When I sat down in the field of sunflowers at Debuck’s for a painting experience, I was expecting to paint sunflowers and enjoy some much-needed time with my Mom Tribe. What I wasn’t expecting was the truly inspiring experience that took place.
Detroit Mom loves to promote Black-owned businesses in our communities. This is one you will not want to miss out on. “Refilling my cup” to pour back into my family and my community is something I do regularly which is why I am so excited to share this jewel of an experience with Detroit Mom readers.
This was not your typical group painting experience.
I have done the “paint and pour” outings before. This was put on by Curtis Wallace of Be Creative Studio. I was really surprised when he started our experience with bringing us into Mindfulness.
Mindfulness is simply being in the present moment — aware of your thoughts and keeping them on what is right in front of you in the here and now. Mindfulness is a practice. It takes time to truly develop the ability to stay present, without judgment of our thoughts, in what it is that is right in front of us.
As mothers we often need to multitask in order to accomplish all that we are responsible for. Balancing multiple balls at the same time in the “air” of our mental space becomes second nature for most. It is not until we really pay attention to our own internal dialogue when we realize that most of the time we aren’t truly in the present moment.
The session left me intrigued and inspired.
Our art instructor extraordinaire began by bringing each of us into that state of being aware of only what was right in front of us, our canvas, brushes, paint, his voice, and each other before we began painting our unique perspectives on the sunflowers that surrounded us at DeBuck’s.
As we painted, Curtis gave us a little more information about himself and his background. There was something in his voice that began to intrigue me. I wanted to know more of his story and how he came to be in that sunflower field teaching five suburban White women and mothers how to “dip and dab” as we began our paintings.
Over the course of the next two hours, not only did we have fun painting our unique takes on sunflowers, we learned about a man who lived a life of trials and tribulations that would make the highlight reel of those anyone who has endured “a hard-knock life.” Each one of us could relate, despite our vast differences.
Curtis’s own reflections on what inspired him to do his art full time are what I find so interesting.
Like many of the artistic temperament, Curtis had trouble fitting into the conventional societal pigeon holes. He pursued his ambitions in college at Detroit’s Center for Creative Studies and earned multiple degrees. After graduating, he began his career in education, teaching art in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, and for most of his adult life, doing his own art on the side.
Within a matter of months, Curtis lost his mother, father, and sister, and began asking himself those big life questions about how we spend our time, as it is promised to no one. He was conflicted about how he was spending his days giving so much to a system that did not value him or his time. Then, he lost a childhood friend to Cancer, which was a turning point. Curtis made the decision to step down from teaching and pursue his art full time.
That marked the beginning of Be Creative Studio.
Over the course of the last three years, Curtis has lived out his dream teaching art all over the world via the amazing technology that allows us all to remain connected. As he explained, “The pandemic hit us and I pivoted into a virtual space that has forever changed my outlook, not just on how life can work in your favor, but also how resilient I could be if I lived in my truth. In my passion.”
Curtis has a special place in his heart for us moms, being a married father himself. “I want to hold this space for moms with the hopes that I could give back to the beings that give us so much as my own mother did. I realized that the kids in my community needed to see someone of color be creative and professional. To be kind and creative all at once. To leave something behind for my kids as a legacy and perhaps something they could continue to provide for the communities they live in when they get older,” he said.
During my painting experience, I never expected to laugh and cry.
If you want to experience a mind-blowing painting setting, I suggest you book a session with Curtis Wallace and Be Creative Studio. Learning more about him and his life experiences inspired me. He is a solid example of how one can follow their dreams and succeed, both personally and professionally.
The painting experience at DeBuck’s left my besties and I feeling refreshed and connected. I successfully “refilled my cup” and was reminded of the benefits of taking time for myself every once and awhile. You never know when an experience will leave you changed.
For another great read on supporting Black-owned businesses in our community, check out Widening Perspectives on Black-Owned Business Month.