Reflecting on a Decade

Lots of changes over the past 10 years, both in my art and my life!

Ten years ago everything was different! Well, almost everything. I was already working as an artist and I was married to my wonderful husband, but other than that, life looked pretty different! I lived in Wisconsin in the same town I grew up in. I worked in a studio that happened to also double as my parent’s basement! We didn’t have children yet and I was still trying to recover my career as we creeped our way out of the recession.

As we dive into a new decade, I thought it would be fun to look back on the major changes in my personal and professional life which seem to strangely overlap when you are an artist. My passion is also my work.

1. We moved from Wisconsin to Texas, then Tennessee, then a few more blocks. We’ve lived in four different houses this decade, and I think it’s about time to settle down!

2. We discovered Haiti. When the earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, something hit me too. I’m not sure why other than it was a God’s plan. I had heard about plenty of other natural disasters, but this time I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I started painting portraits that I found on a friend’s Facebook page and before I knew it, we were there in the country.

3. Kids change everything!

In 2014 we welcomed our first son Breckin. He is now 5 and the funniest, most determined little boy you will ever meet!

We started the adoption process in 2010. It would take us 6 years to complete. Sometimes it seems like God’s timing is crazy. After this long battle with paperwork, we finally brought our son Wilson home in 2016.

4. Live Painting!

I started doing live painting this decade which ranged from creating art during worship services, to painting weddings, to fundraisers, to 20 minute speed paintings while Rick Rushing played live.

5. Murals and More!

I found myself in a lot of interesting spaces, from 30 foot high ceilings, to the sides of buildings. During the three years I spent in Houston, I painted a lot! I found there was an incredible demand there for custom murals and finishes in all of the beautiful homes there. This really gave my career the fuel it needed after some lean years during the recession when art was the last thing anyone was carving out of their budgets.

6. Time to Teach!

I found myself as a teacher. Actually I kind of feel like teaching found me! It was never something I set out to do. I actually didn’t think I would be good at it, but as it turns out, I was wrong. I was invited to teach a small private class at a studio in Houston to members of the decorative arts organization IDAL.

My first workshop at NCF studio.

This turned into teaching at their annual convention in Indianapolis.

2013 IDAL convention

This turned into members who couldn’t make it to the convention contacting me and asking to come to my studio in Chattanooga for a class.

My very first workshop in Chattanooga

After such an incredible response to the classes I offered at my studio, I decided it was time to go all in and make teaching a substantial part of my art business. In 2018 I moved into a new studio space at my building where I could permanently set up for regular classes.

I now host students from all over the country and even a few from outside the U.S. on a regular basis.

7. Online Classes are here!

I had been thinking about trying to produce an online workshop for about a year when I was contacted by Terry Eldridge from ZENSO Creative. She was starting a new company working with a select group of instructors and she wanted me on the team! All the pieces of the puzzle fit together and I produced 4 online classes in 2019! The response to these classes is beyond what I could have ever imagined!

8. We bought and/ or renovated 5 rental properties over the past 5 years! In our spare time we thought it would be a good idea work on a house or two! It’s been fun to see the 100 year old houses in our neighborhood turn into something new and fresh. The growing popularity of our funky little city has made them super desirable as rentals!

Even the kids helped out!

9. Rusty Blooms

I discovered Modern Masters Metal Effects paints after attending the 2011 IDAL convention and I couldn’t stop experimenting with it! I developed a technique to incorporate it into my fine art and it has spread like wildfire. I teach these techniques in my classes. It’s awesome to see my students get hooked as well!

10. Portraits continue to be on high demand from my clients. I love painting faces. It’s so much fun to experiment with thick juicy brushstrokes and vivid unexpected colors. December is usually filled with portrait commission requests from clients looking for a unique and memorable gift. I love being a part of that!

It’s truly been quite an eventful decade! I am blessed with health, family, and amazing opportunities as an artist. I am so excited for 2020! I have big plans. You can surely expect to see more online classes, more live classes, and more daily painting from me! Big thanks to everyone who has supported me along the way! I couldn’t do this without you!

God is good, all the time! Cheers!

8 thoughts on “Reflecting on a Decade

  1. I’m very proud of you your students always make you grow in ideas being in the world of art is a wonderful life

    1. Thank you! Yes, teaching definitely grows you as an artist! I think it’s great that you keep up with my work! I still remember many of the projects we did at McLane! I think my parents still have most of them!

  2. Happy New Year Ali!! You have accomplished so much in the past 10 years….I loved reading your story! You are an incredible artist and spirit! I enjoyed taking Big Rusty Blooms so much! Thank you for sharing your talent by teaching!!

    1. Thank you Diane and a Happy New Year to you too! Thanks for following my story and my work! I’m pretty blessed that I get to share what I love with so many people! Take care!

  3. Congratulations, Ali. I am truly Blessed to have met you and I see the fruit of your labor of love. You inspire me to think creatively. May the Lord continue to Bless you, your family and your business. Looking forward to our next project.

  4. What an amazing and inspiring journey you have had. Thank you for sharing it with us all. Much of what you do has given me confidence to experiment more with my own art and I look forward to seeing where it leads me. Blessings!!

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