Here is our 3rd Gratitude 52 interview, with Art Teacher and journaler, Leigh Ann Inskeep-Simpson.
Happy to have you here, Leigh Ann. Please introduce yourself. What’s your name? Your profession? Your biggest passion? How would you describe your personality and your interest in art?
Hi everyone! I’m Leigh Ann Inskeep-Simpson. I am a high school Art, Art History and Photography teacher. I love to paint, draw, teach, garden, photograph, walk in the woods, play with my dog and eat chocolate. I would say that I am optimistic, a good listener, fairly quiet and friendly. When I was in elementary school my neighbor was an artist. I was best friends with her daughter. I thought being an artist was the best thing ever.
What made you decide to join the Gratitude 52 Project?
As a teacher I assign “Art Journals” to my students. There are times when I get stuck and don’t know what to suggest they draw. I promised my Art 3 and Art 4 students I would draw as often as they draw (once a week). It was good for me to have new inspirations.
What did you learn in the last year with your journaling?
I learned that sometimes it’s really hard to be on the receiving end of a prompt! “How am I supposed to draw_________?” I often struggled with what or how to draw the prompt. I was surprised at the way others in the group interpreted the prompts. Their way of looking at the prompt made sense… it just wasn’t what I had thought when I first read the prompt for the week.
How has your own art and journaling style developed as a result of participating?
I have been doing Art Journals for three or four years. In that time my drawings have gotten more realistic, and I draw more quickly.
What were your favorite materials to use? Did you discover that you were drawn to other materials more than others?
Most of the time I use pencil, but there were times I wanted to use ink, colored pencils or watercolor. Some weeks I just want to shade with pencil. Other times I need color. It’s nice to be able to use whatever media fits the mood.
What was the most difficult part of the challenge? What did you overcome?
Oh wow, there were definitely times that I felt like things were too personal to share. But I shared anyway. “Your Salvation Story” was a prompt that I wasn’t sure I could tell or share. My husband passed away in December too. I wanted my Instagram friends to know… but didn’t know how to tell them. My journal pages told the story in a way that I felt comfortable sharing.
How did you fit your weekly gratitude journaling in with your schedule?
I usually drew on the weekend. I liked the fact that the prompts came on Friday. I could get them drawn on the weekend, but if I didn’t I still had time. I know there wasn’t a deadline, but I always tried to get them completed in the same week they were given. My schedule is typical of a teacher - really busy from late August until the first week of June, then pretty open until school starts again.
Describe a page or two of which you are most proud. What do you love most about those pages?
I really liked the “Role Model” prompt page, mostly because I really like my role model, my professor and friend, Joanne Stichweh. I usually send Joanne a photo of my drawings, paintings and collages. When I had lunch with her she said that one of the drawings looked suspiciously like her. That really made me smile!
Describe your creative setup: did you have a special Gratitude Journal space to create?
Oh my, I draw sitting at the computer. It’s a mess! Papers, mail, grocery list, glass of water and the dog medicine.
With whom did you meet and connect?
How has gratitude journaling made your life better?
I tend to look for more things to be grateful for. I am more aware of the blessings in my life.
What advice with you give to someone who is trying to journal and express themselves artistically?
Keep at it! The more you draw, paint or collage the better you will become. Share with others!
What else would you like us to know about you?
It’s been quite a year, new dog, one son graduating high school then going to college, my other son getting a job, my husband passing. Glad I have visual reminders of everything!
How can we connect with you?
Thank you so much, Leigh Ann. It seems as though 2016 was a tough year for many people; I'm honored to have you share your talent and heart with us through your journey.
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Which one of Leigh Ann's pieces speak most to you? What are you thankful for today?
Our 4th and Final Interview of this series will be up in a couple of days, so be on the lookout for that!