Driver began painting at just 17 years old. She started with acrylics, focusing on crafty projects like painting dishes, stools, and furniture. When she began having children, she focused more on painting murals and donated her talents to local hospitals. About eight years ago, she moved on to watercolors and began selling her paintings as well as teaching classes. She even has an Etsy shop where she sells her own adult coloring book pages! Driver is dedicating the proceeds of her artwork sales to fund the adoption of her fourth son, Alexander, a special needs child from China who will join his family in Raleigh later this year.
According to Driver, her business really took off about three years ago when she started getting her work in galleries and doing shows, occasionally winning prizes. She says this is really the key to starting an art career.
“For an artist, the hardest thing is just getting your name out there along with your work,” says Driver, “so you really need a venue where you can be part of shows that are going on.”
Being a mother and an artist poses a very specific challenge for many women, and Driver is no stranger to this. She had three kids in three years and says that, while she never viewed being a mother as a burden, she did work hard to maintain consistent schedules to ensure she had time to paint.
“I remember when they were younger, I’d either always take time in the afternoon when they were napping to at least work on some aspect of my art or I would just incorporate them into what I was doing,” Driver says. “If I was painting, I’d get them a canvas or finger paint in the driveway with the hose. They loved it!”
Her advice to mothers who are working toward careers as artists is to take full advantage of every moment they can find. When Driver’s children were small, she would take a travel paint pallet to the ballet studio, bring her sketchbook to the park while they played on the swings, or practice drawing while she waited in the car during other extracurricular activities.
“Take your sketchbook with you everywhere,” says Driver.
Creating your own space is important. Driver suggests that artists carve a room out where they can have all their materials set up and ready to go when inspiration strikes.
“We used to live next to an art institute, and every time we drove by, I thought of how badly I wanted to be an artist and how expensive the classes would be,” Driver says. “Then one day, I decided that I could teach myself. So I went to the library to pick up books, I bought supplies, and I’ve been painting ever since.”
We’re very excited to be able to support Driver in her career with custom frames that make her artwork stand out.
“I do have to say that without American Frame, I definitely wouldn’t be able to afford framing my art for gallery shows. I absolutely love their products and I recommend them all the time to their artists and my own customers who need to frame art,” Driver says. “Every customer that I ship unframed art to gets one of their fliers in their shipment.”
Be sure to visit her website to view her amazing pieces at artbycady.com. We wish Driver the best of luck in her art career and, most especially, with Alexander's adoption! We hope to see her growing family continue to inspire her work!
Happy Mother’s Day!