We had the good fortune of connecting with Beth Fields and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Beth, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I find it valuable to listen to that whisper of fear when a risk presents itself. I had a terrific yoga teacher who talked about the journey from fear to curiosity to freedom. Risks that I have taken – putting myself out there as an artist, setting up my home studio, prioritizing my art over my career that I had built over 20 years – all began from a place of fear that gradually shifted when I asked myself “what if…?” Allowing myself to explore that shift from fearful to curious has been incredibly fruitful. Opportunities that ripple with a bit of fearfulness show me that there’s something in that risk that is calling to something deeper in me. Swallowing hard and taking the leap leads to such an incredible sense of flying. I say all of this knowing that I have an incredibly supportive husband, family, and network of friends that celebrate my successes with me and help me stay grounded in both my day to day work and my flights of fancy.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I always gravitated towards creative pursuits and loved surrounding myself with art and art experiences but didn’t call myself an artist until 2017. Our culture has a way of separating creative dabbling from Art and I believe that’s a false separation that can deeply inhibit creative work. I would say that the more I gave myself over to the label of artist, and the more time and space I made in my life for art, the easier things became. I feel like aligning myself with art has allowed me to live as close to my authentic self as I ever have before. I am a mixed media artist in the sense that I work across several mediums and I create mixed media pieces. I do pottery, encaustic collage paintings, and mixed media acrylic paintings but I also relish the chance to work in art journaling, book making, printing, and artistic stitching. Working in a range of mediums means that I rarely feel “blocked” in my work because I can always shift to another medium in order to keep the creativity flowing. I find that my work in one lane will feed the work in another lane, and it’s interesting to see what common themes arise no matter what medium I’m working in. I have always been obsessed with old buildings, old papers, antique photographs…anything with a sense of history or mystery about it. I think my childhood passion for Nancy Drew and ghost stories has mellowed into an avid interest in reusing bits of vintage ephemera in my collage art works and bringing architectural elements into my pottery. It’s a thrill to watch a person’s eyes light up when they see one of my “Doornaments” – small pottery doors that I create to showcase my ongoing love affair with old houses. Through my art, I have connected with many kindred spirits who share my love of vintage as well as my interest in bright, vibrant colors. Connecting with art lovers is my favorite part of being a part of the art community. Sharing my work and seeing how it resonates with others gives me a thrill like no other. As I meet and get to know other artists, it’s so inspiring to see how creativity is an undeniable force that manifests in such deeply personal and individualized ways.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There is so much to see and enjoy here in the McKinney area. We’d have to start with a yoga class at Yoga Balance Studio before heading down to the square. We’d have lunch at Hugs – I’m always grateful to support their mission of providing meaningful work opportunities for adults with disabilities. Then we’d stroll the shops, hitting favorites like Patina Green and Birds and Words Boutique, and maybe catch a pop-up event at East End Salvage. Then we’d go over to the McKinney Cotton Mill and check out the amazing artist studios at Millhouse and Bay Willow Design. Then we’d hop on our bikes and take a ride around Towne Lake and maybe all the way over to Bonnie Wenk Park on the amazing bike trails here in McKinney. Once we were ready for a nice cocktail and a delicious meal, we’d head back to the square to Harvest, followed by a slice of pie from Emporium Pies or maybe a cookie from Mary’s Mountain Cookies. After dinner we would stroll the streets of the Historic District and I’d point out all my favorite doors, porches, and other architectural treasures in this amazing neighborhood.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I am lucky to be able to scroll down a very long list of supportive influences on my journey as an artist so far. My family always nurtured the creative spark in me and never questioned my stubborn quirks that now translate into the creative focus on my art. My husband is my “roadie” for all art shows and is unflinchingly supportive in all that I do. Lisa LaBarge with Mrs. Pott’s Place is a phenomenal pottery teacher whose work inspired me to explore putting doors into my pottery – and there was no going back after that! Bonny Leibowitz from The Encaustic Center has built an incredible studio space that inspires so many in their work – I’m deeply grateful to her for my introduction into the world of encaustic. I am incredibly grateful for the rich network of fellow artists in McKinney, including the McKinney Creative Community. I have Andrea Holmes, my Fairy Art Mother, to thank for her gracious support when I was first attempting to spread my wings as an artist. Her generous mentorship is a continuous boost. I’ve had a transformative year of learning this year with the Wanderlust online course taught by Kasia Avery and Everything Art. I found Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic and her subsequent podcasts to be an endless source of inspiration. The work of Brene Brown continues to change my life on a regular basis.
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