taught artist with no formal training, just a few classes here and there. As I was becoming more comfortable showing off my art, I still pursued other avenues to generate and income.
My first attempt at doing my own thing was a key chain a friend and I created and started a website and tried to sell to some friends I knew that had small retail shops. Here is a photo of the key chains.
Getdusted was the name of the company. Little vials of dust and glitter based on the name of the key chain.
This lasted about 6 months until I gave up. I keep them around as to remind not to give up again.
So for the next several years I attempted different careers such as; obtaining a mortgage license, Real Estate License, random retail and even the Las Vegas Strip positions. Even a couple of attempts to have my own studio/gallery and an online drop-ship store. (also tree themed but all imported) It seemed like no matter what I was doing I couldn’t stop thinking of how and what could I be doing on my own.
Let me fast forward to 2020 as not to bore you to death about my misadventures. It’s February and I watch a YouTube video of how this girl is closing her shop on Etsy. She talked about how it -Etsy- was changing and that it wasn’t fair and so on. At that moment I thought to myself, this is one view point, I bet there is another. And there was. Stephanie Cole-Lewis had just the opposite view point. She talked about not paying any attention to the negative comments as Etsy and any other platform is going to change. The second point was “It can still be done” meaning you can still make great money and follow your passion as a hobbyist or artist or any handmade business you choose. I subscribed to her channel and have never looked back.
So here I am in the beginning of September of 2020 with just over 50 sales from Etsy since opening my shop in early April. Side note; I actually started a shop in October of 2018 and never followed through with it. When you look at my shop and it states open since 2018 and see that there are only 52 sales, I thought this might hinder my starting out but not at all. I could have opened another shop and started from scratch but analytical me thought it would look good being open at least two years longer.
It really all started to come together when I followed my heart. I know for a fact that everything I have done up until now has been about avoiding my “Tree Art” When I created the name “The Healing Tree Studio” it was about the healing process in every aspect of the word. Not just mentally and physically but emotionally, spiritually and self acceptance and awareness. It’s about healing as a human species, a planet. Healing from the scars of regret, remorse, anger, resentment and not following your passion. Now that I have open this flood gate and exposed myself I think we can start talking about some real shit from now on.