My Creative Friend: Alyssa

{ Me & Alyssa }

My creative friend, Alyssa, is my partner in crime (slash boss) at The Hive Archive. She is an incredible illustrator, arts administrator, organizer, and motivator. She has believed in me in ways that have helped me believe in myself. We often find ourselves in the car together, chatting about art-making and creativity on our way to a Hive event. Something that always comes up in our conversations is balance - creating space and time for making art. Since we both work form home a good bit, it's difficult to "clock out," move all our papers and files and just sit and make art. It's so helpful to have someone to chat about these things with, to share strategies and ideas and to learn from each other.

I asked Alyssa to share a bit about her creative practice here:

What is your medium and how did you get started with it?
Watercolor and pen & ink illustrations. I've always loved to draw and I realized at a very young age that I could use my art to create my own ideal world - a place that feels safe and happy. Watercolor is my favorite medium because there are moments when it feels just like you're painting with real sunlight.

How do you make time for your creative practice?
I plan ahead. At the beginning of every month, I go into my calendar and block out studio time with my pink pen. Then I spend the rest of the month fiercely protecting those pink blocks. I also try and take classes when I can - critical feedback and expectations of other artists are great incentives to get working.

{ Primrose Lamb Skates }

How would you describe your creative process?
A lot of thinking, looking, and collecting. So much of my life revolves around the written word, I find it helps me ease into my studio practice and transition from my administrative life to my studio life if I begin each piece with a word list. I start by scribbling whatever words come to mind first, then suddenly I'm sketching. Much of my work attempts to capture those fleeting feelings of nostalgia (the overpowering ones that hit you when you least expect them), so I also like to surround myself with old photographs and collections of "precious" objects when I'm in my studio.

Have you ever been in a creative rut? How did you get out?
I am never ever at a loss for ideas, however I'm usually operating on a time deficit. When I find myself saying "I wish" or "I should" a billion times a day, I know it's time to get out my pink pen.

{ Primrose Lamb Eats Salad }

What is the first creative moment you remember?
When I was around 7, my art teacher taught a few students at her dining room table. She selected us, so I felt blissfully chosen and special. I still have one painting from that summer. It's a watercolor sunset that fades from red to gold. I accidentally dripped some brown paint along the horizon line and my teacher told me that it looked like a car had just driven by and splashed mud up into the sky. I loved that! That may have been my first experience considering and bending perceptions, and since then I have always appreciated that about art.

When you work, do you love the process or the result? Why?
I love the process. I love thinking about art. My favorite part of being an artist is that I always have one foot in another world, no matter what I'm doing. I may be walking through Providence on my way to a meeting, but inside I'm imagining Primrose running all around me or I'm taking mental snapshots of a bit of architecture that I could use in an illustration or a fun pattern in a person's shirt. I usually enjoy looking through an artist's sketchbook much more than their final work. Collections and archives also inspire me. This is part of my obsession with nostalgia - it's fun to select things to save and thereby designate them as your own special archive. I love how collections tell silent stories, from which my illustrations emerge.

{ Primrose Lamb at the Beach }

What is your creative ambition?
Last spring I wrote a story about a character named Primrose Lamb. I have her whole life in my heart and I want to keep drawing her and writing more stories about her. That's my creative ambition for the summer and that is as far as I will look - if I think about the future too much, I'll think my way right out of my studio.

Thanks for sharing your creative story, Alyssa! Keep protecting those beloved pink blocks - I can wait to see what Primrose is up to next!

Ok readers, now it's your turn: What's the first creative moment that YOU remember? Share them in the comments below!

Carole Ann

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