Kelly Colchin is an illustrator, artist, and mom of two (7-year old Asher Jay and 2-year old Josephine Louise) living and working in Austin, Texas. Since having kids, making art and being a mom have become intertwined. Not only do her children spark creativity and ideas, her watercolor painting techniques require that she commits to every stroke and be accepting of every accident – qualities that help with parenting as well.
Kelly shares her take on nurturing creativity as a mama.
Photo: Buff Strickland Photography
Has art always been an important part of your life?
Both of my paternal grandparents were artists and I learned how to watercolor from my grandmother while sitting at her kitchen table. As a child I made art constantly and was always happiest when drawing or making something with my hands.
I had a really tough first pregnancy and after I had my son, I got really sick. I was unable to work or be creative the same ways I had done in the past and it was honestly very depressing. I started water coloring again as a kind of therapy and a way to infuse art into my life as a new mom. I am forever grateful that I was able to shift my focus in this way.
How do you bring creativity and art into your family life?
My husband is also a musician so creativity is an essential part of our family life. We create art, make music and dance a lot. On the weekends we like to cook, play records, go to museums and spend time outside. For my husband and I, making art is a vital part of who we are and a lifeline when times are tough. We strive to give our kids this gift and create a home where creativity flows. Making art makes you happy!
Has your art and creative approach evolved because of your perspective as a mom?
I think being a mom has made me highly efficient. It’s amazing what I can get done with a cup of coffee and a couple hours.
Do you see any artistic tendencies in your kids?
Picasso said that every child is an artist. I know that to be true.
Who are your three favorite women artists, living or dead?
Georgia O Keefe, Eva Zeisel and my grandmother, Velma Ruth
Any words of advice for fellow mamas looking to bring a little creativity into their lives?
When making art with kids I think it’s best to give them the appropriate, high quality tools- even little kids. You can buy decent quality brushes and paints from the hobby store or get things for free from a creative reuse center. It’s important for them to feel what it’s like to strum a real guitar or hold a nice brush in their hands. Kids are amazing- it’s incredible what they can do.
For moms, I think classes and workshops can be a great and easy way to infuse a little creativity into your life. All you have to do is show up! No shower required.
You can see more of Kelly’s work at www.kellycolchin.com