My Saving Grace

Once again life moves more quickly than I can possibly anticipate. This last month our lives have been filled with even more love in the most beautiful of ways. Miss Amelia Ruth was born on April 13th at 10:35am. She has stolen all of our heart and our bed…and our sleep! Lol! But, we wouldn’t have it any other way! She is a wonderfully calm baby. Her beautiful face and all her charm already has us wrapped around her little finger. A little southern belle in the making!

As a parent you always wonder how you could possibly love anymore than you already do. Having another child come into your life instantly grows your heart. You create a space nothing and no one else will ever be able to fill, dedicated specially to this tiny little human that you created.

Sidenote: she’s a month old and I’m still holding her up like Rafiki in Lion King saying “Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba Sithi uhm ingonyama”! Amazed I made something soooo beautiful three times over!!! #brushmyshouldersoff

Now on an art note: Art, ArT, and more ART!

I have completed more work since January than I have the two previous years combined! I have some exciting commissions lined up as well. I’ve had so many requests for prints of the bourbon series art that I’ve been printing and shipping them all over! I’m definitely spreading the whisky love! Never underestimate the power of alcohol to bring people together, especially during quarantine! πŸ˜‰

Since we are on the subject of quarantine…..my two older children have adapted to this life change in very different ways. Asher has become very emotional in the later days of distance learning. Kindergarten is such an important year socially for children and the disruption has been hard on him. He is a such a smart kid. He learns very quickly and loves school….but he is not so keen on online class. He misses his classmates and teacher so much. Some days he just starts crying for no reason. I hold him and tell him he’s doing a great job. He still does his best to wake up every morning with a smile on his face, regardless of how redundant our days have become. He’s begun planning for the next day every night. Right before bedtime he lines out what we wants to accomplish. He started doing this on his own and it’s keeping him excited and positive when he wakes up each morning. He tells me most days “I can’t wait until this Corona Virus is over and I can hang out with my friends.” I feel you son….I feel you.

He just had his 6th birthday and my husband and I completely spoiled him. We got him everything on his list and met every want he had…plus some! We don’t normally do this…actually we’ve never done it. We try really hard to not over spoil them to ensure they don’t act entitled.

We are raising them to be respectful in all aspects of life…but, sometimes they just need to feel over the moon, especially during this time. We don’t know how this pandemic will ultimately impact our lives, changing the way we see the world and ourselves. Every little joy is emphasized and family is as important as ever.

As for Abby Rain, she is taking it a bit better. Her caring nature and instincts to make others comfortable has blossomed. Having a new sister has given Abby the opportunity to shine. I am so very proud of her dedication and hardwork. She is such a kind beautiful person. I am finding myself lean on her everyday for all the little things I need help with, which in the end adds up to the biggest thing- being a family and having each others back. Josh and I could not be more proud of the both of them and how they are adapting and handling this chaos.

Looking ahead and trying to anticipate what the future holds becomes more and more uncertain but, what I do know is being quarantined has brought our little family closer together. We have learned how to make moments special and fun in creative ways that we may not have ever thought of before. Taking our minds off all the negative at least for a small while.

Of course, there are days that I am extremely short and irritable, days I can’t handle being home every single second, and days I break down like Ash and cry just because. But, ultimately I am so grateful we are healthy. I’m grateful my small business, as well as my husband’s, has not halted to a stand still like so many others around the world. I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity our children have in distance learning. We are seeing the truly wonderful way we can connect through the internet. If we didn’t have technology this quarantine would be a entire different experience. It has kept me somewhat sane the last couple months.

As we adapt to our new norm I find that my creativity has been my saving grace. It keeps me mind grounded and reminds me that I can always turn a negative to a positive. It’s all in how you look at things.

Beautiful Mess

Our house is always changing. I never keep something in one place for too awfully long. I would love to say I have it in order…like ever but, I do not. Art is always leaning against the walls. I collect weird things and live in a old house. I have an obsession with mirrors and for things that glow softly.

But…..right in the middle of my crazy mess is my husband. Loving me for my need for change, my haphazard way of acting like I have my shit together and the never ending crazy that is me. He is my constant, calls me his beautiful mess and finds my artistic brain endearing. We grow together and learn more about each other everyday.

