Life

What is Lynn Even WORKING on???

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The purpose of this post is twofold: give an update on my life/career/personal cosmic flow journey, and make all the other aimless, slightly frantic Just Starting Outers feel a little less alone in the world...

On that second point, seriously, if you've lived with this ever-present urge to do something "big" or fulfilling, but have also been granted the traits of impatience and over-thinking, join the club; it has been really harshing my mellow.

A vivid illustration of the phrase.

A vivid illustration of the phrase.

Something I'm learning to overcome is this misguided belief that EVERY entrepreneur has opportunities exuberantly thrown at them the minute they decide to work for themselves. For example, when I was merely entertaining the idea of starting an art business, I bought an online class from a couple of business-owners/bloggers that I've always admired. This class was supposed to guide you from the ground up and be very relatable, so one of the owners began the very first session with the story of how she got started in her business. I was REALLY looking forward to hearing something about how broke she was or working a corporate job she didn't love - ya know, something that I could relate with and get excited about my own future. Instead, she gave a brief narrative about how she was teaching a seminar in Italy and decided to start this business in a similar field.

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Hey! That is HER story, and it sounds awesome! I still love her and aspire to be as accomplished as she is, but that little bit was a tad discouraging. She already had a big following, and was obviously enough of an influencer to teach seminars in Italy, so how did she get to THAT point?? Could we trace her career journey back to her stationery card line in preschool? 

Anyway, I do not personally have that influence yet. I have about 278 Instagram followers (not that I'm counting...), a handful of email subscribers, and a bitty little studio in the spare bedroom of our tiny house. I need to remember that Future Lynn (Hi!) will be reading this someday and will think about how far she's come and be so glad she kept going.

It may be bitty, but there's loads of love. And by love I mean cat fur. And plants.

It may be bitty, but there's loads of love. And by love I mean cat fur. And plants.

Now here's an event update! As some of you may know, I worked at a manufacturing company as the graphic designer for almost four years. I absolutely loved my boss and coworkers, but the work itself was either uninspiring (for me, personally) or nonexistent, which got to me in subtle, gradual ways and began leaking into my personal business practices (like getting easily distracted and unmotivated). Despite the fact that it paid well and, for all intents and purposes, was a good job, I knew I couldn't sustain this and that, if I did stay on, I would become complacent, and any artist out there will probably agree that complacency is the enemy of creativity. 

One day I saw a local coffee shop that I frequent - and actually hung a few of my paintings in - was hiring, so I filled out the online application and got hired! I quit my graphic design job and I officially start next week as a part-time barista. 

I've never EVER worked a job like this before. I've either been a student or a graphic designer in my short life, and I am honestly intimidated by how different this is going to be, but equally excited to work in a high-energy environment that I hope will get me all jazzed for life again! 

As for this art business that I have (which you know about if you are here on this website reading this blog), I've been a little AWOL with marketing and social media lately. This is mostly because I also do local freelance graphic design and am finding it challenging to balance those projects with painting and maintaining this site. I know that's an excuse and I vow to get better at it! Just...ugh.

On that note, however, stay tuned for some exciting new paintings and whatever else comes out during this transition phase! As always, thank you SO much for your encouraging words and little hoo-rahs. You guys rock my world. 

PS- have you seen the new backpack that's available in the shop?? It is SO cute (if you'd so kindly indulge me to toot my own horn for a sec). Check it out! 

Art & Sorrow

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This will be a quick little post, but, I'll be honest, I kind of puttered around the house for the last hour to mull it over and put off writing it. If you've read any previous posts, you may have noticed the general theme in every subject is joy and a little whimsy, with an observation about how art and creativity enrich our lives in cool ways. This post is totally about how art and creativity enrich our lives in cool ways, but there's some sorrow threaded into it this time.

So almost three weeks ago, I posted this painting progress shot on my Facebook page:

I was messing around with modeling paste for some experimental fun and thought it might do well with a white rose motif. If you know me and my work, I never paint roses. It's just not my thing. No biggie.

I was halfway through this piece when I got a call that a very dear aunt had passed away suddenly.

Disclaimer: I am part of an exceptionally enormous and close family (think "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," but with a bunch of Irish people). This event sent an emotional wave each one of us felt separately and together.

That was on a Sunday. The following week is truly a flurry in my memory, punctuated with the conflicting happiness of seeing so many loved ones that traveled here from around the country, and grief for the reason. We were all so busy getting ready for the funeral and being sad that I had ZERO desire to do anything creative. Art was literally the last thing I wanted to consider. Like, I didn't even think about it, which is crazy, because it's such a fixture in my life that I kind of constantly obsess over.

That little half-finished painting sat abandoned on my easel for a few days, until one day I was alone and completely sick of not feeling like doing anything. I needed to just have a purpose to channel my sadness into. So I (somewhat half-heartedly) finished it.

