We want our community to get to know our artists a little better so we are going to feature them one by one here on the blog! The sweet sweet Brianna Showalter is with us today answering our questions with all sorts of adorableness (yes that’s totally a word)!
Illustrated Faith: Tell us a little about yourself!
Brianna: I am wife to a handsome-adventurer & mama to an energetic-creative 8-year-old daughter & a sweet-funny 3-year-old son. I work part-time as a real estate agent & a graphic artist & painter. Cobbling together a few jobs allows me the freedom to be with my kids a lot. We live in a 1925 Craftsman home that we remodeled near the Puget Sound in Washington State.
My favorite place is the beach, where I enjoy beach-combing and searching for sea glass. I love being outside, taking long walks & working in my flower garden. I enjoy reading & being with our amazing community of friends. Our family loves to go on adventures like hiking, camping, beach exploring, & day trips to all of the beautiful places that surround us. We are loud & silly & love to build things, create messes & make memories. I try to make something every day…most days lately it’s a painting or a page of my sketchbook, but some seasons it’s re-finished furniture or ceramics or cookies.
IF: How did you get started in your art?
Brianna: I have always loved art, being creative & getting messy. From my early childhood, I have drawn & painted. I have super rad parents that sent me to art camp as a child, paid for endless paper, paint, pens, brushes, clay & tons of other supplies for me to experiment with, & didn’t blink an eye when writing college tuition checks so I could get a (not always practical) degree in painting.
A few years ago, I was frustrated in not “having time” for art with two small children and two jobs, and I felt the Lord telling me to just set aside 15 minutes each day. And so, in 2015, I drew or painted every day and posted it on Instagram to keep myself accountable. I often used Scripture as my inspiration because then I could kill two birds with one stone: meditate on God’s word and put in my 15 minutes. I think it’s safe to say I have re-created my art practice again, though it looks much different than it did when I was 20.
IF: How has your faith played a role in your creative journey?
Brianna: As I have grown, I have been challenged to make my faith my own. A few years ago I read the book Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist, in which she talks about making our faith personal & unique, so that we don’t wake up in 20 years & not recognize ourselves. I felt a personal challenge to bring a new level of ownership & personalization to my faith in Jesus. For me that meant connecting some dots between my art practice & my faith walk.
Over the years, this process has changed and evolved, but I have always come back to art. Creating alongside the Lord has been the way I’ve felt closest to Him, listened to Him, & been able to meditate on Scripture. When I paint and draw, my body & soul are quiet. I mull over ideas, think about life, am able to process & work through the good, the bad & the ugly so that what resides in my heart is softer & what comes out of my mouth is not as dangerous & foul.
IF: Show us a few of your very favorite things you’ve designed.
Brianna: You know what, I actually don’t really have any favorites. As my body of work & experience have grown, I have become so much more in tune with the process & lifestyle of art rather than the product. Each piece I make reflects my mind, emotions & ideas of a particular day, but then I move on. I love the challenge of keeping my practice new & fresh, so I feel like the process has become my favorite part of creating. I love to illustrate: to take something out of a scene & focus on the details, but I am also drawn to words. So my favorite pieces are usually a combination of images and words.
IF: Share something surprising about yourself that people might not know!
Brianna: I grew up on a Christmas tree farm, which was just as wonderful as it sounds (though I’m sure my parents have a completely different set of memories than I have!).
IF: What are your most favorite scripture passages?
“A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12
is written in Hebrew on our wedding rings as a reminder that the strength of our marriage comes from a threefold team: God, my husband & I. It has been our life verse since we started dating as teenagers.
One of my personal mantras lately is:
“Serve the Lord with gladness” (Psalm 100:2).
I get so tired…& busy…& things don’t go my way (& my kids drive me crazy some days)…& I am reminded that I can choose to react with gladness rather than frustration.
And I especially like the first half of Psalm 40. It is such a good statement of faith, redemption, & hope, as well as a reminder of how to live a life pleasing to the Lord. The Psalms are my book. The emotions & imagery just speak to my soul, giving words to my feelings & pictures to my prayers.
IF: What is one product to illustrate your faith that you can’t live without?
Brianna: Well, to be completely obvious, my Bible. I often paint from my NIV translation, but I love the Message because of it’s rich imagery. It lends itself well towards illustration. Also, again obvious, but watercolors, because they are luminous & beautiful, but also quick & satisfying in their application.
Isn’t Brianna’s family just the sweetest!? The way she lives life is so inspiring! I feel so very special to be able to work with her every week! She’s just a gem. :) Come back next Thursday for our next Better Together Artist Feature!