Things I’m enjoying lately

Hello! Here is a list of things that I’m really loving.


  • Gouache! I did a few gouache paintings last year but mostly I turned to my trusty watercolors. I’m loving the opaqueness of gouache these days though – it’s everything I want from my acrylics without having to haul out my giant palette and do a ton of work. Usually I just want to sit down and paint, and it’s hard to get into the flow of acrylics because I keep having to pause to mix new colors or wash brushes or grab new palette paper.
  • Baking – I used to bake all the time and fell out of the habit. But lately I’m back in the game – I’ve made olive bread with tons of olives (see beautiful photo above) and also tried my hand at vegan creme brulee, which I had to add lots more sugar and vanilla, but it turned out really nice! I need a real kitchen blowtorch for the sugar because if you try to put this under the broiler, the whole thing melts. Not fun. Maybe I’m excited about all this baking because of…
  • The Great British Bake-Off! Everyone I have talked to has loved this show. It’s on Netflix. Please do yourself a favor.
  • The arcade. The neon colors, sounds of coins and tickets and that 8-bit arcade “you won!” sound. I love everything about arcades. Everything. We’ve been trying to make a habit to go to arcades more often. Last time we went we won 50 tickets, which was JUST enough to score us two sour Jolly Rancher lollypops. If that’s not a perfect prize I don’t know what is.
  • Tomie, by Junji Ito. They released the collection a few months ago and I finally got my grubby little hands on it. It’s everything I hoped and dreamed and more.

What are you enjoying lately? Any recommendations for books or games or shows?

Continue Reading

Moonrise Kingdom

For years of urging my friend had encouraged me to watch at least one of Wes Anderson’s films. “You’d LOVE them,” he promised me, and he’s my oldest friend and knows me really well, and yet for some reason I just didn’t. I’m just generally so busy with other things that I rarely watch new movies, but after learning that Moonrise Kingdom contains imaginary books that were made up just for the film, Rob and I sat down last night to watch it.

Girl looking out from lighthouse with binoculars

Painting with watercolors

Books

I loved everything about it, but the fake books Suzy carries around were just as wonderful as I had hoped. If they could have taken everything that is Becky and distilled it into a movie, Moonrise Kingdom was that movie. I wanted to move into every single set. Of course I also sketched the whole time!

As for where I’ve been, the answer is busy but also really uninspired and burned out on winter. I bought a Switch and have been spending most of my evenings vegging out with it. We’ve had a very odd winter, alternating too warm and too cold, and only a couple of fierce snowstorms. You’d think that weather would be perfect for just staying in and painting, but it’s instead sapped my energy. Starting to get back into it as we move slowly toward light and warmth.

What are you looking forward to in the coming months?

Continue Reading

Hello, 2017! My solo art show

Today I had my first ever solo art show! It was really fun – I was super nervous about whether anybody would show up, but people did! Not tons, obviously, but the fact that people I didn’t even know came was really exciting. I got to meet new people and see my friends, and get a nice ego boost from all the people complimenting me on my artwork. Here are some photos from the show.

You may recognize some of these paintings from previous shows and from last year! I also spun up a few new pieces for this show. Overall I had 10 paintings. Hanging them was so annoying – I had never hung my own artwork on a hanging system, and there are entire articles dedicated to how to hang paintings on these types of systems. Needless to say, it wasn’t easy!

Here’s a small gathering from about halfway through the reception. People trickled in and out in a steady stream – from the start to the finish there was always a fun group of people.

It was definitely a success in my eyes. I’ve never been so proud to be the center of attention (usually I really hate it!). I felt like a real artist – more than one person asked for contact information and whether I had a mailing list. We had good food, the wine was flowing, and so much good company! I’m so proud and happy that I had the bravery to follow through with this and just DO IT.

Now that this show is over I want to spend a lot of time just getting back to art and drawing and painting. I’m looking forward to getting back to experimenting with art and filling up sketchbooks. I feel like I’m going through a bit of an art block, and the only way to get through it is to just make art. I also have a bunch of really exciting projects coming up, and I’m excited to tell you guys about them soon!

How is 2017 been for you so far? Anything exciting happening?

Continue Reading

Goodbye, 2016

You were a heck of a year.

Let’s just concentrate on the good, though, shall we?

Well, one year ago I started to seriously dedicate myself to my art – drawing every day, filling up sketchbooks, painting more paintings… Here’s what I accomplished!

  • 8 and a half paintings using acrylic – either acrylic on canvas or acrylic on wood panel
  • ~50 watercolor paintings
  • 2 sketchbooks completely filled, 2 giant sketchbooks halfway done, and one more started
  • 3 gallery shows with another one coming up
  • Landed my very first solo show by invitation
  • My first vending experience!
  • Making real money off my art

And the entire time I kept thinking I should be doing more! But looking back, it seems like a real accomplishment. I set out to Become An Artist and I feel more confident now saying I am one. I feel really proud of what I’ve done last year.

Other accomplishments and notable events!

