The idea for Jillybeans resulted from a perfect alignment of events: a creativity web site, Creative Life Spark, with Katherine Torrini’s boosting and encouraging “high voltage women” to jump-start their creative lives; advice from a therapist to, as they say on the airplane, “put on your own oxygen mask first,” in order to properly care for others who depend on me; and an invitation via another blog, The Smallest Forest, to join ihanna’s post card swap.
In the four-and-a-half years since I retired I’ve done a lot: traveled with (and without) my husband; put in many granny hours; written poems and published one poetry chapbook called Street Scenes; done more than my share of errands, laundry and meal prep, and followed the distractions available to one who arises each morning with no job to go to. I started a blog that’s supposed to be about my writing and art, and I’ve loved doing it.
But I was still searching for a place to let out my true artist. I have a degree in art, but I worked mostly in writing, editing, graphic design and desktop publishing. I’ve done a lot of painting and drawing, but nothing had sparked my passion.
Something about the post card swap grabbed me: the small format is less intimidating than a huge canvas, and it allows for unlimited possibilities in content and media. And there was a deadline. Just what I needed.
I doodled through countless meetings in my working life. I often thought I should develop my doodles into real art. My seven-year-old granddaughter sometimes calls me “Jillybean.”
I googled the name and discovered candy shops, dog treat suppliers and a strain of cannabis, so I tacked on my last name so there’d be no confusion.
I was born in England, moving to the U.S. at age eight. I grew up in Northern Ohio. I have a B.A. in art from St. Edward’s University. My last job was as public information officer for the Texas Medical Board. I sing in several choral groups, love to read, knit, write, travel, hike and swim. I live in Austin, Texas, with my husband, a theater director and actor. I have two adult daughters and two perfect grandchildren.