July 28, 2014

Sketchbooking




For so long I have dreamed of being an illustrator. I think about how great it would feel to create my own line of characters and write stories about them and see them come to life on product and in books. I have countless stories floating around in my drifty little brain about night gardens and squirrel families and galloping white horses. But for some reason I've always been too intimidated to actually write any of my stories down. The characters have lived for years only in my head.

Now it's like something in me has changed and suddenly all of these gathered ideas are pouring out. I take a shower in the morning and think of five more things I need to draw, like, now. I grab my sketchbook before bed and write "make Halloween illustrations with animals in costume" or "outdoor scene of a snowy village." Gosh it feels good to finally say some things. What in the world took me so long to start sketching these ideas out?

My characters are still a little awkward looking to me. I'm definitely not creating things perfectly, but I'm getting there! And I've decided to post pages from my sketchbook on the blog every week starting today. Hooray for progress!

July 7, 2014







So much green here lately! My garden has been loving this moody weather. Cool and bright one minute, then dark and stormy and so much rain. This summer has felt peaceful and fun. We're 13 weeks into our pregnancy, and I'm finally off the couch and back to a somewhat normal routine. I love to work in every way but have had to take so much time to rest due to fatigue and morning sickness (that has unfortunately come in waves throughout the entire day). But all in all we are thrilled with the changes God is bringing into our little world! A definite answer to years of prayer and hoping.

We've officially purchased all the parts for our new garage and have broken ground in the backyard in preparation. So exciting! Our old one-car garage (attached to the house) will become my new dream studio complete with multiple work stations, high ceilings, a baby friendly corner, and large open windows. We're really hoping to finish the garage in July and start on the studio come August.

Now that I'm vertical again Sarge and I have resumed our morning strolls through the neighborhood. Walking in this town is like meditation for me. So peaceful and pretty in the strong morning light. Every now and then when the park is empty and quiet, I let Sarge off leash to run wild and free. 

I've been inspired to work in acrylics again after seeing all of Janet Hill's amazing work and just ordered a new set of Golden and Da Vinci fluid acrylics that I'm dying to try. They're supposed to be good for watercolorists wanting to branch out. I have so many canvases stacked in the corner of my studio just waiting for my attention. Hopefully I can free up some time to work on something just for pleasure again.

May 28, 2014

lately





Lately the sky has been pale blue and cloudy with gentle rain here and there and strong sun in late afternoon. There are certain times of day when it seems like the whole world is glowing bright green and yellow. The trees are full and lush now and all the peonies around town are popping white and pink. I find myself lost in daydreams as I walk Sarge around town every day.I'm so excited for June. Seth and I decided early this year that we may have to skip a vacation in order to cover the cost of the new studio and garage. Our zoning application has officially been submitted and work on those projects will begin very soon! I'm over the moon excited to have a bigger work space. I can't even tell you how renewing it will feel to have an actual studio and not just a desk in the corner of a bedroom. Yay!About a month ago Seth's boss decided to send him to South Carolina in June for training, and we're scheduled to stay a few extra days for fun. I'm thrilled to be tagging along and plan on spending every waking hour on the beach reading a book or painting or just sleeping for crying out loud! :) I'm in desperate need of a nice long break from work to recharge my creative batteries. A "stay-cation" isn't very helpful when you work from home, I've found. Hope your week is short and sweet!

May 6, 2014

pretty spring






I'm not sure it could be any prettier outside. Dapple light pours into the house all day, surrounded by a cool, sweet smelling breeze of collected perfumes from neighborhood blooming trees. Each day the pup and I wind our way through town, dropping off packages to post, walking out our errands, and soaking up the warm sunshine. The trees have seemed to fill in all the gaps in the alley behind our house. The lilac blooms are SO fragrant right now that I've been stealing small branches from bushes in the alley to bring inside.

Sarge, the lucky boy, gets treats and pats on the head from just about everyone in town. The baby squirrels and bunnies see him trotting down the sidewalk with his nose in the air and ears bouncing and duck behind trees and bushes to avoid the nasty chase that would inevitably ensue.