My cousin saw it and, long story short, it was displayed at the calling and funeral because, as serendipity would have it, "white rose" was the theme (remember how I NEVER paint roses?). Now it's a monument to a colorful, energetic, and unconditionally loving mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt that I didn't even know I was making.

My least favorite question I heard in school was "How do we define art?" It inevitably became a debate about what art is, how it's actually undefinable (ingenious answer from those artsy know-it-alls *laughs uncomfortably*), why someone thinks abstract art is NOT art, etc... As I've experimented with my creative side throughout my life, I'm discovering the question actually should be "How does art define us?" Art has proven time and time again to me to be its own thing, separate from our formulae and stoic theory, that reaches out to us in unexpected, sometimes blunt, sometimes subtle ways. And it is beautiful.

Cultivating a Creative Life

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This post's subject is kind of a correlation/causation quandary. How's THAT for an opening sentence? Bahaha.

What I mean is that it's kind of hard to tell if I've been more creative because I changed my environment, or my environment changed because I've been more creative... Regardless, there's no doubt they go hand in hand like two peas in a pod with a big bucket of clichés. My creative journey over the past year has been a practical and, so far, quite affordable one, and I decided now's the time to share a bit of what I've learned and done to improve my artistic flow and general lifestyle.

1. MAKE YOUR OWN FOOD.

Cooking is its own form of art. It requires risks (hopefully none that result in a mad dash to the bathroom...), experimentation, a pinch of passion, and a heaping spoonful of determination. I've subjected the household to some weird, well-intentioned goop, but that's gradually led to, I think, a decent grasp on the culinary. I make practically everything from scratch now and rarely use anything pre-made or canned. Sure, it takes more time, but I've exercised that "Go Forth and Be BOLD" muscle enough in the safety of my own kitchen that it's applying more and more to other aspects of life (like art)! It's also simply more rewarding in the end.

A personal favorite: angel hair pasta with tomatoes, olive oil, and fresh chopped basil. Om to the nom.
A personal favorite: angel hair pasta with tomatoes, olive oil, and fresh chopped basil. Om to the nom.

I highly recommend researching some recipes for the stuff you usually see pre-made, like creamed soups, sauces, and egg noodles. Some are really fun to make on your own! In the long run, it's cheaper and healthier. Win win!

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P.S. Recipes might be an eventual goal for this blog... Just a heads up.

2. ATTACK YOUR WARDROBE.

Hello, I'm Lynn, and I used to be a clothes hoarder. No joke. I would traipse over to any thrift shop/retail store and insist that I had to buy something to actually be accomplished. I distinctly remember these horrific denim and faux wood platform shoes I found at Goodwill when I was 15. I NEVER wear platform shoes or heels in general. But, guys, I bought those shoes. You know that song by Mackelmore? I was the living embodiment of "But {censored}, it was ninety-nine CENTS!!!!" Those shoes sat dolefully in my closet - never worn - until I got rid of them about 5 years later. 90% of my wardrobe was utter rubbish I secretly hated (those shoes are just a vivid example). Then, about two years ago, I discovered how FUN it is to purge my clothes! And, as an added bonus, I've given a ton of my friends my old clothing that they truly like, which makes it significantly easier to say goodbye (to the clothes. Not the friends).

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That's my closet as of 3:00 this afternoon. It's not the most remarkable picture that ever graced Blogdom, but this is the BEST my closet has looked. Ever. I only have things I truly love and make me feel like myself (I'm gazing fondly at you, cream and charcoal chevron knit hoodie down there...). Oh, how that has made my life so much easier and free. I'm also not spending $3.99 about five hundred times throughout the year anymore. #yourewelcomewallet

3. DECORATE YOUR WALLS (WITH YOUR OWN WORK IF YOU CAN!)

There are approximately six million online tutorials on making your own abstract art. If you're not super confident in your artwork, check them out. Get some visual interest in your home!

Cats also offer a certain artistic ambience.
Cats also offer a certain artistic ambience.

Above was a canvas I finger painted on the living room floor while watching Pride and Prejudice. The obvious advantage is that I could make it fit in with the rest of the décor!

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This piece (which is available in the print shop, FYI #shamelessplug) brightens up our rather dull breakfast nook/dining corner.

4. MAKE YOURSELF PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE.

I had to get over my self-consciousness and nervousness and march down to the local coffee shop with my paintings to request they hang them up. I was ridiculously anxious about this! My friend came along for emotional support and decided to secretly take pictures of me talking with the manager. So flattering.

Side note: I need better posture. Shoulders back, Lynn!
Side note: I need better posture. Shoulders back, Lynn!

