with Theresa Collins
Featured artist in the Paint FEARLESS® Exhibition 2023.
Theresa Collins is a featured artists in the Paint FEARLESS® Exhibition happening now through August 8, 2023. The title of her collection is Home | A Reflection Of The Soul and can be viewed RIGHT HERE.
As Theresa's mentor in both the Paint FEARLESS® Mentorship and BOW, it has been an honor to bare witness as Theresa has followed the roots of her family lineage through her creative practice while bravely blazing her own path of truth and creativity.
Please join me in learning more about Theresa's process, practice, and intentions in the Creative Conversation below.
Welcome to our Creative Conversation!
Hi Theresa! Your collection titled: HOME | A Reflection of the Soul began with a desire to connect with your mother’s ancestral lineage. You too are a mother. How does being a mother impact your decisions, motivation, and actions as an artist?
Being a mother impacts my decisions, motivations and actions as an artist because I know she’s watching every move I make - and more especially, the ones I don’t. Making art nurtures my soul, is crucial to my self care and mental well-being - if I don’t put “me” on the priority list 1. I’m grumpy, and who wants a grumpy Mom (haha) and 2. I want her to learn that intimately taking care of self is just as important as taking care of those you love - can’t do the latter without it! And, I’ve always encouraged her to be true to who she is - what better way to teach her than to show her by spending time in my creative practice and investing in my passion, using the gifts I have been given.
When creating your collection, what made you shift from “unpacking the history of your mother’s lineage to looking at the world through a lens of LOVE and BEAUTY”? Please explain.
Simply put.. my mother. Approaching my art intuitively by using the materials I loved, following what called me next as I created the work through the mentorship and through BOW, brought about the shift from unpacking history to looking through a different lens. I felt called to paint my Mom, her soul, and as I was making the final marks, I felt peace… and the call to notice the love and the beauty of the present rather than digging up the past that she had already made peace with. All of that pain wasn’t mine to bear.
How did creating this collection change or impact your thoughts and feelings around what “home” is? Were there any big a-ha moments you experienced while creating this collection?
Creating this collection, of which is still ongoing, has impacted my feelings around what “HOME” is - both the place and the soul. In respect to our physical home - I’ve gone from survival to really appreciating my surroundings, down to the little things, like my favorite mug. From the soul perspective of “HOME” - that’s a biggie, and will certainly have a place in my book I intend to write and illustrate one day. Finding “HOME” on a soul level is certainly a journey, but a big a-ha that has pushed me forward in my work was actually doing the opposite of what one might think would be a catalyst… slowing down to notice and listen, taking time to rest and integrate, being present - things I had forgotten all about as a single Mom and a business owner.
I find it super fascinating that you are both an artist and Realtor and that your collection is titled HOME. Do you feel that your work as a Realtor inspires your creative practice and vice versa? Tell us everything!
My career as a Realtor, which began over 20 years ago, interestingly led me right back to my childhood love of making art when I had this bright idea to paint houses as gifts for my clients after going to one of those “Paint and Sip” places with a friend. This was WAY before this type of gift became a trend, and especially being painted BY the Realtor, not just bought from someone on Etsy - unheard of.. so talk about serendipity, right? After around the 3rd one, I actually had a client tell me she would have rather had been given a Home Depot gift card than a “craft project”, which really crushed me. I stopped gifting my art, but creating was back in my blood and I haven’t stopped since. Since then, I’ve been commissioned by other Realtors to paint for their personal homes and offices, but I never marketed to do so - it was just by word of mouth. Other than casually taking some pieces to a friend’s shop several years ago, I’ve really just kept my art to myself - I’m running out of storage space! I turned my basement from a playroom (every room on the main floor was a playroom anyway, haha) and office into an art studio with “some” office space - it became my place to process, to have fun, a safe place to express, and yes, sometimes, to hide. It’s certainly no mistake my real estate career led me to where I am today with my artist’s journey. What I’ve discovered about myself along the way through my art, has also led me to serving my community on a different level, which I do now 5 days a week at our local family restaurant, BISCUITS AND MORE - and I LOVE it. It’s ALL intertwined!
You use various materials and substrates for your work.
How do you decide which materials and substrates to use and when?
Deciding which materials and substrates to use and when is mostly instinctual. With Connie’s guidance, I’ve learned to listen to my artist’s soul and follow by loving what I love in that moment. Sometimes, I am inspired by a leaf I’ve picked up on a walk, or some random finding, and want to incorporate it in some way. Other times, I might be following my curiosity through experiments at my art table and decide that’s what I want to use for a particular “study.”
