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.

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Art career mistakes I’ve made so far


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!

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My first art market

And yeah I had some stickers in the art fair back in June, but this is the first time I’ve set up a space of my own, had real wares that I’m vending, and actually am doing this for real for the first time. I also designed the website and all the branding, which you can see here.


Here’s my space all set up! It’s in an old medical clinic that moved out and has been abandoned for over a year, so it’s a little surreal walking around – but very fun to see how everyone has set up their little rooms! Mine is the smallest one of them all, because I am cheap and broke, haha.


I painted the backs of jackets so you can walk around like a cool biker person. I wish I had gotten a better photo of the bottom one, because it sold within the first hour of the mall opening! Crazy, right? I added a geometric pattern with black washi tape to liven up the space a bit.


The main area. Ignore all the tools, we were still setting up! My original paintings are on the wall to the left, then I have prints, handbound books, cards, and stickers. My stickers were selling a fair amount – I’m sure some people will pocket a few because they’re so small, but ah well. That’s the way it goes sometimes – and honestly I’d rather people have the stickers if they want them! I made big stickers, small stickers, and Make Your Own Graveyard stickers!

After I got set up I added a few of my friend’s leather midori notebook covers! He’s a fantastic leather artist, and I wanted to help him out by having some of his art in my space! They’re a cheerful orange, and I hope he sells a lot of them.


The one laying down is a watercolor notebook! Honestly I want to start making my own watercolor notebooks! I even make my own bookcloth and everything. Binding books is VERY soothing for me. I love doing it.

And at the front of the shop, I created a sign and we printed it out and hung it up!


It was AMAZING to see my design work in real life. I’ve been running myself so ragged with this art mall – with making art, and doing all the design, and not to mention my day job on top of it all! It felt SO good and SO validating to see that sign hung and ready to go. I need to take a better photo at some point, but it’s so hard with the glare, since it faces south!


Um. Needless to say, I was very happy to see the sign and have everything FINALLY finally come together!

What have you been up to lately? Any accomplishments, big or small? I’m always so hard on myself, I want to take some time to step back and really breathe and celebrate this! It’s open! I’m doing my first artist market! It feels awesome!

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I built a table!


How was your Saturday? I spent my day not doing art – sometimes I like to work with my hands in a way that art doesn’t always allow for (at least, not in the way that I want). I wanted a little table for my living room but wasn’t satisfied with the look (or the cost!) of anything I found online so I just built my own.

Unfortunately my camera totally lost the photo I took of the parts! I got all of them from Home Depot – I got a round piece of wood (precut and with a nice edge to it, very handy!) for the tabletop, 4 legs that I had them cut to the size I wanted, and brackets.

The legs had screws already attached, which was handy! They could easily screw into the brackets, and then the brackets attach to the tabletop. Here are the legs all sanded and ready to go!

The tabletop was a nice pine, but the color was a little yellowish, so I stained it with white stain. It was a gamble, honestly – I didn’t know they made white stain! It removed all the yellow perfectly, and left the wood a perfect blonde without diluting the details at all. So I got to keep the beautiful wood grain, but without the yellow! The kind I used was Varathane Antique White.

The top half has no stain, and the bottom half is stained with Antique White. You can see that the top half is more yellow. It’s very subtle – I’m pretty much the only person who would care about it! But it worked out great and I’m so pleased.

I drilled holes and attached the brackets, pretty easy!



After that, I just screwed the legs into the brackets, and then just used Varathane polyurethane on the top of the table. I actually tested out two polyurethanes on some scrap wood – Varathane and Minwax. Minwax was significantly darker! So I went with Varathane, which coated nicely and didn’t change the wood at all.


Super happy with how this turned out! My living room is SO cozy now. The old table I had, I just moved into another room, and it works out better in there anyway! Augustus’ face in this picture cracks me up – he looks so accusing!

Hope everyone’s having a great weekend! Mine has already been super productive!

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Art dump – Submissions, sketches, and more

It’s about seriously time for another art dump! I have a couple paintings to share and some other work I’ve been preparing for my first REAL vending experience. I sold stickers at the register at an art popup shop back in June, but now I’ll have my own real space to sell artwork and other treasures I’ve been making for the past few years. I’m really excited and nervous -and, there’s the chance it doesn’t happen at all if there aren’t enough applications. So we’ll see! But I’m preparing in the meantime.


I’ve been taking a painting class every week – it’s mostly self-guided but VERY relaxing to just go somewhere every Wednesday night and paint. I finished this over the summer – it’s called Lost & Beloved. I still kind of want to go back and add a ghost coming out of the grave. 🙂


Another painting I finished – this one I did in just 4 days. I actually painted this specifically to enter into a show, but I didn’t make it in. The theme was “boxed” and I wanted to paint hands holding something, as a box. Around the edges I painted shiny gold, which I really love. Anyway, I’m still proud of it even though it didn’t make it into the show!


STICKERS. As you know I love making stickers. This is the new batch I’ll be selling at the art mall – succulents, eyes, teeth (I love and hate teeth – they weird me out so much), bell jars, and Staff of Asclepius. More to come! I just did another batch of stickers that I can’t wait to post.


A painting that I’m so proud of – just playing with watercolors. We went camping in Connecticut and the trees were just beautiful. It was breathtaking. I’m so happy with how far I’ve come with watercolors – still more to go!

Well, that’s it for now. I’ll definitely be posting more here and on my Instagram (so follow me there!) about the art mall as it hopefully happens. What have you been creating lately?

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