Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Traci Wilkes

I’m a late bloomer in several areas of my life.

I got married for the first time at age 37 and a month before the wedding I was downsized at work. I decided that in the mornings I would check the jobs available, send tailored resumes, and cover letters and in the afternoon I would make the projects I had ear marked in my past issues of Somerset Studio and Cloth Paper Scissors.

One day after turning 38 , I found I was out of the glue I wanted to use to make texture on a box I was crafting. Not wanting to spend money, I laid the paint on newspaper and started experimenting with other glues that might enable me to make a texture. Then it happened. I spilled a bottle of re inker I had on the table from rubber stamping and it went all over my newspaper covered with paint and glue. (My coordination skills have yet to bloom). I took my brush and moved the ink around, added some spritzes of water and then walked away, disgusted with myself. When I came back later and everything was dry, I was surprised to find that in the dried ink, glue, and paint-a face was staring back at me. Creepy right?
Enchanted Forest
I decided to see if I could recreate the effect and sure enough I could, and did, over and over on at least 50 sheets of newspaper over the next few months (newspaper is a really cheap substrate for practicing). Creating intuitively became a type of therapy. Eventually I became braver and tried it on canvas board (again not wanting to waste money). Next, I went for it and tried it on stretched canvas. I realized that creating without a plan and without a goal, allowed my authentic self to emerge. Memories and emotions were out loud on canvas without me having to say a word.  An artist I barely knew said to me, "Traci, I’ve never seen anything like this, keep going". Another person said it reminded them of seeing things in clouds.

Pareidolia (parr-i-DOH-lee-ə):   is the human ability to see faces and shapes in random things like clouds and tree bark. This ability is a left over from early man who needed this as a survival skill.

This perfectly describes what my abstract art features.

What Tears May Fall
Wild Horses

At 39, I decided to join the local art guild and showed my art in public for the first time (which was nerve racking). During the year that followed I sold 10 paintings and I continue to blossom.  Some people like my art and some people don’t and that is okay. The very first buyer said, "its very metaphysical, isn’t it?" Of course I agreed with her, she was my first buyer and metaphysical sounds a lot better than creepy. Maybe they like my art because they like to look for the faces. Just the fact that they like it is enough for me. Its like the skunk said of Bambi, "He can call me flower if he wants to."
I love to see viewer’s faces when they realize they see a face or familiar shape in the painting. To see these things, you can’t just take a cursory glance, you actually have to be present in the moment, actively looking at the painting. When I’m lucky enough to see that reaction, I feel a connection, even if they don’t buy the art. I was able to get them to stop, just for a moment and be. Being present in the moment is not easy in our society and I feel joy that I can bring that pause in to their life. Just think, what if I had never lost my job?

Art doesn’t care how old you are! Regardless if you are 26 or 62, if you have the desire, then start making art.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Jenny Petricek

Why/When did I become a late-bloomer?

My journey as a “late-bloomer” is best compared to the blossoming of this unexpected, tenacious flower; my creativity first made itself known to me in desperate circumstance.

Two and a half years ago, at age 31, I suddenly found myself out of work, a casualty of the economic recession, as well as a “human services” profession that was, ironically, beginning to forget that its employees were also humans—with feelings, financial obligations, and families to feed. Angry and scared, I sank into depression. Thanks to unemployment insurance and a series of part-time jobs, I was able to cobble together a living; however, I still felt the effects of damaged pride, lost independence, and uncertainty.

Around the same time, I visited a local bookstore and discovered some magazines devoted to something called mixed-media. I’d been a scrapbooker for years; however, the kinds of art displayed in these publications were new and complex and intriguing. The artists combined photos with their own drawings and brought together rich, bottomless layers of paint, pastels, fabric, old book pages, found objects, and vintage ephemera in their work. I knew instantly that I had to try this for myself—and so I did! Looking back, I’m honestly quite shocked that I was able to do that, considering that at the time my self-confidence was at an all-time low. However, I think that gentle “push” into mixed-media was just the thing I needed to rebuild my faith in myself and my talents. Doing the work of creating—collaging papers to a canvas, brushing paint over pages in a journal, getting my hands dirty and building layer upon layer of color—was the best kind of therapy, and offered an outlet for all of my emotions in this unsettling time of transition. It was certainly what got me through the tough moments and provided me with the wisdom to see that the loss of my job was actually a gift, that my original career was not an ideal fit for me, that I need to do creative work in order to feel fulfilled.
My biggest passion at this time is my art—not just the act of creating, but the learning and discovery process that comes from seeing the work of others, reading about their individual journeys and processes, and taking classes. I also love to write about my art on my blog. My other passions include reading, genealogy, tennis, and running. Right now I’m quite enthusiastic about my studies in graphic design, which I begin in the fall; I look forward to seeing where this new interest will take me and what it can teach me about myself and the kind of career I should have.

