Friday, February 22, 2013

Artist - SUNNY CARVALHO This Girl has found her WINGS!!

                                Soaring to Success

                        Interviews of Artists, Writers and Photographers
                     Their work, creative spaces and techniques

                                    Soaring to Success Interview with Artist:  
                                   SUNNY CARVALHO 

         I am delighted for you to meet this artist!  Her humor and  whimsical personality comes alive in her mixed media paintings, sketches and drawings, hand-sculpted dolls and pendants! Her work is such an inspiration, full of creativity ...and so unique!
Sunny also teaches workshops!!  She taught at Artfest - and in just weeks she will be teaching her workshops: Crazy Girl Painting and  The Little Girls of Dollandia at the "Art is...You Nashville" April 4 -7th 2013. 
This girl has found her wings -- and she's already Soaring to Success!!!            

 Thrilled to introduce this week's artist:   

I am Sunny Carvalho, a mixed media artist living near Birmingham, AL.  Primarily, I do hand sculpted, ceramic dolls and pendants and mixed media paintings.  My passion is painting…no, wait….sculpting….no……firing stuff!, give me a sec….it’s definitely…..wait, what was the question?

2. When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

 I was born and then I picked up a crayon!  I have considered myself an artist my whole life.  Because I was also fascinated with horses and rodeos, I spent most of my teen years on a horse.  But I would come in exhausted after 10 hours of riding, flop on the floor and draw.  My first subjects were the Peanuts.  I adored Snoopy, Charlie Brown and all the gang and spent hours drawing them.  Later it was recreations of Molly Hatchet album covers on poster board that earned my spending money.

3. What are your fears?  How have you faced them?  Or your plans of how you plan to tackle your fears. 

Although I’m sure I do have fears, my drive conquers them.  I make art because I HAVE to.  I spend my whole life either making something…or dreaming of what I will make next.  I see no purpose in letting any fears slow me down.  I find that if I make art to please myself first, then it will relate to someone else out there! My only real fears involve my family’s safety.

Mixed Media piece

4. What makes you different…unique from others? 
I think I’ve found something that most everyone relates to:  humor!  I love painting unusual girls with ugly dogs or interesting situations.  I started out in realism, which made me miserable.  I found that, because art is so subjective, I would deliver a painting of someone’s child, knowing that I had put in 20 hours of work and the response was: “the lips are too red”!  My internal response was, “if you want a perfect representation, take a picture!!” but I never said that.  I just knew within myself that if I continued on this path that I would give up art for good.  

And then I saw an advertisement for Artfest, Teesha and Tracy Moore’s retreat in Port Townsend, WA.  I told my husband that I wanted to go, even though I didn’t know anyone there and I would be traveling all the way across the country alone.  I did go and when I came home, I was so bursting with inspiration that I knew I had to find a new path.  I walked through my garage, literally the day I got home, and saw a piece of plywood and I immediately knew “this will be my new substrate and I WILL find a new path”!  That was in April of that year and by June, I applied to teach at Artfest.  I was accepted with my new style (what I called “pretty girls”) and flew out to teach.  I was SO nervous!!!  I had panic attacks for months before!  But it went amazingly well and I was so grateful to be accepted back to teach for the following 5 years.  I was very happy with my “style” of pretty girls until one day when I drew a funny, but sad looking,  little animal/girl and wanted to add some words to the painting.  I opened an antique book I had bought at the thrift store and began leafing through it.  Suddenly I found the words “Kiki was going to camp.  Kiki had a hard time getting ready” and I laughed!  At that exact moment, my style changed again. 

I realized that what appealed to me was humor.  I couldn’t very well put the humor onto “pretty girl” paintings so I started drawing “fast and loose”!  Those little drawings became the art that I do today, crazy little people and ugly animals.  I am SO happy now when I create a painting.  I don’t feel the need to be perfect.  In fact, I really feel the need to NOT be perfect!  But the BEST part of every painting is finding those words that make me laugh.  That’s just the best feeling.
Creative Pendant Dolls

5. Any secrets to reveal about the tools you use or your techniques?  Tips or tricks?   What makes your art special? Are your supplies unusual? 

