Four years ago Tracy and Tim Fultz decided to start over.
They left their jobs in Springfield, Ill. and decided to move to Tucson – a little early for retirement but the place they wanted to be.
They had no jobs, no house, but they did have each other.
Tim soon got a job with a dealership and encouraged Tracy to pursue her passion, her art.
She had created calendars for family and friends since 2008 and expanded into original paintings. To start, she set up a table at a farmers market but found folks weren’t buying her sunflowers, penguins, and giraffes.
A sympathetic artist nearby suggested she paint a saguaro.
Not unexpectedly, her 5x7 originals became a hit, but she couldn’t keep up with the demand.
She also noticed that customers, while not purchasing them, picked up her images of cupcakes, daisies and penguins.
Why not greeting cards? She came up with 10 designs. They took off.
This led to more events, some arts festivals and ultimately a presence in 20 shops, including Sibley’s West.
“I didn’t expect to be one but I’m very proud to be a card artist,” she said.
She is now up to 100 designs, in all of the categories you’d expect – birthdays, anniversaries, sympathy, and, of course, tardiness.
“I like to think I add a little humor and a lot of color to the desert,” she said.
Her company name is Zinnia Sky Studio – Zinnia because her yard in Illinois was full of the flower and Sky because of the Arizona sky.
It’s definitely a different life. She went from working as an executive assistant for a food company to painting in her home studio with her dogs.
She and Tim have four children – living in Tucson, Tempe, Canada and Germany – and three grandchildren.
“It’s been an amazing four years,” she said.
Tracy Foltz will be a special guest from 6 to 8 pm Friday, Nov. 17, at Sibley's West during the Chandler Art Walk.
For her visit, a special deal -- if you buy five of her cards, you get one more for free!