Monday, January 13, 2014

The Countdown is Almost Over!

Tomorrow, the new course (Studying Under the Master’s) at Jeanne Oliver’s Creative Network begins!

I am so excited for this opportunity to work with so many other wonderful, inspiring women:

Jeanne Oliver Studying Under Henri Matisse
Junelle Jacobsen Studying Under Antonio Gaudi
Teresa Sheeley Studying Under Paul Cezanne
Jenny Wentworth Studying Under Sandro Botticelli
Danielle Donaldson Studying Under Georgia O'Keefe
Katie Kendrick Studying Under Marc Chagall
Christy Tomlinson Studying Under Maggie Siner
Kate Thompson Studying Under ‘Francoise De Felice
Stephanie Lee Studying Under Edward Hopper

I’m hoping that I’ll learn new ideas, new techniques, and be exposed to many other styles. It’s very easy for me to get stuck in a rut doing the same things and the same process on each piece I work on. When I start feeling like I’m reproducing a formula, I know it’s time to back off a bit and try something new. One of my favorite ways to challenge myself is to push out of my self-imposed “box” and try to do a journal page or small canvas in someone else’s style.

Christy Tomlinson

Danielle Donaldson

Jenny Lee Wentworth

And so many others…

Each of the teachers in the course have such a beautiful, distinct style. Looking at their art inspires me to trust myself and my own style when I stop believing in myself.

To sign up, go to Jeanne’s Ning Creative Network – once you register you’ll be able to see all the classes being offered.

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Pushing Past the Ugly

One of the things that has stuck with me from taking classes with Jeanne Oliver’s creative network is that even the best artists have to deal with art in progress that doesn’t turn out quite the way you planned. Sometimes you have to completely scrap it, other times you can choose to keep going and work through it to create something beautiful.

This has helped me immensely when I get frustrated with a piece, but yesterday I gave in to the pull of imperfection and gessoed over a girl I’ve been working on (on and off) for a few months. As soon as it was done, I regretted it.

(I left the flower intact because I enjoyed the colors and layering of paint over the image.)

I do like the texture left over from the previous work I had done on her and I didn’t have any ideas on how to save her, but in a way I still wish I hadn’t done it. To make myself get a little creative exercise, I left another piece I’ve been working on live to see another day.

Here's another one:

I’m normally pretty reluctant to share something this I feel is incomplete or flawed, but I want to help encourage others that not everyone gets it right the first try – so here’s the work in progress as it stands now.

I really like this girl, but I’m not happy with her placement on the canvas. I don’t care for the background either, but that is easier to fix than re-drawing her. (I’m determined not to do that, by the way. I’d rather try to stretch myself out of the comfort zone of even-ness and symmetry, if you know what I mean!).

Tell me about your creative process – do you push past the ugly parts, or is it really better sometimes to start with a clean slate?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Intentions, and Settling into 2014

A common thing in blogging seems to be picking a word for the year. I’ve been thinking about the word I would pick to represent my goals for  2014, and the first that came to mind was ‘focus.’ Focus on the important things, focus on getting stuff done, focus on what my priorities are. The more I thought about it though, I realized that the word that more accurately  described my aspirations for the year was ‘intention.’

I want to be more intentional about what I do with my time. I want to be more intentional with my actions, both towards others and in how I present myself. I want to be more intentional about chasing after my goals and my dreams.


I’ve realized over the past few years that I have so many goals and dreams for myself and for my life – but I spend so much time prepping for what I’ll do to reach those dreams that I don’t actually take the steps to move forward. I’m hoping that this new perspective will make me more aware (and more accountable) of my forward momentum.


On another note, things have been so busy over the holidays that I haven’t picked up my sketchbook or hit any thrift stores. I didn’t realize how much I was missing my creative time until yesterday, when I sketched a quick 5-minute girl on the back of an envelope.

photo (1)

She’s not perfect, but but she is a much-needed reminder to always take advantage of inspiration when it strikes and to embrace imperfection. Normally, I would sketch, erase, and re-do until she was perfect…doing her in pen took away that possibility and helped me just let go and enjoy whatever she turned into. I think I kind of like her!

Monday, October 7, 2013

date night & success

I mentioned in my last post that it’s been a difficult few weeks. One of the things that always helps me feel better & be calm is my husband. No matter what I’m stressing about or how crazy I make him, he always knows the right thing to say to talk me down from the proverbial ledge. We don’t get a chance to go out together very often, but last Friday evening we got out of the house to visit one of our favorite Mount Dora haunts.

photo 1 (2)

It was so nice to relax with a couple of beers, enjoy each other’s company, and unwind while having fun with friends.

