About the Artist

 
 Hello, my name is Kara Courtney. I want to invite you on an adventure through my world of Wildwood Wonder. My children and I love to take adventures through the veggie gardens, orchard, meadows, and woods that surround our homestead. I want to share those adventures and the magical wonder of nature with you too.
Come take a slow, thoughtful walk through the veggie and flower gardens. We'll stop and talk to the bees and butterflies. Then we can stroll through the meadow were critters are meeting up to say hello. We will wander into the wildwoods were the woodland creatures play hide and seek between the trees. An, of course, we'll pick up some mushrooms and other wild edibles along the way. I hope you find a place to nurture your soul with nature and art here at Wildwood Wonder.

Where it all began...

  I have been surrounded by nature and art my whole life. Farming and homesteading are two common threads on both sides of my family. My great grandparents where farmers and homesteaders, and my dad's mother is still a lover of plants to this day. My mother's father was a farmer, and they always had a big garden and animals to help feed their five children. My dad still works in the yard creating beautiful landscapes and veggie gardens. They all loved being outside and enjoyed a connection to the earth. They nurtured the land because it was essential to their survival.

  Not only did my dad created beautiful gardens, which is an art form in its self, but he was also an artist that experimented with different types of mediums and materials. I observed his creativity and problem-solving skills throughout my life. I think that it is where I get my determination and the drive to figure out how to make something work. He was also a full-time pastor, and we moved around a lot when I was younger. Moving around to different level schools combined with being dyslexic and having ADD, didn't leave me with the fondest memories of my elementary and middle school years. I struggled in English and math. My mom worked hard to help me and stayed beside me through the struggle, encouraging me, keeping me going, even when I was ready to give up. I may not have been the perfect academic child, but my parents loved me anyway. They also encouraged my creativity, because the one area I did excel in was art!

  Art was my escape and peace in the overwhelming academic struggle of my young life. It was the one thing I was really good at. I credit my parents and art for helping me make it through those difficult years. Without my parents nurturing my love of art, I probably wouldn't be where I am today.

  I went on to earn a BFA in Sculpture, another BFA in Painting, and an Arts Education certification. I spend the first half of my adult life, achieving my "adult goals," getting an education, getting married, having four beautiful kids, establishing a career. I worked so hard for so many years to achieve those goals, nurturing my family, my students, and others that I hadn't realized that I forgot about nurturing myself. It had been so long since I created art just for myself, that I wasn't really sure where to start. For years I had experimented with different mediums and materials. I even started a small clothing brand that worked well for a couple of years, but it didn't nourish my creative spirit. It wasn't the same joy I felt when I was a child. It wasn't until my kids started a summer project that creative magic sparked within my spirit once again.

  My oldest girls decided they wanted to makeover their room. The girls picked a color scheme that both a 12yr old and 7yr old could love, dark gray, with gold, silver, and teal accent colors. They both picked a theme that would include their favorite animals: sloths and lamas! We had the best time repurposing furniture, painting and decorating. While finding pieces for their room, the buggy filled up with sloth and lama items. They both picked out a painting of their favorite "spirit" animal. The more I pushed the cart around and looked at those pictures, the more I wanted to create the girls a personalized painting. I told them to put them back, and I would paint one just for them, something special. Every day they asked when I was going start, and finally, when all the walls and furniture were done, I began to work on their spirit animals. It was the 4th of July. I remember it so well because I couldn't wait to get home and start on the painting that I had started earlier that morning. I even missed the fireworks because I was enjoying the creative process so much I didn't want to stop! All my kids keep coming in to see the progress I had made. The final piece featured both their animals sharing the canvas together, each animal with a personality that represented each girl. It was a hit with my kids. My two youngest quickly requested animals of their own, a koala and hedgehog were soon created. I had used my talents in a way that nurtured not only my children but me as well.

  From then on, I couldn't stop my brain from creating little visual stories about all the insects, birds, and critters in my garden and orchard. How would bees act if they had human characteristics? I soon found myself creating new art pieces about my little garden and woodland friends. I started to develop a world of Wildwood Wonders through paintings and drawings. Wildwood Wonder represents my love for art and nature while nurturing others. A magical world where someone can find a piece of art to help nurture their wandering spirit like I did and maybe a little something to nurture others too.