Artwork by, Christine Olmstead

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 Tell us a little about yourself. 

I’m a Christian whose simple and only goal is to spread and share the light and love of Christ through beauty, ordinary conversations, real connections, and living wholly. I have an incredibly supportive husband who, not only funds my crazy ideas, but speaks words of encouragement and truth into my heart and ambitions. I have a degree in journalism and love creative writing. Aside from painting, my main passion is public speaking and engaging others through the spoken work. I like just outside of Washington D.C. in Arlington, VA. I work part time as a graphic and web designer for suzannereiddesign.com. I love my job but I’m building my art career so that I can build my future the way I dream it to be. 

In your “About” page you said you’ve been painting since 18 months. How did that love for painting begin and how did it continue as you grew older and honed your skills? 

My mom is also a professional graphic designer and while growing up she stressed art history in my education. She would have me practice recreating famous master pieces from throughout history with oil pastels, everything from Degas’ Dancers to The Scream by Munch. If you can name it I probably recreated it as a child. Learning art history and artists really sparked my interest in color, light, and canvas balance. I love the French Impressionist the most for that reason, their study and color and light studies really fascinate me. I took art lessons as a child and teenager. If ever I had free time I would usually spend it painting, or dancing. Through college it was my means of escape from exams and stress, and it still is a way for me to calm down, think, refocus, be quiet, and gather my thoughts. Today I still spend a lot of time testing palettes, playing with texture and incorporating light into my work. I think I’ll probably always be experimenting. 

When did you make the decision to paint and sell your work full time? 

I made the decision in college. I went to school for journalism because I thought I wanted to be a broadcast journalist, because of my love for public speaking. Being inundated in the news always really depressed me and as a journalist, you can’t share opinion or offer a helping hand, you have to simply report what’s happening, you cant change what is happening without losing your objectivity. When inundated in the news I usually found myself stressed, anxious, and frustrated, painting was my escape from journalism. I realized that if this is the way I felt when pursuing this field, then maybe I shouldn’t be a broadcast journalist. I decided to do something that I was reasonably good at and that allows me to feel free, hopeful, patient, calm, and generous, and that’s the way I feel when I paint. I want my every day to be filled with those things, so I changed my career goals. I still love public speaking, but I’m sure I will find other avenues to pursue that love. 

(Above styled by, Joanna Carden Designs)

 In what ways has your style changed since you began painting professionally?

Haha! Oh man, so much. My style is much more abstract since starting professionally. It used to be much more impressionistic. But I’m sure I’ll always bounce between the two. I think every artist constantly goes through evolutions in their style. Right now I using a lot more bold colors than my usual pastel palette. People seem to be responding well to the bold color choices. 

What are some of the most exciting opportunities you’ve had as an artist?

So far most of my opportunities have been interpersonal. When someone commissions or buys a piece it opens the door for a relationship and I’ve met some really amazing people who are incredibly kind. I’m also excited as I branch into the wedding industry as I make custom wedding backdrops. I’m excited to see how I can add beauty and light to a couples’ wedding day. 

What is the driving passion behind your art and how has that influenced your work? 

My driving passion is to shine light and beauty into people’s lives through art. I want people to be able to see what is ordinary or even unlovely and find the beauty in it. I want to give people hope and let them know that there is beauty and light left in the world. That is the passion behind my work. 

Do you have any plans for the future?

I have so many plans and goals, my goodness. For now my main plan is to simply grow my base of loyal customers, and build my business to a place of sustainability. I also just launched a wedding backdrop product, which is custom painted backdrops for weddings; I’m really excited to see what that future holds. I’m also hunting for a manufacturer to reproduce my prints, and other household goods at a reasonable price to make my products more accessible. 

Last question! What is the highlight of your day?

The highlight of my day is when my husband comes home from work and makes dinner with me. We turn the music on, pour a drink, and dance around the kitchen while we cook. That is my favorite part of my day.

Are you a dreamer? Want to share your story?

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