Jane: Your work is consistently nature inspired. You really stay focused on the theme. Is it a conscious decision, or is it simply your overriding passion?
Tracie: Discovering nature as an artistic muse revealed itself to me in a very simple, yet profound experience. It wasn’t until I signed-up for an open-air painting class in the summer of my sophomore year of art school that I discovered this source of inspiration. In the past, I had never been much of a fan of the outdoors. I didn’t like camping, bugs, or any sort of inclement weather. So I have to laugh when I think back, wondering how I even convinced myself to register for the course in the first place. But from the very first day of plein-air painting, I was completely mesmerized. This was the first opportunity I had really ever taken to spend any time actually studying the amazing beauty of nature. And in the quiet moments of those class periods with only the sound of the wind rustling through the leaves and grasses, along with the birds singing overhead, I felt part of the world as a whole. I had finally found a subject I wanted to explore over and over. Nature had captured my full attention, and I wanted to share my discovery, my joy, and my enthusiasm with anyone and everyone. After this six-week class ended, I continued to make art using various nature subjects, refining my painting skills and mixed-media techniques. Even after ten years of creating nature artwork, I feel no desire to stop using natural subjects to convey my artistic messages. Nature continue, even today, to inspire and capture my imagination.
Tracie: We have all seen words such as "dream", "create", and "believe", etched into a piece of jewelry. These syllables entice us to embrace and have faith in these ideas that we tout so boldly around our neck and wrist.
Every time I wore this dainty pendant, I felt empowered... I FELT like a poet...... Often penning small bits of prose during brief moments, I suppose I have always been somewhat of a closet poet. However, I could never bring myself to tell anyone what I was doing, or even begin to think of myself as a real writer. Poets are individuals that eloquently carry us away in a flurry of emotions... describing ever so gently... so tenderly each thought and every feeling.
And here I was... playing,.. pretending,... hoping.. that maybe...just maybe my meager verse might do the same. Never would I dream of whispering the phrase or shouting to the world.... "I AM A POET!".... until I purchased this small adornment with a tiny word on the front.
And so it was that I sat at my computer, one Christmas eve...and the only gift I can think to give a weary world to honor this glorious occasion... was a little piece of myself... a little bit... of poetry.I have since self-published two small poetry books that have been extremely well received. My hope is to continue this endeavor with a third edition to debut at Christmas and perhaps have my words will be discovered one day by a book company.
Jane: You’ve been working on a new fabric line. What a great opportunity! How did it come about and tell us what you can about the new line.
Tracie: Designing my own fabric was a serendipitous happening that came from my desire to return to product design, which was my job in the corporate world, and the meeting of a fellow teacher/friend that was already designing fabric.
Unfortunately, I can't divulge any sort of hints about what it will look like because we are still in the design phase. But, I am SO EXCITED to see these ideas come to life! I am currently very busy working with WIndham on different pattern options, and we should be making final selections for the line soon. Designing fabric is a bit of a challenge because you really have to be aware of how a particular pattern will repeat, the scale, and creating coordinates to match. There is a lot to consider.
Jane: Speaking of nature, tell us about your home/studio surroundings? Do you live on a natre preserve or do you just find and appreciate the small bits of nature that we all (speaking for the suburbanites) have in our daily life.
Tracie: Although my suburban home skirts the edge of farmland, Kansas has an INCREDIBLE landscape. Wichita is located close to the Oklahoma border. I actually drive to Kansas City a lot, so I am quite familiar with the terrain between Wichita and Kansas City. This landscape is called the Flint Hills. If you can image a desert, but instead of sand, it is all prairie grass, rolling hills, and big blue skies. That would be the perfect description of this area. It is awe-inspiring to see, and I have witnessed this marvelous place in all seasons. I never get tired of gazing upon it.
Jane: The Red Door Studio is your blog name. Where does the name come from? Can we SEE the red door??
Tracie: Yes... no.... well sort-of... Six years ago, my husband and I decided to build a new home. I was picking exterior colors for this new house, and had planned to use the color red for our front door. At the same time, I was in the beginning stages of developing a serious art career outside the corporate world and working with a lawyer to turn my new art company into a business. I needed a name for this new business, so with thoughts of my new home and my new door in mind.. The Red Door Studio was selected. However, it is funny how life sometime takes you in an opposite direction. Later on, we ended up having trouble finding certain selected materials for the exterior which changed our color scheme thus also changing the color of the front door. Today my front door is a lovely blue, but I dream of having a studio that is separate from the house, one day, and when that happens I will definitely paint the door red.
Jane: Do you keep a regular journal or sketchbook? Is each page ‘art’ or is a messy filled with ideas and sketch type of book? Can we see a page or two?
Jane: I mentioned in an earlier post on my blog, that I really enjoyed and was inspired by your book Nature Inspired. A book is such an accomplishment! Congrats! What are your next goals-- Or do you have specific goals?
Tracie: I am so excited to be pursuing my dreams of licensing artworks, with the debut of a new cotton quilting fabric line from Windham Fabrics hitting retail stores in late 2010, and more soon-to-be-announced licensed products coming to stores in 2011 and 2012.
Jane: Gotta mention your delightful mother-in-law, Marilyn. Do you live close to each other and work together often? How in the world did you decide to do workshops together? (I took your workshop at Art Unraveled and you make a fabulous team!)
Tracie: Marylin and I live three hours apart. We started by attending an art retreat in Seattle, Washington back in 2000. I was a sophomore in art school then, and was looking for a small weekend break from school that still allowed me to be creative. I asked her to accompany me on this adventure. The experience had such a profound effect on both of us that we continued going, every year, to this same retreat. Then in 2006, we decided to make art to sell at the retreat's vendor fair. That event was a huge success, and we had a number of individuals asks us if we were teaching. So we talked with the coordinator, and the rest is history.
Jane: You’re teaching in Orvieto, Italy with Adventures in Art in September 12-18th and you know I just returned. You are going to love it! Tell us about the week you have planned.
Tracie: We will be journaling our journey in Italy as an individual art piece by weaving our experiences and words together through paint and collage, suitable for framing! Marylin and I will share secrets for bringing the cherished experiences and the breathtaking surroundings of this ancient Italian hilltop town to life through paint, collage, and journal entries. The result is stunning "art pages" imbued with the colors and textures of Orvieto, as well as new found skills for use in future journals.