I am Tara Lynn Pugh, I'm a multi media artist and creative instructor from the Queen City (Cincinnati, Ohio).
So, listen… I’ve always been an outsider. As a teen, I befriended art because I was socially awkward. I didn’t fit in. I wasn’t anywhere near the cool kids table at lunch. I never got invited to parties. The harder I tried to be visible, the more invisible it made me. I was never like other people; and it hurt. I wasn’t musically inclined enough for the band. I wasn’t metal enough for the tough crowd. I wasn’t campy enough for the drama department. I couldn’t hold a tune enough to be involved in theater. I was too fat to be sporty. I didn’t have a place. My creativity was a solace, and there I stayed in my own dark little piece of the world.
Art is where I had a home. As I grew older, I continued to try all the things. I lost weight. I outgrew my angst. I found my spirituality. Somehow, I managed to become enough of a catch to get married two times. Neither of which ended up working out very well in the end. Want to know why? I still didn’t love and accept me enough to embrace the person that I was designed to be. I was faking it hoping to make it, and it caused my creative spirit to die inside. So, in true impulsive-me style, I ran away from the conflict. I ran away from the anxiety. I ran away from the obligation and the servitude. I ran toward something promising and bright. Only this time it worked out. In the process of rebirth, I’ve learned so much. I’ve learned to choose the people who choose me back, instead of chasing people who treat me like I’m invisible. I’ve learned that I can go through crazy-painful things; and after the tears come and go, I come out the other side with a beating heart that I didn’t need a man to mend. I learned who I am and how to enjoy time with myself.
Then came the true test. The art world is that same high-school lunch table. Where do I sit? Will they accept me? There is an endless fury of art fairs and exhibition applications. Yes, sometimes I feel like I don’t belong. Sometimes I know people look at my work and say “she doesn’t belong here.” Sometimes creatives gather, and I’m not included. And for a moment I’m taken right back to high school; the knots in my chest when I couldn’t find a prom date or the hurt when I could hear people snickering about me. Then I remind myself that isn’t me anymore. I have new truths to live by.
My new truth is that I am good enough. I tell myself that daily. I’ve committed to not make excuses; I’ve committed to not listening to my insecure 16-year-old self. I will not let life get in the way of my calling. I am not the same vulnerable oafish teen that I used to be. Perfection is overrated. I give myself permission to play. I’ve learned the process is far more valuable than the result will ever be. My spirit comes alive when I let go and explore. Little pieces of me jump into my creations when I embrace the childlike wonder of experimenting with my materials. The secret to happiness is flowing, not forcing; and any preschooler with fingerpaint squished in between their fingers can confirm that.
I will let loose and let the magic happen. In a world where you must submit your best and be judged, imposter syndrome is strong. I give MYSELF approval. I won’t compare, I won’t compete. It’s not about quantity and quality, it’s about embracing my calling.
I will create and share my creations with the world. I’ve learned I don’t need to spend a fortune on classes and books, and the best way to get better at art is making more art. I’ve committed to making art near daily, and I am proud of the progress I’ve made in the last few years.
Benchmarking achievements doesn’t make my heart feel full, being able to connect with people through my art is where my fire is. My art has become a hand I extend out to others. So, while it may seem on the outside that I am that same outcast that I was years ago; know that I am different. I may still be socially awkward. I may still have a hard exterior. I’ll just be over here loving who I am and using my art as a way to express myself and connect with you, and I hope that you accept the invitation and connect with me.
My professional portfolio specializes in alcohol inks and acrylics and can be seen at TaraLynnPugh.com.
My teaching portfolio is where I stretch my artistic wings and includes classes in mixed media, alcohol inks, watercolor, and acrylics. It can be seen at PaintedCicada.com or on my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PaintedCicada.
Thank you for taking the time to get to know me! I look forward to getting to know you and seeing your work. Stay creative art friends!