Friday, July 1, 2016

Painting Parent - Rachel Alvarez

How many children do you have? What are their ages?

2, 3.5 and 1.5

How did your artistic career begin?

I majored in fine art, painting and photography in college, but it wasn’t until about a year and a half ago, that I really got serious about painting as a career. I am a SAHM but, thankfully, painting has turned into a wonderful part-time job for me.

What is your Parenting/work/art situation?

Right now, I paint only during nap times for my kids. I work on marketing, paperwork and website things after they are in bed for the night.

Do you now or have you ever worked other jobs while pursuing your art. How to you preserve time and energy for your art. Are there ways that your art benefits from your other job?

I have not been working a traditional 9-5 job since pursuing my art, but I did have a long career before becoming a SAHM. When I was working in that career, I always looked for ways to be creative on the job. I worked retail management, so I was able to do displays, web maintenance, product photography and promotional events- all of those things provided an artistic outlet for me, which I definitely need in order to be happy and productive.

When do you make time to do your art and do you have a regular art routine?

I paint nearly every single day; sometimes it’s for 1 hour -sometimes for 3, depending on nap times.

Do your children get involved with your art?

My 3 year old son does. Earlier this year I did a series of watercolor food paintings called “toddler snacks”. He helped me choose my next subject, photograph the plate, and then gave me his opinion once the piece was completed. I don’t think he minded one bit when we got to the donuts…

Do they inspire aspects of your art?

Yes. I am painting with watercolor ONLY because of my lack of time. I usually work with oils, but that is just not practical for me at this time. I got over my fears of the medium, and now I really enjoy the challenge. I like to paint colorful, lively things. This is a little way for me to celebrate the energy and joy that my kids have brought to my life.

How has having children changed your artwork?

It has certainly inspired me to produce MORE. I am not as afraid of messing up as I used to be. My subject matter has reflected them, of course. Before becoming a mom, I wouldn’t have painting celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins on top.

How does making time for artwork influence other household tasks?

For the household chores, they just have to be done with help form the kids. I am glad that they see me working in that way, and I’m happy that I have a way to refresh myself while they are doing the same. If I didn’t paint, I would most likely just be doing the dishes. Now, my son helps me with those things and we make it fun.

Have different ages of your children been more difficult to make time for artwork and in which ways?

It has become more difficult to paint now that my youngest has started to walk and is only taking one nap. I just have to be even more efficient in my paining, and that’s probably a good exercise for me in the long run anyways.

How do you encourage your children to be artistic?

We sing, color, and imagine together. I talk about my art and what I am doing with it- eve if it’s just packaging something to be shipped. They see all aspects of what being an artist means.

Do you feel extra pressure as an artist to raise your children to be artistic?

Not really. I feel like those interests develop. I was in 4th grade when I really got into art. And, although my entire family is fully of professional artists, I never felt pressure to be artistic. It became my own interest. I’d like it to be that way for my kids, too.

Have you seen your children take inspiration from your artwork?

I think so. My son loves to draw and use his imagination. My daughter loves to sing just like me. It’s really great to see them excited about the things that I love.

In what ways does being an artist make being a parent harder or easier?

I think it’s sometimes harder because I have a real need to produce. Some of my parent friends don’t have that need, and so they don’t feel unproductive, per se, if they haven’t finished a project every day. I would feel so weird if I didn’t try to complete something art-related every day.

Do you think being a parent affects the way you are perceived as an artist?

It might, but I try to celebrate my motherhood in my art. My etsy shop, for instance, is called TheNapTimeArtist. It’s an upfront reality that I am an artist and a mom.

Are there any other things about Balancing Painting and Parenting that you would like to share?

Love both and don’t get upset when one has to be put on hold for the other. It’s a real balancing act.



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