And so it begins...

It’s a new year, a new website, and a new blog!

After moving to Vermont this past October, my husband and I have settled in nicely in our little red cabin in the woods. Aaron is keeping busy building barns and I’m keeping busy in my studio making art. It’s so peaceful and quite out here and I find it the perfect environment to create. My studio is small and cozy (and messy) but it’s wonderful having a dedicated space just for my art making.

I started my art career almost 20 years ago as a photographer. When my fourth child was born, I found myself lost in my mothering duties with no idea who Cassie was or what her passions were. It seemed my life consisted of dirty diapers and never ending laundry and not much of anything else. I decided I needed to find myself and find out what got me excited. I remember watching an Oprah episode where they had a professional photographer come on and give tips on shooting photos of your kids. I borrowed my dad’s 35mm camera and got a roll of black and white film and shot the whole thing of my baby who was a few months old at the time. Detail shots of her hands, feet, close ups of her chubby cheeks. When I got the roll back from the developers, it was like the heavens had opened and angels had ascended. I knew this was what I wanted to do. I was in love.

I took a few photography and dark room classes at my local community college and that was it, I hit the ground running. It wasn’t long before I was starting a portrait photography business, which later developed into wedding photography. This was before the days of digital, and let me tell you, it was a whole different animal shooting a wedding on film. Eventually digital technology improved and I switched all over to digital. What a difference! For instance, you can see your photo instantly and know if you got the shot, and you don’t have to worry about having to change a roll of film in critical moments. Those who started photography with digital will never really appreciate the struggles that come with film. But then again, they also will likely never know the beauty of the dark room and how you just can’t replicate a beautiful black and white film with digital.

After about 10 years of shooting photography for my job, having shot almost 300 weddings, it came to a point where I got burned out. Big time. I hung up the camera and didn’t pick it up again for several years. My photography business closed and I got a divorce the same year. It was rough.

Not sure what to do for an income, knowing that a regular 9 to 5 wasn’t for me, I decided to start another business. My friend and I started a staffing agency, which is not anything I could have imagined for myself. My friend and I parted ways but I continued to run the business for the next six years. It paid the bills, which was exactly what I needed at the time. But it wasn’t my passion.

Around this time my kids were all leaving the nest and there was lots of talks about college and the future. I found myself saying to them over and over, “If I could do it again, I’d study art.”. What a life! Creating for your job. And then one day when I heard myself saying those words again, I stopped and asked myself- why not now? I’m not dead. I still have 10,000 hours left in me (the time they say it takes to master something). So I put my money where my mouth is and I enrolled in my first drawing class. It was so scary. I was sure I was going to be the oldest person in the class and that they would have all had years of drawing under their belt while I had nothing. It felt incredibly vulnerable. But I wanted it bad and now that I gave myself permission to go for it, I was going to do it, scary or not.

It ended up being not scary at all. Well, the critic sessions always made me a bit nervous, but that’s to be expected, right? For the next couple of years I took every art class my community college offered. I was lucky to have really great teachers, which I know is not always the case. (shout out to Rick Weaver- he’s amazing)

Fast forward a couple years, I was newly married (again) living in Virginia when my husband and I decided to move back to his home state of Vermont. He would build barns and I would make art. It’s been a dream come true. Vermont, the little red cabin in the woods, getting to make art all day, and most important getting to do it all with someone I love and who loves me. I feel so blessed. I pinch myself everyday.

And that is the beginning of the rest of the story….