New Years is my favorite time of year.
The business of the holidays has passed, and I can settle in for the quietness of winter. I start putting my yearly goals into action at least 3 months before the new year to give me time to dream, to practice, to fail, and to adjust my vision. The last 3 months are seed planting time for me.
Creative Sundays were started in my house when my daughters were young children needing a lot of my attention. I used it as a way to quiet my household so I could do creative work. It became my large block of time to be creative with all digital devices off in the house. That meant the children were being creative too! Crochet, drawing, sewing, dancing or simple playtime. Just time to create. That was our Sundays.
So I want to revisit Creative Sundays in my blogging life. I want to take a few minutes each week to write to you – my readers – to let you know what’s happening in my art life.
I have been so blessed in 2021 – beyond what I could have even hoped for. My daughters and I did vision boards at the end of 2020. Most of those things on my studio/office wall have manifested in 2021. Some things will take longer. But I look at that was every day to remind me of where I am going in the near future.
I am so grateful for the opportunities that have been opened for me. Being selected as a We Need Diverse Illustration Mentee started my year off with a bang! My mentorship with Barbara Higgins Bond gave me the support and insight I needed to know that I could find a place for my illustrations in the marketplace. I didn’t know what to expect going into the WNDB mentorship, but Barbara made herself available for any questions I had throughout the year. It’s nice to know that is a relationship I can continue to cultivate over time.
This year, I stepped out on faith to chase my creative dreams (a global pandemic will do that to a person). After practicing engineering for a number of years, I decided now was the time to put the full effort forward to practice my art full-time as a professional artist. I didn’t take the decision lightly. It was not done on a whim. I prepared, planned, meditated, rested and prayed. I made a choice for my highest good knowing that I have everything I need in every moment. When the time was right, I simply let go.
By that time, I had already sat in on the informational meeting for the Amplify Black Stories program sponsored by the Highlights Foundation and The Brown Bookshelf. As I listened to the presenters, I said to myself, “I need to be a part of this program”. So I applied. Filling out the application made me keenly aware of how much I have grown as an illustrator and storyteller over the years. I have so much to learn but I have come so far. I felt ready and qualified which says a lot when you put yourself forward to “be seen”.
I got the news during a spring break beach visit in Florida. My family was settling in for a day in the sun and my phone buzzed. It wasn’t these exact words but it felt like this to me: You are accepted…welcome….We’ve been waiting for you. I was so excited! I was shaken to my core! I didn’t see that coming but was so grateful to be selected for a program that I knew would be key to my growth as a children’s book writer and illustrator. I said yes. I said yes to the program and yes to a new life. Then I went into the warm, salty blue seawater and I let it hold me. I released control. I knew I was held.
And then there was silence.
There was rest.
The real work is behind the scenes.
There was a lot of groundwork being built in my portfolio of writing, illustrating and art entrepreneurship skills with the support of SCBWI, Black Creators in Kid Lit and my local writing group. I was learning through mentorships and program connections made through WNDB, the Highlights Foundation, The Brown Bookshelf and my long-time mentor and friend Dan Flores. My Behance (https://www.behance.net/temikagrooms) and KidsLitATL Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvnvGjcerN6O_rTJB9ckrEw/featured) were being filled with sketching and figure drawing sessions that bring the art community together online. Figuring out my new life created a tremendous shift. It wasn’t easy in every moment, but I had the support of a worldwide community behind me. I cannot express the gratitude I feel about that fact.
And then after feeling like I had been rooted in the ground as a seed for so long, the fruits of my labor was starting to show. Things were happening and happening all at once!
Now things are moving in the direction I imagined when I created the vision board this time in December 2020. This post is not a bragging post or one to put on airs that my life is perfect. I have learned so much, including that it’s ok to “Dream BIG Homie” and to “take up space”. I learned that I can do what I want to do with the proper balance of desire, decision, planning, rest, work, good vibes and the ability to allow good things to come to me. This post is one so full of gratitude for everything that this year has brought me in terms of opportunities, good health, and the people who love and support me. Individuals often rise with the help of many others.
I am just grateful. Simply grateful. Here’s to all that this year has given and to all the blessings that have yet to come.
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I am an artist, arts advocate and artrepreneur here to share my journey with you in hopes that you will be inspired.