I use anything and everything.  I primarily paint on wood, typically plywood (the 3/8” one-side sanded kind I get at Lowe’s) that I cut myself to the size I want to use.  My favorite paints are Golden Fluid Acrylics and Liquitex Inks.  I also use antique text, paper napkins, digital art (vintage book covers, etc.), vintage maps.  I have even used old bottle caps I have found in a parking lot!  I used to use Genesis Heat-set Oils (which I still love) but have drifted more to the fluid acrylics lately.


6. What are your goals and inspirations?  Where will you hope to be in 2 years? 

I have no idea where I will be next month, much less in years to come!  I hope to still be making a living and pleasing the people who like what I do.  I do have goals but I just trust God to lead me on a path to whatever is the next step. 

7. Where is your creative space or studio?    
I worked for many years (porcelain dolls…another life altogether that I haven’t mentioned!) on the kitchen table.  When we moved to this house, I finally had a studio!  I adore having a space where I can just close the door and walk away (which I do often!) but I find that it doesn’t matter so much where I work but that I do work.  Sometimes it’s in my driveway on a beautiful spring day, sometimes it’s in my bedroom.  I just have to get busy!
Sunny's Art Studio
Another view of the studio

8.How much time do you devote to your work?  (Is it at same time everyday? Are you disciplined to go into your studio at 9:00am every morning?  Or do you wait until you are in a creative mood?)

I find that my most creative time every day is from 3pm to about 7pm.  I try to get some morning time, too but I usually find myself doing shipping or book work in the mornings.  My family also owns an industrial supply company and I work for them, as well so mornings also include that type of work, too.

Where Sunny creates!!!

9. What are your “whispers” or callings begging you to do?  (Paint, write a book, sell your items on-line)   What do you want to achieve?

I would like to write and illustrate a children’s book for adults!  I’m not really a writer so I haven’t tried to tackle this yet but I recently released a book of my 2012 art that I called “Seven Second Stories” because each image tells its own story.  I would also like to do a technique-type book at some point.

10. Do you keep a daily journal or sketchbook, or write in a diary?  These are usually very interesting  and very charming to share- like a peek into the life of an artist.
Pages from Sunny's "Idea Journal"

I tried so hard to get into the Art Journaling craze.  What I found, for me, is that I am not made for that type of journaling!  Instead, I keep an “Idea Journal”.  Literally anything and everything that pops into my head goes into my journal.  There are hundreds of tiny drawings and ideas in there and all I have to do is open that journal and I am ready to get busy!  My drawings are done super-fast, maybe 30 seconds or less but they are some of the most valuable things I own.  Many, many times I will draw one idea that leads to another and another and the next day I don’t remember what I drew until I look back.  That tells me that had I not drawn it at that moment, the idea would have been gone forever!

11. How do you market yourself? How do you plan to get “the word” out there??  (web-site, blog, etsy, galleries, boutiques, on-line selling, do you advertise?)  Is it working?   Are you selling?

I AM selling!  I have found that for me, a network of FaceBook friends who are interested in my art is the best tool for selling in my arsenal.  I often add things to my Etsy shop or on Ebay and then add a link on FB so that everyone knows that there are things available.  I do not advertise at this time.  I am only one person and can only create a certain amount of items in a day.  At some time, I would like to hire a full time assistant to do the things that “finalize” (like painting the backs of paintings, or making chain).  Currently I have a part time assistant who does my shipping at times and helps with small tasks but I find myself “helping” her rather than doing what I should be doing so until I get a new studio built, that will have to wait!

12. What type of music (if any) do you listen to when you create?

Oh, music!!!  I have an ongoing love affair with a band called Blue October.  I love their weirdness and their honesty.  I like to listen to them VERY loudly, particularly on Friday nights (the only night I stay late in the studio).  I also totally adore Jason Mraz, Ed Sheeren and The Fray.  I have a playlist that also includes a lot of Ting Tings, Eminem, Linkin Park and Telepopmusik.  I like odd, catchy music that makes me dance (or rap!  Hahaa!)  while I paint!

