Well HI! I'm so glad you've stumbled on this post, no matter what brought you here. With all of the many things that I'm sure are on your mental to-do list, I'm really honored you stopped by. I mean it!
I have been active on this website/blog for over a year now and I realized that I've never truly shared my story as an artist and how I came to be where I am at now. If you're interested, here's a (kind-of, not so) shortened version of my story. Maybe it will help you understand or connect with my work a little more!
Growing up I always loved art and being creative. I have an amazingly talented and creative mom who teaches kindergarten. She likes for all things she does in her classroom, our home, and everything else she touches to be "different" from the norm. I love that about her! Following her tradition of being different, every year she designed our Christmas cards using a drawing that I made. It started out as scribbles, but over time, this card became sort of my responsibility. We were sending a piece of my artwork to everyone we knew, and I took that pretty seriously!
I began to like the feeling I got when making a finished piece of art. From the challenge of making it, to finally making my last marks. I felt a sense of accomplishment with each piece. I went on to take some serious art classes in high school, teach painting classes at a local studio in town, and finally go on to receive my BFA in drawing and painting from the University of Georgia (Lamar Dodd School of Art).
At UGA, I learned A LOT. While I DID glean knowledge about the technical skills an artist requires, the hours of practice and dedication it takes to be an artist, and how expensive art supplies are, I think the most important things I learned were lessons about myself. I learned that unfortunately, I am a serial people pleaser and can't STAND to be rejected or confronted (um hello 1,000 art school critiques). Fear of failure absolutely crippled me. I learned that this quality directly poured into my artwork, as my works were tightly wound, picture perfect, photorealistic pieces that made the people say "ooh, aah!" Of course I loved that. It was super comfortable to be in my little perfect bubble of happiness.. Until that bubble popped in the best way possible.
I had a professor, Joseph Norman, who changed everything. One day he looked at my work and asked, "So is this it? Is this all you're gonna do?" I was kind of confused and gave him a yes/no/maybe nod. We chatted later on about how ALL the artists I admired and studied were abstract expressionists and impressionists. Great. Exactly the opposite of who I was as a human and artist. I remember his words, "Brynn.. we all have this artistic tool belt on. You have this (perfectionist draftsman) tool in your belt , and its time to add different tools." (cue me crying in his office and immediately thinking of the imminent failure I was doomed for). He basically told me that in his class, the only failure would be the failure to not try/grow. Oh, Okay.
I was forced to do ink drawings (as unpredictable and unforgiving as possible) and just see where it took me. At the time, I was listening to a new song that had just come out over and over again titled Oceans by Hillsong United. Although you should definitely open that link in a new window and finish reading this post with that song in the background, I will summarize it by saying that it is a song about bravery, stepping out in faith, and blind trust in God. I will also say that in my own personal life, I was going through a lot of personal conflict and was at a kind of crossroads in my life. My art was at stake, and so was very much of my personal life. One night in the studio, I made the decision from that moment forward to attack the fear that crippled me day in and day out. No longer would I live for the pleasing of others first. It was God first and no turning back. That happened to be the first night I EVER made an ocean drawing. It was moody with layers of ink, charcoal, gesso, and graphite. I went on to make 4 more of these drawings to round out that semester. Professor Norman saw the collection and even claimed it was "heroic"... I will NEVER forget that moment. (Photographed below were some of these aforementioned drawings).
I noticed a lot of my peers found personal connection to the "water works".. whether through a consideration of their own fears, their love of the water, or their love for the song Oceans. I liked being able to share a part of my story with others through the work and then welcome them to share their own. Art is so cool that way. I brought the water with me throughout the rest of my collegiate career and finished off my last semester with my biggest piece yet, Healing (shown below). (Fun fact- this piece was made using salt water I collected from the coast of Savannah).
After graduation, I began working as a studio assistant in Atlanta for an abstract artist, Britt Bass Turner (she is the bomb in so many ways). She quickly became more than a friend/boss to me. She was a mentor, a business inspiration, and the picture of what creative freedom looked (still does) like to me. She expressed freely in all areas of her business with the way she painted, packaged, photographed, collaborated, and lived. It was SO refreshing to be around. Aside from her creative presence, she also taught me the important ins-and-outs of creative business owning that I SO needed to know before ever considering going out on my own.
After some time, Britt and I decided that I was ready to go for it! In Brynn fashion, I took the blind step of faith onto the water and just walked. To this day, I'm still walking that same path of unknown but just following my gut. It is equally as fun as it is terrifying.
In between then and now, I've married my best friend from high school, gained a fluffy best friend (also known as a puppy), and continued to learn what it looks like for me to be a full time fine artist. I have ups and downs, as we all do in our jobs. Not every day is sunshine and dancing in my studio singing while I paint 100 paintings (well not ANY day, let me be clear). Some days, I feel like I legitimately forgot how to paint. Other days, I feel sore, uninspired, and mad at my artwork. Some days are full of packaging tape and shipping, and some are full of photographing artwork and editing website listings. It isn't as glamorous as maybe instagram or society makes it out to be, but it is so worth it. At the end of the day, I am SO grateful that God has created me to create. It is an honor to be an artist. Most days, I can't believe that this is my career. It wouldn't be possible without you, my faithful friends, family, and collectors from all over. I'm overwhelmed with gratitude that we connect on such a beautiful combination of nature, God, water, fear, courage, peace, and power. I pray that as long as I am on this path that I will make many more connections with amazing people.
Live full, live brave, and as one of my favorite authors says, live loved. xoxo-