Sunday, March 27, 2011

"Women Who Create Beautiful Things" - Angela and Andrea of CLaraBeLLa MuraLs

When I first met Andrea and she was telling me a little about herself, of course, we had a connection with our love of art.  She begins to tell me this story that you will read below about her and her sister.  As she is talking, I am trying to restrain from sobbing, but with much difficulty.  Anyway, here's the heart wrenching  story about two sister's love of a child written in the voice of one dedicated sister and mother, Angela.

How did you get into painting character murals. How did it all begin?

As identical twins, Andrea and I have always shared a love for the same things, especially art.  We never pursued this interest professionally.  It was merely a hobby.  In 2003 my little girl Clara was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma (liver cancer) when she was only 16 months old.  We soon began spending countless hours in the hospital.

To make things as fun as they could be for her I began bringing my large art pads and started painting pictures. Andrea flew down for a week to be with us and with her help Clara and I were able to decorate the doors of all the children on the cancer floor.

Each time Clara was admitted to the hospital, Clara and I would pick a theme and decorate her room inside and out with paintings of her favorite characters.  In 2005 my sweet little girl Clara passed away after a brave battle with her cancer.  I was overwhelmed with the grief of losing my little girl.  

During my grieving I began to receive several phone calls requesting murals. The business could not have come at a better time.  I was allowed to do something I loved that also reminded me of the fun times with my little Clara. 

Andrea and I started painting together almost full time.  Our waiting list at one point was 8 months out.  We didn't do any advertising, our business was solely by word of mouth.  We soon decided we needed a business license to make everything official.  

In Clara's memory we named our business "CLaraBeLLa MuraLs".  Andrea and I began painting for private residences, professional businesses, hospitals and home shows.  Today little Clara's inspiration lives on through our art.

What is your favorite room and why?

We have painted numerous rooms.  It is hard to pick a favorite but it is easy to name a few of the ones we love.  "Snow White", "Alice In Wonderland", "Winnie the Pooh", "Beauty and the Beast", "The Little Engine that Could", and "Dr. Seuss".

It sounds like you have a pretty special relationship with your sister. How do you work together?

Andrea and I laugh when we think of how much time it takes to paint one room. We use several different techniques and the process for most of what we do is performed in layers and everything is freehand.  Andrea can look at anything and draw it to scale, therefore she will usually draw the characters while I work on the background.  Once she has finished sketching and painting the characters I will go in and add shading, put all the details in and add the finishing touches. 

Do you work on the same wall together with your sister and what parts do each you paint? 

The funny thing is, being mirror image twins Andrea is left handed and I am right handed.  Therefore it comes in very handy when we get stuck in a corner… We just call for help and the other twin swoops in for the rescue!!  We spend countless hours together with little sleep when completing a larger project.  It could be a good thing or a bad thing to be locked away with another one of "yourself".  Andrea and I have to agree that we could never spend as much time as it would take with anyone else but each other.  We are the only two people we know that can scold one another and still be best friends five minutes later.

It has been challenging since I moved away, talk about across the country!  Andrea lives in Utah, and I live in Florida.  You have to have a passion for what you do in order to make a challenging situation work.

Do you have any advice for someone who might think about doing something like this? 

Any advice we could give a young artist is do what you love!  Don't limit yourself.  When you find a talent, think of every possible way you can grow and develop it.  Andrea has not only kept her painting to walls and canvases, she now has been refurbishing furniture and hand painting on it.  It's amazing how much one can accomplish when they have an imagination!  I have been writing children’s books and am currently working with a publishing company.  Andrea and I have been able to use our creativity to illustrate the stories.   A creative mind is worth more than money!  Not everyone is able to create things, if that talent happens to come to you "don't sell yourself short" and remember there is no limit to what you can do!

Best of luck to all of you!

Thank you Angela and Andi, for sharing your amazing story with us. I am truly grateful.

Readers, I will be taking a little break from the series, but please contact me if you would like me to interview you in the future.  I'm always interested in your stories.  I really do love learning from your experiences and successes.  From the series, I gained enough nerve to enter a Art Show and to put my art up in a coffee shop.  See what a positive influence you have been in just me alone!  Thank you all!


Anonymous said...

BEautiful STory;
beautiFUL muraLs;
BEautifuL LAdieS.

nancy duffy, santa barbara, ca

Artist Terri Smith said...

Oh Diana..I Can Barely Read Through My Tears. Such A Heartwrenching Story. Angela's Tribute To Her Beautiful Clara Will Never Leave My Spirit. I Will Forever Remember This Brave And Courageous Child, Who Smiled With Such Joy And Tenderness Throughout All That Was In Her Path. Angela ~ If You Read This..I Send You Love And A Tight Hug..Thank You For Sharing Your Story..And Your Beautiful Work With Us.

Dana Mulder said...

Such a touching post. Truly inspiring :)

LL said...

The art.
the twins.
and especially little Clara.
My heart aches when I think about what your mother heart has had to endure, it's sweet to see the good that has come from it!

Holly said...

Youre both an inspiration on so many levels. I love walking in to my childrens doctors office and seeing your art work. You are both so talented and have such beautiful familys and stories.
I am so proud to call you both my friends...and I miss you.
Ang, Happy Birthday to little Clara on April 2!

Love you guys!

Jennifer said...

So sad to read, my heart goes out to Angela. What an inspiration...Clara was so beautiful!

Robin Norgren said...

Lovely work and just a beautiful example of how the pain in life can cause us to flourish in ways we would NEVER imagine.