I encourage those interested in learning more about me and my artistic journey to visit my blog at

Monday, July 16, 2012


Be sure to stop by Wednesday morning to read the rest of the story.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Deb Tisch

So, why am I a late bloomer?

Because I allowed life to kind of get in the way.

"I grew up Illinois, in a family of artists, though they never called themselves that. It was not until in the last few years that I began to understand this, to see what a blessing and inspiration my upbringing has been. "Creating" was always encouraged, but perhaps the biggest influence for me came from my Grandfather, a photographer, who taught me the basics and allowed me to work with him in the dark room.  I also grew up watching my Dad paint signs as a hobby and to make extra money.  This was before computer programs could design and print out what you wanted on the side of that truck or car or in your store window.  My Mom taught piano from the time I was ten. Music was always being played in our home, too, in one way or another by each of us.

So, why am I a late bloomer? Because I allowed life to kind of get in the way. 

You know, raising a family, etc., etc,, just working and buying groceries and daily living. When you do that, it's hard to think there might be an artist wanting to express herself deep inside.

Then a few years ago, two dear friends of mine here in Ohio invited me to an art event hosted by a group of Spiritual Directors. We each could choose from a list which art classes we wanted to attend, and then create something with our own hands at each session.  I saw colors, jewelry, paint, paper making, bead work, and so much more, and I was awakened to that artist within.  In the last couple of years the three of us have had our own little art classes (but not enough of them) in my home, making more collage and doing some painting.  I go through spells of creating mixed media pieces, and currently am ready to start another Spell (if you know what I mean).

My passion is all about sharing my story. The art form I use the most to do this is photography, but I also really enjoy writing and poetry. I believe that creating art is a spiritual practice, no matter which art form we use.

For me, looking at life through my lens, seeing the beauty that surrounds us everywhere, and sharing that with others, is the best way I can share what I'm learning."

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Lenore Angela

  "Why was I a late bloomer?"

Lenore Angela-Artist
When Teresa asked me if I wanted to leave my comfort zone for this interview, I wondered how honest I should be? Do I keep it light, only showing my public face or do I speak of my life the way it really was? And I wondered if the community I was trying so hard to be a part of would shun me if they knew. I, also, struggled whether my past was really part of my late bloomer story? If I’m being totally honest with myself, or anyone who might read this, it’s definitely a part. And I’ll add, not a part of me to be ashamed of, but to be celebrated as a sign of hope.

Why was I a late bloomer?  To put it simply, I didn’t believe in myself.

I left home at 13 and spent the next 22 years fighting my way through life as an alcoholic, trying to be a good wife and mother. Unfortunately, there was little room for art and growth during that time, as anyone who travels that road will know only heartache and guilt are the signposts along the path. I was 35 before I was able to turn the corner and begin my real life. July 8th will mark 21 years that I’ve lived in freedom and joy. After I got sober, I spent another 10 years convincing myself I was not only good enough but, good as a person and deserved to be happy. And believe you me it took some heavy duty convincing. I still bring out the big guns every once in a while to wipe out the lies I tell myself.

I became very passionate about writing in 2002 when I wrote my first short story. I’d never been a big reader, never finished school and had little faith in myself as a storyteller but I had a desire, so I wrote. I sent that snippet of my childhood off to 16 publishers, disregarding their no simultaneous submissions guidelines, hoping for some crumb of validation. Well, 5 literary magazines wanted it. I was shocked. I accepted the first offer down the pike and then in a mad frenzy, wrote apology letters to the rest. Beginner’s luck, surely to God that would never happen again. I wrote a second and repeated the process. I was very confused. How could I be good if I didn’t know what I was doing and how on earth could I ever hope to do it again? Since then I’ve written many short stories, self published and illustrated the cover of my first kid’s novel with a second in the works and indulged myself in any art form I could get my hands on. Still, I don’t think I have one particular passion, as every week I’m in love with something new. In order not to rule anything out I think I’ll say my passion is colour. Colour in any form, that’s what really makes my mouth water.

As well as starting my own publishing house, Rare Rabbits Press, I create knitted rabbit collectibles and greeting cards for my little business, Rare Rabbits Designs.
I find it hard to call myself an artist out loud and even harder not to put the word “real” in front of it, though I’m trying. I love to work with pencil crayons, water colour, photography, oven- bake and air-dry clays and fabric. The next big step for me is fabric design but for the moment, I’m mad about miniatures. I’m not sure where my art will take me and I can’t bare the thought of paring it down to pick just one thing over the other or even if I should, my gut tells me it’s all connected. I think I’ll trust my gut; it’s what’s kept me alive all these years.

You can find me at:

Monday, July 2, 2012

I've been in the garden and I have picked another flower to add to my vase.
Be sure to stop by Wednesday morning and see who it is.
She has a WONDERFUL story to tell.