Meet Molly Mansfield
Say hi! Would you like to introduce yourself?
Hello! My name is Molly. I'm a self taught artist living and working in Austin TX with my husband and little boy, who are my two favorite people in the world.
What does being a creative mean to you?
Creativity is a gift and I am just so thankful that I get to exercise this part of my brain so often. It is so rewarding because it is an imitation of the Creator God, and a language to express who we are, and what we see, feel, hear, experience. For me I feel most creative when I am doing MY work. When it comes to executing an idea, it is a constant push and pull between my vision and skill, and the fluidity of the paint and texture of the paper. I have so many thoughts and make so many decisions along the way. I have always been creaTING But when I paint, I experience so much freedom and inspiration and letting go. While there certainly is benefit to making something pre-planned, participating in the design process does feel very different from making something where I am following a pattern.
Do you recall when you first realized you HAD to be creative?
I have been doing creative things since I was a child. But there have been some seasons of life where I was not creating, and these have been the darker times of my life. After my son was born, I experienced some post part depression. There were complications at his birth that resulted in a lot of trauma for our sweet baby and our family. I spent so much time replaying what happened in my mind, wishing things could’ve gone differently and focusing on my disappointment and regret. At this point my art practice had pretty much come to a standstill. Leaving work one evening, I saw this line in a shop window, “do something creative every day” and it made me pause, but I quickly swept it out of my mind. I realized months later that this phrase was haunting me and I could not get it out of my head. I decided to try to start painting again, but for practical reasons wanted to try watercolor. (I had previously worked pretty much solely in oils). It was amazing how the switch of mediums brought me so much inspiration. What had previously made me so exhausted, now suddenly didn’t feel like work. I felt so much freedom, and fulfillment, and letting go during this time of exploration, and very slowly my work developed into what it is now. (Though it is always evolving). The line from the window had become my mantra. I am so grateful for the opportunity to make things.
What is your favorite work ritual?
After my little boy gets to bed, I like to make myself a drink. Usually herbal tea, or bone broth. About a year ago I discovered the app OverDrive and this has been revolutionary for me. The app connects to my local library and I can download audio books right onto my phone. I used to be a big reader, but since becoming a mom, when I do get time to myself, the only thing I want to do is paint. I am still just amazed at the ability to listen to books, it is just SO. GREAT. So I listen while I paint, and I find it so helpful to focus my attention on what Im doing. Especially in duller moments of the process, like drawing and erasing and redrawing and erasing again and redrawing. Working like this, I could go on for hours and my only fear is that I would unconsciously take a swig from my dirty paint water that I keep on the opposite side of the table as my drink.
How do you cope when you feel overwhelmed?
My inclination would be to keep working until I have made some good progress or achievements. But I have found that this usually doesn’t work out so great and it is much better to take a break. Going on a walk or a hike really helps me to decompress. Movement and nature promote thinking, and studies are showing how going on walks can boost creativity. Also, PRAYER.
What three traits would you say are a must for someone going into business for themselves?
Determination, organization, and creativity. When you are your own boss, you don’t have anyone to hold you accountable, prioritize projects, or solve problems. You have to do all of these things, and you have to have the drive to keep going even when you feel like giving up.
What is your definition of success? Do you feel that you are successful?
As a full time mom, I take it a day at a time. I think success happens when I am most satisfied in my work. Even in failure though, I am successful because I know that each piece is contributing to the next. If I have a crap painting and then a really good painting, I know that the good painting didn’t happen in spite of, but because of the crap painting. Every time I put the paintbrush down I am growing and developing as an artist. When I have an idea, and am able to get it out and see the finished result, that is when I feel most successful.
What has been the best advice you have received?
To just keep working and making. Out of the quantity, the quality will come. I love the quote from Isabelle Allende to “Show up, show up, show up, and after a while, the muse shows up too”.
Who is a female (past, present or fictional) you find inspirational?
Corrie Ten Boom. I recently read her auto biography and was just blown away by her care for people, and how much she accomplished in her life for the good of others.
Thanks for reading along! Don’t forget to comment below. To learn more about Molly visit the Squad Directory to find her social channels, as well as other CYL Squad Member’s social channels.