First, if you are ever in need of creative inspiration, get on Instagram. I am finding some of the most amazing creative mothers there. Truly, I am. I found Beth Allen on one of my searches on Instagram (what I do while putting my daughter down for a nap. Two birds, one stone right?). I was immediately attracted to her colorful and vibrant work. It made me feel happy, and for a moment I forgot how gray Portland has been. Plus, seeing her create with her children all around just gave me the best feeling ever. To see mamas making art is just one of the greatest things for me because that means there is more than one of us doing this. That we are not alone, and that yes, it can be done.
I am so happy to share Beth's work and insights with you. I love when she says,
"If you can't get the work you want to done one day, don't worry, it will get done eventually. Be easy on yourself."
I really need to remember that!
Thank you Beth for sharing your creativity and insights with all of us! I hope you enjoy the interview, and don't forget to go to Beth's Instagram to see even more beautiful photos.
Oil & watercolor paintings & portraits.
Website - www.bethallenart.com
Instagram - @bethallenart
I am a mother first, my business comes second.
3. Why do you create? How would you feel if you could not create anymore?
I cannot imagine my life without creating things. I have always created things, whether it be a drawing, painting, or building frames out of sticks, or cities out of cereal boxes, or sewing tiny baby clothes and blankets, I have always had a strong need to create things. It makes me feel happy and complete. I am not sure what would happen if I stopped. Probably lots of nervous twitching. :)
4. Did you create before you had children? After? How has becoming a mother changed the way you create?
Yes, like I said I have always been creating things. I feel like being a mother has given more purpose to my creating of things. I create to save money or make money, or to make something for my kids I can't find or afford to buy. I create to teach them that they can create.
5. What does a typical day/week look like? Are you a morning or night person? Do you stick to a schedule or create whenever you can?
I try to stick to a schedule- I don't like the feeling of trying to multitask too much. Mornings are reserved for getting kids up and ready for school, housework done, errands run, time to visit friends or play with my kids. At nap time my work day begins. My husband's schedule is such that he is able to watch the kids most days from 2 until dinner, so that is when I paint. Then we have family dinner, family time, and then bedtime. After all the kids are in bed is when i do computer work. Emails, answering Instagram comments, editing photos, ordering prints, updating the website. Of course sometimes I have to be flexible and it isn't always exactly like this, but for the most part I try to stick to it as best I can.
6. I see that your husband helps you take many Instagram photos of you working. How has his support helped you as an artist and mother?
He has always, always, been super supportive of anything and everything I have wanted to do as far as my artwork goes. It makes it so much easier for me because I know that he believes in me and he makes it a priority to make sure I get time to paint. He has gotten really good at helping out around the house and with the kids. I feel like we split things pretty evenly around here.
7. I love the photo on your Instagram of you and Violet with her directing you while you paint. Can you talk about how your children inspire you and help your creative process?
They inspire me because they make me want to be better. They make me see myself in a new light. I have always struggled with self worth and having children has taught me that we all have this amazing potential, and that we don't have anything to lose by trying to reach that potential. I guess it has helped me be brave enough to put myself out there. I would want them to feel confident enough to do that, so I must be.
8. What is the most challenging thing about being a mother and an artist? How do you handle those challenges?
Luckily, I feel like being a mother and an artist go hand in hand. I can hand my kids paint and paintbrushes and have them create with me. I can take pictures alongside them playing or reading. My studio is at home. They get to see me create and vice versa. Really, the hardest part is just having the energy to do all the non creative stuff haha. Like packaging up prints, running to the post office, cleaning the house etc.
9. What have you sacrificed in order to make art? What have you gained?
I have sacrificed a consistent, regular paycheck. Most of the time I don't know what will end up selling. I also have had to learn to be brave enough to put myself out there. That is hard for me. I fear rejection, and rejection of my art feels like a rejection of me, since I am so connected to it. But I also think that it helps me get over those fears and learn that just because one thing fails, doesn't mean everything will, and the feeling that comes from connecting with people through art is pretty amazing.
10. Where do you want your art to go over the next few years? Goals?
I want to participate in my own art show. To paint a cohesive set of paintings that I am proud of and that have deep meaning to me. I want to get to a point in my career where I can start giving back to my community, specifically my art community and art education for children. I want to paint a portrait a day for the whole year, even if it is just of one of my kids. I want to feel more confident in myself and my business.
11. Can you offer any advice or tips to other creative mothers? Inspiration, wisdom?
Don't give up. Keep plugging along and you're bound to get somewhere, but also, don't take yourself too seriously. A sense of humor goes a long way! Remember to connect with your kids everyday. Create with them! If you can't get the work you want to done one day, don't worry, it will get done eventually. Be easy on yourself.
12. Do you have strong connections with other artists/artistic mothers in your area? How did you foster these connections, and how do you continue to make them a priority?
Yes. I have close friends who are mothers and also are amazingly smart and talented women. I connected with each one a little differently. A yoga class, through a blog, from my neighborhood.
13. Finally, name an artistic mother who inspires you. Why and how does she inspire you?
Oh, this is the hardest. I know so many inspiring, creative, women. I will have to pick someone I don't know. I have always been very inspired by Emily Jeffords, also a painter and a mother. She seems to have such a beautiful flow of life with her painting and her daughters. I love how she brings her girls to her studio with her while she works. What a gift to them to look back on someday! www.emilyjeffords.com, @emily_jeffords
I'm no longer doing Creative Mothers interview, but this will remain as an archive. Thank you for all of the love!
About the Series
Let's face it, being a mother can be the most challenging, and the most rewarding thing. Being a mother who needs to be creative can be even more challenging, it can even feel lonely at times.
So let's dig deeper into the lives of creative mothers, share their amazing work, and get some insight into creating while parenting. Hopefully, inspiring other artistic, creative mothers, and women who may one day be mothers themselves, along the way.
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