I’m a professional artist, entrepreneur, speaker, author, business consultant, mom, and wildlife conservationist.
Below is some information about how I began this crazy journey to becoming an entrepreneur, the unexpected twists and turns along the way, and how I’m now able to use these talents that were unearthed to help others while also creating beautiful artwork and products. I hope you enjoy my work as much as I enjoy creating it.
I hope you share it with your friends, and if you have any comments or questions, feel free to contact me!
Check out my TEDx Talk here!
Check out this TV interview with WCAX about my book, How To Crush Self-Doubt here!
Check out this fun podcast interview with StoryComic here!
Check out this article in the Times Argus about my book How To Crush Self-Doubt here!
Check out this TV interview of me by Scott Fleishman at WCAX here!
Check out this article about me in the Times Argus here!
Take a look at this article in the Seven Days here!
And take a moment to check out this article in Take Magazine here!
Watch this interview of me (starts at 14:15) at an event in Swanton, VT here!
Listen to this podcast interview (#45) of me here!
Listen to this radio interview for the Dave Graham Show WDEV (starts at 20:20) here!
How I Started Drawing
I began drawing in 2010, at the age of 20, after struggling for two years with an unknown illness. Mostly bedridden, I turned to drawing as a constructive and therapeutic outlet. With severe insomnia, fatigue, a 24/7 migraine, anxiety, vision issues, digestive issues, problems with my adrenal glands, etc., there was very little I could physically or mentally accomplish. It was depressing and frustrating, and what helped keep me sane was the little amount of time I could draw while lying in my bed.
After four years of dabbling with drawing from my bed and couch during my “good” hours, I was finally diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease, Bartonella, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and two types of pneumonia. I’ve been on treatment since April of 2014, and progress is slow, but significant! There’s still a long haul ahead of me with my treatment, but it’s working and I’m grateful I’m able to do as much as I can, and so much more than I could a few years ago.
Why Colored Pencil?
In 2010, horribly sick and in chronic, debilitating pain, something compelled me one day to drag myself out of bed, find a No. 2 pencil and a piece of poster board, and haul them back onto my bed with me to start a sketch. When I finished the simple drawing, I thought it would look more interesting in color, but there was no way I had the energy to sit up and paint or clean paint brushes at the end. So paint was out of the question.
Pastels were too messy for drawing in bed, but I had seen a book on colored pencil “painting” that caught my interest. Could colored pencil really be as opaque as paint? How was that possible?
After buying a set of wax-based colored pencils, I took to my sketch and used as many colors as I could to see how the pencils worked. At first, it reminded me of grade school art class, until I added enough layers to make the color more vibrant and opaque. I was shocked at the richness of color that could be achieved with the pencils and the details I could produce.
I was hooked.
I aim to have my art help causes I believe in, and wildlife conservation is a key cause for me, as you might be able to guess! Animal welfare is another.
The ways I support wildlife conservation and animal welfare are by giving a percentage of my proceeds during certain months to organizations, or by drawing specific pieces to bring awareness to conservation campaigns and donating some of the proceeds created from those drawings to the respective campaigns.
Just a few of the organizations I support are:
- The World Wildlife Fund: http://www.worldwildlife.org
- David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation: http://www.davidshepherd.org
- The Wildlife Conservation Society: http://www.wcs.org
- The Wildlife Society: http://wildlife.org
- The Humane Society: http://www.humanesociety.org
- The Ian Somerholder Foundation: http://www.isfoundation.com
In 2016 I attended a business conference in Washington, DC put on by the Arts Business Institute. I met and consulted with the Director of the ABI, Carolyn Edmunds, and we discussed my specific limitations and obstacles that were because of my illnesses and limited time and energy.
I got an email the next day from Carolyn asking to interview me about the strategies I had laid out to help promote and build my art business despite my limitations. I said yes and it ended up being one of their top 10 most popular articles for 2016! This made me realize I wasn’t the only one trying to make a creative business work with limited time or energy, so I sat down and wrote my first book, How To Build Your Art Business With Limited Time or Energy. I released it only as an e-book at first, to see if there was enough interest, and it became an Amazon #1 best-seller in the category of Art Business.
After my first book was published, I kept getting comments about how much people enjoyed the writing. They said it was like “having a conversation with you,” and there were numerous comments about my style of writing and how effective it was.
This sparked the idea for my second book, How To Communicate Effectively – For Artists and Creatives. It could also be known as How To Market Your Creative Work, for most of the content is about how to effectively market both your creative work and yourself in things like: artist statements, website content, social media, press releases, grant proposals, and more.
After my second book was released (plus after I started giving speeches), artists and creatives of all kinds came up to me to tell me how much I was helping them not only with their art business, but with their self-confidence.
The more speeches I gave for arts organizations and at art and art business conferences, the more I realized that creatives are commonly plagued with severe self-doubt. Whether it’s about themselves, their creative work, or trying to create a business from their work, artists often struggle with anxiety, depression, and self-doubt.
