If Tracy Verdugo was given the opportunity to coin a term for a new art movement based around what she teaches she might call it “Curiosity and Wonderism”or maybe “Loosen-upism” or “Endless possibilitism.”
When she is not hanging out with her family in their artsy adobe home in a small village on the shores of Jervis Bay, Australia, or throwing paint around in her little purple studio in their backyard, you may find her wrangling with two large suitcases attempting to board the BART in San Francisco. Tracy is often en route to teach at an art retreat or sitting in a circle on St. Pete Beach, Florida listening intently as women share their stories of creative longing.
Tracy is an inspiration instigator, prolific painter, singer/songwriter and lover of the written word, smitten traveller and soaker up of all that is beauty-full. She teaches her Paint Mojo and other creative workshops all over this amazing planet and reminds her students of the wonder that already resides within them.
Her works are vibrant and filled with joy, inspired both by both her travels and the beauty of everyday life. Since 2000 Tracy has held 15 successful solo exhibitions and her works are held in collections both in Australia and overseas.
Mostly though she is mama bear to two gorgeous, zest-filled daughters, Santana and Sienna, and co-adventurer in life with her amor of 28 years, the talented and brilliant Marco.
Carrie: How would you describe your artwork to Artist Strong readers?
My work is a blend of both intuitive (coming from my inner world and places beyond that) and expressive (an expression of my experience; memory, narrative, collections of the physical senses). At times I feel I am directing the work but more often I feel that the work is directing me.
Carrie: Can you describe the evolution of your artistic style? (Have you always made art with this unique vision or what was your turning point into recognizing this style was your authentic “you”?)
I started painting at the turn of the millennium, drawn to colour, texture and storytelling. It took eleven years for my “outward expression” to catch up to or match my “inner vision.” This is to say that a whole lot of practice, hard work and exploration of process went into the eventual unfolding of my own voice. Along the way I have been inspired both my my online peers and the tutors and professors who have guided me through my degree in Fine arts which I am still in the process of completing.
Carrie: How important is intuition to your creative process as an artist?
Intuition is an integral part of my creative process and indeed the process of living life in each moment.
Carrie: What strategies do you use to harness and hear your intuitive voice?
I have rituals that serve to centre me before painting. Simple things like lighting some Nag Champa incense, rubbing some essential oil on my pulse points and putting on some music. Its also helpful for me to have a clean uncluttered space although sometimes I get so involved in what I am doing that even that doesn’t matter.
I try to cultivate an awareness of the silent observer, the higher self quietly watching as my monkey mind continues on with its usual chatter.
Carrie: What has been one hurdle you’ve overcome as a creative and how did you navigate that problem?
In the beginning of my creative journey I was so impatient: impatient to make things I could be proud of, impatient to build a career in the arts, impatient to see financial reward. One of my big life lessons has been to learn to slow down and accepting that there is a divine timing to things and surrendering to that while still working towards my goals was a huge lesson for me to learn.
Carrie: What motivated you to start offering classes sharing your process?
I have always been a natural teacher; I was the kid at family BBQs who gathered all of the smaller kids and set up school. On the very first day I attended a weekly art class in 2000 I came home, gathered up some of my kids friends and started teaching them what I was learning. This morphed into 14 years of teaching afternoon classes to hundreds of kids and eventually taking the beautiful lessons I had learnt across those years through my teaching and bringing that to adults!
Carrie: Do you have a particular story about one of your students that is particularly funny/moving/interesting to share?
My students intrigue, delight and move me every time I teach. I probably have a hundred stories but what I love the most is when I watch a student really come face to face with a strong internal fear. This can involve tears, walk outs, threats to throw the painting in the trash, big emotional stuff. I just stay with them, talk them through a little and help them to know that they are bigger than that fear.
The moment when they push through and come out the other side with a new realisation and something they love is always so mind-blowingly rewarding for me.
Carrie: What advice do you have to people creating their very first artwork?
Cultivate the curiosity of a child, breathe deeply and stay in wonder. Don’t look for outcome but try to lose yourself in the process instead.
Carrie: What do you do when you feel creatively stuck?
Hmmmm…..different things; change the music, dance, move onto something else for a while, go for a walk or a swim, make a bold move.
Carrie: What is one creative resource you can’t live without?
At the moment its F& W Daler Rowney Inks!
Carrie: How do you define Creativity?
The inherent trait that we all possess, that which links us to source, that which connects us to flow, to growth, that which stops us from becoming stagnant, that which makes it possible for us to manifest, through our intent, the things we most wish to experience.
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: How can you cultivate the curiosity of your inner child? I want to know! Let’s talk about it in the comments below.
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