We had the good fortune of connecting with Claire Brainard and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Claire, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Throughout my years growing up, there was a place I went when things got to be too much: My Imagination.
Throughout my early school time, my mother would often get notes from my teachers saying: “Claire is in a world of her own. She daydreams instead of paying attention. She must focus on what is being taught . . . Fortunately, I found a way to listen and draw (doodle) at the same time, so my entire school career wasn’t a wasteland. At home I found sanctuary in my bedroom to draw, read and dream. It was my happy place. Many have had a similar experience or have a child with a similar bent. If the former, my heart goes out to you; if the latter, I hope you have found ways to encourage and nurture this gift in your child.
The school “solutions” for so many children since the 1970’s have been various drugs of choice. A bandaid at best. We have all paid a price in our culture for this type of creativity management.
I found my way through school and went to college as an art major. Writing was a personal joy to me at that time, but not something I imagined I would pursue as a career. I graduated, became an artist/illustrator and later sold my paintings to private and corporate collectors. Later, in my final years as an art teacher, a story began to form in my heart. As it grew, I overcame my own thoughts about my limitations and began to write the story.
In the years to come, the story ripened and changed. It became: Dreaming in a Time of Dragons I added illustrations and found a small publishing company. Then one day it was published! To my surprise, it rose to the Amazon #1 bestseller spot in its category. Later it was honored as a finalist by the International Book Awards.
Dreaming in a Time of Dragons was written to the heart of girls age 11+up but, has been enjoyed by women of all ages.
My pen name is G. Claire and my Instagram site is gclaire333. Many of my drawings and paintings can be found there, as well as a link to the Amazon page for the book.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Many have called my art “Visionary”. It comes from a place deep within. This is true of my visual art as well as my writing.
It was not easy making the leap from artist/art teacher to author. The first hurdle I had to get past was limiting self talk. (You’re an artist, not a writer.) Then I educated myself on the craft of writing. . . all the while feeling the story growing inside and noticing nudges and signs from God.. Yes really.
If I could give any advice, it would be this: If you are feeling a new creative direction or season growing in your life, explore the possibilities. Don’t do what I did and spend years talking yourself out of it. Because we are not just one thing. We have many facets. Life can turn in new directions. Be bold and brave, even if you have not been that way before. The world needs what you have. People are waiting for exactly what you, and only you, can bring.
My brand of art and writing speaks to the heart of the viewer and the reader. If I could sum up what my creative works are about it would be this: Deep calls to Deep.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would start by taking them to the High Museum and then to some of the galleries in mid-town and Buckhead. I would finish our day in style with dinner at Rays’ on the River. Shopping in Atlanta could definitely be enjoyed for several days starting in Lenox mall and moving out to the shops and boutiques around the city. The Fox Theater and the Atlanta Civic center have wonderful cultural offerings. Piedmont park and the Atlanta Botanical Garden would be a marvelous way to enjoy the beauty and have a fun picnic.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to dedicate this to my dear parents, who gave me unfailing love and support.
Image credits: G. Claire Brainard