The Painter in Me is the result of a long journey it began when I, Eilleen Knott, was 29, a young mother of a 2 and 4yr old. I really felt strongly about being a stay at home mom. It is very difficult for a family to make it on one income and I really wanted to help out in some way. I was looking through a tour of homes magazine and saw an ad for someone who painted custom tiles for homes. Something on the inside of me shouted, “I want to do that!” having no art training or seemingly previous talent for drawing or painting skills in any form of media in my past. I loved to do craft projects, but this painting, was definitely a first for me. I decided to take a few ceramic classes. I was so excited with my first rose drawing, looking back to that time 23yrs ago, it was really pretty pathetic, but hey… don’t despise small beginnings, especially in yourself.
I sold a few trivets in craft shows….oh my goodness, so much work…so much time….so little profit. From there I took some China Painting Classes, almost a lost art, from a wonderful teacher and treasure in my life, Marie Weeks. The teacher and all the other students were 60plus years old, so much fun, so many great stories. I learned so much, color coordination seemed to come natural to me. I really feel like God awakened something in me that had been there all along, I just didn’t know it, until I tried.
Out of this training, I started doing custom tiles for peoples homes, home shows, 2 different companies that made custom half a million dollar plus, motor coaches. My original dream was realized, but could I do more? The designer for one of these motor coach companies figured if I could do tiles, certainly I could do other things that she dreamed up, sinks, pocket doors, painted valances, furniture. I didn’t correct her, just prayed and researched and was able to complete anything she wanted. You’ll never know what you can do until you try!
This was around 2009 when the economy took a dive and many businesses went bankrupt or closed including motor coach companies and people were not building or remodeling anything. My kids were grown by this time and I took a few desk jobs in insurance and a personal assistant for several years.
In 2013, I met an amazing artist from Arizona, Ellie Milan and she encouraged me to travel to Arizona and take some lessons from her and her husband. I did, and learned some amazing things from them, one of them being, how to paint much, much faster. About a year later, a friend explained how these “Painting Businesses” were opening in a lot of the bigger cities where individuals or groups could come and complete a painting in one session. She planted the seed idea in me and encouraged me that I could teach others, they would have fun and complete a painting that they were not ashamed to take home and hang on the wall or give away.
Nervously, I did my first class with 4 students. I was pleasantly surprised; I loved teaching, the students-all beginners, did great and I could make a little money doing something I greatly enjoyed.
My very favorite part of the class was this, the students came in with a fear and uncertainty that they could accomplish anything that they could be proud of. They left with a surprise, awe and huge sense of accomplishment! Wether they ever pick up a paint brush again or not, some barrier of fear was broken in them and a new a sense of wonder and excitement for what else they could accomplish in their lives, simply by just stepping out and trying something new.
I changed jobs, left the busy personal assistant job, to a much less intense job, where I work part time and have energy left at the end of the day to pursue my dreams.
One of the biggest reasons why I am teaching these classes, is because it gives me so much joy to see people transformed by the end of the class, to “I can’t believe I did this”
You’ll never know what you can do, until you try!