The only other things I did all weekend was laundry, vegging out, and making art. I was originally just playing with some new supplies, but it turned into this:

photo 2 (1)

Then I got out my watercolors, and I liked her even more.

photo 3

I was just saying last week that I’d been having trouble getting the results I wanted with my art – I’m so glad she has turned out well. It may be just the mental boost I needed to push past the frustration I’ve been experiencing.

I think she’s very close to being finished. I do feel like something is still missing though – she seems to want a name, or a quote or something before I can call her done.

If you want to see more of what I’m up to, you can always follow my Instagram feed here.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

on creative outlets, the Great Curtain Hunt, and a birthday weekend

My company is preparing for our big yearly inventory and year-end close, and things around the office have been hectic. There’s barely been time to pause & think during the day, and by the time I get home I’m ready to collapse and NOT think. But there is still laundry to be done, a family to care for, a kitchen that needs cleaning…you get the picture.

All that leaves me feeling very dull and boring. I haven’t been in the mood to create, and when I try to force it I’ve been unhappy with the results that flow onto the page. (Isn’t that the way it always goes?) I’ve been focusing more on art lately, with fewer DIY projects, but I’ve been feeling the need to change things in the house around. Maybe that’s my cue that it’s time to redirect my energies for a while.

One thing I’ve been thinking about for a while are getting window treatments for the main living areas in our home. I have so many inspiration pictures pinned, and my mind is spinning out of control thinking about all the options that are available. I escaped this decision making process once before by deciding on neutral colors for the walls, but now I need to pick which direction I want the space to go. I know I want things to feel “warm” and cozy but I’m terrified of making the wrong decision. If you have any pointers, I’d love to hear them!


In other news, we went over to Siesta Key last weekend to celebrate my & my mom’s birthdays. My sister and her boyfriend flew down from Maryland, so I got to spend my birthday with the people who are most special to me. We had a lovely weekend, with time at both the beach and the pool of our rental house. We had delicious food, perfect weather, and lots of sunshine. I even got to sit out on the patio with my sketchbook and a glass of wine. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect birthday!

photo 2

photo 1

The house we stayed in was adorable. It was an older home, but it was exactly the kind of quaint beach house I would have dreamt up. We had beds, a private pool, and a 72 second walk to the beach (yes, somebody apparently timed it & made a sign). & did you see the plank walls in the pictures below? Sigh.

I forgot to take pictures, but I pulled some from the website:

Friday, June 14, 2013

5 Plain-Jane Armoire Makeovers

I believe that every creative should have a space to call their own (be it large or small, spacious or cozy) – a place where they can inspire and be inspired; where they can retreat and relax; and feel protected enough to bare their heart through their creativity.

In my Studio Inspiration board on Pinterest, there are some amazing, elaborate, wonderful spaces that women have created for themselves. One of my current favorite studio spaces is Jeanne Oliver’s:

Jeanne Oliver
I would love to have this kind of dedicated space someday, but sometimes I have to take a step back and remind myself that women like Jeanne create art for a living and I don’t (yet). For now, there’s no reason why I can’t use my brain and come up with a solution that better fits our home and our needs.

Currently, all my art supplies are stashed in a corner of my kitchen pantry. There is enough space, but it’s hard to keep things organized. I do most of my work on the kitchen countertops, so obviously things need to be picked up periodically for meals & to keep the house picked up and tidy (for my husband’s sanity).

I would love a space where I can keep supplies organized & easily accessible, where I can work, and where I can display images and ideas that keep me inspired. I want a place where I can store my Cricut, a sewing machine, a printer, etc. I want a place where I can shut a door and hide my mess, to be able to leave a project in progress without completely disassembling it, and to not have to regularly pack it all away in order to have a presentable home. (Please understand that this is not an inconvenience, merely part of my thought process.) Our house is not small, but we do live in it completely and there simply aren't many spaces that could accommodate all these criteria. So where does that leave me?

PicMonkey Collage2

An armoire-turned-crafting station seems to be one pretty good possibility – check out these examples:

One Girl in Pink

A Diamond in the Stuff



Maple and Magnolia

I think I’m going to have to start stalking Craigslist so I can find something similar.

How do you organize your crafting areas? What solutions have worked for you?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Traverse City Red Mirror–Sneak Peek

Happy Monday!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend – ours was pretty laid back and involved relaxing on the couch, watching TV movies, and dozing off with a warm, cozy quilt during an afternoon thunderstorm.

In the midst of all that, I did find some time to paint this mirror in Cece Caldwell’s Traverse Cherry Red.

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photo (2)-1

photo (2)-2

I still have to do a few touch-up’s in some areas that have chipped a little bit, and then grab a new can of wax to finish it up. I’ll show the finished product later this week.

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