The Heroine’s Journey of Corrina Thurston

What is the best thing that I love about my work? I’m a wildlife artist and avid animal lover, so I absolutely love having the ability to bring an animal to life on the paper in front of me. I also work in mostly colored pencil. I love a number of things about my medium, but my favorite part is telling people at an exhibit that the work is done in pencil. Their faces morph into a look of shock and then they always step very close to my artwork to examine it because they’ve never seen colored pencil as vibrant and detailed as what I do. It’s great and I love spreading that knowledge and joy about colored pencil!

What is my idea of perfect happiness? I think happiness starts internally within ourselves. Most people think of happiness as something that relies on external circumstances and are always waiting for it on the other side of some life event. Perfect happiness for me, despite my own frustrating and difficult health struggles over the last 10 years, is taking a walk outside, breathing deep, and being content with myself and my life, despite my flaws and challenges. Every morning I think about all the things, large and small, for which I’m grateful.

What is my greatest fear? My greatest fear is something I live with every day: the fact that I may never be completely healthy and live a normal life. I’ve been chronically ill for the last 10 years, since I was 18. It’s been over a third of my lifetime. And even though I’m starting to get much better than the bedridden mess I used to be, I’m nowhere near 100% yet. I’ve come to terms with this and work every day to keep getting better, but there’s always the fear that I may never have another day in my life where I don’t have a headache and feel tired.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? I don’t like the fact I used to be very self-centered and push people away, without fully realizing it. Now that I do realize it, however, I work every day to send attention and love and gratitude to those around me.

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire? I admire a number of people, but five people who do great work in colored pencil and other mediums that I love are: Karen Hull, Jan Fagan, Christine Karron, Ester Roi, and Ann Kullberg who also created COLOR magazine.

What is my greatest extravagance?I try not to have a lot of extravagance. The things I spend the most money and time on are art and framing. Although as I look around right now, I guess I would say my biggest extravagance is my cats. My living room littered with an obscene amount of cat toys!

On what occasion would I lie? I don’t like to lie and I’m not very good at it. The only place I can think of right now is at the dentist when they ask me how often I floss….

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? If we’re talking about my actual artwork, I don’t always like that it takes SO long to do, and of course there’s always some little mistake here or there that is blatant to me, although I know others might not notice them. If we’re talking about anything in my whole art business, it’s bookkeeping!

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? I’m sure my happiest moments are yet to come, but for my artwork I love seeing my work on display and hearing people exclaim about them, or on those rare occasions for me when I get “in the zone” while drawing and time flies by. For the other side of my business, which helps artists build their creative businesses, it’s each time I get a slew of amazing feedback about one of my books (https://www.amazon.com/Corrina-Thurston/e/B074F1RRXY) or someone tells me they followed what I said in a speech/workshop and now have their first solo exhibit or something similar. I feel so excited, humbled, and happy!

If I could, what would I change about myself? Well, I would definitely make myself healthy, if I could. Having a chronic illness is by far the most difficult part of my life and it certainly holds me back from being able to do as much as I would like. Other than that, I have plenty of things I might change about my appearance or personality if I could, but I’m also becoming more and more content with my whole self and try not to think about what I would change. I’m content the way I am.

What is my greatest achievement in work? I’m sure my greatest achievements are yet to come, but I continue to celebrate all my achievements, big or small. From selling something as small as greeting cards, to getting grants and awards, to finding sponsors for my workshops, to having a real and true impact on other artists and helping them with their careers, to spreading the word about colored pencil, and helping wildlife conservation efforts by donating some of my proceeds, I just LOVE what I do.

