Los Angeles Photographer Denise Demarest Launches
Project MAW, Moms At Work
I am always looking for ways to challenge myself especially when it comes to my creativity. Last fall I was in creative rut. After I reconnected with an old friend and heard her story of how she found equilibrium between her music career and her role as a mother I was extremely impressed and honestly a little envious.
I have always had a deep sense of respect for moms who are not only able to maintain their passion careers but are able to successfully balance those passion careers with their family responsibilities. As an artist and mom I know how hard it has been for me to find that balance and I wanted to hear more stories from other moms so I created a new project for myself called MAW, Moms at Work.
Since last fall I have connected with many Badass Moms, took their portraits and heard their stories. This week in honor of Mother’s Day, I am finally launching my project.
My first mom is Sheila Darcey, aka @sketchpoetic on Instagram.
When I first discovered Sheila’s page on Instagram, I not only fell in love with her sketches but also with her words. Sheila adds a beautiful quote or poetry from her heart to accompany her daily posts. Here is my interview with Sheila Darcey.
“Art is my daily form of meditation.”
How much time do you give to your art daily?
Thirty to forty-five minutes a day is my rule of thumb for my morning sketches. I also try to do it around the same time each morning. It helps to condition my mind and body to view it as part of a daily routine and not a recreational activity.
I also try to find at least six to eight hours a week to work on larger pieces or facilitate collaborative art sessions. While it seems like a lot of time to devote to myself, it simply replaced old habits. I find that art fills me with a different type of fuel. One that relaxes my mind, fills me with self-love, and puts me in a state that transcends time.
How do you balance your job and your family and find time for your art?
Balance for me is about being rooted and grounded in one's self and not giving in to the expectations of what others have placed on you. As long as I'm feeling balanced as a whole, then my family, for the most part, feels the same. It’s not about whether I'm doing it all or having it all, it’s about whether my time away from my family is purposeful and or meaningful.
As for the golden question of “How do you make the time?” the answer is different for everyone. For me, it was my understanding of why I wasn’t allowing my art or something I loved to be a priority in my life. Once I figured out this answer I focused on unblocking and letting go of my old habits. Instead of spending 30 minutes on social media, binge-watching Netflix, or whatever I used to do to escape, I turned to my morning sketches. This daily practice evolved into more, and continues to this day. Focusing on the WHY is always the best place to start.
Is your family supportive of your creativity?
Absolutely. My husband and daughter are artists in their own right. They have always encouraged me to draw or paint. I would dabble on occasion, but never seriously got in to it. It wasn’t until I was ready to embrace this part of myself again that I really listened. Even in the business world, creativity is a highly regarded trait. It’s not that I wasn’t being creative each day, it’s that I was neglecting the artist within. Anytime we neglect an important part of who we are, the people around you are affected in some way. I can confidently say that since returning to my artist roots, my home life is the most grounded it has ever been.
When did you first discover you were creative and had a passion for the arts?
It started at a very young age. I knew it was a natural gift and something I loved to do. It was also my haven through difficult times. I remember drawing to escape my thoughts and fears. I also drew to make others happy. Gifting art has always been something I have been passionate about.
Gifting art, I love that idea. What do you hope to accomplish with your art?
The intention of my art is to unlock others, to make it accessible and to serve as a catalyst for change. I want people to connect with the process as much as the outcome, to create without over-thinking or analyzing, to create without fear, to create without expectations and to create because it’s fun. It’s about being in a safe place to quiet the mind and spark the child-like curiosity we sometimes lose in our busy lives. Ultimately, I hope my art inspires and brings light to the world. We all need a little more of this in our lives.
What advice would you offer new moms on how to balance their passion careers with motherhood?I think as women, and as moms we need to free ourselves from feeling the guilt associated with putting our needs before others. Each stage of motherhood brings about new challenges and adventures. It is hard enough navigating the waters of parenthood without adding self-judgment or extreme expectations into the mix. Don't get so caught up with trying to be the perfect mom especially if it means giving up on what makes you, you.
Balance isn't about equal distribution of time and energy, it’s about feeling grounded in one's self. I know it’s easier said than done but try to find that passion in your life that connects back to YOU. And, if you haven't heard it in awhile, let me be the one to say it, "You're worth it!” Once you see it, those around you will see it too.
Thanks for reading my first MAW Project interview.
If you are a Badass Mom who would like to participate in this project, or if you know a Badass Mom who may be interested, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
After Mother’s Day, 2018, I will be posting more awesome moms on the 15th of every month. To follow my journey on project MAW you can join me on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/demarest_portraits/?hl=en
or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DeniseDemarestPhotography/
or follow me monthly on my Blog http://www.demarestphotography.com/blog/