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Home style art

Keeping the creative fires burning as a stay at home mom



Home style art

Keeping the creative fires burning as a stay at home mom

I do not currently have any children... at least that I know of. But I hear they’re a lot of work.

I’ve also heard that for all that is gained in bringing up babies, one thing you can pretty much kiss good-bye is your free time.

If this is true, then the Sheree Blanch art exhibition in the upstairs gallery space at MY Millennium Place for the month of May is all the more remarkable. While losing yourself in the lush, serene landscape paintings consider that the hand holding the brush belongs to a mother of two kids under the age of six.

If I of no-children status can barely find the time to mail birthday cards to my relatives, how does a mother of two find the time to stage a whole art exhibition? Or even engage in their craft at all?

For Blanch, a passionate painter who worked with husband Sean Bondaroff at local illustration/graphic design/printing house Toad Hall Studios prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom, it’s simple. She makes time, often at the expense of having her house look Martha Stewart-perfect.

That’s not her style, anyhow.

"We’re not perfect and anyone that thinks they are is crazy," she says good-naturedly.

The laid-back attitude serves Blanch’s current artistic situation well. Her easel occupies a corner next to the kitchen in the family’s open floor plan home in the Barnfield Farm area. Buckets of brushes sit next to dishes.

"I thrive on it," Blanch says. "I don’t need the peace and quiet. In fact I tried to make a little lonely studio, but I just couldn’t do it. I was just craving the action and life."

Positioning herself in the eye of the hurricane enables her to interact with her kids while painting.

"I’m watching them and they’re watching me and getting inspiration from me," she says. "I’ve found it works really well. I’ve got my bucket of water so I can put my paints down anytime they need me and go back to it. It’s a fairly free-flowing thing."

Now four and six years old, the kids are at the age where they understand what mom is doing over there at the easel. They even get their own canvases every once in a while. But Blanch recalls a time when it wasn’t quite so simple.

"I’ve had my disasters with my kids coming and painting over things," she says. While imitation is supposedly the sincerest form of flattery, it also led to a few uncommissioned wall murals courtesy of undiscerning toddler hands – daughter Shara’s nailpolish masterpiece, for one.