13. Who is your favorite artist, photographer, author? …  In other words, who do you admire, and look up to?

My longtime favorite artist is Mark Ryden.  The girls that he paints are the primary reason I started painting Pretty Girls.  I love that he puts these gorgeous girls in such odd situations.  I also love Eurpoean children’s book illustrators Elisabetta Decontardi and Natalie Pudalov.  But above all is the fabulous Tim Burton!!


14. Are you encouraged to follow your creative path by your family or friends?
Hand-sculpted clay taken from Sunny's own drawings!
My husband has been an amazing support over the years, allowing me to follow my path, travel and teach with very little complaint.  My mother has come around to enjoy my style of art although it took her a while!  I remember when I showed her some of my first paintings (with tiny skulls and Pretty Girls) and she said, “Why can’t you just paint a landscape?”!!!!  I explained to her that I can go outside and SEE a landscape but I doubt that I will go out and see the crazy characters that I paint!
Sunny's Dolls
15. How do come up with titles for your work?

My titles typically come from antique children’s books.  After I reach a certain point in a painting, I pull out the old books and start looking for words to complete the painting.  I know I have found the perfect words when I start laughing!  For instance, in my “Clara” painting, I was looking through a biography of Clara Barton and the words “Then Clara’s family sent her away to school, hoping to have her overcome her painful shyness” caught my eye.  The painting is a big-headed girl skipping along with her skull purse….I cracked up and I KNEW I had found the theme of the painting!
16. Do you work on one project at a time ..or have several going on at a time?

I usually have about 30 things (literally) going at any given time but only one will capture my attention and I will work solely on it until it is finished.  I used to worry that I had too many uncompleted projects going but then I realized that each one calls to me when it is time and I will finish it at that time.
Brand new....Floss Bobbins

Cuffs - in progress!

Thank you so much, Joan for asking me to do this interview and thank you so much to all who are reading it!!  I hope you laugh today!

Xoxo,            Sunny

Web:  (currently under construction)

Sunny you are a delightful person who has inspired me with your humor and personality – and it shows up again in your whimsical paintings, drawings, ceramics and dolls!!!  You struck gold when you did what you love!!!  You found your inner humor and put into your art.  Hopefully, other artists have been inspired and can reach down deep into their own personalities and find their own unique style, too!!!

 I am thrilled you agreed to an interview and shared your tips, supplies, ideas and artwork with us.  I LOVE your work! As you know,  I am a proud owner of your colorful new book Seven Second Stories  featuring your artwork of paintings and ceramics!

Thanks again, Sunny for allowing me to feature you on my  “Soaring to Success” Series.    It’s obvious you found your wings ….  May you “SOAR” like the wind!!!    : )    Joan

***If you are an artist, writer, photographer or all around artsy person and would like to be featured on my Blog Series “Soaring to Success” please contact me for consideration!

I owned an art school in Charlotte, NC for 16 years before moving to Jacksonville, FL., so it  thrills me when a classroom full of students, given one assignment, produces such a variety of ideas. …We are all unique, we are all special.  We all have a different path, a different way of approaching our art. That is exactly why I want to do these interviews, to celebrate what makes us, US!      Thank you for participating : )               


                                                     Joan Carver       (e)       904-230-6155

Friday, February 15, 2013

The World of Collage and Mixed Media - Jackie Tury

                     Soaring to Success
         Interviews of Artists, Writers and Photographers
                Their work, creative spaces and techniques

                                     Soaring to Success Interview With 
                       Collage and Mixed Media Artist               
                          Jackie Tury

                   Bright, bold and colorful describes her artwork...and her personality, too!

1. My name is Jackie Tury.   I am an artist, dreamer, believer living in Chantilly, VA.  I am passionate about my family,  the beach, nature, art, adventure and photography.  I love to play with paint and paper which has lead me to the world of collage and mixed media.

