A Little Bit About Me....
For most of my career I either incorporated art or had a side hustle that involved art. My mom had a ceramic studio growing up and my first job was teaching the kids classes. I was a kid myself!
Around the same time she sent my brother and myself to oil painting lessons at the local paint store. Not an art store mind you, a paint and wallpaper store. There the two of us sat with torn pictures from magazines at little table easels painting away in the midst of customers flipping through wallpaper books and having paint mixed. I loved oil painting the minute I opened my first tube. It is still to this day my favorite medium. One of my most vivid childhood memories was an older gentleman watching me and saying “Young lady I think you’re going to make it.” If he meant embracing art, having a knack for teaching it, and sharing it with others then he was spot on.
I attended a trade school and studied commercial art, what a fabulous experience to be able to incorporate art in my daily studies. After college I majored in fine art and minored in art history. During this time in the late 70’s early 80’s I discovered decorative painting and began teaching a step by step oil painting method. I opened a small gift shop and sold my work and taught classes. I think this is where the basis of my step by step teaching method was formed. I have since transferred a lot of these techniques to acrylic painting.
I worked for years for various giftware companies painting collectables of all kinds, Hudson Pewter, Sebastian Miniatures, Wee Forest Folk, to name just a few. My fondest memories were spent working for the Pine Cupboard painting pine furniture and accessories. I developed a love for illustrating and surface pattern design and even did a stint sketching concept designs for TJX the parent company of TJ Maxx.
After the tragic loss of my mom in 1997 I stepped in and worked with my dad in the family business. That started a long career running and managing the Tinker’s Cart, an Irish Import and Gift business. We had a number of locations in local malls and traveled to Irish festivals all around the country. I embrace my Irish heritage and the shop has given me numerous reasons to visit Ireland.
All the while I had my hand in various art ventures. To supplement my income after a divorce I jumped on the paint night bandwagon. What started as a whim with a few good friends jumping in and supporting my new venture, it just took off. My background in teaching step by step came back and people loved it. I designed my own original paintings and with my love of color and whimsy these paintings were different from a lot of what was being offered. As well as my teaching style, I didn’t stand at the front of the room with a mic. I traveled to each and every person to offer individual help and encouragement. Before I knew it I was booked night after night at various venues.
For years these events put a roof over my head and food on my table. As we all know too well when Covid hit all social gatherings came to an abrupt halt. To be honest at first I enjoyed those nights at hime and not having to hustle from my day job to the venues. But I quickly got bored and saw that so many learning and social opportunities were happening online.
I began exploring the possibilities. I learned everything I could aout pivoting my art business from in person to virtual. I began teaching classes and it worked! I could employ my teaching ,method to this new platform. It actually works very well virtually as it is all recorded and students can work along with me or paint along at their own pace to the recording.
Next I was introduced to the membership concept. Memberships were all around me and it never clicked. I belonged to NetFlix, Amazon, Hello Fresh, Bark Box, Ipsy…..but an art membership. Brilliant! I learned, followed, studies some more. I wanted to know abou the membership concept inside and out. I had been gathering quite a following online, I had people interested and taking classes, so on a whim I jumped on and explained my idea, asked if anyone would be interested in such a thing.
And I was overwhelmed with the response. That’s how the Tinker’s Cartist membership was formed. A small group of faithful students said yes. I’ve since opened the membership a few times and at this point the group is created, polished, and thriving. Although we are all still learning, I am tweaking and improving along the journey.