From bluebonnets delicately drawn into the shape of the Lone Star State and thoughtful sayings gracefully handwritten for a calligraphy piece to a vibrant watercolor of a single feather in blue ombré, Anna Tovar knows a thing or two about art. The 28-year-old spent last spring in arts-and-crafts-show mode, prepping various pieces to exhibit. And while summer is a respite from the whirlwind that comes with showcasing her art, Anna will dive into show season once more come September.
Anna has been a Denton resident for a decade, having attended the University of North Texas along with her husband, Luis (currently a high school Spanish teacher). The two got married shortly after graduation and remained in the easygoing community ever since — a perfect match for the creative and laid-back couple.
Now parents to 3-year-old son Axel and daughter Eden, who just turned 1 this past July, the last few years have made an impact on Anna as a mother, as well as an artist.
“Being a mom has put more of a fire under me to be successful,” she shares. “I want to help contribute financially to our family. But more importantly, it’s made me appreciate and love art more. Getting the chance to sit down and work on this other thing that I’m passionate about has really helped to keep me balanced.”
Additionally, her work has evolved from her earlier days as an artist. Anna was trained in photo-realistic oil paintings and watercolors but has found various new outlets to flaunt her creativity.
“While I still love to work on those pieces, I don’t have the ability to work on them on a regular basis. The pieces that I do now (calligraphy and simple watercolors and drawings) were inspired by my current capacity for making [art],” she explains. “In college, I never would have assumed that this is what I would be doing with my art, but it’s just as fun and rewarding as what I was doing then.”
What do the children think about mom’s craft? Eden is too young to even know what's going on, but Axel is clued in. He knows that I “make art” and wants to draw with me, but he probably assumes that I’m no different from everyone else’s mommy. We were recently in The DIME Store where I sell some of my prints, and he pointed to one of my pieces and said, “Mommy’s art!” It was nice for me to realize that he’s paying attention.
Describe a typical day at the “office” — or rather, the art studio: I have tried very hard to get my kids to take a simultaneous afternoon nap so that I can cram some work in. That is usually when I check my email and try to get some orders in the mail. After the kids go to bed and on the weekends is when I really get the chance to sit down and make art. Luis is very supportive of what I do, so he’s on daddy duty when I need to work on the weekends.
How do you like to spend quality time with Axel and Eden? If the weather is nice, we are outside. We go on a lot of walks and play in our backyard. We have a vegetable garden that Axel likes to help me maintain. We get passes to the Denton water park (Water Works Park) in the summers, and I generally just try to enjoy life with them.
How do your children inspire you? Since becoming a mom, more of my work has become geared towards nursery art. It’s certainly not all that I do, but I haven’t shied away from those sweet phrases that make moms and dads melt when they read them. I love that the words that I calligraph can so easily stir up affections in a parent’s heart for their child.
Three things you think moms shouldn’t feel guilty about:
First, I think that moms can be so bad about turning opinion into fact and then making that fact the expectation for all moms. I really feel like we need to give each other a lot more grace than we do. I personally feel like that would help immensely with the amount of guilt and self-doubt that moms feel. The ways we choose to educate, feed and medicate our children can so easily become platforms for judgment and ridicule. Let’s just give each other some grace.