Earlier in the year I spent a great deal of time listening to the advice of others, of business professionals and podcasts and online groups. I was thinking about goals and long-term growth and I finally realized I was letting in way too much outside influence. As a Mom, it’s similar to the sort of noise you hear when you have your first baby. Everyone tells you what to do and how to do it and has no problem telling you what you’re doing wrong. Ugh. Eventually, when you get your wits about you, you tell them to go buzz off. Well, that’s what I finally had to do with the business advice, mentor groups, and podcasts. It was time to turn to my own expertise and years of experience. I started to think carefully about what brought me to art and design and why I decided to make this my profession. It began on Cape Cod, as have many important and pivotal experiences in my life.
Each time I walked into the Harrington’s yard past rows of beach roses and hydrangea and, of course, bird houses, it felt like I was about to discover something. The Harrington’s house was different than ours. It had (still has) a modern aesthetic and a very Scandinavian feel and ours was more traditional Cape Cod. They had telescopes for bird watching and easels in the windows, which lined up to a spectacular view of the Atlantic (see above). It wasn’t fancy, but it was special. Every few weeks there would be a new painting on the wall, sometimes a work-in-progress, that Andrea, my friend Wendy’s Mom, had painted. I was always fascinated by her work and by seeing her process. I thought it was cool that she hung unfinished work on the wall near the kitchen so she could look at it while she was busy making dinner.
“I thought it was cool that she hung unfinished work on the wall near the kitchen so she could look at it while she was busy making dinner.”
Back then, in the 70’s and 80’s, there weren’t prepared craft kits or creative toys for kids. I had that creative itch but had no idea how to scratch it until I saw what Andrea was doing. She was the busy mother of two girls and a wife (to Winty, the avid birdwatcher) and she had this amazing talent that she embraced and nurtured. When I asked questions about her artwork and the tools she was using she would always answer in her cheerful, happy voice which I can hear in my head right now. Before I knew it, I started taking art classes on Saturday at CCAD and I started to explore different mediums. I was off to the races on my own creative journey which feels like it has never slowed down. But there is no doubt in my mind that it started with Andrea and her generous spirit.
Somehow remembering Andrea’s influence and spirit was an important key to figuring out what I need to do to grow and thrive in a business focused on art and design. People 20 years my junior who have seen far less than I might know more about social media platforms, but tapping into why you’ve made certain decisions can revive your spirit and that is huge. I love the phrase “authenticity is magic”. Andrea is authentic, as is her daughter Wendy. They have always been two of my favorite people in the world because they are genuine and unassuming. As I move forward on this journey, I’m going to write Andrea a letter, but I’m also going to keep her authenticity close to my heart. Authenticity is magic and it’s that kind of magic that moves mountains when they seem insurmountable.