Artist Jackie Tury

2. Guess I've always known I wanted to be an artist, but it has taken me a while to fully acknowledge that yearning and pursue that passion.  My mom has always been crafty and encouraged creativity.  As a child I loved arts & crafts.  I was always making cards & gifts for friends & family.  I remember designing an entire card line and selling crafts to neighbors door to door one summer.   As an adult, instead of pursuing art, I got my MSW (masters of social work) and became a counselor.  I tried to incorporate art into my work with clients whenever possible.  Next, I became a stay at home mom, which I LOVED!  I was always doing crafty things with my kids (and husband--an artist too).  Around the time I turned 40, I experienced what I call my "mid-life metamorphosis".  I was doing some soul searching and started the journey back to myself.  I had a list of 40 things I wanted to do at 40.   Take a painting class was at the top of the list!  I took the class and never stopped painting!  Soon after, I started "Mother Nurture" groups to help other women rediscover their passions and transform their lives.  When we moved a couple years ago, I took on a full time job as a kindergarten assistant.  I love working with children, but still have the desire to do art full time!

3. My fears as an artist are not being good enough, not being able to make a living at what I love, and not living up to my potential.  Technology is also a fear of mine.  I am a self-proclaimed technophobe!  I am trying to overcome that fear by making myself get on Facebook, maintaining a blog and learning to edit my photos.  I also plan to create a website soon.

A Finalist in  "Cloth Paper Scissors" Submissions

4. I see life as a gift, an adventure, a celebration!  I create because it makes me happy.  I try to incorporate the joy of art into every day and the joy of everyday into my art.   As a result, I hope that my art can bring joy and inspiration to others. I love to add texture and 3-d elements to my artwork--gel medium, beads, cloth, paper, embellishments, etc.  I also love to use inspirational quotes and messages.  I enjoy having underlying messages beneath the layers of paint and collage.  Sometimes I seal my artwork with a coating to add shine or sparkle.  My art is bright, bold, colorful, whimsical and joyful.  Creating art is allowing the child in me to come out and play!   I hope my art makes you as happy as it makes me!  You can see my work on Facebook, on my and in my Etsy shop (, soon to be restocked.

5. I am constantly inspired by new ideas and techniques.  I love experimenting and trying new things. I often try to incorporate pieces of my real life into my artwork--whether it's a cupcake wrapper or candle from my daughter's birthday, a ticket from a concert, a poem I've written or a magazine title or photo that speaks to me.  I developed a technique to create a 3-d frosting effect using real cake decorating tools.  I love paint, gel medium, mod podge, oil pastels, beeswax, patterned papers and all sorts of embellishments.  I surround myself with inspirational art, quotes, and photos.

6. I would love to be a full-time artist.  I dream of someday having my own shop or studio with my own line of cards and gifts.  I would love to be licensed and published and to teach workshops and host creative retreats.

7. My "official" creative space is a section of our home office.  I love the blue walls and the colorful art and inspiration that surround me.  But the reality is, I create wherever there is space at the moment--on the kitchen counter, in the garage, on the dining room table or my favorite spot, on the back porch!

Jackie's creative space!

8. As much as I can, which is never enough.  Because I have a full time job, I try to squeeze in as much art time as possible on evenings and weekends.  Luckily I am off all summer and try to be creative and productive in between trips to the beach.

9.My creative whispers are calling me to get my work out there into the world!  I've been creating and sharing on a small scale for a few years now.  My heart is telling me I need to do more--more creating, more sharing, more selling.  I need to dream big and go for it!  As I mentioned earlier, I would love to host painting parties,workshops & retreats, and get my artwork licensed and published. I signed up for Kelly Rae's Flying Lessons class because I am a fan of hers and would love to follow in her footsteps.  I first read her book when I was just beginning my journey and it brought tears to my eyes.  When I saw that she was offering this class (and for the last time), I jumped at the opportunity.  I am so grateful for the supportive, creative community of fellow flyers! I feel like I am now ready to move forward with my art and let my hopes and dreams take flight!

10. As for a journal, I keep several.  I have a catch-all notebook, a gratitude journal, a power wish journal (I plan to do a blog post on this soon), and a sketchbook.  I try to journal weekly, but am constantly writing ideas down on whatever piece of paper I can find--envelope, post-it, newspaper, napkin, etc.

