Ladies and Gentlemen (and friends that would not wish to be defined as such) we are proud to feature the artwork of Sheena Custer.
By day she teaches elementary art in Northern Virginia (and is damn good at her job as is evidenced on her blog). By night she is wife and mother, treasure hunter, art-maker, and playmate. However does she find the time, right? We are amazed as well.
Prepare to be charmed by her playful subject matter and true gift with color and pattern. Linger awhile to appreciate her sophisticated approach with a variety of media.
We present to you….
You work in a variety of media and themes – which do you find the most satisfying/challenging? Why?
I enjoy working in a variety of media and themes so the challenging part is finding consistency in my art-making process. Sometimes, that’s easier said than done and I’m left with a pile of landscape paintings from one night, and then a pile of abstract collages from another. But knowing that I am at least working through a creative potpourri of sorts leaves me satisfied.
Do you ever get artist’s block? What do you do to get yourself going again when you do?
I unfortunately get artist’s block a lot. I’m not sure if there is a magic trick to get “unblocked” (if so, please share), but I do have a routine to spark motivation. Mainly, I browse my Henry Darger books but I also look at Pinterest for pattern ideas, or vintage coloring books for interesting themes. Thrift stores are my go-to place to get the ideas flowing. I love it when I come across a unique trinket or doll – it’s fun imagining an object’s history and the path it led before I found it on a shelf. A huge cup of coffee or wine doesn’t hurt either.
Children are a large part of your life. You are an elementary art teacher and a mother of a 1 year old. How does it affect your practice to work with children all day and to have a baby at home?
I’ll be honest, both my job and child are time suckers that use up 99% of my energy. After a long day of work, and after the baby is in bed, I try so hard to focus on my artwork – but often times that 1% of me wants to zone out in front of a movie. The good news is although I’ll have long stretches of a creating dry spell – I always come back to the studio with the urge to paint. My job allows time for creative thinking and for that I’m lucky.
What is your favorite lesson learned from a child that has affected your creative process?
Children take risks with their artwork. They put their emotions on the table and for that I am so envious. One time a first grader handed me a hand-written note that said, “In art, I can be free.” It was so honest and true and exceptionally deep for a mind of a seven-year-old. I think their ability to surprise me every day is what truly is inspiring. Seeing them be so carefree helps me take more risks with my art and not be so timid with experimentation.
What are you working on now?
Lately I’m using a lot of watercolors and inks for small scale paintings. I’m also in the process of altering a vintage coloring book I scored at an antique store.
Have you made any discoveries in your practice as a result of becoming a member of Project Dispatch and making work for subscriptions?
Project Dispatch helps me stick to a schedule and forces me to set-aside time to work on my paintings. I’ve definitely learned how to be more disciplined with my time management.
If you could pick three artists from the Project to subscribe to, who would they be?
That’s tough. But right now I’d choose Rachel England, Amy Hughes-Braden, and Allison Long-Hardy because I’m attracted to all three’s subject matter and use of media.
To learn more about Sheena and her work, please visit her website (www.sheenacolleen.com).
If you order a subscription to Sheena during the month of March you will receive a 10% discount!
Help Sheena with her time management. 🙂
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