When creating your collection for the Paint FEARLESS® Exhibition did you come up against any intense feelings of self-doubt, fear, or resistance? What did that look and feel like? How did you work through it?
When creating this collection for the exhibition, I experienced ALL the “feels!” My work is deep, it’s personal, and when reality struck that I was about to REALLY put it out into the world?? Imposter syndrome, not good enough, what the heck was I thinking.. blah blah blah, yep, it all crept in. The “I’m just too busy, have too much on my plate to get this done, I’m trying to raise a teenager, and Louie needs attention” language of sheer panic and fear tried to take over, absolutely. The “gremlin” in my head, busy at work. When I get into places like these, my go-to question is.. “If my daughter were in this place, what would my advice be for her?” So, I did what I would want her to do. To go for it - follow your passion, do what you love, you have to take the risk to know and sometimes, it’s just the journey itself to learn from. Oh, and over the years, I’ve had close friends tell me they didn’t understand why I wasn’t doing more with my gifts and my art by sharing it out into the world… so I guess, in a way, this was for them, too.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
What is it that you love about their work?
My list of favorite artists has evolved over the last several years as my own work has evolved. Following and collecting art from Jodi Ohl, is where my journey began - what I’ve loved most about her work is her fun, whimsical approach, and across the spectrum to her colorful, abstract work. Jeanne Oliver, Stephanie Lee - their use of neutrals, texture, their approach to teaching. The artists that have made the most impact on my growth as an artist include my mentor, Connie Solera, and the artists that I’ve met through the community she’s built, from around the world. What I love most about their art is how they approach their creative practice, and their dedication to understanding the deeper currents of the work. Each has their own unique style, and I’ve fallen in love with who they are behind the work, beneath the surface, and watching them grow as artists.
Now that BOW is complete, what are you currently working on or exploring in the studio?
BOW is complete, but I am still exploring “HOME”. Currently I am studying still life, how to convey what I see and feel to my substrates through the use of what materials feel like…. HOME, which right now is ink, acrylic and water soluble materials. I’m also taking SKETCH with Connie - my deep dive into the course is next. And, I am venturing into the world of surface pattern design, that has potential for licensing my art - talk about “going for it!”
How has the Paint FEARLESS® Mentorship and BOW impacted
your creative practice and influenced your Artist Soul?
The mentorship and BOW have influenced my Artist Soul to come out of hiding! My creative practice is rooted with more confidence and the “gremlins” aka, inner critic and fear, to name a couple, no longer drive the bus. I was equipped with which tools to use when, especially if I was feeling “stuck.” What is funny about that is I used the word “stuck” on the regular pre-mentorship and BOW, and even just typing that word now feels so foreign. Creative “ruts” don’t exist anymore…and I’ve learned to lean into rest and integration as a necessary part of who I am as an artist.
What warm words of advice or encouragement do you have for artists like yourself that carry a heavy load of responsibilities and commitments, but are sincerely yearning to make their creative practice a priority?
For artists who yearn to make their creative practice a priority, who are in a season of life where they also carry a heavy load of responsibilities and commitments, I say… first, you’ve gotta take care of you, nurture your Artist Soul. Slow down, even if at first, it’s just for 15 minutes, give her/him space to be alive. Turn off your phone notifications (other than emergencies). Hide in the bathroom, bring a little bag of materials you love with you always, so for the unexpected wait times here and there, you can visit together. And realize that your creative practice ALSO includes GATHERING inspiration, INTEGRATION and REST. You may feel like it’s the opposite, but before you can truly nurture and be totally present with others, you’ve gotta do you. Those “others” notice the difference when you don’t.. I promise. I know this now because I am on the other side of it after YEARS of doing everything else but me on the list, first. My mental well being, my relationships and my art journey are the evidence.
THERESA COLLINS BIO
My name is Theresa Collins. I am a self-taught working artist and lover of all things, HOME. Spending time in nature and making art is how I nourish my soul, connect with the Divine and process life’s journey.
A native to Atlanta, Georgia with Japanese, German and Cherokee Indian ancestral roots, I’ve passionately dedicated a real estate career to serving others on their journeys to find their own HOME. I have reconnected with my childhood love of making art, using acrylic paint and mixed-media materials on various substrates, and I’ve enjoyed sharing my work as gifts for my clients.
Since 2016, I have invested in my creative practice by taking many online art courses and attending in-person workshops. I’ve studied the deeper currents of my work through Connie Solera’s programs, which has led me to sharing more of my art with the world and venturing into surface pattern design.
Paint FEARLESS® is a registered trademark of Connie Solera, LLC.