11. This is an area I definitely need to do better in and one of the reasons I took KRR's ( Kelly Rae Roberts )class.  I want to increase my online presence and sell my work online.  I have been having some success in local galleries and shows, but want to take it to the next level.

12. It depends on what mood I'm in.  I can listen to anything from the Foo Fighters and Red Hot Chili Peppers to the Lumineers…from classical to the birds chirping on my porch.  Sometimes silence works best for me.

13. Oh so many--Matisse, Monet, Van Gogh, Warhol, O'Keefe, Theibauld.  As far as current and/or mixed media artists, I like Claudine Hellmuth, Sandra Magsamen, Jodi Ohl, Cindy Wunsch, and of course Kelly Rae Roberts.  I also love the books Artists Way and Simple Abundance.

Sending off her art  ..with the best of hopes!

14. Absolutely!  I am so lucky!   My husband is an artist and is my biggest fan and supporter!  My two daughters are also very artsy and supportive!  Our whole house is decorated with our art and photos.  We love making art together and going on artful adventures--photo shoots, galleries, shops, shows, etc.  Last year, we joined a local gallery called the Del Ray Artisans.  We enjoy participating in the different shows and events. Recently,  we all did a show together called "It Runs in the Family".  We each created our own mixed media self portrait, then combined them to make a family portrait.   I love that my family shares art as a passion!  My mom and dad, extended family and friends are all very supportive of my art and my creative journey too.
Tury Family

15. From my journals--self reflections, observations, affirmations. Often the titles are incorporated into the work itself. 

16. Usually I have several projects going at at time, often as part of a series.

Thank you so much, Joan, for this opportunity!  I love that you have created such a wonderful way to share  art,  stories, experiences with fellow artists and flyers!

Jackie, It has been a true pleasure to get to know you.  I personally adore the photo of you when you found out you were a finalist for getting your art into the Cloth Paper Scissors publication. Your work space is so colorful and inspiring - it looks like a fun place to sit and create. 
Wishing you all the luck in the world ...and strong wings to take you to the places you are dreaming of!
Thank you for sharing some of your artistic life with us.             

I owned an art school in Charlotte, NC for 18 years before moving to Jacksonville, FL., so it thrills me when a classroom full of students, given one assignment, produces such a variety of ideas. ...We are all unique, we are all special. We all have a different path, a different way of approaching our art. That is exactly why I want to do these interviews, to celebrate what makes us, US! Thank you for participating : )
If you are interested in being featured on my "Making Waves" Blog please contact me at and I will certainly consider interviewing you for a future post!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"Reflections of an Artist"

                            Reflections of an Artist

     by Joan Gabauer Carver

A new book containing not only the reflection paintings of water and it's reflective surface designs, I am known for, but it includes "reflections" about me, the artist.

   Reflections of an Artist

I am thrilled to share my latest book with you.  The 56-page book was compiled as a portfolio of work, from my "Reflections Series". It also offers you an introduction to the thirty most recent oil paintings I have created, the meaning behind the art, and a glimpse into my artistic life! 

"Water Ballet"

 "I want the viewer to feel the solitude in my paintings and be mesmerized by the water's beauty." 
Ocean inspirations, imbued with the colors of the sea, find their way into my paintings!
The artwork contains textures and paint creating waves of soothing fluid designs. I applied my passion and love onto the canvas, then used my talent to merge the colors with each brushstroke. With the use of the unique colors of beauty, light, personality and tranquility, I wanted to bring the love I have for the sea into my paintings to inspire the environment and surroundings of the room where it may be displayed.


My original art has tremendous energy, many pieces have hidden messages, words, or images buried beneath the layers of texture and paint. Dazzling surface reflections, soft shadows, ripples, drips and swirls dance onto the canvas.  It is a life-long commitment to try to capture the many moods of the sea; whether it's the crashing surf or the meditative power of a calm, placid and reflective water's surface..offering the mind and spirit quietness, stillness and refuge. In each case, I hope the paintings force people to take a second look, to seek, and to engage with the painting...beyond the everyday and into a deeper reality!

