Tuesday 1 July 2014

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: Tabitha Beck

Hi guys, 
first July, first July...crazy crazy!
For me posting this eve anyway, as two Jennibellie-posts collide in time (as I have just posted a new challenge & video in the Monthly Challenge Group on Journal Workshops, so checked that out if you have time, then hopped straight over to post this fabulous TAT - I'm not that stretched though apparently, as I've just made a new video tonight too woohoo!). It's all art go-go-go here, but for right now here's this week wise TAT post please enjoy:

Tell us a little bit about yourself & what kind of artist you are.
Well, right now I am a bit more out of my mind than usual because we have a toddler running amok through the house…our youngest will be two years old in a couple of months. He is teaching me new things about painting I never thought of. He is finally beginning to be happy to work on his art and his projects while I work on mine for a few minutes at a time but I still don’t do too much while he’s awake. I’m a stay-at-home mom. The youngest there you’ve heard about. I also have a thirteen-year-old daughter and a ten-year-old son. The ten-year-old lives with his father during the week so he can attend school. The other two are homeschooled. I have been a writer my entire life…that’s where I started, oh, when I was ten or so, if not sooner. When I was younger, I remember drawing a lot too, always horses, I loved horses…I still do. I never did anything with my sketching as no one encouraged it, so I sort of set is aside as I got older…although I have always been a doodler. When my two oldest kids were younger, I taught myself to knit and then to crochet so I have that going for me – well, I did before the current youngest arrived—he does not like anything that takes my attention away from him, so fiber work is done in secret. A few years, I decided I wanted to get back into drawing and painting so I bought some random supplies and I played around. I thought I was doing fairly decent, playing with colored pencils and water color paints but someone broke into our house. Not much was taken, but they trashed the place—and that whole episode trashed my confidence completely. We moved but it took me nearly two years to feel ok enough to start playing with color again, that was four years ago now. Then last fall, something hit me, and I started signing up for some online art classes and I haven’t stopped since. I am constantly amazed at the amount of work I am creating, as well as the variety of work I am creating these days I went from oh there is no way I can draw a face that looks anything like a real face to hey, I wonder if I can get this sort of expression from this face or I wonder if I can convey this emotion in this spread and I am nowhere near finished learning and I think that is the craziest part of all I am only at the beginning of my journey. Eclectic is the best word I can come up with for what kind of artist I am, I draw, paint, love art journaling, making my own journals and mini-books, I sew, knit, crochet, make dream catchers, make dolls. I cover a lot of ground but right now I am mostly focused on sketching and painting…and my newest urge revolves around mandalas…sheesh…no pun intended there…everywhere I turn lately is something about mandala making, so with the Universe being so clear about that, I have no choice but to respond and investigate. I am above all else definitely a mixed media artist. I love learning about new tools, as well as new methods and tricks to accomplish whatever I am setting out to do. I always hope to have this beginner’s mind when I approach my artwork. I always want there to be more to learn, more to explore. That should cover the little bit about me and about my artwork, lol.

What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?
I would so love to say my Inner Critic, and/or Fear…but I have learned to just laugh and tell my Inner Critic the plan is to create utter ugly garbage, so how can I fail at that? I get a begrudging respect from her when things turn out nicely…and if they don’t, I am the one who gets to say HA! Just what I was aiming for…My biggest challenge is really two-fold: time and space. We are five people crammed into a small house and although we are planning to move into a larger space soon I have to fight to have room for not just myself and my work—but my supplies. I work in our dining room, which means everything has to be cleared off by dinnertime and then after dinner, I spread out again. My other nemesis is we can say Time, but it is really more like my toddler, the small wonder who 1 loves to help and 2 requires Mama’s attention 24/7. If I am writing morning pages, he will normally swipe the pen from my hand and write all over my writing. He does not want his own paper nor his own pen, he has to write over my words with my pen. If I am trying to read, he will knock the book out of my hand and crawl into my lap. Ditto for knitting and crocheting. Now, if he is in my lap, and I try to read sometimes I can read that way. I don’t dare try to knit or crochet with Mr. Squirmy in my lap…that won’t fly. After putting the boy to bed for the night, I usually start on my work. I try to work two to three hours a night on something, anything. My artwork and my writing keep me from going mad most days. There are days when I start at 11pm and work until I can’t keep my eyes open about 4am but I am so in the groove with something I just cannot quit. I fit in my work, be it writing or sketching or doodling or making notes, whenever and however I can during the day. I get into the paint and whatever else comes up when the baby naps during the day or sleeps at night. As he is getting older, I am working harder to convince him that he needs to do his own work. He is quite the painter these days because of this. The problem right now lies in the fact that his stuff takes him about five to ten minutes…my morning routine (morning pages, gratitude, and some doodling or paint flinging without reason) takes me about an hour…so I do what I can as I can. I am very lucky that my partner is so supportive of me and of my work. 

