Hi I'm donna lee gauntlett
Who would believe a 52 year old woman would decide to write, illustrate, design, and format her first book in March and publish it and a companion coloring journal eight months later... all because of the challenges and struggles she had been through AND how she found joy in the middle of chaos. Seems like a dream come true- it was!
"So how did a middle age woman find her purpose and passion?"
This is a bit of my story and how I discovered my passion through art journaling at the “darkest” time in my life.
I grew up in a two parent home with some very artistic family members. I was the youngest of four and didn’t seem to possess those talents or so I thought.
As the years went by I did find that I was drawn to arts and crafts and other things that allowed me to express myself but I had a fear.
The crazy thing is I found I was happiest when I could use my abilities that allowed me to express myself creatively. I still felt that I was not talented artistically but I was doing things that required artistic talent.
DOESN’T MAKE SENSE DOES IT?
So I dabbled in photography, scrapbooking, photo collaging, rubber stamping, stenciling, sand coloring, jewelry-making and...I tried to draw. I spent more money on erasers than the pencils. I had taken some graphic design classes and found that I was good at expressing myself by manipulating photographs and creating collages with multiple images.
Then my troubles began. I started having health issues. Before I knew it, I was so sick, that I didn’t know if I would make it. I had excruciating pain around the clock. I no longer could function as an able bodied adult.
I was told that I needed to start journaling. The requirement was that I could only use a pen. There would be no erasing because there are no mistakes. That’s what I did. At first I just wrote about my pain and my day to day living on lined paper. Then I was given a journal with no lines and it was suggested that I draw things that made me happy or how I wanted to be feeling. The intention was to make it a positive experience for me every time I opened my journal. From there, my drawing took off. A transformation had taken place. I started combining my love of creating collages in the form of drawing and always adding inspiration to each page I created.
Over the last few years I have taught art and graphic design classes. I've worked with seniors with dementia combining my love of art and storytelling. I started a program called Just Drawing it Out which helps students express their creativity through the use of pens, markers and journals. I took a chance and started selling my artwork and later I went on to create my first custom calendar and not too long ago I wrote and illustrated my first inspirational memoir accompanied by a creative coloring journal.
Yes, I can finally call myself an author and artist and be proud of what I've accomplished. I have been able to inspire, encourage and uplift others through my artwork and my story. I'm so glad dreams have no expiration.