Spoiler: they hung my stuff. This makes it seem more "real," if that makes sense. I felt like Pinocchio after he gets turned into a real boy. I had to take the initiative to put my work out there and now I feel like I have this new accountability to the community to keep painting. That's motivation.

On an equally scary note, this website, my Facebook page, and my print shop were all steps I forced myself to take. Each one was, technically, very simple and cheap to execute, but the return has been BEYOND what I imagined. I haven't made a living off of these things (yet! Ha!), but the fact that I am now responsible for how I express/promote myself has been an immensely important step toward my goal of full-time painting. Pre-Website Lynn was a lot more adrift than Current Lynn.

5. COMMUNITY!

This is a big one. I'll make it quick, though: if you want to get pumped about your craft/hobby/business, join some Facebook groups. Get on those hashtags and whatnot. I joined some entrepreneur groups on Facebook and followed a ton of artists I admired, then I started commenting on stuff. I've made some connections with people I aspire to be, and that's got me all kinds of jazzed for my own career! I don't know how I functioned before this.

6. INVEST IN YOUR CREATIVE CORNER

My office/studio is the tiny spare bedroom. It's not glamorous, but I've worked to make it into a space I can feel energized in. I need simple and bright to feel focused, as well as a Netflix machine somewhere within eyeshot.

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This room got a huge overhaul a couple months ago. Like my closet, it was full of stuff I just had. Not stuff I liked. It doesn't require much adding to make a space creative; more often than not, it requires subtracting. 

Overall, the takeaway might be that devoting more time to simplicity, finding community, and finding your inner boldness will jump-start your creative life more than you'd expect! I'm so excited for what lies ahead! Maybe an original painting shop? Hmmm... ;)

Happy creating!

How Living in a Small House Made Me a Better Artist

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Ha. So this post took me WAY back in all sorts of good and uncomfortable ways. The one word I refuse to use to describe it is "embarrassing," though, because that's a totally not-constructive way to view your progress! To start: this is going to be less about "artistic ability" and more about "just figuring stuff out." I'm totally not harping on any certain style and you may in fact prefer my old work over what I do now! That's a-okay! Just know I'm never goin' back again (if you sang Fleetwood Mac when you read that, we are automatically friends).

Circa-ish early 2014 - A monument to my attempt at pallet knives

After we got married, Jonathan and I moved into a decent-sized rental house that was pretty vanilla except for a cool brick wall in the den. It had three bedrooms, two living areas, and a ton of (beige) wall space to fill. I cranked out paintings willy nilly without a whole lot of thought; basically as long as they were mostly earth-toned and not too crazy, they would fit in. I would not call it a "bold" approach. I garnered a lot of inspiration from prints I saw at department stores, which makes it all the more ironic that that is now the total opposite of my style.

Also early 2014 - So much black. This guy got painted over earlier this year, may he rest in peace.

A common theme with my earlier paintings - and even my current ones to some extent - is efficiency. I wanted to just make as many as possible, so I'd buy those black canvases and paint quick shapes on them and call it done.

 

A lighter one, but an exact replica of a Kirkland print I saw online. How times change. Also, sorry for the fuzzy picture... this one no longer exists for me to take a better shot at.

 

The Dark Phase.

 

The Brown Phase.

 

Oh, so close to not being completely brown...

So what changed (besides my picture-taking ability)??

We bought a 850 sq. ft. house, that's what!

When we moved, I came to realize just how much crap I'd accumulated in just over a year. We had to majorly downsize to a two-bedroom, one tiny living room space, and I had to get SELECTIVE. Since I lacked any sort of personal, unique, and BOLD style, I tended to buy anything that was A) On sale and B) Not totally hideous. As a result, I didn't really like anything I had, including my paintings.

Then I had to choose wall paint for the first time! I'm actually quite grateful that the previous owners had such an affinity for brown and tan walls (and ceilings... maybe not so grateful for that aspect) because looking at vast swaths of my "comfort colors" made me realize I actually don't like them much. They don't make me feel creative; and here I was painting with them all. The. Time.

Having a small house that cannot physically fit the average American's paraphernalia is the best thing that ever happened to my style and general happiness. 

The approach to furniture and knick-knacks has evolved from "I have room for that. Why not." to "Does this enrich my life and is it worth the space it will take up?" Wouldn't you know it, once I started asking those questions, the answer was most often a resounding "NOPE." Applying that same mindset to my work afforded me a newfound pride and genuine pursuit of boldness in my style.

Below is a little style collage I threw together that spans the past three to four years. Something that really stood out to me as I made it (besides the gradual 180 with the color schemes) was how my control improved! The earlier paintings just seem a little more timid and desperate - like, I didn't really know what the brush and paint were going to do and I tried to paint despite that, instead of with it! It's as if the less I controlled the paint, the more polished and professional my style got! How does that even work??? Art is weird.