"Skipping Stones"

 In the Reflections of an Artist, I included a favorite inspiring quote to accompany each one of my original oil paintings. There are pages that I included to get to know a little bit about me, and about my artwork, my supplies, my "secrets" to bring good vibes to each piece of art I create, my two favorite Bichon Frise pups Matisse and Gucci, and a wonderful piece (page 11) written by a client of mine, she and her husband have become collectors of my art.  
I also have piece (page 15)  I wrote  because I wanted my work to bring awareness about the protection of our environment.  May the water paintings act as a powerful voice to society to protect, heal and promote my cause, to make a positive difference, for cleaner water to benefit our sea life, wildlife and mankind!  

"Rhythm of the Water"

 As one owner of a gallery stated:  
"Her artwork is the result of the excitement and love she has for the water.  Joan is intrigued by the water's surface and manages to capture the feeling with her creative process of intuition, her artistic eye and unique talent."    

You may order a copy of this book through  or contact me for a personally signed copy at:

 "SNEAK PEEK" - Click to view the first 15 pages of the book!

THANK YOU for allowing me to share my latest publication with you! 

Etsy Shop:

Friday, February 8, 2013

Tracy MacDonald - Artist, Wife & Mother!

                                                  Soaring to Success
            Interviews of Artists, Writers and Photographers
                    Their work, creative spaces and techniques

                                           Interview with Virginia Artist:
                                      Tracy MacDonald 

1. Tracy, please introduce yourself and describe what you do, what’s your passion? I'm not sure how you juggle all of it.. being a wife, mother, go to your day job and tackle your artwork! But, if you're like me, the artwork keeps you happy, content and fulfilled..and that allows you to be an even better wife, mother, employee, and it's all "better for yourself"!

Hi, Joan! Thank you for celebrating fellow artists and this opportunity to be interviewed on Making Waves “ Soaring to Success!” I’m Tracy MacDonald, and live in Woodbridge, Virginia, south of Washington, D.C in the U.S.

Tracy MacDonald
Mixed-media collage, photography, and journal writing are my creative passions that center me. In fact, as I write this, I am on a weekend retreat as a gift from my husband for my 40th birthday, away from my 8 month-old baby boy for the first time, to have time to create. I go stir crazy when I don’t have time to play with art. I especially need art right now to balance being a new Mama with home and work life.

2. When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

About age 9, I received my first “diary” from my mother, who encouraged me to write. It was a small, cobalt-blue journal with flowers on the cover, gilded pages, and a brass lock and key. This new journal felt instantly important, and a little fancy and sacred, all at once. I still get that feeling when I discover a new blank book that I love. It became a passion when I lived overseas to find journals that spoke to me in markets, boutiques, and museum shops… and they’re all little pieces of art that I treasure.  I’m better some years than others about recording thoughts, but I have shelves of beautiful journals filled with writing, sketches, ephemera, and the occasional grocery list or random phone number, as there is always a journal stashed in my purse!

In childhood, I loved exploring with paint, glue, bits of nature, and “secret ingredients.” I called my art “potion-making,” which sometimes involved nail polish, water, flour, my mother’s make-up, bath oil; whatever I could find-to the chagrin of my parents.  And my rectangular Vivitar 110 camera in the 80’s went with me everywhere. I saved my allowance to develop many cartridges of film.

Most of my adult life, art had become a “side” project, but reconnecting with my artist friend, Gail, while on a business trip a few years ago really got me back into creating. She encouraged me to have an “art mail” exchange with her, which became a fountain of inspiration, as there were no rules, except to PLAY! . I found the creative process so therapeutic, I couldn’t not do it. I would race home from work at five to slap some gesso down on a manila envelope, and the next thing I knew, at 11pm, my hands were covered in paint, ink, and glue, the envelope was a finished collage, and I had skipped dinner!  I felt alive and knew I was on to something good.

