Working Mom: Artist Meghean Warner

If you don’t already know her, we are so excited to introduce you to the super fun, super mom, super artist Meghean Warner on IBT today! To give you a heads up for what’s in store, you will get to tour her bright, colorful studio, watch her paint masterpieces and play with her adorable daughters, and hear what it’s like balancing this crazy, awesome life! And if you need more reason to love her, she likes to eat leftover dessert for breakfast and spend her free time in Target – umm, we’re best friends already.

Let’s start at the beginning – what inspired you to become an artist? Was this always a dream of yours?

Well, I wanted to be a mermaid as a child, but when that didn’t work out I decided I wanted to be an artist. I used to color on all the walls in my house as a kid, and so my mom designated a “coloring wall” in my room. I then went on to sell drawings on the playground for a quarter to my classmates. I took an AP art class in high school and was hooked. That love of creating carried over to a theater major in college. I worked for different theaters and also did some set and costume design. I love all things creative, but lately I feel like painting is where I am the most in my element.

Where do you start with a new project? Tell us a little bit about the creative process behind your paintings.

I used to think that artists always felt inspired and ready to paint. There are some days when painting feels like the easiest thing in the world, but there are also plenty of days when I feel uninspired and picking up a brush feels challenging. On those days, I grab my phone to take pics and go walk around my city. I love it. Memphis is one of the most inspiring places in the world to me. We have these amazing old buildings that are being revitalized, and our downtown overlooks the mighty Mississippi River. Being around the people, the architecture, and the energy of this place almost always makes me want to paint. I also really love color, and I think part of that comes from teaching elementary art. Kids make really bold, uninhibited, joyful color choices and brush strokes when they are painting. It’s like they don’t know yet to stay in the lines and be perfect. I love that!

Do you have a favorite piece?

My favorite piece is usually what I am currently painting. I am working on a big beach commission, and it is my favorite at the moment!

Tell us about your beautiful family!

We are crazy! I love my family. Having little kids has made family life chaotic and messy and beautiful all at the same time. I was wiping down nail polish “art” off the walls yesterday, and we will spend 20 minutes in the morning sometimes just looking for a matching pair of kids’ shoes. My husband and I have been married for 9 years and kind of grew up together. We have these two little beautiful rascals that we adore, and we live in a little ranch house that we are constantly rearranging. My husband is in ministry and I teach kindergarten through 5th grade art and sell paintings. Our faith gets us through tough times, and I feel like that is the anchor that holds us together. My family has stolen my heart…..and wallet….and most of my brain cells. All worth it.

Do your daughters love art too? What is your favorite activity to do with them?

My daughters love to make a mess! They are in this super tactile phase where they want to get their hands on whatever I am doing. If I am painting in my studio, they want to be painting in my studio. If I am cooking, they want their hands in the bowl. (I’m not exactly a culinary goddess, but we bake a lot of cookies at our house.) It’s pretty cool to see them mimic what I am doing. I think as far as activities go, my favorite thing is to just be outside with them. My studio is in our garage, and we will open up the doors to front yard and they will play or create something while I paint in the fresh air. We are all the happiest when we are outside. Or eating chocolate. It’s a toss up.

How do you balance being a mom to 2 little girls, teaching art, and running your own business?

That is a really good question! Honestly, I haven’t done a great job of that this year. I went back to work full time right as my painting business started to pick up, and it has been a huge learning curve. I drank a lot of coffee and stayed up late too many nights and watched way too many episodes of Project Runway. I would go to work during the day and then paint late at night after the girls had gone to bed. Next year, I’m going back to part time teaching and will have set studio hours when I can paint while the kids are at school. It’s hard to admit that you can’t do everything well all the time. I have learned that time is my currency, and I need to do a better job managing that in the future. Saying no is so challenging for me, and working less can feel defeating, but I think it is the best thing for my family during this season.

How do you rest and recharge?

I GO TO TARGET BY MYSELF AND IT IS THE BEST THING EVER!!! I usually wind up there when I have free time, and I go and get a Venti Mocha from Starbucks and try not to spend too much money in the dollar section. I also go to church on Sunday mornings, and it renews my soul for the week.

What can we expect next from you!

I am wrapping up a beach series and then am going to either start a Montana series (my dad lives there) or give abstracts a try. I am torn between the two!

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