Hustle and Heart: An Interview with Deann Hebert
Today, I get to interview my sweet friend Deann Hebert. She's an extremely talented artist, a wife and mom to 2, and I'm so glad that I get to share her story with you today. Deann and I met at church and were in the same Sunday School class when we were living in Brentwood back when our children were babies. She has an infectious personality that lights up a room, and paints some of the most sought after art in the country. Today, she's here to tell us how she traded in her corporate high heels for paint brushes and palette knives!
Did you always love art and painting?
I always knew I wanted to do something with art from the time I was little. Full of artistic entrepreneurial spirit from a young age, my first experience with “making money” was when I made rhinestone earrings (think hot glue), and sold them door to door. I remember the thrill I had of selling something that I actually made with my own hands, and the confidence that came with that elation. Now, I don’t remember what they looked like but I’m sure they were tacky, bless my heart! Nevertheless, a seed was planted. I worked as a graphic designer right out of college, and did art festivals “on the side” for a number of years before deciding to trade in my corporate high heels for paint brushes and boots, and paint full time.
What made you make that leap?
A once abandoned stove factory has served as my creative space for the past decade. I love painting there and fell right at home among the old barnwood walls and cement floors. Right around the time that I was deciding to paint full time, the space at the Factory became available. I jumped at the chance to have a studio where I could paint but also meet people at the same time.
I love that you do "live event paintings." What’s been your favorite live event painting to do?
Traveling to the Big Easy and painting there! The City of New Orleans has so much soul, as an artist, I loved visiting there and bonus that my husband went with me!
What's your favorite Quote?
"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant."--Robert Louis Stevenson
As an artist, I know you don’t have a typical 9-5:00 job in an office. Can you share what a day is like for you?
After morning egg gathering and horse feeding, I drop off my daughters at school and then head to my studio located in the Factory at Franklin. What once was an abandoned stove and mattress factory now serves as my inspirational creative space. I have been creating artwork out of my studio there for 13 years. While the girls are in school, I paint furiously, getting in as much studio time as possible before the day ends and life at Hillbound can begin again. Then afternoon activities with the girls, more horse time, family time, a glass of wine and bed!
Let’s talk about some of your collaborations-you’ve worked with The Junk Gypsies, Audrey Roloff from @beating50, Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, Country Living, and HGTV to name just a few. Do you have a favorite moment from any of those collaborations?
I have loved working with these people! But besides all the accolades and collaborations, the absolute best and most fulfilling moments for me are when I can make a personal connection with my artwork, and then it truly speaks to the viewer. I pour my heart into each layer of paint and when folks respond to my work, they are responding to my heart. It is a connection that is more valuable to me than any amount of money or success.
Here are some pictures from a few of those collaborations!
You were the first person who introduced me to life on a farm! Thanks to you, I’m the proud owner of 8 hens and a rooster. What I love about your farm though is it’s in the middle of a suburb of Nashville. Right now, who’s your favorite animal and why?
We do have a unique situation, where our property is close to the "city", sometimes I wonder if my neighbors think it's weird to hear a rooster crow?! My favorite animal is my new quarter horse, Jack. He's a great guy. I had been searching for a family horse. Jack fit the bill. ;)
I’d love to hear more about your With Brave Wings Series and collaboration with Lysa TerKeurst of Proverb 31 Ministries. She’s such an inspiration and the angels you are painting are breathtaking.
I have absolutely loved collaborating with Lysa and Proverbs 31. They actually reached out to me last year, and wondered if I'd be willing to paint an angel collection. I thought it was a great idea and the partnership has been mutually beneficial! I love collaborating with like-minded companies and the angels are so inspirational, it just seemed like the right fit for me.
What is something that would be surprising for people to learn about you?
I don't think this would be surprising, but I worked as a cake decorator at a local bakery in high school after school and on holidays! I loved it!!!
Did anyone give you advice that still sticks with you?
Creativity requires us to take some action. And there is only one way to do it--actually doing your work over and over and over again. Show of hands--are you ever guilty of "thinking" something to death? I will literally think about an idea until I have thought about it so much by the time I actually try it I'm tired of it! Small, simple daily steps in the right direction can work wonders. For me, if I'm not in the "mood" to paint, I’ll sometimes play a mind trick with myself--I’ll tell myself that I’m going to just start...and do you know something that happens? It's like a switch turns on and before long I actually will be in the mood to create! Your work itself becomes key to your own personal transformation. It’s becomes a process into discovering our true authentic selves. I will look at work that I did years ago, and my first reaction is horror and embarrassment.. It wasn’t that good. It was trying to be, but it wasn’t. But then I realized that it’s because of that work that I arrived at where I am right now, even though my work is much different, I’ve come to appreciate that younger work, because it is all a part of the journey, and trusting the journey has been a huge factor in my daily life. And so we continue on our journey, day in and day out, and we practice, do the time, and put trust in our heart.
How do you balance being a wife, mom, and artist?
I hope my girls remember that feeling of accomplishment and carry it with them. Each day, I endeavor to instill in both my girls the value of hard work and determination. I want them to keep close the motivation in their hearts to never give up. Every day, they see me working to balance the needs of my work and be present in my studio as well as being fully present with them and seeing to their needs. Horseback riding, ballet, homework, dinner, bath time, plus creating work and running my studio and all that entails. It’s not easy, but it is my hope that they are watching closely, seeing the most important woman in their lives working hard, achieving success but always making time for what counts.
What advice would you have for someone that wants to pursue his/her passions? What’s one thing they absolutely must do?
Know that you were put on this earth to create! The minute I realized this concept, my mindset started to shift. When we get stuck thinking our creative thing needs to look exactly like XYZ's...we rob ourselves and therefore, the world, of our unique eye. Creativity takes perseverance, and patience. Nothing worth having comes easy, but knowing that what you are doing matters, because you were put on this earth to create
What's your best tip for balancing work and personal life?
I strive to fit in work around family time, not the other way around. The work will always be there, family must come first in order for the work to be worthwhile.
What is your most prized possession?
Without a doubt, my gallery wall collection. It’s a collection of artwork that I have acquired after over a decade of art shows. I have had the opportunity to not only trade paintings with other artists but to build relationships with many of them. The wall is a visual memory of years of work and friendship, each piece carries with it associations far beyond its place on the wall.
D, I love that art gallery in your house. I remember the first time I saw it, I was mesmerized with your collection. I love that each piece has its own story, and that you personally know the artists that created each work.
If someone is traveling to Franklin, and wants to come visit, tell them a little about the studio you work in at the Factory at Franklin.
My open studio is where I create and sell my work and it’s afforded me the opportunity to meet and form relationships with many of my collectors, as well as giving folks the opportunity to see me working and to get a better look at the process behind the work. Over the past several years and looking into the future, I’m excited to be sharing my work more and more beyond my local Tennessee audience. I’ve been lucky to have collaborated on some fantastically exciting projects...I’m looking forward to more and more collaborations with brands, bloggers, designers, and publications! It truly excites me that my work is being shared and appreciated through so many different platforms!
One of my favorite pieces you've done is the custom work you did for me of the barn at my house. I remember when I picked it up at The Country Living Fair in Nashville. I couldn't wipe the grin off my face, and I couldn't wait to get it home to West TN to my house! I know what people feel like when they "experience" one of your paintings.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I hope to be still be creating work that touches people, but on a larger, wider scale!
Deann, thanks so much for stopping by White Oak Farms. I appreciate you sharing your story, and I can't wait to see what art you create in 2017!
For those interested in learning more about Deann Hebert and her art, check out the following:
On the web: https://www.deanndesigns.com
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArtByDeann/
On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/deannart/