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12/12/2010


It’s Never too Late to Follow Your Bliss • by AnnaBella Gray


AnnaBella Gray“It’s never too late to follow your bliss.” This is how my profile begins on my blog Frosted Petunias. I truly believe this and it is the message I hope to share with anyone that has ever thought about giving up on choosing a creative life.

I have always been creative. My mom is an amazing seamstress who made my treasured wedding dress. When I was five she gave me a toy pink sewing machine that really stitched. I made dresses for my Barbie’s and tiny dresses and furniture I would leave out for the fairies, hoping they would come and play with me. My dad was in the military which meant we lived the typical Navy life. We moved around from base to base and sometimes to different countries. My younger brother and I learned to become each other’s best friend, often spending hours dreaming up imaginary worlds. This usually culminated with me borrowing my mom’s pretty curtains and bedspreads. With these I created regal robes, tents, and castle walls. Through my mom I learned to love texture and detail. I love to layer, whether it’s fabric, pixels or paper.

On The Move
Because of all our moving I became painfully shy. It was so bad that I refused to speak to anyone at my school until the 4th grade. I wouldn’t even speak to my teachers. The doctors couldn’t quite figure it out, as there was nothing physically wrong with me. I found it hard to always be the new odd kid and I was teased quite a lot. I remember quietly holding back tears and dreading each recess. My sanctuary was to escape into my own imagination where I would create a whimsical world of fairies, witches and even saints. Out of my loneliness I actually learned to be pretty tough.

I discovered then that I loved to cut and paste anything I could get my hands on. I made little scrapbooks long before I knew what they were and created stories about amazing girl superheroes that could fly. I loved Wonder Woman and her wondrous bracelets and magic lasso. As a child, art and my imagination saved me. It helped me deal with the pain of constantly being in a new environment. It helped me deal with people who didn’t quite understand how difficult the changes were for a child with a sensitive soul. From then on, I learned to rely on my imagination and creativity to get me through just about anything.

Retail Therapy and a Bundle of Joy
Throughout my adult life, my creativity touched everything I would do. I studied Interior Design and majored in Fashion and Visual Merchandising at FIDM in San Francisco. I worked in retail for nearly 20 years doing sales, store visuals and as a makeup artist. I also made arts and crafts and participated in craft shows with my best friend. When my son was born I found a brand new spark of creativity being a mom to this amazing little creature. I loved nurturing his own imagination and encouraging him to think outside of the everyday. Today at 14, he still shares my same love and passion for creating and discovering extraordinary worlds.

However, as I settled into my 40s I also started to feel insecure about my artistic abilities. There was suddenly this explosion of talent out there and I really felt out of place and left way behind. I discovered digital doodling with Photoshop through my brother, a web designer. But there was so much I felt I didn’t know. I was afraid I didn’t have enough natural ability to take my creativity to the next level. I never dared to call myself an “artist” and settled instead on “creative crafter”, which seemed less intimidating to me. Suddenly I found myself feeling very sad and lost.

Creative Journey
I discovered blogging late last year. At first it was something I just did for myself. My beloved 3-year-old kitty was very ill and I knew she had little time left. My blog was a journal of the time we had left together — a way for me to keep her with me even after she was gone. After I lost her in December it was too painful for me to go back and even read my blog. It just felt like I was losing her all over again. So I threw myself into something more creative. I started finding creative blogs and became truly inspired by artists like Vanessa Valencia and her amazing world.

In January I decided to start my own artful blog with the goal of going on a creative journey to see what I could learn and to be inspired by all the talent that was floating around out in the blogosphere. I would work on small papier mâche and polymer clay projects and post them. Later I started to join weekly art challenges and participated in blog parties. I learned to create mixed-media collage; I played with paper crafts and discovered new ways to work with digital art. For the first time ever I learned to paint pictures on canvas. I started to believe I could be an artist. Through the whole process I began meeting amazing women. Many who were just like me — moms raising a family every day, trying to find a little time and space to feed their creative souls.

Now as I near my one year blogging anniversary I am truly amazed at how much of an impact my creative blog has made on my life. Although I am still plagued every now and then with anxiety about my ability to create art, I find so much comfort being in the company of the women I have met. Many have come to be very dear friends. They inspire me in countless ways through their creativity and incredible generosity. When anyone tells me that my blog inspires them it truly touches my heart. It pushes me to keep learning, creating and sharing. I find one of my greatest joys is helping others just starting on their own artful journey. It’s my way of saying thank you to everyone who has inspired me.

Art Saves
Through my blog I have found that art saved me from losing myself. It saved me from questioning my self worth and it allowed me to find that same little girl who used to make wee dresses for the fairies. I know I have so much more to learn but now my spirit feels renewed. Whenever I feel those nasty little pangs of insecurity and anxiety coming on, I know I can throw myself into a creative project. I can paint a picture, sketch a doodle, craft a paper dress or take a photograph and find that there is a place for me somewhere in this amazing big world of art. No matter what stage in your life you finally discover that artist patiently waiting inside you, I believe in my heart that it is never too late.

AnnaBella Gray is an artist who lives in Sacramento, California. To see more of her work, visit her blog at frostedpetunias.blogspot.com. She may be reached by e-mail at frostedpetunias@gmail.com.

AnnaBella Gray

AnnaBella Gray

AnnaBella Gray

AnnaBella Gray

AnnaBella Gray

AnnaBella Gray

Comments

Anna's art is truly as amazing as her beautiful story of hopes, dreams, and wishes coming true. She is a total inspiration, but in addition to that, she is so helpful to everyone and inspires so many people!

Anna is so wonderful to know! Her blog is beautiful and so is her art. Her paper dresses are positively joyful. Thanks for featuring Anna and her story here!

Beautiful and inspiring post Anna..thanks fot sharing your magical heart and spirit and your beautiful art!
HUgs
Victoria~

Anna,
I am so glad you shared your story; I am a Navy spouse; I worried about my children and all the changes. I see your story in a different angle, as Mom. It is admirable, through all your anxiety you continue to share yourself, your art and blog. Yes, we all can compare ourselves to others, but we all have a unique vision and ideas to bring to the table. Sometimes it takes time to see this. Time to allow the process to unfold and the patience to continue, no matter what~ Art saved you and you are right, it is never to late to let creativity weave it's magic~ xXx

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