Lately I’ve been thinking more and more about someone who has made such a lasting impression on me. Someone who’s life and work and personality has continued to influence me from the moment I found a book about her nearly twenty years ago. You know who it is…..Tasha Tudor.
As we continue to shelter at home and wait out this terrible virus, I find myself thinking about Tasha and how she would have handled it. I can imagine she would have taken everything in stride, she was used to spending long stretches of time sequestered at home, painting for her projects, cooking her food, being with her animals and only connecting with the outside world through the mail each day. She was a naturally sequestered person, who created a world in which to work and live. Now that we are all being asked to sequester from our normal lives, I am taking cues from Tasha on how to do it positively— by focusing on my own work and creative life. It’s given me a lot of comfort. And perhaps you feel the same?
Because of these feelings, I decided maybe it’s time to dust of an old favorite here on my blog. Tasha Tuesday!
It blows my mind, but I’ve been writing these Tasha Tuesday posts for nearly a decade! My first post was in 2011, when I was a young mama with a fledgling folk art etsy shop and a 4 year old daughter. But even then, I was a longtime admirer of illustrator Tasha Tudor. My love of Tasha goes back even farther, nearly 20 years, when I came upon the book by photographer Richard Brown, “The Private World of Tasha Tudor.” I found the in a clearance bin at Border’s Bookstore (remember those? I miss it!) because the cover was torn. I can still remember picking it up and laying eyes on Tasha and her world and thinking “ohhhh, I looooove this…”
A little flicker of light kindled inside me. I was inspired, I was encouraged. At the time I was in college trying to get a journalism degree, because everyone said that it made no sense to pursue a career in art. I bought that book (thank goodness it was on clearance, or I probably wouldn’t have been able to afford it) and took it home and fell in love with Tasha.
I’ve written a lot about this here on this blog, and in past Tasha Tuesday posts. If you’d like to read the archives, you can start digging HERE. But suffice to say, Tasha and her example of ‘live the life you have imagined’ made a big impact on me. In the years following my discovery of Tasha I got married and even worked for a local newspaper for a while. Some of my favorite stories to write were stories about artists. I was always asking them, “how did you make your art dream HAPPEN?” And they’d always say something along the line of “I just kept at it and kept believing and kept working.”
Even Tasha quoted Thoreau, saying, ” “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. ” I found this advice encouraging, but I wasn’t sure when to start. I just kept painting, whenever I could, not sure where it would lead.
As luck would have it, I a few months later found myself able to quit my job at the paper and be home with my daughter, who was about 8 months old at the time. Quietly, I started painting at my kitchen table. A little bit later, I opened an etsy shop. I think it took a month to make my first sale. And I have been plugging away at it, ever since. Doing a little bit better each year. And that whole time— Tasha has been an example I’d go back to, when it seemed that my interests were odd or old fashioned or the art I made wasn’t cool or ‘on trend.’ It didn’t need to be— I just needed to follow my own interests and my own ‘life I have imagined.’ And I’m still working on that today.
A few years later, I was able to make a little dream come true and visit Tasha’s home and garden on a family tour (you can read more about that HERE) What made it even more special is that I got to be there with wonderful friends, and we all walked around saying to each other “Can you believe this?!” My daughter was also with me, and it was such a wonderful day to share with her.
On the tour, we were able to quietly walk through Tasha’s home, and my heart skipped a beat when I saw her little corner at the end of a table where she’d draw and paint, and all her well used paint brushes still sitting there, as if she’d walk in from the garden to work at any moment.
And so, as we all try to keep busy and positive this summer, I thought now would be a great time to chat about Tasha Tudor some more. Let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see in a post. As the years have progressed, I’ve found her to be so dynamic and interesting, and have come to realize (and feel a bit of relief) that she wasn’t perfect, had her faults and shortcomings, and was in fact– human. Luckily, so are we!
I also thought that this summer, and August in particular, is a fantastic time to celebrate Tasha because her birthday is at the end of August (August 28) and I’ve got some fun surprises planned for that! This year would mark 105 years since her birth. So stay tuned…..you will definitely be invited to take part!
I hope all is well with you, and that you are finding some inspiration and comfort. I can’t wait to share more with you….
PS: On instagram, I’m going to start labeling my Tasha Tuesday posts with the hashtag #SFTashaTuesday. If you’d like to join me and tag your Tasha posts with this hashtag, please do! Can’t wait to share more with you…