  • I got engaged! Everyone assumed it would never happen but lo and behold!
  • I read somewhere around 40 books – definitely below average for me, but hey, nothing to sneeze at either
  • I biked about 650 miles
  • I started to learn how to dance
  • I worked several awesome design freelance projects, including my first branding project
  • I traveled to New Orleans, Austin, and Rincon, Puerto Rico
  • I built a ton of furniture

I set some goals for 2017, mostly around art. I want to spend the first part of the year focusing on more learning, doing lots of anatomy, plein air, and master studies. I have my first solo art show coming up starting in the first week of January – I’ll be showing 8 or 9 paintings in a small show titled “Death and Technicolor.” Landing a solo show this early in my career feels surreal – I’ve been crazy busy prepping artworks, finally signing and titling them, and just preparing myself for what’s to come. Then, after winter is over, I’d like to participate in a few more vending experiences or shows, but not too many – I got so swept up in this stuff during the fall that I barely had any time to actually make art. I’d really love to just spend time playing around in between shows and actually having the time to create some new pieces. Tenuous goals include finally opening up an online shop, starting a webcomic, making a zine, and making a video game. We’ll see what happens!

I know these are turbulent times, but I think it’s really important to find whatever grounds you, and then hold on to it. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you can turn to it as a comforting thing. For me, art is my comfort and the thing I fall back on when everything feels like a big black hole of despair. And while it’d be really nice to be able to Change The World Through Art, I’m also okay with it just being a safety fallback for myself. I hope that whatever happens in 2017, we all discover, rediscover, or keep up with the things that make us happy in the midst of it all. Don’t ever lose sight of what you have for yourself, and don’t ever feel guilty about comforting yourself when everything feels like it needs your attention more.

Anyway, happy new year, everyone. May 2017 bring surprises, joy, comfort, and peace.

Continue Reading

Art career mistakes I’ve made so far

10009177_921766407892669_36846065_n

I’m still new to the Art World (though not new to making art!) – I still have no idea what I’m doing a lot of the time. I know I have a burning passion to create and to share those creations with others, but beyond that, everything from marketing to confidence has been full of stumbling blocks. I thought I’d share the mistakes I’ve made so far over the years when it comes to art and design!

Thinking an art career could never happen because I didn’t go to art school

Yes, when I say it it seems obvious, but it’s really not. The perception from outside is that either you are an artist already and so therefore allowed to have a career in art, or you “can’t draw” and so therefore there’s no hope for you. I have been drawing all my life, but it never occurred to me that I don’t need art credentials to do art. There have been a lot of posts from various people (much smarter and more talented than I!) with lots of completely different thoughts and opinions on whether you should go to school for art, but I believe more and more that if you already have a degree and are deciding on whether to go back to get an art degree, it’s just not necessary. If you’re deciding on a degree to choose because you’re about to go to college, then you may want to consider an art degree if you want to do art or design for a living – but to go back to school just for an art degree? Not necessary. Just make art.

Thinking a work has to be perfect before I can share it or even do it

Ah yes, the perfectionist dilemma. “How can I even do art without it being perfect???” It’s ridiculous to spell it out and yet I went for my entire life believing that the only art worth doing was perfect art, and so I held myself back on doing much of anything. Luckily, my NEED to create overwrote that enough of the time that I finally managed to break through it. Doing art is like doing anything else – practice makes perfect. How on earth can you improve if you never practice? We have this perception that art takes Magical Talent that either you have or you don’t, but just like any other skill, you can build up with conscientious practice.

More than just doing art, share your art! Putting your art out there and asking for polite critiques is extremely helpful! It can help you see things that you hadn’t seen before. My mom is both my biggest ally and my biggest critic – I can always count on her to encourage me and point out things she doesn’t like. Even if you don’t want to ask for critiques, put your art out there anyway. It will get you used to talking about your art, which is huge.

Believing that exposure will come if you’re good enough

And, the corollary: “Nobody is looking at my stuff, therefore it’s bad.” It’s so hard to remind myself that this isn’t true! Even if I post on instagram and only get a few likes, that has nothing to do with whether it’s good or not. The only person you should ever be comparing yourself to is YOU. Is your work getting better? Are you challenging yourself? Are you learning? Then that’s what matters.

The myth of “if you build it they will come” isn’t particularly true in this day and age. Audiences take time and effort to build, no matter how good your work is. You need to be giving exposure to your art and meeting people and talking about it, or else no one will even know it exists. Your biggest fans could be out there, unaware that your art exists. The most important thing is you figure out what works for you, whether it’s blogging or Facebook or your local art fairs. Keep putting yourself out there and engaging with others, and you will find what you’re looking for. And speaking of that…

Staying holed up in my studio all the time

This is a biggie for me. I’m introverted by nature and it’s so easy to be inside all day, creating art and design, and then wondering why I don’t know any other artists! I have been trying to slowly develop the habit of reaching out to people, or engaging with THEIR art as well. Another good idea is to take classes or attending meetups. It doesn’t work if you stay inside all day and just post on Instagram and don’t engage with anyone else. Comment on people’s posts, say hi to people you admire, ask for feedback, and also just go outside! It’s the perfect opportunity to get inspiration, take photographs, and just take a break.

Not believing in myself

This is THE biggest hurdle to my art growth, for sure. A combination of Imposter Syndrome and perfectionism has contributed to just being paralyzed with fear when it comes to art. I’ve slowly gotten over the hurdle by just powering through, a technique which is highly effective and really underrated. It’s tough though! But powering through and doing it anyway leads to small successes, which then contributes to my confidence. Even failures contribute to confidence, because really, what’s the worst that can happen? Trying and failing really IS better than not trying at all.

Raise yourself up, raise others up. That’s the motto I live by with my art now. Hopefully this helps anyone thinking about starting a new hobby doing anything!

Continue Reading
1 2 3 5