GTS Round 2


This assignment brought up some (ok, a meeeelllion) questions for me:
-How do I do 110% without looking heavy handed?
-How can I wrestle an idea that I can't get out of my head?
-and then all the other questions that were floating around all week: too simple? too busy? not quirky enough? is the illustration really shining? does it look like i'm considering every aspect?
(rinse & repeat)

The idea of "Night & Day" came to me pretty early in the brainstorming process. I tried to shake it to consider other ideas but I just kept coming back to it. I knew it would be a strong way for me to show my love for plants/flowers and there was a lot of breathing room and play for me in this idea. So I embraced it and ran. With only a week and a few days to create there's not much room for completely changing ideas. Thankfully the piece came together fairly quickly over the course of four days. And that left a few days for tweaking... Background or no background? Should the hands stay or should they go? Do we like the purple tone or should it go back to teal? Add in a small tin or let the main set really shine? Background or no background (this question was still being debated up until the very end)?

Obviously I answered the questions and chopped away at the doubt bit by bit by considering every detail. I looked at how the piece compared to my portfolio (yes- it looks like my work). Does it stand up to what I consider my strongest pieces? (yes- it holds its own). Would I be interested in this piece at a store? (yes- i would be drawn in and then delighted by the nocturnal pangolin and interesting flowers) Could this be used in other markets? (yes- I could see it working even better in the paper market) Am I enjoying myself while I make it? (YES!)

Holy crow. No wonder I am exhausted- it was a lot of questioning/answering! But i'm feeling good with what I submitted and that's all I can hope for at the end of the day. Now it's time to rest, make more art, try not to stress too much, and wait.

You can vote for me HERE and read all about our brief HERE. xoxo

GTS Semi Finalist!


I am beyond thrilled that I made it into the top 50 for Lilla Rogers' Global Talent Search! The assignment was to design a pattern to be used on a shoe for a hip/quirky 20-something girl in NYC- so of course I would include a ghost and a shuttlecock. haha. You can see the other semi finalists here. Working with Lilla and her team would be a total life-changing dream come true. She and the artists she reps are total rockstars! Now I'm going to go lock myself in my studio for the next two weeks (though maybe I'll have some bubbly first!) xoxo

Charish Mix n Chic Style Challenge


I was recently approached by Charish to create a style board for their August Mix n Chic Style Challenge. I was so excited! Then I saw that they wanted me to use Shabby Chic items and I was like- wah wah. In my mind Shabby Chic = 90s wannabe cottage home with faux weathered wood, milk bottles, and sponge paint. Ha! But here's what they said: Shabby Chic will match well with most styles. Whether it’s Bohemian Charm or Rustic meets Shabby Chic– you can play up coastal elements in the bathroom, provide a touch of French country living to the bedroom, and vintage charm in the kitchen. The less matching the better! Ok- feeling better. I'm a big fan of not totally matching! I looked through some images they gave me as well as items from their site and created this board:

I started with that ultra-feminine pink chair because it scared me and made me smile. Paired with the graphic pattern of the rug, some functional industrial pieces, my art (duh), and a few funky vases/containers (can never have too many of those in a studio), the chair ends up feeling fresh and fun! How have you embraced shabby chic?

(counter-clockwise from lower left) Similar pink, feminine chair // Ceramic face vase // Mexican rug // Harwood top work table // Danish modern lamp // Fish pot // Katie Vernon Healing Wreath // Apothecary cabinet // Monkey dish // Yellow horse candy dish // Catherineholm bowl

MATS Home Decor Week 5 + roundup


Week 5 (the final week :( ) in the Make Art That Sells Home Decor course focused on wood and textures/mark making. I started the week with markers and inks and soon realized I needed to do something totally different. I created the three 11x14 paintings over the course of a few days- building layer after layer until i had the desired effect (in person they are very textural). I've been lusting over a bunch of the abstract painters' work I follow on instagram and really wanted to do my spin on some abstract-ness coupled with a tiny still life. To make these pieces more functional I thought a plant shelf would be the perfect addition. That nesting terrarium set came towards the end of the week after many walks, some mild procrastination, and an hour or so of out-loud brainstorming. I think the idea is really fun (though perhaps a bit impractical).