You can’t believe what the US Postal Service will accept to send. I’ve mailed collaged soup cans, tea boxes, shoe boxes, cosmetic bags… I had no idea they would take these kinds of things. (Here is a picture of an unaddressed “Mail Art” envelope, below).

3. What are your fears? How have you faced them? Or your plans of how you plan to tackle your fears.

Only recently have I started to “put myself out there,” in the form of a blog I created as a result of Kelly Rae Roberts’ Flying Lessons E-Course, where we met!  It’s exciting to have this long-term goal come to fruition, but I do feel vulnerable and exposed by sharing my personal thoughts and images. I’m still finding my voice in my posts. It can be overwhelming, and a bit defeating, to see the abundance of talent out there, so lately, I have tried to keep the art-blog surfing to a minimum.

I keep the fears at bay through positive affirmations, posting more often, and staying connected with fellow artists and creatives.  And art retreats! I’m so excited to attend my very first one this April, the Art and Soul 2013 Retreat (, where I am ecstatic to take workshops with recognized mixed-media artists Misty Mawn and Lisa Kaus, and photographer Catherine Anderson.

4. What makes you different...unique from others?

I am fortunate that my family loves the arts and travel. This gave me an appreciation of aesthetics and a wanderlust at an early age. Daily, I seek beauty around me, and enjoy finding new patterns in nature, architectural details, the colors of textiles, or even the way fruit is displayed at the grocery store. I try to incorporate these elements into my photos and collages. 

I would love readers’ feedback on my new blog, (Starry is my “artist” nickname). Please join me on this new adventure!  Customizing the colors and creating the banner has been so satisfying- almost like decorating a room, but a virtual one!

"Dream Girls" Collages on Mini-Canvases

Series of Note Cards with collages of my own images

5. Any secrets to reveal about the tools you use or your techniques? Tips or tricks? What makes your art (stories, photos) special? Are your supplies unusual?   

When I need to feel centered and “get into the flow” before I begin writing or an art project, I do one of many things, depending on my mood that day.  Perhaps it’s classical music and cooking to start the creative juices flowing, or perusing art and travel magazines, visiting markets and bookstores, a quick nature walk, lighting candles, yoga, or having tea.

It’s fun discovering new supplies. Little spice bags and loose tea bags work well as pockets on collages. Sometimes I insert a few pieces of sea glass, a small shell, dried flower petals, or a leaf on which I’ve written a message with a gold paint pen.  I use ink stamps on coffee filters sometimes.

Tree bark can be peeled apart, wet and flattened and dried for a great writing surface. Pressing a real leaf directly onto the ink pad, rolled with a brayer, makes a great stamp for botanical prints, too.  (The leaf can’t be too dry, or it cracks and breaks off).

6. What are your goals and inspirations? Where will you hope to be in 2 years? 5 years? 10 years? 

My ultimate goal is to keep creating and ensure art stays a focal point in my life going forward. (And to let go of housework and stop procrastinating)!  Long-term, I would love for my creative pursuits to be self-sustaining.
I am excited that my spouse will move us for overseas tours in the coming years. This will bring opportunities to work with new mediums and use art as a way to connect with the community, wherever we go.  Art is a wonderful, strong connector!

7. Where is your creative space or studio? (example: At home in an extra bedroom, kitchen table, a rented space for your craft.)

Mostly, I create in our loft, where I have the luxury of leaving happy art-chaos everywhere, without the need to neatly put things away, as this is an area I don’t show to family and friends visiting us at home!  Sometimes, it’s fun to bring lots of supplies downstairs to our dining room table over the weekend as a temporary space.  I dream of one day having a little tree house or nook with gorgeous natural light that affords me total solitude and concentration.

8.How much time do you devote to your work? (Is it at same time everyday? Are you disciplined to go into your studio at 9:00am every morning? Or do you wait until you are in a creative mood?)

Currently, I am working as an associate for a consulting firm (teaching for the military), which means I have to carve out little windows of time here and there when I can.  At home, when the baby sleeps, I try to jump right in, even if it’s just browsing photos and collage images to start a project’s framework. I am a morning person, so on the weekends, my husband is great about helping make creative time happen for me. 