Our journey is definitely not perfect but, I find these moments and am proud of this beautiful life we have created. πŸ’›

If You’re Gonna Post A “Selfie”

This isn’t my favorite painting. Not even my second ;)…..it’s a self portrait from 2012. Created in place of a night I couldn’t sleep. Not unusual but, that night was especially rough. I decided to focus my energy. I had a mirror that was eye level and thought it would be challenging to do a self portrait as a live oil painting. Adding a whole other level of difficulty I painted it on a piece of glass. I spent 6 hours painting as I looked in the mirror. This is much MUCH more difficult than I thought it would be!!

First off, oil painting is a skill that is only honed by practice….LOTS of practice. Second, looking at myself for six hours from night to morning is a whole other depth I wasn’t prepared for and I’m yet to do it since.

You force yourself to look inward. Do you like what you see? Can you focus and portray that to others? Are you beautiful? Do you love yourself?…Do you see your weaknesses?….as an artist and as a person????…..All questions I asked myself when painting this…along with a massive train of other thoughts.

I don’t “like” this painting but I do love it. I love what it means to me. I LOVE that I don’t have a photo to reference. I love that it was in the moment.

I really love that I can look at this painting and know I did my best at that point in time.

I’ve had other artist tell me they hate it. “The detail in the hair just isn’t there”…”your eyes make me uncomfortable.” “Why does your forehead look that way?”….blah..blah..bluhbadi, blah..

To be honest, I don’t care if anyone likes it. I have learned to judge my art on my own level. If I feel it has value I don’t care if others see it. Or even like it.

It means something to me. That’s all that matters.

Convos Between Siblings

They chat through their own bedroom windows about the cars passing by and what they are reminded of. Bruce and Teddy Love have a side convo about bear things and all I can think about is how beautiful this moments is. Standing in the hallway silently watching my two favorite people live out their childhood…..just smiling about how happy I am to be part of it. ❀

Seeing the bond between these two, I find myself incredibly happy to be their mother. Happy I can provide them with things I never had as a kid. Happy moments and beautiful memories. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

These Moments

This is a watercolor painting of my daughter in a moment we shared one week into parenthood. The illumination is a perfect representation of the new parent high I was running on. And, of course includes that baby smell. πŸ˜‰ I swear it’s like catnip for women!

How could I not be inspired by her beauty? As I slowly layered the colors I could feel incredible warmth coming from it. I knew I had accomplished exactly what I intended.

In these moments of creative clarity adrenaline fuels me. When I look at this painting I can imagine that memory perfectly. I feel her in my arms and can remember how the golden sun made its way across us.

That moment is perfection. Creating artwork that draws me in and keeps me intrigued is what makes it important for me. I love these moments. They are priceless.

My Inspiration

For all the things my arms have ever held, the best by far is you.

Everyday I grow closer to the momma y’all deserve. Some days I stumble. Hell, some days I crash and burn. On those days especially, I am most grateful to have your beautiful hearts close. Grateful I can hug you and kiss you and snuggle you. Grateful you accept my apology when I know I’ve lost my temper. I aspire to be as giving and loving as you are.

You lift me up with the simplest little grin. Your big ole’ baby blues melt my heart every time. You are the inspiration for all the beauty I share with the world. I find the most joy in these ordinary moments that make up an extraordinary life. How did I ever get so lucky? πŸ’›

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Bentonville O.G. ;)

Bentonville is a tiny little spot of heaven in the middle of nowhere. Undiscovered in its charm and small town uniqueness, a place I have always been honored to call home. In the last decade or so Bentonville has drastically changed! Northwest Arkansas’s metropolitan area is one of the fasted growing economies in the U.S. and it doesn’t show any signs of stopping!!!

It comes as no surprise to me that other people have noticed and love our beautiful little town. Located in such a lovely part of our country it’s so appealing in rich history and southern charm, what’s there not to love?! We’re so blessed with the benefits provided to our community by the many corporate headquarters located here. They help keep our country’s commerce running and fuel innovation throughout different industries for the future of the world! In turn making our community even more diverse and expansive as we move forward.

I recently had a friend, I’ve known most of my life, tell me she is coming to visit and wants to know what to do when they come! I was so happy to tell her about everything there’s to do here now! With all the growth and excitement I feel like sometimes I can’t even keep up with what all is happening! I got to the end of the conversation and realized I sounded like a travel agent for Northwest Arkansas! I get excited about sharing!!!

Most people leave their hometown wanting to seek bigger and better things. I feel like the bigger and better things have coming to me! I went to art school and then the art came here! How much luckier can I get?!

