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How I went from rock-bottom to becoming an artist!

It’s MARCH, and if you’ve been following me for a while that means you should know it’s #MarchMeetTheMaker month! It’s actually my favourite and I have been looking forward to this since March 2019. Basically March Meet the Maker is about just that, meeting the maker! It’s a whole thing (check out #marchmeetthemaker) and each day of March, or as many as I can manage, I will be sharing someth

ing about me/my biz/my process/my craft.

Today’s prompt is ‘story’ - so I’m gonna share a snippet of my story of course!

I never know where to start, so I’ll jump in and see where we end up…

Have you ever had a *thing* happen in your life that kind of changed everything? Like, you’re pretty sure if it didn’t happen, you’d be a completely different person, on a totally different trajectory? Well, I have one of those *things* - a series of choices and subsequent consequences, or whatever you wanna call it - when I was 15 and I had a BABY (Oskar, he’s 11 now). I’m pretty sure if that didn’t happen, I probably wouldn’t be as driven or motivated as I am today, and I’ll be honest, I probably wouldn’t have achieved even half as much, which kinda sounds counter-intuitive, right? I decided, for a couple of reason, not to have an abortion, but again for the sake of being honest I definitely considered it.

I’ve talked about this next bit heaps, but basically as soon as I found out I was pregnant (if you fast forward past the panic/crying/denial and all that because HELLO I WAS A CHILD and it

was less than ideal) I realised I needed to get my sh*t together.

I realised that my actions impacted more than just me - u

ntil then, I had been in a very self-indulgent phase, where if I’m honest I didn’t care much about anyone else. I realised that if I kept sneaking about and doing reckless things, it wasn’t going to impact just me, but also a tiny baby who was completely reliant on me. I also realised that my actions impacted so. many. other. people. I hope that eventually I would have realised this, but I am embarrassed to say that for me it took becoming a parent to look outside of my own bubble.

With the help of my parents, siblings, school, friends and even wider community, I pretty much got my sh*t together - as much as anyone can, because who really has it all together? - and got on with things. Oskar was born in the summer between year 9 and year 10. Fast forward over the coming years, but just remember I had a LOT of help from a lot of people, I finished high school, did pretty well at college (except for in art which is ironic considering what I do now…) and went to study Social Work at university. Somewhere along the way I met Will (in 2012, just before we both started our respective degrees at uni), raised an adorable human, and moved out of home just as Oskar started kinder.

To tie this back to art, because that’s why you’re here right? Somewhere in there I picked up a crappy set of Oskar’s paints and started mucking about and making cards, and eventually SELLING THEM, which if you scroll alllll the way back in my Instagram you might even see them. Also some awesome Feminist cards that are definitely NSFW, so brace yourself for that. ANYWAY, since then, roughly 8, 9 or maybe even 10 years ago, I have been developing my skills with painting, teaching myself along the way with lots of trial and error at the kitchen table, reading books, watching tutorials. Eventually this grew from a hobby to something more - my business and absolutely my passion!

So yeah, flash forward even more to 2020, Will and I are married, we have a house together, we’ve had a baby (he’s actually two this month, but still a baby), we’ve worked on community projects together, written a BOOK together, made PODCASTS together, gone through him having CANCER, survive

d both of our kids getting really sick at various times. We’ve also both done a heap of things individually too, like travelling, writing, creating, public speaking and over-committing to things.

I still use my social work degree as well, but I work from home three days a week (and let’s be honest, at night and during nap times and also on weekends) now TEACHING watercolour painting (um, what!) and creating custom pieces.

So, I’m Tess, and I’m a watercolour artist, social worker, Feminist, introvert, mum and so much more.

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