Hello! As promised, I am back with some updates on our upcoming Creative Inspiration Week! I have just received an email from a really inspiring creative woman (she has been featured in magazines, including Country Living, Martha Stewart and ME Home Companion, & Oprah, and now she will be featured on The Inspired Room! Eeek, I might be getting a little nervous!). She owns a shop (French, no less!), has her own product lines, and is an author. She has so kindly offered to send me a copy of her latest book (yes, as in ‘she has written more than one’) as a giveaway to one of my lucky readers next week! So, in addition to the inspiration she & other amazing women will share with us, we have not one, but TWO fantabulous giveaways in store for next week. I think we are going to feel supercharged with creativity and energy.
Now, so you don’t go away wondering if I am ever going to post anything other than teasers (oh, but how fun it is to dream about next week!), check this out. I am so excited to feature a really great artist today, Anne Harwell. In addition to being a creative artist, she is just a neat person. I encourage you to take a look at her artwork, read about what inspires her, and visit her blog & etsy shop where I just read she is offering a 20% discount on purchases through the 30th of November!
Anne, I am so glad that you agreed to share a little bit about your background and what inspires you!
I don’t have any formal art training, but my parents have always encouraged me to pursue my artistic interests since I was a little kid. They took me and my siblings to art museums, cultural sites and new places. I used to pore over my mom’s design magazines for hours. My mom dabbled in oil painting and my dad with pastels. I had tear sheets from about the age of ten and was obsessed with stationery, art supplies and office supplies at even an earlier age than that. When I was a preschooler, I used to create things out of office supplies when my mom would put me down for a nap. My idea of fun was construction paper, scissors and a bottle of mucilage.
One of my most prized possessions was a miniature red Swingline stapler I got when I was six – better than any toy. Yes, I was weird – an art nerd all the way! When I graduated from high school, my parents owned a home furnishings/decor business and so I went to work for them and also began to sell some of my work there.
Eventually, I got more work in the form of commissions (watercolors, painted furniture, etc.) and my business has developed slowly over the years. I have had my ups and downs, feast and famine, but have learned so much along the way. I have learned not to take myself too seriously and that when people who promise “huge breaks” and then don’t deliver, not to give up or get bitter! It’s important to take everything with a grain of salt – positive or negative. I believe that everything happens for a reason. Don’t get too confident when things are going well and don’t despair when things are tough. You press on in the difficulty, work hard and keep hoping for good! Treat everyone with respect and kindness – how you treat others comes back to haunt you – good or bad. Perseverance in integrity pays off.
My relationship with and dependence on God keep me inspired, along with the loving support of my family. I have also found some great and supportive friends and a real sense of “community” among many of the bloggers and my readers. I had no idea this would develop, so that’s been a real added bonus to blogging. Blogging has also motivated me to keep on more of a “creative schedule”, than fits and starts creatively. It’s so encouraging to receive feedback from my readers and to share with a wider audience my latest projects – keeps me energized.
I have found that it’s important to work hard, but to also allow yourself to do the things that feed your soul, what you were created to do. Sometimes there are sacrifices financially and otherwise, but you know you’re doing the right thing when you’re true to who you are and have that sense of satisfaction in your work.
I love living in Florida – when I am not working there is so much to do! Living on the coast is inspiring in itself with all of the natural beauty, the ocean and endless sunshine. I am really a beach bum at heart – it’s therapy for me. I also love travel, cooking, eating, reading, biking, decorating and spending time with great people who are positive, supportive and challenge me to be my best.
All photos and artwork on this post are copyright Anne Harwell, used by permission