Jackie Tury: Awakening The Arts

Today I introduce you to Jackie Tury, artist and social worker who found her calling in the creative arts while laying down in bed nursing a leg injury 8 years ago. From then to now, Jackie has gone on and not only learnt to paint and explore within the various mediums but she has also integrated her work in the social field and with a perfect marriage of the two, she has evolved into an artful awakening artist and teacher!

I met Jackie at a yoga retreat last year, and during the 2 hour session with her, I reflected, thought and chose my colors and cut and painted and glued and created a piece of work that was uniquely me and a reflection of my mind and its various layers. I did this with her asking questions, and leading me (and others) through the process.
Most definitely a very different kind of art class, I thought in my head as I held on it driving back.
Arguably, and not surprisingly, am not the only one who thought so!
..and with good reason, Jackie enjoys this process and you can tell how much by just visiting her home, which I did, and here is why I think she is wonderfully inspiring, different and has something that each of you will take away at the end of this post!

Jackie Tury:  Artful Awakenings: Check her blog out!

So Jackie, tell me about painting. That’s a lot of paintings I see around the house. Is this a hobby since childhood, did you go through lessons? How did painting come about?

Jackie chuckles: Nope, it’s something I picked up when I was having this “mid-life crisis”. I had a leg injury just as I turned 40 and I had to stay in bed. I took that time to look within me and see what made me happy and what I could do with the time I had. Painting cropped up, coz well, it helps having a husband who is also into arts! You can see it everywhere here!” 

I see that! The paintings and art pieces jump at me, like literally, 3-D pieces too? His work?
Yes! He does, and remarkably so. He is a strong support. These are his pieces. 

She points to a huge pianist-on-the-wall piece. Incredible wall art that one can most definitely not ignore as you walk into the room!

So tell me more about your “reflective” period as you recovered from that leg injury?

Ok, so I used that time to sit back, and really evaluate myself in a positive way. To think back, reflect and weigh in on what made me happy, and it really helped that I was forced to just sit down, and so my mind wasn’t occupied with the daily work, but more on myself. It was an “awakening”. I looked at that period as one where I went through personal growth. It was like clearing the fog and knowing where I wanted to go to make me happy and content. 

I think I know the feeling. It probably could also be due to the age the stage we are in our lives? Somehow when we allow it, things just seem to fall into place? When there’s a quiet within us, clarity floats in. 
So you went to some classes and learnt the basics of painting? 
Yes I did. It helped to go through a formal class, and it refined how I looked at paints. I was very happy and very gleefully kept painting and soon the house was flooded with my canvases and I was getting teased by the family. It was fun! I just kept painting, and then since the place was getting overwhelming, I started and with great difficulty accepted the idea that I could actually sell and did. A few pieces. 
It was hard. She added with a pause. That’s my biggest obstacle, how to sell or put a price on something as creative and hands-on as a painting. 

It is, and am beginning to believe that you are not the only woman who feels that way. Many say that. It’s an intrinsic block I suppose, one that we all need to make an effort to cross, and we will! 
How would you describe your paintings? I see them and they don’t just look like paintings, they seem more tangible than just paint dried on a canvas. Am I even asking that right? 
She laughs. I think my paintings are whimsical. That’s my style, most likely. I like to bring in things that mean something to me and add that in. A piece of cloth, paper, writing, jewel, sand, I work that into the painting, and make it an art work, it isn’t a painting anymore. 

How interesting! I noticed that, definitely piques interest and makes it very personal? 
I’d like to think so. For folks who have worked with me and when I walk them through their art piece, they each create a unique piece that speaks to them in a way that is both therapeutic and cathartic. That’s how I originally started this program called Mother Nurture. 

Mother Nurture? Like an art class? 

Yes, and No. As in, it is a program that I developed with my Social work background. It was after I discovered how much healing I got from painting, and I felt the need and also realized that there were others who could and would benefit from this, and so I decided to spread that joy. That’s how Mother Nurture was founded. I was already working with a few professionals and therapists because of my work in that area, so I added in this element of using the paint medium to make for healing and growth. It worked great, truly was an awakening. So, each week it was about a different emotion/feeling/discovery we worked on. Positive and uplifting was the goal. To rediscover parts of you through arts. 

