We had the good fortune of connecting with Beth Anne Garcia and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Beth Anne, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
When we first started our family, I took maternity leave, and then returned to work as a marketing professional. During that period, I was engaged heavily in advancing my professional career and as a new mom, I had little time to devote to my artwork. As our family grew (we now have three children, ages 4, 6 and 9), my professional goals were less important. I became a full-time stay at home mom. But the demands were hard on me as I constantly felt pulled in multiple directions, doing things for others. As the pandemic hit in 2020, I was starting to spend more time painting. I was starting to say “no” to more things that were not important to me. I was placing a greater emphasis on creating things that gave me a sense of accomplishment. There’s always laundry to fold, dishes to wash, toys to pick up; it never ends, so for me, there is a sense of frustration that the work is never completed. I realized how important it was to feel like I finished something. The feeling of accomplishment was important to me. I reflected on my mood and realized that I had more joy to give to my family and friends. The more I created, the better I felt. While the world was quarantined, I’d wake up at 5 am to paint for an hour before the kids would wake up. I’d steal 30 minutes here and 20 minutes there. I’d paint when everyone went to sleep at night. And suddenly, I’d produced a body of work on recycled fence posts inspired by nature. I’ve always looked for balance in my life. But right now, my full-time job is my 3 kids and my other full-time job is Beth’s Tree Farm. By doing both, I full-fill a creative need within my soul that allows me to bring joy into the world.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have been painting since I was 6 years old. I remember taking art classes on Saturday mornings with Alyson Hamilton in Connecticut where I grew up. She taught me to mix colors, to turn the picture upside, and how to push through frustration. I took all the art classes that I could. I wanted to paint on big canvases. I studied the impressionists, went to see them in the museums, and was inspired by their use of colors and expressive forms. For a long time, after college, I hardly painted or sketched. I just worked, and went running. Something was missing. I was not in balance. I was a successful project manager at a creative firm. But I was not the creator, I was the planner behind the scenes.
Like most artists, the need to create never left me. I started sketching and painting again slowly. I had to embrace my own style and allow the world to see it. I created Beth’s Tree Farm because I started painting simple Christmas trees on recycled fence posts as teacher gifts (when you have 3 young kids, you have 6 teachers to give to)! So, it started just with the trees, then sunflowers, then pumpkins. The collection now includes native Texas wildflowers (bluebonnets), magnolias, wreathes, and birds. I am also working on a watercolor series inspired by nature that focuses on the monochromatic use of green. One day, I hope to have a solo gallery show with the watercolors, but this series might take a while to complete.
Ironically, the project manager never had a plan. I just keep painting. Like the masters, the more you paint, the better you get, the more you learn. I’m trying not to be afraid of what I can create.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
James Turrell SkySpace at Rice University, Twilight Epiphany is one of my favorite Houston experiences. We moved to Houston 7 years ago (in July). Sitting under the huge Houston sunsetting sky, Turrell’s lights are mesmerizing and meditative.
The Rothko Chapel
I like to site quietly at the Chapel and meditate on the colors of the paintings. The colors change slightly as the clouds and sky changes outside. I love sharing this space with friends. We’d walk around the grounds to the Menil and visit the galleries.
We’d head to Local Foods in Rice Village for lunch, maybe do some shopping.
Then, we’d stop at HEB (which is the best grocery store ever) to pick up stuff for dinner.
The next day, we’d visit the Cockrell Butterfly Garden (with or without kids) and be amazed by the butterflies (wear a bow in your hair so they land on you)!
For dinner, we’d enjoy pizza, at home cooked by my husband who has become a master pizza maker. If it’s April, we’d enjoy some patio dining outside.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My Parents: While I believe my parents were pretty terrified that I wanted to major in art in college, they supported me. They encouraged me not to give up. They encouraged me to get a college degree and complete what I had committed to. My father said to me, “If you jump, the net will appear.” I was about to switch majors, things were getting difficult. But I did not. I graduated from the University of Delaware with BFA in Visual Communications. So many people (in my program) had goals of going to NYC, working for a big agency; for them, that was the measure of success. That was not my goal, and it was not my measure of success. I see now, that by sticking to what I value, and by finding balance in my life, the small business that I have created is a success. It is a success by many measures: it brings me joy, it gives joy to other’s who like the work, and it fills my creative cup.
My Supporters & Friends:
When I started to show my work to my husband he encouraged me to share it with more people. In the fall of 2020, I hosted a small pop-up market in my backyard. I was nervous, would anyone come? Was it safe? People came, and they loved the work. Friends, and complete strangers came! I was full of gratitude for the support. I started to get a few orders for custom paintings and murals, so I just kept the momentum going. The fall show turned into a Christmas show, and then a spring pop-up. Every time, there was an outpouring of support from my Facebook/Instagram (@BethsTreeFarm) followers and friends who came to purchase my work. I’m surprised every time, and filled with gratitude.
My measure of success is right here at home with the support of my friends and family. My husband helps me in the workshop (our garage, that he’s allowed me to take-over, oh, and the dining room too). We work together on finding fence posts, cutting them, and preparing the pieces for my markets. My husband has supported my work from every angle; feeding me home-made sour dough bread, storing my oversized collection of fence posts, and allowing the whole neighborhood into our backyard for my pop-up markets!
Sarah Belknap Photography