Carrie Schmitt began painting in 2009 after being diagnosed with a life- threatening allergy to heat. Bedridden and unable to go outside for months, one day she heard an inner voice telling her to paint. Thankfully, she listened and painting became both
therapeutic practice and an act of tenderness amidst the darkness. Today Carrie is a full-time professional artist, entrepreneur, author, and much beloved art instructor.
Carrie, you are an artist with the soul of a mystic and heart of a poet. The journey that led you to art was very similar to the journey that many mystics take. You had your own dark night of the soul that led you to the path of the artist. Would you share how that process impacted your creativity and work and placed you on the path you are on today?
When I was in my darkest hour dealing with a debilitating medical condition that left me bedridden and barely able to move, I heard an inner voice telling me to paint. Thankfully, I listened and began to paint in bed. Creativity saved me. Because of this, I have nothing but love and devotion to the creative process. I will never disrespect my art by judging or criticizing it. I will only love it as it has loved me.
In your beautiful book the Story of Every Flower, you share concepts that are both important and crucial to the artist. Art goes beyond technique. It touches the soul. It unites. It heals. What is the role of love and connection in the creative journey?
George Carver Washington said that if you love something enough, it will tell you all its secrets. I believe this is true when applied to creativity. When you love your innate creativity, you will be given gifts beyond your imagination.
Creativity is the greatest love affair of my life. It is my primary relationship, and the most fulfilling. I once read that until you have a healthy relationship with the divine, all your other relationships will suffer because you will be looking to others to give you what only the divine can. This has also proven true for me. I experience the divine, which I call the Creative Spirit, through my art. This fulfills me completely so that I can be in relationship with others and not demand that they give me the type of all-encompassing unique love and fulfillment that only the spiritual world, the Creative Spirit, can offer.
Like creativity, magic is always happening around us. We have just been taught not to call it magic. Seeing magic and miracles to me is a choice to open ourselves to the beauty and wonder and sacredness in each moment in life.
What’s your definition of creativity?
Creativity is what is happening around us, and to us, and within us, always. You couldn’t escape creativity even if you tried. It is the essence and breath of the universe. I do believe there is conscious creativity where we are aware of our creative abilities and non-intentional creativity, where we create without awareness. To me it has been critical that I pay attention to the world I am creating for myself and others, including the belief systems I choose to repeat and create.
What role does intuition play in the creative process?
Intuition to me is listening and surrendering to the deeper wisdom within me that I call the divine aspect of myself. The divine spark that lives within me. When I listen to this, I am in flow with Creative Spirit. I am in right relation to the process, and I understand my role.
I think for a lot of us, the difficulty and resistance we experience in the creative process is due to not understanding our actual role in the process. We think we are in charge and control, and often we are not. We think our job is to judge, and it is not. We think we can bend the process to what we desire, and often we cannot. The sooner we understand our role in this process, the easier and more enjoyable the process is and the least resistance we face.
You write a lot about magic and its important role in our lives. How does magic manifest itself in your life?
Like creativity, magic is always happening around us. We have just been taught not to call it magic. Seeing magic and miracles to me is a choice to open ourselves to the beauty and wonder and sacredness in each moment in life. How can it all not be magic? Maintaining child-like wonder to me is key to being an artist and spiritual being. Magic is always there for us. Our ability to see it just depends on the lens we choose.
Flowers play a strong role in your work. Your exquisite paintings pay tribute to the role of flowers both in nature and psyche. How long has this connection to flowers and roses been a part of your life and art?
Flowers are part of my family lore. Roses connect me to my ancestors. I believe they communicate with me through roses. My grandfather used to give my grandmother a rose every month so she could enjoy her favorite flower all year long. In 2017, every day I gave a rose to a stranger, in honor of them. This became the most transformational year of my life. It is when my relationship with creativity deepened because we were co-creating these miraculous moments each day with strangers through the simple act of giving away a rose.
I believe our surroundings are in constant communication with us, including flowers, when we choose to listen.
Have you always been a creative soul?
Yes, since the beginning of time. To me the soul is intrinsically creative. Without creativity, nothing material or physical could exist.
Who were your earliest mentors?
My parents are the most influential people in my life. They are very creative in their own professions and also have very strong work ethics. They believe in miracles, beauty, and gratitude. They have taught me to see the wonder in all things, and to have abundant gratitude.
Your new book A Flower in Her Heart, looks exquisite. Tell us a bit about this book?
A Flower in Her Heart is a picture book that tells the true story of my journey as an artist. It is a story of resilience, hope, listening to one’s heart, and making the most out of the challenges we face in our life. My pink mobile art studio bus, Rosie, is in the story of course, and she is always a crowd favorite. I hope it inspires children and adults of all ages to listen to their hearts too.
Are you currently offering any courses or workshops?
I’m launching many new offerings on Patreon in February 2022, including a new monthly art class called “Flower Painting Club.” It’s going to be packed with everything I have learned in the last 12 years as an artist and entrepreneur. My offerings start at $5 per month, you can check it out here: www.carrieschmittdesign.com
I’m active on Instagram @carrieschmitt and my website is carrieschmittdesign.com which has my store, gallery, books, online classes and more!
Thank you, Carrie!