Where would I most like to live? I’d like to live right where I do live in Vermont…in the summers. In the winters, I might want to change that up and go somewhere warmer!
What is my most treasured possession? I don’t know if they’re considered a “possession,” but I would say my family and loved ones (cats included!). For physical objects, I have no idea. But I do really like having yummy food and a bed to snuggle into every night. That’s more than a lot of people out there and I’m grateful.
What is my most marked characteristic? I’m not sure, so I wrote to some of my family members and they said: Determination and Compassion. I think that’s because I’ve been through a lot in my life and yet never give up. Instead I’m always trying to find ways to adapt to my circumstances and work around my limitations. And having been through so much, I now feel very strongly that I want to help people.
What is my most inspirational location, in my city? The great thing about my area is that there are a lot of trees and green around in the summer. It’s beautiful. But the most inspirational part for me is where I go for my walks on the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, a bike trail created from where the train tracks used to be that goes along the river. I do my best thinking there.
What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city? I love to have my morning tea right at home. I love waking up with my partner, Daniel, and having our morning beverages and being together and not starting out in a rush before we each go to or start that day’s work. However, for lunch or dinner there’s a number of cafes and pizza joints and other restaurants around that I like and the nearby Jericho Tavern has mouth-watering cheddar maple biscuits.
What books influenced my life and how? One of the reasons I tried colored pencil in the first place is because I saw a book called: Colored Pencil Painting Bible, and on the cover was an image that was bright and vibrant and I was confused. Was that colored pencil? Could it do that? So later on, when I was mostly bedridden and in chronic, excruciating pain, I turned to drawing as a therapeutic outlet. I remembered the cover of that book and decided to try colored pencil and see if I could make the colors bright and opaque like that. Fast forward a few years and now I’m known as “the colored pencil artist” in my area.
Who are my favorite writers? I like Jeff Goins. I love some of Stephen King’s work and admire his work ethic and his amazingly creative mind. I love Margaret Atwood’s work. I am a huge Harry Potter fan, so J.K. Rowling certainly has to be on the list. And many more. I read all sorts of fiction, fantasy, and non-fiction books and articles about things I want to learn.
You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? Right now I’m into some of Sia’s music and anything that makes me feel inspired and motivated. Sometimes it’s just a beat, sometimes it’s the lyrics, or both.
Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? Aibeleen in the book and the movie spin-off, The Help. Aibeleen is a smart and courageous maid. She paves the way for other maids in the book to tell their stories to an aspiring writer about what it’s like for a black maid in 1960’s Mississippi. She doesn’t think of herself as courageous or as a leader, but she absolutely is.
Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? All of my loved ones, in one way or another, are heroes to me. As well as everyone who consciously and consistently works to be kind to other people, help others, and make a difference, big or small.
Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime? I always recommend The Help, The King’s Speech, V For Vendetta, and the Lord Of The Rings series. Those are some of my favorites.
What role does art play in my life and work? Art is my work and I do it for a living. This wasn’t something I ever expected to do, and if you asked me before 2015 if I was an “artist,” I would have said no. I was going to college for Biology and Anthropology in 2008 when I ended up falling severely ill and having to medically withdraw after only a few months. This turned into a chronic illness and I only started drawing a couple years later as a therapy, as something to do in bed. Now I’m a professional wildlife artist, entrepreneur, author, speaker, and business consultant!

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? All of my loved ones have been hugely supportive on my journey and have played different roles in helping support me and my dreams. I consider all of them my partners in crime! I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without an amazing and supportive community of people, a community that’s constantly growing.

Whom would I like to work with in 2019? I’m currently getting requests from galleries and other organizations to give speeches/teach workshops having to do with the topics in my books, such as how to craft a great artist statement, or how to market one’s creative work, or even about happiness and overcoming self-doubt. I’m so looking forward to doing more of this and hope to work with a number of galleries, non-profits, businesses, groups, schools, and more!

Which people in my profession would I love to meet in 2019? I don’t know if she’s technically considered in my profession, but she is a creative and an entertainer. I’d love to meet Ellen DeGeneres. She and I have a lot in common and I appreciate what she does for people, animals, and how she spreads and advocates for kindness. But there are many other people I’d love to meet too! I hope 2019 is full of amazing introductions and networking.

What project, in 2019, am I looking forward to work on? There’s a few projects in the works for 2019 that excite me the most. One is my Threatened & Endangered series of drawings. I’ve completed three so far. Another is the speeches I’ve been giving and doing more of those! And yet another is while I’m promoting my first two books, I’ll be writing and publishing my next book, which is: How To Crush Self-Doubt & Gain Real Confidence.

Where can you see me or my work?

You can find out more about my work and me on my website: www.corrinathurston.com

You can also see me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/corrinathurstonstudios

I have an Etsy shop with some different products: www.etsy.com/shop/catstudiosart

You can find info about my books here: www.corrinathurston.com/books/

My Instagram page: www.instagram.com/corrinathurston_art

And if you keep track of me by signing up for my newsletter on my website, you can learn about all the different places my artwork will be on display each month, where

I’ll be giving speeches or workshops, new products, etc!

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? Passion never retires. To me it means if you have true passion for something, like many people do for their favorite creative form of work, even if you take breaks from it, even if life gets in the way, even if you no longer want to do it full time… that desire to create it will never go away and it’ll always be a part of who you are.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? There are so many! I suppose I vote for the women I said before who I admire and come to mind first: Ann Kullberg, Ester Roi, Jan Fagan, Karen Hull, and Christine Karron.

How can you contact me?

You can always contact me through my website: www.corrinathurston.com

Or through Facebook: www.facebook.com/corrinathurstonstudios

Or by just emailing me at: corrinathurston@gmail.com

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