What do you most wish your art to achieve?
I want one thing really—to inspire others to pick up a pencil or a brush or a crayon or whatever and create something, anything. I want to encourage people to simply enjoy the process and forget about the end product. That was a difficult lesson for me in the beginning taking all those classes, I had to do everything “right” even though I knew it would take practice for me to get as good as the instructor I still had to do things “right”. The real issue is there is no right way and no wrong way, there is the way that makes you feel good about what you are doing and the way that makes you feel bad about what you are doing. Obsessing over doing it right was driving me bonkers so I started to purposely create ugly stuff, some of which turned out pretty nice in my opinion. I always post pieces of whatever I am working on - be it ugly or beautiful - I have had people tell me because I post the ugly as well as the pretty, it has encouraged them to not only post their ugly stuff, but to not get so caught up in the fact that it’s ugly. That is all I want to hear the process feels good to me; the process made me feel better. So what if you burn the end product when you are done? The healing work is done in the creation.

Do you ever lose your mojo, and if so, how do you get it back?
Losing my mojo…right now I am in one of those weird places. I normally consider myself a writer first and foremost.. but since about February of this year, I have not written much for publication. I have certain monthly responsibilities, like articles for two different newsletters, but I haven’t created any courses or anything the way I had planned to do this year. I have tons of notes. I have a ton of outlines. Any time I sit down to write something, my brain and my heart start to argue, leaving me out of the conversation, and I end up either working on some of my art class homework or emailing people I should have emailed weeks sooner. How do I get it back? I work on other things. I go for walks with the kids. I stare at the (wild) bunnies in our backyard. I watch the antics of my youngest. I watch leaves fall from trees. I read blogs by other artists and writers. I talk to my best friend on the phone. I doodle. I sketch. I push myself in other fields. If I am stuck on writing a workshop, I paint something. If I am stuck on a painting, I knit something. That sort of thing. However, I have also learned that sometimes when I think I have lost my mojo—I have not. Sometimes my mojo has gone into what I call incubation - my mojo has taken some time off to go on walk about without me, to gather information and delight, and to simmer and percolate with this new stuff for awhile…before returning to me to say, hey, here’s what we are going to do. I have been pushing myself lately to paint big, so I typically have a large canvas sitting on my easel at all times. I don’t force myself to work on these canvases. I allow my Muse to dictate the when and the how. My first larger canvas took nearly a month, from Full Moon to New Moon. I worked a little bit at a time. For five days (or rather, nights) I did nothing but doodle in paint, scribble, splatter and play and then gesso all over what I had done before leaving it until the next night. On that sixth day, I saw the perfect place for a face appear on the canvas, so I sketched the face. That was all. The next night, I saw a tree wanting to come into the piece, so I sketched in the tree. This is how that canvas went until one day it felt done. I have a new canvas up. It’s been up on my easel for over a month. It looks like some amazing abstract work, but I know it isn’t. Every day for two weeks, I took one color and I doodled in paint or flung paint, and then I left it. The next day, I used a different color. Then, it sat for a week. Out of the blue, I decided to pick up a completely different color and paint over some of what I had painted previously. That lasted for a week. Right now, it is hanging there, waiting for me to continue. I know it’s not done, but I also know it is not ready to be done. So I am letting it sit. This is not a loss of mojo. This is part of the creation process. That too was a difficult lesson for me to learn. What? I can’t sit down at night and an hour or two later have a completed painting or piece of some sort, ready to show off and put up for sale? What is wrong with me? Nothing. This is sometimes what the work needs in order to evolve to its fullest potential. Sometimes it is what I need to fully involve myself with my work, to put more of my heart and my soul in it, to bloom into my work, along with my work.

Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art?
Our family website can be found here:
My personal blog can be found here:

Thanks for sharing Tabitha, I enjoyed hearing your wise outlook on art and hearing about your processes themselves which we don't often get so much in TAT so that was fabulous thank you. I (obviously) agreed with a lot of what you said, as I often preach the same outlooks on being accepting of your own artwork and creation process as what you have gone through here, and as you have done is so wonderfully I won't reiterate. I'll just say:
let's go now make some art and forget about the rest xoxo

Do you want to be a featured TAT artist??
To be featured email me or find all the details here =)

Much love


  1. i too thoroughly enjoyed this TAT and meeting Tabitha... I love her philosophy on things art related..... I need to say though Tabitha that IMHO children need to learn to entertain themselves. It is a great disservice to them to not let them learn that. Are there other mommy's that maybe he can go have a play date once a week? Just thoughts... Playing by himself helps to build his imagination i think.... So you should not feel guilty .. if you do...... Hugs! deb

    1. Thanks, Deb...believe it or not, the little snot can and does play by himself...ever since he discovered how cool trucks are...but he's a little Leo and requires lots of attention...he's a very busy person...too busy to be a baby or a toddler...he wants to be a big person and do what all the big people in the house are doing too...he's getting there, slowly but surely...and we're good with that...we adapt and grow and it works...even if we're all crazy around here. :)


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