We were also encouraged to put together at least one piece from each week to show a full collection.
I think i ended up creating a fun, hip (but not unapproachably cool), modern collection that I'm really proud of. I definitely made some tweaks to a few of the products from each week (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) to make it all a bit more cohesive. 

So what would I give this course on a scale of 1-5? For me it was a total 5- I feel like I was able to experiment just enough to keep growing but there was enough structure to not make me loose my mind. I loved being stretched in new ways- like allowing myself to dream of products that don't even exist. I adored the fast pace of a 5-week course but if i was working another job during the day i don't know how i'd get it all done. I am also glad I had already taken MATS A/B (mostly to be used to the pace and format). Also one of the best things about the class is the community that forms. Between the classmates (who are amazing and supportive and rockstars) to Lilla and Margo (who are such excellent mentors- totally encouraging, relatable, and engaging)- you really feel supported during the craziness. 

Now it's time to update my website, list some new products in my etsy shops, work on a few commissioned projects, and prep for the Global Talent Search (don't worry- if you don't know what that is- i'll be talking all about it for (hopefully) a few months). Cheers!

MATS Home Decor Weeks 3 + 4


whoa. how do nearly 5 weeks go by so fast?! Week 3 for the Home Decor class focused on glass and pattern. Here's where I landed:
This was the hardest week for me so far. I really enjoy how some of the pieces turned out (pink jug, smokey plate). There are times when you just know you need to go back to the paint/paper again rather than trying to force something in photoshop- and this week I just didn't have the time to start again. Ah well. Week 4 was all about hand lettering and ceramics. I was so excited for ceramics week but I was also traveling the entire time. I took my travel watercolor kit, wacom, laptop, and camera to San Fransisco and was able to work during Juniper's naps. She also had a fever for one of our days- so I got some extra work time in. First some progress shots:
For some time I've wanted to do some illustrations involving foreign words that we don't have english words for. In retrospect- these would make better spot illos or cards rather than something you eat off of or use to serve lemonade. But still- i loosened up and just had a bit more fun with the whole assignment: 
Here's a round-up of all my weeks so far:
I've definitely learned something new each week and pushed myself in new ways. The whole course has been pretty fantastic for experimenting and creating loads of new work! 

MATS Home Decor Weeks 1 + 2


When I heard about the newest Make Art That Sells course about designing a home decor collection- i had to sign up. I'm two weeks in and I'm trilled that I did! It's making my brain work in different ways- rather than just creating the illustrations- i get to think about specific products that could be made with my art on it! Week one focused on metal with birds- here's what I came up with:
This one came together so fluidly- birds+triangles+bird sounds+a few flowers all with a fairly limited color palette. Week 2 was fabric with flowers week. I knew I wanted to push myself and show MORE! I started here:
I was feeling happy about this one- light and airy, very neutral. But then I got a push from Lilla to consider varying the density of my patterns. I realized I had illustrated a lot of stem-y botanicals and didn't have much counterpoint to the airy/neutral side. So we went to this:

Getting better...I like how the lettering in the dark grey tea towel relates to week one. But I was still hating on my table lamps and rick rack. So here is where I landed next:

Since there are quite a few different bits and pieces in this- my goal was that you could pick any 3 and they would relate in some way. I love how the hanging lamp turned out- very neutral but dense. Probably the most fun thing was thinking about trims and pom poms and MEGA pom poms! But this version was a bit too busy- like there were one or two too many elements. So i tweaked and nudged till i got this:

and now i'll step fully away. (at least for a few hours) ;)

Thinking about versatility


Before all these Make Art That Sells courses I'd never really thought about the overall versatility of my artwork. What Lilla preaches is "Icons, icons, icons!"- so that individual bits of art can be reused on a variety of products and in many different ways. Learning this and seeing that even my hand-painted work is basically layers of icons ready to be dismantled and rearranged is pretty thrilling. I wanted to show the last two bootcamp assignments and how I've altered them to be used in more than one way.

