I am an intuitive inspired artist, and homeschool art teacher living in Panama City, Florida with my husband and two daughters. I create vibrant and up lifting artwork that is intended to create a stirring in the viewer’s soul. My paintings can be found on a large scale, as well as smaller pieces on canvas and paper. I also, offer my artwork in prints and colorful greeting cards. I sell online, in Historic Downtown Panama City, and in my favorite eclectic shop, Sea Green Gallery in Nags Head, Outer Banks, North Carolina.
Painting allows me to create from a place of inner harmony, creating presence in my everyday life. I am continuously inspired by the vibrant colors of tropical flora and fauna which invigorates my soul.
I believe art is healing and should be accessible to everyone, either in a physical form or through instruction.
I am passionate about sharing how to paint and create silence from the outside world to connect with the inner self.
I seek to convey a sense of wonder in my work that creates pause, reminding the viewer of the beauty that is nature.
I choose to come from a place of truth to inspire others to do the same in their lives.
As long as I can remember, art has been in my life, nurtured by creative summer projects with my mother. I was an awkward child, lacking self-esteem, often with my face in books escaping my reality. But, art let me shine through, and it was something I knew I could do without hiding myself.
When I was 12, I received a package from my aunt containing oil pastels and a guide on how to use them. I created a beautiful mural of a crescent moon with his lovely face. It was on a bedroom wall on an old avocado farm house we lived in that was later knocked down.
However, throughout my youth I had many experiences in school where my passion for art was knocked down. It seemed that being an artist wasn’t something one could do for a living. Even after high school, where I took an art class that I thoroughly enjoyed, it was never on my radar as a career option.
Later in life
In my twenties, I played with a variety of mediums like sewing, crochet, and photography, but was always afraid to try painting. I thought you had to be good to even be an artist. I didn’t understand that part of the process was just playing and having fun.
I joined the Navy and wanted to be a “tough girl” choosing the career as a welder. It was a very difficult experience as a woman and creative. I lost touch with myself and my creativity for many years as I felt I had to hide that side of myself from all of those around me. I felt lost and didn’t feel true to myself. As it was the climate in the Navy, I drank a lot spending a large part of my life feeling depressed.
My daughter Zoey was born and I continued to pursue my love for photography, but it remained only a hobby.
We moved to Guam. Shortly after Zoey’s father and I separated. I struggled with the unsavory requirements that the Navy expected of me as a single mother. My heart was breaking each day. I would find short moments of solace at a nearby beach. I would run there and then walked the jungle filled trails along the coast, collecting sea glass, shells, and tropical flowers. This is where my love for the ocean was born.
I befriended my now husband, Patrick, who helped me reconnect with the beauty of Guam and myself. The ocean and Guam became the most inspiring thing in my life as we explored the local culture and secret spots.
On my first birthday with Patrick, he surprised me with an easel purchased while overseas in Thailand, (a place I’ve always wanted to visit). He also brought me paint, brushes and canvases. This birthday gift was the permission I needed to jump in and paint.
He saw something in me wanting to break free. I dabbled in acrylic for a few years, naturally doing well. However, life got in the way, like it so often does, and I walked away from painting for about ten years.
While in Guam Zoey’s father died abruptly and tragically. It was one of the most shocking experiences in my life. Within a month, I had to pack up my life into a crate and move across the world to California, without Patrick. I separated from the Navy soon after. The following two years many experiences broke me as a person.
I wanted to become a small business owner and open a handmade goods shop featuring only mother makers. I spent months researching on how to open a brick and mortar. My mentor suggested I start at farmer’s markets and craft fairs. I took $1000 of my savings and went around San Diego looking for mother makers that I could wholesale from to create my first business, Matriat Boutique. Five months after moving away from Patrick, he came to join Zoey and I in California. During that time, I created upcycled dreamcatchers from thrifted and vintage materials. I sold them on Etsy and at the markets. It was a tough start, but I learned a lot.
I became pregnant with my second daughter, Piper, and things became too physically difficult for me to continue, so I went solely online. Matriart Boutique shifted from local wholesale goods, to my own handmade dreamcatchers. Over the years, I made hundreds of dreamcatchers. They shifted into moon phase dreamcatchers which, later become very popular on Instagram.
My health became more sensitive with my second pregnancy and Piper developed colic two weeks after she was born. It was a difficult 6 months. She cried ever night for six hours straight and nothing could console her. We had to take shift sleeping, but we became very sleep deprived. I started visiting the beach 30 minutes away, several times a week, because I was at my wits end. The beach was my sanctuary that I had forgotten when I move from Guam, and I decided it was time to return. I was reconnecting with nature on the glittering gold speckled sands of Coronado Island. My dreamcatchers began to evolve reflecting what I was feeling and connecting with the sea.
Our family made the decision to move to The Outer Banks. It was a place that I had always dreamed of and we asked ourselves, “why not?”. We took the leap and everything worked out. At the same time, I was rebranding my business to Salt Hippy. When we moved, I was only 6 minutes from the beach, where daily walks became a sacred practice. I started coming home with bags of “sea garbage” as my husband so lovingly calls it. I learned to drill shells and sea glass, incorporating this surplus of nature’s gift in to driftwood vine dreamcatchers, and beautiful driftwood wall hangings. I created these for years and my business bloomed.
It was my grandmother’s passing and the pandemic (which ironically happened on the same day), that set things in motion. My grief brought me back to an 18” x 24” canvas, where I painted nonstop, crying for hours. The painting has never been completed, but this year it feels like it’s time to bring a brush to it again.
There have been very few days since that experience that I have not had a paint brush in my hand. Painting has always brought me to a place of peace and helps me processing my emotions.
Thank you for supporting a dream that I hope inspires others to pursue theirs, a dream that demonstrates to my girls to chase theirs, a dream that spreads joy and positivity to others in a time where we must support each other to spread light in a world we’ve never navigated before.
All the best,
- Chulynda, Salt Hippy
Photography by Amanda Hedgepeth Photography