Wow! That must have been so gratifying! 
Yes it was and I loved that there are enough folks who actually benefit from it. That’s when I got more confident and realized that I, perhaps had something of use to give to people out there, and that there was a need for such therapy and finding oneself through painting and art! 
We had moved homes then and I went back to work, so things were a bit on the back burner and I took my time, and started again after a few months, and basically exploded! I realized I had the space (at home) and I had the talent, and I knew a few girlfriends were interested, so I told myself, “It’s now or never, so let me go run classes and just have fun!
Walking through Jackie’s very cozy brightly lit walk out basement art room, I cannot help smile at the whimsy and the creative air I am wrapped in. Tidy and organized, the stringed lights, the mirrors on the walls, the old comfy couch all together bring comfort and a quiet. Precisely the environment someone would want to go take a trip deep into themselves, an atmosphere that nurtures. 
Which is what Jackie encourages. 
The whole thing came to a full circle when Jackie put the Mother Nurture program and the arts together and it was a fresh new perspective that people loved! They were creating something so unique and personal and no two paintings from the same class looked alike

     
Fantastic, isn’t it great when you can visualize the birth of an idea? I can positively see you glow when you talk about your baby! Tell me how the growth was and are you happy with where you are? 
Jackie laughs: It brings me such joy to talk about painting! Painting is of course different from selling your paints which is also different from teaching painting, as I discovered. Each requires a different way of thinking and chartering and that is hard and takes effort. But I suppose when you love what you do, things have a way of falling into place. I started teaching slowly, and I love my monthly classes at home, and there is a good turnout and am happy with that. One day I eventually hope to bring out a book putting all the learning together.

What was your biggest hurdle or challenge you face on a daily basis, that intrudes into your painting and what you want to do? Made any sacrifices or things that you feel guilty or bad about?

Well, my husband is a huge support to me and I am thankful for him. Has helped that he is also into arts and he understands that this makes me happy and so he takes care of our girls when I have to be elsewhere. For instance, when I had my first art show, my husband could not be there, an that was hard, but that’s the way it had to be. So was the time when my daughter had a fall and her nose hurt and I was not in town but at a retreat doing my art class. So yes, it’s a constant juggle, but I think it helps prioritizing and having a supportive partner who can stand in for you. 

How do you stay motivated? It is easy to get bogged down by routine.

As far as arts is concerned, I don’t need extremal motivation. I get my ideas from surrounding myself with nature, seeing new things, taking pictures etc. I am addicted to painting, and I get antsy if I don’t, so that’s good. But, as a businesswoman, that part requires work. Jackie chuckles. I have to work on that part, as that doesn’t come naturally. Trying to streamline most of it, so I don’t have to consciously do it all! 
Since money is such an icky subject, it has helped that I set up an online payment, so I don’t have very many cancellations, and also that money and payments are taken care of without addressing it consciously. Many women are juggling roles, that it is hard for them to take 3 hours for themselves! 

What are the three things that describe your work?

1. Therapeutic. 
2. Artist growth 
3. The process is larger than the product. 

These are power wish paintings that my clients create in the three hours they spend with me. 

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If there is one thing that you take away from Jackie, it is that we find ourselves at the most unexpected time and mostly when we are not looking. It is never late to start and if there is even a hint of a fire burning within you, you owe it to yourself to run with it. 

Liked this post? Hit next and read about the other ladies Ive spoken with. There’s something to glean from every one of them. I promise. :-)

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My Personal Style

This post is being written as part of the Women’s Web Trishla eMart ‘A Style of My Own!’ campaign.

Personal style is a remarkably unique trait, as much as the DNA we are made of. Thank God for that though, coz society is burdened enough with wannabes and copycats in pretty much everything else we do! From careers to sports to food we eat, we seem to be living in a dystopian world where fear of missing out almost always trumps our inner voice and we succumb.