Meanwhile, I've been dreaming of new paintings and longing for a bit of extra time here and there to sketch out new ideas. Seth and I have been talking up plans for the new studio and possibly bringing a studio assistant on board among other house projects and Summer trip ideas. Spring is just bursting with promise and potential!

How are you getting along? Has this warmer weather ushered your winter blues away? I hope so!

April 28, 2014

dreaming of a studio

















Last Fall I took a page out of my journal and shared it with Seth when he got home from work. It was called "My Dream Studio." I showed him the little sketch I made and began by describing the light pouring in from giant windows and reflecting off bright white walls to create a glow in the entire room. I talked about how in my dreams this studio would have a vaulted ceiling with exposed wooden beams, a cement floor with a bright pink patterned kilim rug. Part studio part greenhouse with a waist high table on one side for my plants and pots and soil. Lots of textured pillows in window seats and of course a bit of sheep skin here and there. Several old wooden tables for painting stations, scanning and printing stations, and packaging. Large enough to hold a studio open house or teach a small painting class.

I really went on and on about it all. And Seth patiently smiled and nodded. After a long pause he said, "I could build that for you." I laughed thinking "yeah right." My business was so young and it felt new and unpredictable. I don't deserve that kind of studio. "I'm serious. It wouldn't be too hard. I think I could locate some free windows and a door. We could start saving now and add on to the house or build it separate from the house in the back yard," he said.

And so, our conversation began. Since then we've decided many wonderful things about my dream studio. We've saved our pennies. And I've collected hundreds of inspiration images from across the web and compiled them on Pinterest. To find the sources for each of the above images, please visit my Pinterest page titled "studio design."

I do hope to share more on the status of this project as we make slow and steady progress. I'm brimming over with excitement!

March 21, 2014

custom portraits update






Just a quick note today to announce a price increase on all my custom work starting Tuesday, April 1. I'm currently booking orders into July and don't want to fall too behind, so I've decided to raise my prices by $50 to meet the demand. I really appreciate all the support and am so excited to continue doing custom work for at least the rest of this year. There are so many really beautiful portraits coming up that I just can't wait to get to! Not to mention this warmer weather and sunshine in my studio windows is energizing and exciting me for the upcoming seasons and projects.

Hope you have a great weekend!
(click the images to visit my shop)

March 17, 2014

SPRING FLORALS





Spring is absolutely my favorite time of year! Included in my many sketchbook projects and plans for this exciting warmer weather, I've struck up a friendship with the amazing blogger and gardener Whitney Curtis and will be debuting one floral illustration on her blog every Monday during Spring. Each painting will be available in the new "floral prints" section of my shop. I'm wanting to design them all to match so they can be hung together on a wall or interspersed throughout a house to add a fresh, bold and bright design to your home. 

Check out Whitney's blog to see the final print and to learn how you can incorporate today's flower into your garden this Spring. And follow us on Instagram (here and here) and Facebook (here and here) for weekly updates.

March 6, 2014

5 sketchbook prompts







Now that you have your sketchbook and supplies, let's get started filling those pages with beautiful and fun illustrations that make you happy! Here are just a few tips to get you started in your sketchbook.

1. Keep a list of things that inspire you. Throughout the day pay attention to your surroundings and look for little moments of inspiration. Record what you feel, see, touch, experience in your sketchbook or create a Pinterest board of visual inspiration. I, for example, am naturally drawn to high contrast, bold design and pattern. So, I thought I'd incorporate my own patterns onto pots with bright flowers to add color.

2. Pick one thing that inspires you the most and draw it over and over again. I tend to come back to things like trees, dogs, flowers, etc. They make me happy and give me so much satisfaction to draw!

3. Practice painting patterns with a variety of brushes and lots of water. If you need some ideas for patterns to get you started, I'd recommend looking at textiles and textile designers. A few of my favorites are West Elm, Ashley Goldberg, and Lotta Jansdotter. This is when all of your practice with color will come in handy.

4. Simply observe nature for an endless amount of creative ideas! Draw a close-up of a leaf or flower or hang a bird feeder out your window and draw the birds that visit.

5. Observe your favorite manmade objects and draw them with a paint brush or felt tip pen. For inspiration look to Katt Frank whose simple line drawings of ordinary objects neatly arranged always make me swoon.

Happy sketching!