Well, these happen to be issues with which I was well familiar! I had been bedridden for over 6 years. I used to have panic attacks DAILY, even in my own home. I was so depressed that I was suicidal. I had been thrown so much pain and so many struggles in life that I had been completely shattered, felt useless, guilty, and like a burden on those around me.
And now I give speeches, teach workshops, write books, create award-winning artwork, and am a consultant.
So what happened to make all that possible when at one point I couldn’t even grocery shop without having a full-blown panic attack just because I’d have to interact with the cashier??
I did research and experimentation and I TRAINED myself (and continue to do so) to control my anxiety, manage my depression, and crush my self-doubt.
In my third book, How To Crush Self-Doubt and Gain Real Confidence – aimed at anyone with self-doubt, not just artists – I explain the techniques I’ve used to go from someone huddled in the corner hyperventilating at the thought of a networking event, to being the one giving the speeches at those events, and so much more.
Check out the spoken poem video BOOK TRAILER for How To Crush Self-Doubt below!
As a Speaker
I never thought I would be a speaker. When I was in high-school, I was the kid that broke out in hives, quivered like a leaf, and forgot to even show my diorama that I’d worked on for hours the night before, during a presentation. The other kids, when asked to give written evaluations of me wrote things like, “she got really blotchy and red,” and “her hands shaking, rattling the paper, was distracting.”
Yeah. Becoming a professional public speaker wasn’t on my radar.
However, after my first book, How To Build Your Art Business with Limited Time or Energy, was published, I was contacted by a local gallery asking if I’d like to give a presentation on some of the topics within the book.
Well, as you’ll read about in my third book, How To Crush Self-Doubt and Gain Real Confidence, staying inside your comfort zone is overrated.
I knew this would be a good opportunity for my business – it’s one of the best-known galleries in my state – and I also knew it would be good for me as a person to help with my fears, anxieties, and self-doubt. So after just a slight hesitation, I said yes and locked myself into it so I couldn’t back out.
That presentation went great and after nearly every one of the participants in the audience thanked me and stayed late to chat and asked the gallery for more, they scheduled me to come back to give more presentations the rest of that year. Word spread and soon other galleries, organizations, and businesses were requesting speeches and presentations and before I knew it, I was a professional speaker and giving a TEDx Talk.
Now I speak for arts organizations, at conferences, at wellness retreats, for non-profits and businesses, at religious organizations (of all kinds), at schools, at colleges, etc. If you’re interested in hiring me for this purpose – whether it’s about business and marketing topics, or overcoming self-doubt, anxiety, and depression, or anything in between – all you have to do to get started is send me an email via my contact page here, or check out my page about Speaking here.
As a Consultant
After teaching a few workshops about how to market your creative work, how to write a good artist statement, and how to develop a simple business plan, etc., it became clear that I should start doing a limited amount of one-on-one consulting. After each presentation I had people coming up to me asking if I would be able to help them, or just sit down to pick my brain. So I started a consulting gig on the side.
Now I consult on those topics – marketing, social media, artist statements, presentation, advice for writing proposals, help with creating a business strategy/plan, etc. – but I also consult on some of the topics of my third book, How To Crush Self-Doubt and Gain Real Confidence. These topics include things like, strategies for overcoming anxiety, ways to lift your mood (in the short term and the long term), techniques for gaining more confidence, how to be more professional, etc.
Interested? Check out my Consulting Page or go send me an email via my contact page!
My Favorite Products
My artwork can be made into numerous products, many of which are handmade by me, like my art jewelry. Here are a few of my absolute FAVORITE products I make, with most of my pieces of artwork able to be transformed into these products, below:
Pillows are one of my absolute favorite products I make from my artwork! There are two sizes: 14×14 inches and 18×18 inches. They can be double-sided, or even personalized with a name! They are bright, the images pop, and they make such a great gift.
Face masks are now available featuring my artwork, and I love them! They’re easy to put on and off because they loop behind your ears and don’t have to tie them. They have two layers and you can insert an added filter if you’d like.
Sometimes you can’t afford to buy an original piece of artwork, or even one of the more expensive Giclee prints that are archival (which you can see here), so I absolutely LOVE these photographic prints of my artwork for a high quality, less expensive print. They’re just in a sleeve and you can frame them or use them as is. They come in two sizes, 8×10 inches, and 11×14 inches. The images look great, the color comes across nicely, and they start at only $20!
Talk about making an image pop! These prints don’t need a mat or a frame, they are JUST the artwork and they pop out away from the wall about a half inch. These look awesome! I love them. They’re easy to clean, you can frame them if you want to or just hang them as they are with an attached hanger on the back, the colors look great, and the images pop.
Check out all my other awesome products, like greeting cards, mousepads, canvas prints, framed prints, handmade necklaces and earrings, keychains, t-shirts and more in the shop section of my website and/or in my Etsy shop: