Mother-Artist Balancing Act: Meet Megan Rowley Stern

Written by Artie The Panda

Megan Rowley Stern spends her days balancing art with motherhood. The two aren’t so different, really. Both require nourishment. Each brings untold joy. Sometimes Megan’s oil paintings are a direct nod to motherhood as she captures this fleeting season in real time.

Tale of Two Talents

Growing up, Megan showed talent in both art and music, choosing the former for her profession and graduating with Bachelor of Arts, Studio Art from Brigham Young University. These days she paints landscapes, still life and maternity portraits from her studio in Provo, Utah. Her more whimsical creations include “Dream,” an installation of paper airplanes at her son’s Montessori school, and a new passion project featuring oil painting interpretations of her son’s truck drawings.

When the Sun Comes Up

Megan’s body of work gave us lots of options, but we couldn’t resist featuring “I Know When the Sun Comes Up,” painted during the hazy days of caring for her first-born child. She framed the painting in one of Frame Destination’s new Canvas Floater Frame 797. “I love how Frame Destination’s floater frames showcase my paintings,” Megan told us. “Simple and sleek, they are just the most practical and aesthetically pleasing choice for me.”

See More of Megan’s Work

Megan’s online portfolio is the easiest way to appreciate her work. Check out my Q&A below to learn about her fondness of goal-setting, sketchbooks and her indispensable nitrile gloves.

Now for Artie’s Eight Q&A with Megan Rowley Stern …

1. What is your background; how did you get started?
I remember in sixth grade, my art teacher said she wished she could have a class full of me. She was so encouraging. As I moved on to middle school and high school, however, I got into music, and art took a bit of a back seat for a while. I played all sorts of instruments, but when I finished my freshman year I found that I missed making art. So I took biology over summer school and made room in my schedule amidst my music classes. One of my high school art teachers, Mrs. Adams, sat me down at some point and told me I had a decision to make: Would music or art be my passion? I didn't know. I moved across the country and started college, with both art and music classes in my schedule. It honestly wasn't until I missed the beginning of one of my musical performances to submit my art portfolio for the visual arts program that I realized I had chosen art! And I don't regret it one bit.

2. What role do you think the artist plays in society?
I think artists help society process the human experience. Art has been an integral part of human history. Since before written records, we have evidence of art. Artists take what's happening in the world and help people digest it.

3. What has been a formative experience or the best advice you’ve received within your career?
Set goals. And then do the work. Someone recommended that I write down goals for where I want to be in my career in six months, in a year, and in five years. I did, and having that clear direction has been a huge blessing for me.

4. In what ways does your work reflect your personality?
I am a seeker of order and balance, so that comes through in the composition of my paintings. I like my work to feel grounded and stable.

5. Creative blocks, do you get them? If so, how do you overcome them?
Creative blocks are actually fairly rare for me. As a mom, I am usually bursting with ideas and creative inspiration that comes from watching children grow and discover the world. But when creative blocks do happen, I always know I have sketchbooks full of other ideas to work on for a while. I can put the problem piece on hold for a bit and come back with a fresh perspective later.

6. What is your most indispensable tool? (Not counting the obvious, like paints, brushes, canvas, camera, etc.)
Nitrile gloves are a must! I don't want to accidentally get solvents or paint in food that I cook for my family after I come home from the studio.

7. Do you have a new project you are working on, or a new passionate idea?
I am starting a series of tiny paintings inspired by my son's drawings of trucks and other vehicles. I love the raw expression in kids' art — how nothing is perfectly rendered, and yet the subject is portrayed so honestly. That's something I want to bring back into my work.

8. What is the name of your favorite paint color?
Prussian blue. It's deep and rich, and I think it's just gorgeous.

Megan Rowley Stern

All artwork and/or photographs used in this post are subject to copyright held by the featured artist.

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Last Updated October 27, 2020

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