Meet Leah Bares
Say hi! Would you like to introduce yourself?
Hello, I'm Leah! live near the beach in Plymouth, MA with my husband, baby, and Newfoundland dog. I'm a watercolor artist and the owner of Violette Tide Studios.
My nautical art is inspired by my time working on my father's lobster/fishing boat. I work in watercolor because I’m drawn to line and delicacy, and watercolor aids that.
Violette Tide Studios was born after I failed the bar exam (twice) and had been working at a stressful job where everyday felt like Groundhog Day. I finally had enough of it and decided that I would quit my job and "just take a few months" to live off my savings and rebalance my life. It has been almost two years now and so many new opportunities and doors have opened since creating this venture that I haven't looked back.
What does being a creative mean to you?
I think to some extent we are all born creative, but I was lucky enough to have a mother that wholeheartedly nurtured my creativity. I had a craft room growing up and my mom did metalwork in there - I vividly remember her working with her hot solder iron and the smoke detector occasionally going off. She put a little work table in there equipped with beads, paints, feathers, really anything - and just let me get wild with it all. When I was a little older, I began after school painting classes and continued from ages 8-18. And guess what medium I disliked most? Watercolor!
Do you recall when you first realized you HAD to be creative?
During my third year of law school, I was on winter break and picked up some black ink and watercolor brushes. I painted a dog portrait for my cousin's pug and loved every single second of it. I'm pretty sure I cried out in joy, it had been 7-8 years since I painted anything. Then I thought to myself, well shit ... this has been an expensive lesson.
What is your favorite work ritual?
I require a napping baby, a clean desk, and some Bob Marley.
How do you cope when you feel overwhelmed?
My greatest obstacle right now as a working artist is trying to find the time everyday to do everything that I want to do. I'm a full-time mom and I'm managing the online shop, painting commissions weekly, keeping a fresh portfolio. Then there's the bureaucracy of taxes, production, and logistics of the business. So what I've found helpful is outsourcing: asking family and friends for help with the personal stuff and hiring help for business things - accounting and the like. Outsourcing and letting people know that I *can't" handle it all has definitely lifted this elephant off my shoulders.
What three traits would you say are a must for someone going into business for themselves?
1. Individualism and dedication to your vision - so this is crazy important because I've had times where I've deviated as an artist - maybe I'm trying to be more mainstream, and people notice that. I barely paint flowers or botanicals and it's because I absolutely suck at it - and that's alright! Stick to what feels right and what is part of your brand's vision.
2. Having an absorbent amount of confidence: throwing yourself out there, trying new things, meeting new people .. it takes a lot out of you. Hold your head up and roll with it.
3. To accept failure. You will experience failure in your business and it digs at your soul, but in hindsight you will see how strong you are.
What is your definition of success? Do you feel that you are successful?
2016 was my first actual year in business, so I can say wholeheartedly that I never expected the success or wonderful feedback that I've received.
On January 4, 2017, I donated $1,060 to a marine education center from the proceeds of my turtle print. It was my proudest day yet as a business owner.
What has been the best advice you have received?
"Everyone puts their pants on the same way every morning" - one of my dad's favorite phrases.
"To begin, begin.” - William Wordsworth
Who is a female (past, present or fictional) you find inspirational?
Oh, it would have to be Rachel Carson, she was a revolutionary for women in the environmental field. In the 1950's she led the path for the advocacy of ocean conservation and the widespread misuse of chemical pesticides. "Silent Spring" opened the eyes of lots of .. ahem, men, and put her in line as one of the greatest environmental saviors of the 20th century. She said, “the more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”