First is the patterned sea life plate. Here is what I submitted for bootcamp, followed by a new landing illo for my website and a repeat pattern that will be up on Spoonflower soon.

Then we have an editorial assignment about digital nomads for June's bootcamp, followed by a Facebook header, and a pattern for my Spoonflower shop (i'm still waiting on samples for these patterns before they will be available for sale).

So there you have it- trying out being as versatile as possible while still being myself. (also- if you can't tell- i think i'm kinda obsessed with these muted colors with pops of dark coral and mustard) 

I'm failing at #The100DayProject and it's ok by me


Let me just preface this by saying that I think The 100 Day Project is wonderful. Creativity is definitely a muscle that needs to be worked. If you don't use it, you loose it. And committing to anything for an extended amount of time (especially beyond 30 days) creates habits. I didn't floss regularly for years- and then all of a sudden i just did it everyday. Now it's been 5 years and i can count on my hands the number of days i've missed flossing. (Enough about my dental hygiene- back to art.) One day I will do something like #The100DayProject and be "successful." This time around I failed pretty quick and I'm ok with that. It didn't make me a failure. It taught me about the valley (stick with me).

I began #The100DayProject by picking something that i wanted to improve on- warming up by doing a little drawing or painting before diving into working on a project. My intentions were good- I was excited and then I was sick one day and super busy the next- so I stockpiled a few warmups to show on instagram. And then it happened. I went into the valley. The creative black hole. The art void.

Sounds pretty dark and gloomy doesn't it? It can be and it definitely has been in the past. For me, the valley appears after having a few weeks of intense creative highs. New work, new success, crazy productivity! Wheeeeeee! But up ahead is the valley. When I see it coming I can prepare and am usually only in it for 2-3 days. If I don't see it- i find myself a bit caught off guard and that can add some extra time of wondering what the heck is going on.

So what happens in the valley? The bad: self doubt, ugly inner critic, jealousy, basically all that nasty stuff that derails creativity and overall happiness. The good: reflection, brainstorming, rest. The key is recognizing and embracing it. Using it for good can take many forms:
-Taking long walks and just thinking
-Reading magazines and books
-Listening to podcasts (The Accidental Creative is wonderful for the valley)
-Doing busy work or organization in your studio
-Playing with or learning a new medium
-Writing blog posts about the valley ;)
-Making lists. Lists of cute animals (otters!), lists of dream clients (Hygee & West!), lists of funny sounding body parts (medulla oblongata!). You get the picture.

This year it's been all about learning about myself as an artist- what I like most, what i'm best at, where I want to be in 5 years, etc. Learning about the valley, being able to see it coming a mile away, and using it for good has allowed those peak creativity-productivity times reach even new heights.

But what really brings on the valley? Does it line up with lunar cycles? Does it show up faster after eating ice cream? Will it always be there after meeting a big deadline? I think it's different for everyone and it can change without warning. Sometimes after a big project I am rip roaring and ready to go for the next one; sometimes I need to rest in the valley for a few days. Meditating and starting a (mostly) daily yoga routine (check out Yoga with Adriene) has really helped me tune into knowing when the valley is calling. And now that I know there is good work to be done there (see list above)- I'm totally down with hanging out in the valley. Plus- have you google-imaged "valley"? Yeah- it's pretty awesome. Even the dark and scary ones make me feel like "dude- if I went through that valley- i'd come out the other side pretty darn bad-ass!" (And probably feeling like i could take on anything- cue creativity-productivity!)

So that's that. This time around my version of #The100DayProject might take more like 132 days- and if that's "failing"- then that's ok with me. Oh, and if you ever find yourself in a valley and need a fellow creative/friend to show you around- feel free to give me a shout!

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