I dislike the quote “Those who can’t, teach.” In my personal opinion that is is total bull. I have an artist bestie, Crystal Holman, that proves it wrong. I’ve know Crystal for 9 years. Crystal is a Renaissance Woman. She can DO IT ALL. She was kind enough to answer 11 questions about her life as an artist and teacher. Thank you so much Crystal!
- Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Crystal, and I want to be an artist when I grow up. I am just Crystal. Basically, I am a very happy person, but I struggle with self-esteem issues and many times find myself withdrawing and physically pulling away so that I can protect myself form life. Whoa, that is a harsh answer to start this interview! Sorry, for being blunt, but I do try to be as truthful as possible when I talk with people. I am 55 years old and I am still growing as a person as well as growing as an artist. Even though I have actively been creating art for many years, I still feel like there is so much more that I need to know. I am married to Lynn Holman, and I have two grown children, Stephanie Joyner and Danielle Glisson. We have two wonderful grandchildren, Kaylin and Britt; and we are awaiting more grandchildren! Currently I am teaching elementary art at Brooklet Elementary School in Bulloch County; where I have been teaching for twenty-one years. When I am not at school, you can usually find me creating art at home or working in the clay studio at the Roxie Remley Center of the Averitt Center for the Arts.
- Describe the first time you remember making art?
I remember that I kept my crayons in a cigar box and I can remember having a desire to draw; but I really cannot remember when I first made art. I can remember drawing as a child, and I can remember how drawing made me feel happy and safe; however, I really did not think of my drawings as art nor did I think of myself as an artist. Drawing has been so much a part of my life that I don’t remember when it all started. I am sure my Mom would be able to share many stories with you. I do have a very distinct memory of drawing under my Mom’s new kitchen table. I remember being amazed that my white crayon showed up on the underside of the table. I remember drawing: a house, a tree, a blue sky, and beautiful white clouds. My Mom was not as happy with the drawing under the table as I was, but it has become a treasured memory about my artistic beginnings.
- What is your favorite type of art to create?
Oh, that is a tough question! I believe my favorite art would have to be painting, but I truly love drawing too. I find that, no matter what art medium I use, I rely on my drawing skills as a foundation. And when I paint, I feel like I am drawing with a paintbrush. It is so hard to choose my favorite type of art because I love working with so many different mediums. I also enjoy creating art in other media such as: ceramics, pyrography, photography, pen and ink, woodcarving, quilting, and . . . well, I could keep listing. I just like to create art!
- Who are some artists that inspire you?
Claude Monet, Albert Bierstadt, Mary Cassatt, Paul Cezanne, Norman Rockwell, and my list could keep going! I am inspired by master artists; but I also find inspiration from fellow artists like Nancy Miller, whom I also call friend. Thank you, Nancy!
- What inspired you to become an artist?
The desire or the inspiration to become an artist comes from within. It is a feeling that is very difficult to put into words; but it seems to be truly who I am on a very subconscious level. My inspiration of being an artist is truly a spiritual experience for me. As I create art, I am worshiping, and the art seems to create itself; I find myself standing in awe as I trust in a supernatural instinct to guide my creative decisions.
My desire to make art and to be creative is getting stronger, so I am preparing for the day when I retire from public education and pursue my art interests full-time. Sometimes I feel like my art journey is just getting started. The inspiration to be an artist is within me, and I am so excited to see what lies ahead for me as I continue to grow as an artist.
- What inspired you to become an educator?
For so many years, I used my talents of drawing to make a living as a graphic designer and illustrator; but one day I felt very strongly that I was not using my talents for the right reasons. I had fancy job titles, but I was not happy. So, I went back to school to become an art teacher. This was a great turning point in my life. I found a confident person inside me that I did not even know was there.
When I began to teach, I felt a sense of completeness because I was using my talents in a way that uplifted students and adults. Watching the students discover their creativity is what inspires me each day. Helping students to face creative challenges is a blessing and an inspiration. Over the course of many years I developed a curriculum to teach all students and to help all students enjoy the experience of creativity. My career in art education has had its ups and downs, but the experience of watching a student gain confidence and joy through art is an absolute joy and it will always inspire me to share art with others.
- How do you stay motivated to keep working as an artist?
Staying motivated is very hard to do. I am so guilty of neglecting to set aside time to be an artist; and when I am not creative I tend to get a little grumpy. So, one day I realized the importance of reserving time for my creativity. At first it began with little steps, like setting aside 10 minutes a day to work on an art project. It was a good plan to set aside time, but it was easy to fall back into old ways and sometimes I found myself making excuses. Many days I would walk by my easel, and it was as if the painting was calling to me; and then one day a change began. I realized that it was my responsibility to make art. A responsibility that is a privilege and not a burden. When I saw myself as a dedicated artist, I wanted to be responsible for pursuing my art interests.
My best motivation comes from my spouse, Lynn. Because Lynn understands and supports my artistic pursuits, he helps me to set aside time for my art. I do so value the time creating; it is my time to refuel mentally, spiritually, and physically. Somewhere during my wonderful art journey, I have learned that I need to be an artist and I need to create. So, to keep myself motivated, I make time for my art, and I do not allow myself to make excuses. I look for ways to be creative each day, and I count my blessings for this amazing gift that is within me.
8. What are you currently working on?
I am currently doing many landscapes. I love to paint the sunshine as it illuminates the beautiful art within nature. I love the challenge of using cool and warm colors; and creating an image on canvas that allows the viewer to feel as if they are a part of the scene. I see each painting as a colorful puzzle and a wonderful learning experience.
- Where is your favorite place to see art?
I know you would probably assume that my response to this question would be an art gallery; but my favorite place to see art is in nature. I love to look at beautiful sunrises and sunsets; I call them sky paintings. I love how the sunlight guides your eyes through the trees. I see beauty in the shadows and the many wonderful shapes that are found as you look around in the natural environment. There are so many details in nature, and it is constantly changing. Nature is like God’s gallery, and I am honored to try and capture some of nature’s beauty on canvas.
- What’s the most indispensable item in your studio?
Oh, this is an easy question! The most indispensable item in my studio is my easel. I had an easel, but it was not quite what I needed, so I began to draw and design my own easel. My husband took my drawing and built the easel exactly as I had designed it. The easel is just perfect for me, and it accommodates many different sizes of canvases. When I am between paintings, I love to look at the easel because I can see small strokes of paint from many different paintings; and it is as if the easel can tell the stories of all the canvases that it has held.
- At the end of your life you’ve made all the art that you’ve wanted, and you’ve lived a full life. If there could be nothing left behind of your existence, but a note you’ve written with three final truths. What would those truths be?
Keep a close circle of family and supportive friends. A group of people who encourage you; but also, a group of people who are willing to be truthful and hold you accountable.
Believe in yourself and always be looking for ways to grow and develop your creative interests.
Be content with your life, but at the same time be willing to work hard for the goals and the rewards that come with perseverance.
Thank you so much for allowing me to share a little of me with you. I hope the responses are not too long, because I love to talk, and I could have rambled on for much longer.
If you would like to get in touch with Crystal about her work. Please contact her at holmanfamily(at)bulloch.net