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miss kelly "camp indigo soul" barton {an interview}

liz lamoreux

When I first started reading blogs, I remember noticing that this blogger Kelly left the warmest comments for people. I clicked through to her blog and found out that she lived in Indiana (where I grew up), so I, of course, began to read...I have been enjoying the authentic way she shares pieces of her world on her blog for a while now, and as she agreed to let me interview her, I am happy to be able to share some of her words with you today.

Along with being a blogger, Kelly is an artist and a graphic designer. You can find Kelly's delightful artwork at the happygirl shop (her etsy shop) and in her portfolio on her website.


Please share a little about you, your creative endeavors, and so on.

i think i might be considered a vagabond of art and design. my style seems to move all over the spectrum. and i am happy with that. that is what makes me — ME.

Describe your studio/creative space or the one you hope to have one day.

my studio rocks! i love it, but don’t all artists love being in their studio. i lose myself when i am in there; hours fly by and i am happy. soft green apple walls and fun stuff from ikea. oh and i can’t forget the sweetest thing of all — artwork from all my girls. i have prints from mati and kelly rae. i have two christine mason miller and penelope dullaghan originals. yes, yes, i know i am one lucky chickadee. and in october, a special someone will be traveling all the way from oakland to grace my walls: my first kelly rae original…yippie!

What is your favorite way to spend time in your studio/creative space? What do you do when you are just creating for you?

oh…i am drooling. how can you not — when you think of what you can do in the studio. i have so many interests, books everywhere, with all kinds of grand creative ideas flowing from the pages. i am happiest when i am creating. doesn’t really matter what i am working on, when i get to lose myself for hours in the studio…i am a happy chick. i love when i am blessed with a few hours to paint, but i also work on jewelry, notecards…oh, and the sound of cutting paper, how can you not love that sound?…sweet!

If you were to create an inspiration board today, what would it be filled with?

hmmmm…..no one will be shocked by this on. my board consists of postcards that came with my prints from the girls and andrea scher….supershero. have you ever seen her necklaces — they rock! i have cotton candy, but my sweet pooch tried to eat it, so at the moment, i need to send it to her for some fixing. i think i would also include images of my flowers and other photos i have snapped of my kids and a couple of very poignant quotes. i dig quotes.

Do you have a daily practice (like yoga, sketching, reading, afternoon naps, and so on)?

what….exercise — are you kidding me. i would rather sit and eat peanut butter m&ms. i love to take a nap, especially when it is raining and you can hear it hitting the windows and roof. that sound always relaxes me. i love to read, but if i read, then i don’t get to paint, and we can’t have that.

I am intrigued by the way that where we live often comes through when we create. As I am originally from "middle" Indiana myself, I am curious if you notice this in your own work?

it has taken me a very LONG time to get to this creative point. i never even considered i would be an artist one day. it makes me sad that i didn’t take art in high school. i know it would have made things easier academically. i found out last year i have a learning disability — similar to dyslexia. [i went to be tested for ADD ]. i am not shocked by this. i knew for years that my brain didn’t function like my friends did. i had to work hard to cover that up. school wasn’t easy for me. but i know that art has to be offered in our schools. kids are lucky to get to art class once a week. i can’t say that INDIANA comes out in my work. but my colorful mind truly does. i have fought myself for years, never allowing myself to truly embrace...ME. but since i have been [letting go], my paintings truly reflect who i am . that is how i came to paint [the girls]. each one is a reflection of my mind, my subconscious. as i have grown artistically, i have allowed myself to become more confident and put myself out there more, which is not an easy task for me.

You seem to bring in a lot of joy and play into your world. For example, your etsy shop is called "the happy girl shop." Can you share a little about what this sense of playfulness means to you?

i love the word happy…i dig it, i do. but this doesn’t mean i am a happy girl all the time. i laughed as i named it that. and i did it for that reason. it is a reminder of how i want to be. a gentle nudge of sorts, for those days when i am not feeling happy. and it does reflect my style of painting.
as you can see, i am a big fan of funky color. the walls of my house are the same. not that my husband comes home everyday and says “honey, i love the green apple and asparagus kitchen walls” [side note: you will never here him call me “honey”, but if he calls me “kell”, my heart melts].
i have an orange dining room too. oh, let me clarify, not tuscan orange or peach, but pantone 021 orange, with a zebra rug and ikea black and white floral print curtains. it is one of my favorite rooms…next to the studio.

As you reflect on where you are in your journey, can you think of a feeling/issue/fear/something else you had to let go of in order to follow your dreams? If yes, can you touch on how letting go of "it" changed you?

…sure, ME. i had to let go of holding myself back. i think it is hard for many girls to let go and believe they can do it. i was one of those, i still am some days. i work hard as a mom to teach my three kids that they are worthy.

Thinking back on your life so far, is there a pivotal or specific moment that led you to this place on your path?

my second pregnancy i began sewing and doing crafts. nothing like i do now, but i was staying at home and honestly bored and unhappy. i needed an outlet. that led to entry into the graphic design world and taking design and art at a local college. Then, when i went through my divorce [yuck, divorce stinks] i went back full time to get my degree and slowly ripened as an artist. i also married a swell guy.

Do you have a favorite quote and/or personal mantra?

i have so many…i will give you an old favorite:
[wake up and live!] — bob marley

i love to listen to bob marley, especially while driving in the summer, windows down, music loud…

and something new:
[freedom is what you do with what has been done to you] — jean-paul sartre
can we get an amen?! this is so true. and something i have had to listen to from deep inside. i found this through miz kelly rae, just to give credit where credit is due.

If you could have one superhero power, what would it be?

duh…x-ray vision!

Thanks for answering all these questions...Is there anything else you would like to add?

well thanks for including me in all the fun. i am a very blessed girl. i have been amazed at how giving everyone is. i couldn’t have done it without the girls i mentioned above and a few others too. if you visit my blog — you can see all of them there. and if anyone is reading this who is thinking, "i want to be an artist," here is what i have to say to that. that used to be me, i said that all the time — i still say it some days, but you are an artist. So go buys some paints and brushes [or whatever you want to use] begin. and don’t be silly thinking it isn’t worthy…of course it is, because it is yours.

oh…please, come and see me at camp indigo soul!