Jena Holliday

Jena Holliday


1. You are a wife, mom, designer, illustrator, and entrepreneur—you wear so many hats in your day to day life! What does a typical day look like for you and your family?
A typical day honestly varies depending on the time of the week. I work from home so I am often with my little ones which makes things a bit more wild - but we manage to get it all done! I like to start my day early, often before the kids wake so I can plan what I must get to. Then I often spend the morning doing emails and playing with them. I get meetings done in the early morning or during nap-time and I can often create art or paint with my kids near me. I've done it now for about three years (my oldest will be three this month) so they are used to it and my daughter actually likes to draw or paint when I am working. We shut things down right before dinner time and allow the rest of the night to be for family! Sometimes if I can't sleep I'll sneak away for a late night creative session or spend time with God. But, three must-haves for me are time with Jesus, coffee, and some time for rest or a break during the day. These pretty much set the day and everything else follows!


2. As a mom of little ones, how do you talk to your own kids about your creative work and using your gifts?

I have a three year-old and an almost one year-old so they are still so young but catching on all the time. I think what I've noticed most is that my children are watching me more than listening to me - can I get an Amen?! :) So to show them me working with my gift and having confidence in that ... it speaks volumes. My daughter is very confident and strong-willed. She knows she is capable of using her gifts because she sees her mother do it, and I think that is so powerful to watch unfold.
3. You write on your website that you were once sick of the routine of life, in what ways have you changed your routine and broken free? What are some of your creative practices that help you break free from routine? 

There are many ways that I've broken out of the routine. For me the biggest thing I've broken free from is the societal pressures - the best job, best house, best marriage and so on that so many of us strive for. I think understanding our true identity and being confident in ourselves helps us break free from so much. It allows us to live freely in a way where we do what we are purposed to without a question to anyone else for their approval. I fought through a lot of personal doubt and lies when I began painting again and even more when I made it my full time career last year. Becoming my own boss has given me freedom in how I run my business and also allows me to bring meaning into what I do. That's something I was missing for so long. I think if we feel valued and purposeful in our work it allows us to live an adventure vs. a routine. I have found that although I still like structure I find that what works best for me may not work best for you and that doesn't make one better than the other - it just makes them different. Different is more than okay because that's how God created us to be - unique!

4. In your painting and drawing workshops, you guide women through inspirational art pieces. What do these look like? What tips for inspirational visual art can you provide to our readers?

Well in my upcoming workshop we will be doing some watercolor painting as well as drawing with ink on notebooks and note cards - using things they can incorporate into their daily lives. What I encourage women to do is to bring verses, words, scriptures or images that inspire them and through these we create something new and meaningful. The idea behind these classes is to get women to dream, think and create big things. If we can teach each other to dream and think big - what are the amazing things we can accomplish!?

My advice for anyone looking to create inspirational visual art is to first start with telling a story of something in their lives. What did it mean to you, what did it teach you? Use those words, lessons, images in your mind to help you create something that tells that story to you and that you can share with others. Understanding that many of our stories can relate to others and through these we connect and inspire.


5. What inspires you: as a wife, mom, and artist?

Truly my relationship with Jesus is my first source of inspiration. Through this I've been given new life and a journey I could only dream of. I think my children definitely inspire me - I want to teach them so much and it really inspires me to keep going and go after the things I dream of and want to do. Also, I think motherhood in general inspires me - because it's such an amazing process - it's hard but it's worth it and living in this season truly gives me so much to create from hard times to sweet times to joyous times - it's just a beautiful season and it brings me a lot of inspiration. Overall though in all areas what inspires me often are the hard and difficult things - because they bring a lot of perspective to our lives as well as depth and wisdom. They've taught me the most and that has helped me to continue to create and find inspiration in everything.

6. What or who do you read to help inspire your work? What other resources do you recommend to fellow creatives?

I have a few favorites I follow that inspire me - artists, Kelli Murray, was actually one of my favorite artists before I started painting again. I love to follow the lives of others that play with vivid colors and textures like Leah Goren, @andsmilestudio are a few. My best advice for other creatives is to play when you are creating. Mix colors, think like a kid and see what you can come up with! There are many creative groups out there now, get plugged in to one online or create a small tribe locally!


7. Do you have a scripture, word or mantra that guides your work?

Think BIG! It's something that has stuck since childhood (I used to sing a song with these words). It has helped pull me out of tough places and helps to inspire my work. In all things, you might as well think BiG if you are going to think at all! 

8. How do motherhood and creative work complement one another?

I think sometimes you need an outlet when you are taking care of kids and my creative work gives me that outlet. Also, just the ups and downs - tough and easy moments lend to a bit of a rollercoaster ride in motherhood! It's exciting and bit scary as you go through it - but it's also those one of a kind memories and moments that being perspective and new meaning to your life! 


9. In what ways do you find inspiration? What do you do when you’re feeling dry creatively?

I love to use Pinterest, or Google images when I have an idea of something I want to see. I LOVE color and patterns so sometimes even just looking at new color combinations will inspire me. I tend to find inspiration in textiles, shapes, the world around me. When I am feeling dry creatively I've found my best friend is rest. When I stress about it, it only sets my further back. But when I rest it brings me much needed time away and that helps to bring the spark back! Also, prayer helps to reset my heart and get me on the right page. 

10. If you could tell moms who long to create as they raise little ones a word of advice, what would it be?
Start. Start now. There is a mom that started a project (I wish I could remember the name) where she only created when her kid would nap and that is the only time she worked on things - yet she still created so much with that small amount of time. I guess what I'm trying to say is that there will never be the perfect time to do it. You are a mother now and your time and management of it has changed! Utilize what you have to do something fun and creative. Bring in your kids if that helps! They love to help and create too. Make a little bit of time and see how much you'll hunger for more and naturally will make more time for what is important to you. And I think the rules have to come off for this to work for you. No rules, no obligations, no goal but to create often - start there and in no time you'll be living a more creative inspired life. And so will your kids. 

Connect with Jena: Website // Shop // Instagram  

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