I’m a Southern girl from Alabama. I grew up in a small town in a wonderful home full of love and encouragement. My mom is very creative and crafty. We always had some kind of project going, and my dad is a nature lover. He always pointed out little things outside that I still notice now: sunsets, clouds, birds, and just the beauty of God’s creation in general.
Looking back, I can see how they both contributed to my love of creating.
In high school I really had problems trying to decide what it was that I wanted to do. I made good grades and all of my teachers encouraged me to go to college. However, college was not really interesting to me…at all. I went and tried it but dropped out, got a job, got married, and had two sweet babies instead of paying for a degree in something that I hated. I was content and a very happy homemaker for many years. When our daughter was old enough, I began homeschooling her. The years passed, and I kept teaching both of our children at home.
We learned all sorts of new things (I learned too because everything looked so different and more interesting to me at this point in my life).
One of the things we added to our day was art, and I found that I loved researching and teaching the kids about art! It became my favorite subject.
So, after a little dabbling with art in homeschooling, I got brave enough to try painting something for our living room wall. I didn’t have the money to buy something as large as I wanted to hang over the couch, so I just made something myself! I painted a big black tree silhouette with a sunset in the background on a huge piece of paper and framed it. It wasn’t the most beautiful painting on earth…. but it was so much fun! I shared what I painted with my friends on Facebook and got so much encouragement! That’s where it all began…
I guess you could call me an accidental artist and entrepreneur!
I didn’t go looking for an art business. It found me. I went from homemaker to full time artist in just a few years! Y’all, I am making real money with this! I’m talking about a full-time job that is helping my family financially in ways that I never could have dreamed of! (The internet can be a great blessing!)
Everything really evolved from that one painting and my tiny bit of blogging experience that I had gained because of homeschooling. I started blogging about art, got on Etsy, and kept on painting. A few years later, I learned how to create my own website where I now sell my work and teach art lessons (which is where my heart is!!) . I was contacted about illustrating a children’s book and have very recently been contacted by companies about licensing some of my work. I’ve had prints of my work sold across the USA in Kirkland’s Stores, gift shops, and specialty boutiques! I have phone cases being sold online and pillows in gift shops!
It’s really crazy how this all happened. I didn’t know I wanted this, but I don’t think I could do without it now. I am a very shy and introverted person, so I’ve had to really push myself to find the courage to keep growing and follow these new and unexpected dreams. In the process, I’ve learned so much about myself and how creativity can change your life. It’s my biggest wish to help others see their potential and know their worth.
I am passionate about the reality that creativity can play a big part in your overall mental health. I truly believe that art is so much more than home decor. It is a much-needed escape from the chaos of life. Art is a spark of joy in a world of unpredictable events. It is sometimes the lifeline that holds us when we feel like nothing in our lives is going the way we thought it would. Aside from my deeply rooted faith in God, art is a necessity to keep my sanity on this side of Heaven.
I want to encourage you to pick up a palette knife or a brush and dream big!
Pursue your dreams, and never stop learning! I would love to show you the basics of painting, help you find the joy of a creative life, and if you are interested, start finding ways to look for professional opportunities with your art!
Submitted by: Amanda Hilburn
I had the chance to explore Amanda's website and y'all should seriously check it out! She has information on all of her classes, her blog, a free tutorial on the cutest cotton painting, and honestly too much to even list here!
You can find Amanda here:
Thank you Amanda for sharing your story with us!
Love and lemons,