Starting with a Sketch

Charles Brindley, The Angel Oak / Graphite on paper / 16×26 inches / 2010

Charles Brindley, The Angel Oak / Graphite on paper / 16×26 inches / 2010

Charles Brindley, Study of Various Live Oaks and Architectural Ruins / Graphite on paper / 26×16 inches / 2009 

Charles Brindley, Study of Various Live Oaks and Architectural Ruins / Graphite on paper / 26×16 inches / 2009 

Charles Brindley,   Ancient Red Oak on Edge of Agricultural landscape  ,   2008   oil on canvas,    30x40 inches

Charles Brindley, Ancient Red Oak on Edge of Agricultural landscape2008 oil on canvas, 
30x40 inches

Charles Brindley,  Beech Tree in Granberry Grove ,  2014,  oil on canvas,  30x24 inches

Charles Brindley, Beech Tree in Granberry Grove2014, oil on canvas, 
30x24 inches

Sketchbook page from the grounds of Cheekwood, inspired by Charles Brindley

Sketchbook page from the grounds of Cheekwood, inspired by Charles Brindley

Although I've been painting and drawing since I was a teenager (and before), I had shelfed my skills in the past few years. With a newborn, a magazine to run, and my normal business stretching me thin, sketching or even keeping a journal felt like a fleeting luxury. 

In art school, I learned the benefit of "staying in shape" by constantly sketching. It's really less about talent and more about practice. Like anything really. And my skills have grown weak and flabby. In the past six months, I have had some personal awakenings that motivated me to dust off my sketchbook, pens and pencils and flex my drawing muscles once again.  Just like in exercising my greatest enemy is lack of time. Or should I say ,"making the time". That is the beauty of practice. It takes time. There is no instant upload or a virtual app to make it happen. (at least not that I know of). 

Spring has certainly provided a wealth of subject matter. So I've been snapping pretty foliage with my phone on nature walks with my son to use later for evening sketching sessions.  When I read about an exhibit at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Art Museum of one of my first Nashville art instructors, Charles Brindley, I knew it was a must see. Last weekend I took myself on a luxurious "mommy-day-out" date to the exhibit and gardens. In Charles Brindley: Trees of Myth and Legend   his impressive oeuvre of tree portraits from the past 20-25 years included an array of paintings and drawings.  

The intricacy of each piece is truly masterful.  Brindley's paintings simply glow.  This result from meticulous under painting is one the treasures I learned and remembered from his classes. Each piece is a layered masterpiece finished with fine brushwork to recreate the look of textured bark, swaying wheat, or curling lichen. 

From a conceptual perspective these trees grow to become characters in a story. Like the works of The Angel Oak found in South Carolina (aged at appx. 1500 years) and rooted in the history of slavery. 

Although I love the story, color and paint application, it was the drawings that really stuck with me. Brindley's proficiency with graphite and paper, his mark making and dedication to studying his subject matter impressed upon me. 

So I sauntered into the gardens, sat on a bench, opened my sketchbook and began making my own marks with my trusty ebony pencil. It felt like catching up with an old friend. The more we talked the more I remembered. 

Hopefully we will meet again in the near future.

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is just start. Just put pen to paper. Just take up the instrument standing in the corner. Small simple acts. Without distraction or noise. 

For me noise can feel more comfortable than silence. Distraction is less vulnerable. Less exposed. 

Yet, I am learning this lesson in this season in life. Slow down, listen to the heart and pick up the dusty pencils. 

And you? How are you "sketching" or writing or painting or playing or cooking, or making to return to your truest heart calling? 

Welcome to my new (virtual) home

Welcome friends, far and near. This site has been a work in process. Like life, which ebbs and flows.  Much like being a mom or an artist, you truly never know what may come next. And so instead of rushing forward, this has been a season of contemplation and rest. Of walking slowly and drinking in. 

After three years as Founder/Editor in Chief of Gatherings Magazine, giving birth to our son, mothering and continuing my established business as a decorative artist, life in fast forward became the norm.  In April 2014, I decided to say goodbye to Gatherings in order to make more time for my family and personal journey.  Little did I know how that decision would also open up my heart and soul to better understand my calling in order to better support my clients. 

I continue my work as a decorative painter (check out my portfolio) in the Greater Nashville area. In fact, my work with designer Julie McCoy received top honors at the Kings' Chapel Parade of Homes last December. You may remember this mural. My Magnum Opus to date! (It was featured in several local publications as well). 


In the meantime, I am spending more time with my son, and have thrown my creative energies into my Instagram posts. Each day I am presented with a creative challenge to share a new styled vignette or some of my personal sketches. Beauty is my heart, for I am a true romantic. With the feedback received on my Facebook page, I decided to open a shop to sell some of these images as prints, pillows, totes, phone cases and more. It's a perfect fit for me right now, since I don't have time to print and ship myself. I just upload my artwork and they do the rest! 


Thanks so much for continuing to support me during this period of adjusting. There so many more exciting ideas that I am brewing up on the horizon (if time and means permit). I've realized through my work with Gatherings that I really love encouraging and helping other female creatives pursue their goals, so I started a Facebook group Creative Female Entrepreneurs  that I hope will blossom into other events/happenings. So stayed tuned. Make sure to sign up for my newsletter so we can stay in touch (and you receive a free download of my hand-lettered freedom quote as seen above). 

Spring is here in Middle Tennessee and in my heart!  These tender buds are about to unfurl. I hope we stay connected and enjoy this journey forward together! 



Ps. Let me know what creative projects you are up to this spring in the comments (include links to your work/site). I can't wait to have a peek.