9. What are your “whispers” or callings begging you to do? (Paint, write a book, sell your items on-line) What made you decide to take this e-course with Kelly Rae Roberts? What do you want to achieve?

The whispers have been getting louder this last year, and I kept saying to the universe, “but I can’t do this now! I have a day job, a house to manage, and a baby!” It seems with creating a child, I opened all kinds of other creative channels, because the whispers are almost yelling at times now! 

For a long while, I’ve had an interest in setting up a blog, but didn’t know how or where to start, which is what drew me to KRR’s e-course (which answered so many of my questions).  Left with no excuses, I set up a WordPress account a few months ago and dove in, learning as I go. Blogging has actually been a great way for me to get out of my head and nourish my soul, so I am grateful for the timing. 
Next steps are to set up a Etsy or Shopify account and find the bravery to get my art out there!  I’m also interested in conducting interviews for my blog later on, and perhaps teach a workshop, or assist in running a course with other artists. 

"Dreams and Thoughts"

10. Do you keep a daily journal or sketchbook, or write in a diary?   These are usually very interesting and very charming to share- like a peek into the life of an artist.

I feel better when I can write daily in my journal. If I have ink on my hand from my leaky fountain pen, it’s a good day.   I’ve also started an art journal, which is still in the nascent stages.

11. How do you market yourself? How do you plan to get “the word” out there?? (web-site, blog, etsy, galleries, boutiques, on- line selling, do you advertise?) Is it working? Are you selling?
I’m not good at this, but hoping to market myself primarily through the blog, and a shop account in the future.  Arts and crafts fairs appeals to me, and there are several in DC in the Spring, but I have yet to take the plunge of registering  to be a vendor.  Approaching local boutiques that feature local artists is another potential avenue.

12. What type of music (if any) do you listen to when you create? 
I adore silence, and when the weather is nice and the windows are open, sounds of nature are my favorite soundtrack ( especially hearing birds, the ocean, trees rustling…).  Solo piano, at low volume, helps me to feel calm and get into the flow sometimes, too.

13. Who is your favorite artist, photographer, author? ... In other words, who do you admire, and look up to?

I am drawn to many positive, spiritual authors that fuel me creatively. Particularly, right now: Paul Coelho’s The Alchemist, Marianne Williamson’s A Woman’s Worth, Shakti Gawain’s Living in the Light, and Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.  Julia Cameron’s saying, “leap and the net will appear,” is one of my favorites.

Stampington andCompany’s Artful Blogging magazine is a source of great inspiration for me. I devour it for the eye candy and to connect with other artists in this space.  Also, Jamie Ridler Studios “Where Creativity Comes to Life” ( has podcasts of artist interviews that I’ve really enjoyed lately. Isn’t it interesting how we can feel a rapport with people we’ve never met, just by understanding their style and approach?

14. Are you encouraged to follow your creative path by your family or friends?

My family is absolutely supportive.  Close friends have been, too, but a few of them don’t quite “get it” when I talk about spending a whole Saturday on a collage!

15. How do come up with titles for your work...whether it be paintings, short stories, a novel, or other artwork?

Titles are an intuitive process for me, and are usually kept fairly simple. 

16. Do you work on one project at a time ..or have several going on at a time?

Oh, my goodness, there are too many projects to count, all vying for my time. I lovingly touch them all a little bit as often as I can, which doesn’t lend itself to a lot of finished products in any short amount of time! 

Tracy, thank you for sharing your lovely artwork, dreams, creations, art space and ideas! You are such an inspiration for the "artist" in all of us.  I wish you the very best in your journey. It was a pleasure to get to know you!   Joan

I owned an art school in Charlotte, NC for 18 years before moving to Jacksonville, FL., so it thrills me when a classroom full of students, given one assignment, produces such a variety of ideas. ...We are all unique, we are all special. We all have a different path, a different way of approaching our art. That is exactly why I want to do these interviews, to celebrate what makes us, US! Thank you for participating : )
Joan Carver (e) 904-230-6155