Ive always believed that one creates one’s style. Not fashion, but style. It’s a lot more internal and an attitude thing, and isn’t always defined by the brands or businesses that we embrace.

Style is ephemeral. Fashion is more ethereal.

Style is being who you are, in how you speak, walk and do the talk. It is about that aura that glows around you when you walk into a room. The magnetic pull when everyone notices you. It is about the knowing. About being secure in the knowledge that what you wear, how you dress and how you carry yourself is more about you and less about what sits on you. It’s about breathing confidence sub-consciously.

Ive been told am stylish. I don’t recall a time when someone used the word “fashionable” on me, and am glad they don’t, coz that would be so false! I do not as a habit buy brands. Couldn’t afford it as an impressionable young adult and then when I could, never really found value. I do buy an occasional piece but I don’t believe just owning and wearing one will define one as Stylish or even Fashionable for that matter.

So what is Style then?

To me, it’s about knowing what works for you, for your body, your lifestyle and then trusting that knowledge with all your heart and giving it all. No hesitation or going back.

It’s really as simple as that.

Here’s an example.

Ive always had thick, tight curly hair. It was awful growing up. Because of the maintenance, I always wore it long, so they could be bound down, in a braid or pony or clipped up. Seemed easy and simple.

Then, as an adult, I wanted to adapt and change as the society I lived in was different. So, I relaxed my hair, and I wore it flat, sleek and long. My whole demeanor changed. I loved how I looked, more neat, put together, less frizz, easy maintenance, the hair worked in all styles of clothes I wore, sari to jeans. Incredible sense of comfort, happiness and hence confidence in all other areas just waltzed in.

Then recently, I cut it short. It may or not have worked for me and folks were very clear about their opinion. They either loved it or hated it. I wanted  new look, and I decided to go an overgrown pixie sitting in the stylist’s chair. Bangles

It’s me. It’s my personal style. The long hair was me. The curls was me. The short do is me, and this pixie is also me. ..and am not believing it coz folks tell me, but folks tell me coz I believe in it and behave in a way I believe in.

Coz this is very uniquely me. It’s My style. 

I worked it with Saris using just 2 pieces that helped me.

  • Large bindi and Statement Neckpiece
  • Small bindi and Large Earrings
  • Large Bindi and Bare neck and gazillion bangles
  • Large bindi and Red bright lipstick

..and so on. This is of course regardless of how the hair was worn.

Selfie

Style is also not just about aesthetics but about knowing lines, and textures and colors that blend and work together. It’s about creating balance and harmony, in all that you add and put together or remove.

As one famous line goes(and I paraphrase): “Wear it all, and then remove a piece, or you may land looking like a Christmas tree.” It’s true! Many a gorgeous woman and her accessories have been ruined to the spectator such!

Then there’s Iconic style that some folks (and more women) have mastered. It is that ONE thing that defines them. One thing that they wear it and flaunt it and own it so much that their name gets synonymous with it.

I know of one lady who would wear a striking red lipstick no matter what she wore. Indian, Western, Casual or Formal. It was her. She wasn’t pretty, but she has a classic style in the way she carries herself with her iconic red lipstick.

Style isn’t always about your adornments. It’s a whole lot about how you talk, how you sit, and carry yourself and how you behave in a social setting. It’s taking each of your slightly rough edge and polishing it to shine through. It’s also about taking that singularly jagged part of you that many would assume as a fault, and flaunting it with a kind of laissez-faire. Like how Padma Lakshmi does with the long scar on her right arm. It’s about making peace with what you own and allowing it to define you in sic a strong positive way that others shine and blind themselves in that light you radiate from within.

Some have inborn style. Some groom themselves to become that.

It’s about keeping your eyes and ears peeled to accepting what works for you and what doesn’t and taking that liberty to allow it to work and accepting and letting go of the ones that don’t. So what if you make mistakes, that’s one sure way of knowing which ones to not do again.

It’s that path you and only you can blaze with what your brain tells your body after it listens to it.

So listen, pick up, and go be stylish! There are no rules, just incredible strength to go write your own.