I've been creating art for as long as I can remember.
When I was little, I used to write and illustrate little stories about events that were going on in my family. My stories were a blend of truth and fantasy: tall tales from a child's perspective. For example, I wrote Grandma goes to the Circus based off the real event of going to the circus with my grandma. But in my story, my grandmother descended from the bleachers wearing a ringmaster's robe making her way towards center stage. I illustrated my grandma standing in the ring surrounded by lions, holding a hoola hoop in one hand with a big grin plastered on her face.
When I was very young, I discovered two important things about myself: First, I realized that my artwork had the ability to make other people smile. This was a delightful surprise because I was creating from such a deep, intuitive place purely for my own enjoyment that I hadn't anticipated any kind of reaction. Second, I began to understand I felt much more comfortable speaking through my drawings and paintings than I did vocally. I have always been a quiet person, and art has always been a mode of communication I have felt comfortable with.
In High School, I was lucky enough to take art lessons with a wonderful local artist named Barrie Kauffman. She encouraged me to create a series of pieces inspired by a story that was going on in my adolescent life. I remember feeling so stuck. Somewhere along the way, I had lost my ability to quickly and innately tell stories. I hadn't stop creating art, but I had clearly hit a roadblock and stopped creating deeply personal art.
So Barrie gave me a homework assignment: Go take pictures of a place where you spend most of your time. I returned the next week with a camera full of images from the place where I, your typical introverted teenager, spent most of my time: my bedroom. My ornate victorian bedpost grabbed Barrie's attention and as I began sketching it, something magical began to happen. In my drawing, birds streamed through the open window and birds perched on the curves of my bedpost. Flowers blossomed out of my burgandy bedroom walls and grass sprouted from my carpeted floor.
The birds in my artwork represented these exotic, winged creatures who were sent into my bedroom to save me. They existed to free me from my mounds of homework and overwhelming pressure to succeed and fit in socially. Barrie's prompt and encouragement empowered me find my voice again as an artist and speak out during a time when my walls were up.
When it comes down to it, great teachers don't just inspire you to be great, they inspire you to inspire others to be great.
Success isn't about vertical growth; it isn't measured by who outshines who and who collects the most sun. It's about horizontal growth. I believe it's about reaching out and touching the lives of others in meaningful ways. And that is why I became a teacher. For almost a decade, I have taught K-8 art at Episcopal Day School in Augusta, GA. Working with children fuels my creative spirit and gives me a chance to make a positive impact. I have been blessed with great teachers and great students in my life and have made it my personal mission to reach out in as many ways as I can.
In 2016, my life changed in the best possible way when my husband and I became parents through the miracle of adoption. Three months after the birth of our daughter, we found out we were expecting our son. In 2018, I decided to step back and just teach part-time so that I could have more time with my young children. Through motherhood, my faith and perspective on life has grown immensely. What a blessing it is to have the ability to redefine myself over and over again in this beautiful life. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about me.