Peonies, Coffee and Art

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Peonies, Coffee and Art are three things that represent who I am as an artist. When I was trying to decide how to redesign and rebrand my website, I wanted to simplify, while, at the same time, create a new way to tell My story. With the new Carmen Leigh logo, I combined these three things to represent the different roles in my life: granddaughter, daughter, sister, wife, mother and artist.

Every single one of these labels are integral pieces to my art and represent different aspects of my creativity.

Granddaughter - I feel the love and influence each and every day from both my maternal grandparents, Nelson and Leona Fisk, whom I know are in Heaven watching over me. While I was only 4 years old when my grandma lost her battle with cancer, my memories of her remain crystal clear. As her only grandchild, I was allowed a lot of freedom on the farm, where I was able to use the hen eggs for mud pies and even eat sticks of butter as a snack (gross); however, my fondest memories involved her holding me tight, even though she was in tremendous pain. I can remember sitting under the huge trees in the front yard and eating Kentucky Fried Chicken and running around in lots of frilly dresses. My love for the Peonies began with Grandma Leona. She loved flowers and planted them in abundance on their farm. She also loved bits and baubles and other pretty things, which of course, is a love that I inherited! The Peony drawing in my new logo represents my love for my Grandma Leona and her love of all things beautiful.

My Papaw, Nelson “Bud”Fisk, was one of the major loves of my life. After my grandma passed, I spent every summer with him on his small farm in Arkansas. He would drive to Hugo, Oklahoma to meet my mom “half way” to pick me up. And bless his heart, I remember singing Tanya Tucker’s “Delta Dawn” at the top of my lungs in the front seat of his truck all the way to Arkansas. Those summers were magical, filled with tire swings, cucumbers and tomatoes, snapping peas, crayons and butcher paper, and lots of love. Nelson Fisk loved to garden and he loved Jesus! He may have only achieved a sixth grade education, but he was the most brilliant man that I have ever known. His voice is the one that I hear in my head and the man that taught me to love my neighbor, no matter what. One of my favorite memories is the early morning breakfasts around his farm table where he drank his coffee, with a little bit of milk, filled to the rim! But the most amazing and magical thing was the way in which he would stir his coffee and NEVER spill a drop!!! Maybe this is why coffee is one of my favorite things in the world? In all seriousness, I drink my coffee exactly the way he did with the addition of the everyday spill. The Coffee Stain in my logo represents my beloved Papaw and our mutual love of black coffee and milk.

Daughter - My parents, Jimmy and Joyce Van Meter, are quite simply the greatest parents, not perfect, but wonderful. They recognized my love of art at an early age (my mom swears I could draw at age 2) and they have nurtured and encouraged my talent ever since. Crayola crayons, rolls of butcher paper, coloring books, art lessons with Mr. Mulkey, and studying art at Baylor were a few examples of their belief in my creative nature. To this day, my parents are my biggest cheerleaders and encourage me to live my dream. While the logo has “Established 2013”, it should really read “Established 1969” and created by Joyce and Jimmy!

I’m hopeful that through my new website, while I continue to share and create beautiful artwork, you will also get a change to see who I really am as I tell My story, one that has brought me to this point in my life and helped me be the the granddaughter, daughter, sister, wife, mother and artist that I am today.

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Carmen Donowho