From the beautiful recently developed walking and biking trails that wind from Bella Vista all the way to Fayetteville to local breweries there is so much to experience in Northwest Arkansas! Pinnacle Hills, in Rogers, Ar has a beautiful sprawling outdoor mall that can keep you shopping until your hearts content…or your pockets empty! πŸ˜‰ Bentonville’s 8th St. Market and the Art District is constantly evolving with innovative new businesses enriching our community with fine art, amazing food, and custom shops. Bentonville isn’t the only amazing little town here either! All of Northwest Arkansas is expanding at an astounding rate! Fayetteville Ar. is one of the top 5 best places in America to live, according to U.S. News & World Report in its annual β€œBest Places to Live” report. Every industry here is seeing a massive boom, adding to our ever growing Arkansas based businesses and communities!

What does that mean to the O.G.’s?! When I say O.G., being that I’m only 31 I can only go back so far, I know there are much more legit O.G’s! If any want to chime in please feel free to add a comment! I’d love to hear your stories! Locals have loved Bentonville before it started to evolve and become “cool”. We’ve watched how beautifully our sleepy little town has become a hub of new culture and interest from people around the world.

Growing up on Main St. and having relatives living all around downtown my entire life I have countless memories that make the Bentonville Square my favorite place! As a kid I remember spending time around the fountian downtown where only a few lawn chairs and a couple good ol’ boys playing folk music on Saturday nights filled the square. The farmers market was only about 10 booths and they only sold vegetables! When the coolest thing to do was walk around the Wal-Mart on Walton Blvd. and see ALL your friends doing the same!

Spending afternoons with my siblings at Bentonville Public Library, which at the time was located in the old Massey Hotel that is now Phat Tires Bike Shop, was my favorite space to pass time. The same place that sparked my love for art. Seeing a 3D model of Crystal Bridges with stars in my eyes. When I was just 11 years old, Crystal Bridges was just a concept living in the lobby of the library. I would see it every week and daydream about what it would be like. How it would open up my eyes to the world of art! I never imagined that I would get to experience it with my children! Literally puts the biggest a smile on my face! My love for Bentonville and the pride I have living here is grandiose! I absolutely love it and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

But, with this excitement and huge growth I also wonder how it will change our identity. There are locals opposed to the growth. They don’t like all the “newness” and change. I do not see change as a bad thing, uncomfortable at times-yes but, always an opportunity to become better in a new direction! That being said I wonder if we will lose our small town charm along the way? What will we become when there are 100’s of thousands of people living here….or even millions?! Will we get that big?! What will Bentonville look like? Will we lose our charm we are so dearly loved for?

All questions I am anxious to see play out. One thing’s for sure change is here and I am one to embrace it! ❀

*all photos are taken and copyrighted by Courtney Kitterman

Where Does Your True Happiness Lie?

Tell me all the things that make you smile! I mean really smile. The kind that you feel growing from within, finding its way to the corners of your mouth blooming like a flower upon your face. Bringing with it joy and usually, if not always, love.
It’s that in which our happiness lies. And isn’t it what we are all chasing? Happiness is a moment and not a destination. With the understanding of this statement I began to see the importance of these seemingly small moments of finding a smile creep across my face. Not small at all. Huge, grand, beautiful moments that make up a happy life. A life worth living. A life of smiles.

I find myself smiling with the warmth from a sunrise coming through my studio windows. In the thrill of creating something from nothing. With the infectious laugh from my son that fills a room. When the arms of my daughter wrapped around my neck from an unexpected hug while she tells me I’m the best mom ever. I smile from the nourishment of a meal lovingly cooked after a long day. In the excitement of bringing someone joy with an act of kindness. I love making the world a better place just by sharing the talents I am blessed with. Chasing a stunning sunset until all color has left the sky with stars in my eyes. Not a day passes that I do not find something within it that makes me truly smile. And with that I have to say that I have a happy life. Moment by moment is where my happiness lies. not a destination that is one day reached but, instead happiness in moments throughout the journey that make me smile the most.

I’ve found if it doesn’t raise a smile within you leave it. Life is too short. Life is too precious to spend it on things that aren’t meant for you. With that being said I also believe you should never regret things that make you smile, even if it no longer does. If for a blink of your eye you let something touch your soul enough to bring a smile to your face it was worth the thought and energy you put forth.

Chase all those smile things. Follow the sun. Cherish and give to the people you love. Happiness comes with the way you look at life. We all have sorrows that are deep and burdens to bear. We all have regrets and hardships that need dealt with but, in letting it fill your heart and weight you down you’ll never find yourself smiling at the things you love. Let things go and smile a bit more and in these moments you will find happiness.