I’m here to help you find your passion and transform your life into a Bodacious Creative Adventure, so you wake up each day eager for life and full of energy for the things that are important to you.
(Instead of feeling tired and unfulfilled as so many of us do.)
I’ve found that Creativity is the key to a joyful life — one in which you’re pursuing your passions and actually DOING what you love (instead of just thinking or talking about it).
I’ve also discovered that my calling is to be a teacher, a helper, a Guidess for others, and that’s why I’m passionate about teaching Creativity and guiding others to their own joyful, productive lives.
It took a while for me to get here, though.
I wasn’t a naturally creative or artistic kid, couldn’t really draw or paint like my sister could. I longed to be creative, but never showed any natural aptitude for it (although, truth be told, I was never taught how to draw or paint either).
Then, in my last year of high school, I took a course in photography and fell headlong in love with it. I convinced my parents to buy me the supplies to develop and print my own black and white photos and spent hours blocking out the Miami sunshine in the tiny, interior closet that I adapted into my darkroom.
By accident, I took an art history class at university, and my fate was sealed — I became truly smitten with Modern painting (abstract expressionists, Fauvism, Matisse, Picasso, Kandinsky, Georgia O’Keefe).
Nevertheless, after university, instead of going for a graduate degree in Art History, I bowed to my fears (poverty, inadequacy) and went to law school.
In spite of the rigors of law school, I actually managed to continue my love affair with art, because I lived near the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and spent countless hours in “study breaks” roaming the corridors, staring awestruck at the amazing artworks there.
After law school, I set off on a new adventure, moving around the world to 6 different countries, where I managed to dive deeper into my creative studies with classes in: photography & flower arranging (Ikebana) in Tokyo; watercolor painting, oil pastels, pen & ink drawing, and charcoal sketching in Singapore; cake decorating, drawing, & sewing in London.
It was in Singapore that I finally started turning all of my learning towards teaching. I joined the Friends of the National Museum and became a volunteer Docent for the (then newly opened) Singapore Art Museum and the National History Museum.
Not only did I give regular tours of the exhibits to tourists and school groups, I also eventually became one of the trainers for the new Docents, and gave talks at the museum that were attended by hundreds of people.
One of my natural gifts has always been the ability to pull together a bunch of complicated information and talk about it in a way that is clear and understandable, even for someone who doesn’t have much background in that area. Because of that, my talks at the museum were a hit.
Fear and resistance are funny things, though — our constant companions for the journey of a creative life.
So in spite of the positive feedback and my obsession with art, when I eventually moved to London (by then married with two kids) and needed to work to help support my family, I fell back on my legal training and started working in a bank.
I was grateful for the work, and I kind of enjoyed it — the same way that I enjoyed law school and working as a lawyer — at first. But then at some point, I stopped enjoying my job and started waking up in the morning and asking myself:
“How did I make such a wrong turn in my life and end up with a life that feels like it belongs to someone else? This isn’t what I meant to do at all!”
Don’t get me wrong — I loved being a mum, and my career in banking was quite successful — enviable, even, for the prestige and the money I earned.
Even so, I just knew that something was missing.
Then, my real journey began, and I learned that I have the power to direct and change my own life, just by:
- Changing how I think about every situation;
- Being present in each and every moment; and
- Intentionally making completely different choices for myself.
I also discovered that by developing an active creative practice & doing creative work every single day, I was able to stay present in each moment and begin intentionally creating the life I wanted, rather than participating in a life I’d created by default.
Eventually, infusing my life with Creativity allowed me to quit that banking job and to start my own business.
Now, I wake up every day looking forward to what I’m working on, eager to get started on the projects I’ve got going.
And I want to help YOU have that same experience.
Through Olivia & Marie Create, I’m able to offer programs that teach and inspire you to develop a consistent practice that supports your real creative work, whatever your chosen medium.
People often ask me, “If you’re Donna, then who the heck are Olivia & Marie?”
Olivia and Marie are actually the middle names of my Mom and her Mom (my Nana).
I named my company after them, because I learned about sewing and creating from them. They both sewed, but they had completely opposite approaches to sewing.
My Mom used to make these beautiful, perfectly-tailored clothes for herself, my sister, and me — matching of course!
I particularly remember a pretty white linen, sleeveless shift dress, with precise pleats around the bottom and a pink embroidered monogram across my chest.
(Don’t judge me — this was the 60s, after all, and it looked great with my little girl Beehive hairdo!)
Nana was the polar opposite of Mom with her sewing — she had more of a “Kamikaze” approach.
I’d say, “Nana, will you come to the store with me to pick out a skirt pattern and help me make a skirt?” Her inevitable reply was, “Child, you don’t need a pattern to make a skirt! Have you got any newspaper?”
She’d then sort of sketch out the rough shape of the skirt, and whip it all together, sewing hell-for-leather on her machine. Before you knew it, I had a skirt to wear, although it was a bit like Hollywood Magic Dust — it looked great from a distance, but you wouldn’t want to look to closely at those seams!
Years later, when I discovered quilting and was trying to figure out my own style, I realized that I had inherited a combination of my Mom’s desire for perfection (those points have absolutely got to match precisely) and my Nana’s slapdash attitude of just going for it, cutting up a bunch of fabric, and creating my own quilt design.
And only when I learned to strike the perfect balance between Mom’s perfectionism and Nana’s wild abandon was I able to develop my own style and creative voice.
I’d love to help you strike that balance, too.
When you do, you’ll also receive my regular tips and inspiration for developing your creative practice, and I’ll keep you updated on all the ways I can help you become the Creator of your own life.
I am so looking forward to helping you design a life of Bodacious Creative Adventure through the power and brilliance of Creativity.
Let the adventure begin, and never, ever forget…