I've actually just been staring at this collage instead of writing for a while because it's making me feel stuff! Mostly I have a happy pride with how far I've come; this graphic is a visual compilation of hundreds of hours, paint, frustration, perfectionism, victories, and mistakes. If you've been a creative for a while and have a history of work, I HIGHLY encourage you to do something like this collage right here! Dude. It's pretty cool. I'm even more excited now to see where this takes me.

Love the phase you're in. Learn from it. Don't get too comfortable. You'll be amazed at yourself later. :)

Why I Have Houseplants

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Houseplants have a somewhat unremarkable reputation; like, your mom had some that you had to water sometimes for chores kind of reputation, but it turns out they're super beneficial! I started collecting and indiscriminately murdering plants about three years ago, and I now feel like I have a decent grasp on what works to keep a plant generally upright and alive and how it really enriches life. SUNLIGHT

I used to not really care if our blinds were closed. I opened them sometimes so I could see what I was doing during the day, but otherwise, meh. Now that I have plants in every room, I'm super conscious of letting as much sunlight into the house as possible! As a result, I've noticed that I have a new appreciation for bright light and happy colors and that my overall mood has been boosted.

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RESPONSIBILITY

In a list of good stuff, you'd hardly expect that word to EVER show up. Bleagh. But here's the thing: plants are basically low-maintenance pets. Their needs and rewards are more subtle, but there's a real satisfaction in keeping even just one alive for years (I have TWO out of COUNTLESS that have made it from the beginning, and I beam with joy at them. #proudmom). Watering used to be annoying to me, but now I see it as affirmation that I'm taking care of something living and dependent on me. It's kinda therapeutic in a way!

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AIR PURIFYING

Plants are a little cheaper than a diffuser (unless you buy a fiddle leaf fig every other day #lifegoals) and are really effective at improving air quality in your house, especially during winter when the windows aren't open as often. NASA itself did an intensive study on this, and recommends at least one plant per 100 square feet of indoor space (nailed it). I can't exactly anecdotally testify that anybody's breathing is significantly better around here, or that it even smells better than three years ago (actually, it does, but that's because I got better at cleaning and we moved out of a run down rental), but just knowing that those plants are pulling their weight around here is nice.

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DECORATION

Plants are the dark wash jeans in the décor world; they are SO versatile. Blank spot on a shelf? Plant. Ugly subwoofer on the floor? Plant. Weird color scheme? Plant. You know how you sometimes feel like a room is just so plain and...boxy? Heck, you might think that right this second if you look around. Plants provide an organic contrast to all our indoor straight lines. Seriously, you cannot go wrong here. And can we talk about POTS??? The above picture was a somewhat unsatisfying gold paint attempt but I'm SO going to play with pots later. The possibilities are endless.

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NATURAL

I mean natural in the sense that plants are "of nature." We humans have an intrinsic need to be connected to nature. Much like the food we eat, the more processed and removed from nature our environment is, the more it harms us. It's way too easy to not even notice after a while. Plants offer a reminder of what's important for our health (this is not a health and wellness blog so I'll stop there lest I rant endlessly).

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CREATIVE BOOST

Ever notice how plants - particularly flowers - have been trending in the art world for the past few centuries? I'm telling you, plants, with their diverse leaf patterns and seemingly random growth methods, are a hive of creative expression. I can honestly say that looking at a plant sparks a little artistic thought that can go so many ways. If you're pursuing your creativity, a plant or two that makes you feel just a little something is SO good for you.

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SUPER BASIC CARE

Let the record show that I acknowledge I am not a plant expert. What I have learned, however, that the most effective methods of not letting plants die is 1) drainage and 2) reading them.

Drainage is a big one, folks. I've seen some fun, cute DIY projects for plant containers, but then they don't proper DRAINAGE! DANK DRAINAGE! This post is out of control. You either need to have a little reservoir for water to pool and evaporate, like the little dishes on the bottom of pots, which have holes drilled into the base, OR about an inch or more of large-ish gravel at the bottom of the pot. Otherwise, root rot. I had a plant that slowly turned brown and died a horrible, slow death. When I pulled it out of the pot, there was half a gallon of dirt water festering at the bottom. Thus, I learned that day. Drainage matters.

Reading plants is a little weird-sounding, like beta fish whisperer (which I'm convinced my husband is), but I've gradually figured out that a drooping plant with sort of wrinkly, soft leaves is thirsty (some are big drama queens about this), a plant losing leaves and color needs more light, and browning at the stem base plus drooping means too much water. There's more to it, surely, but I've managed to keep plants generally sustained by knowing those three things. The key is just to move your plant around the house if it seems to be suffering despite proper watering. It'll tell you when it's happy somewhere!

I do feed the plants once a week with this:

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I've been doing it for a while so I can't exactly compare how they do without it, but it can't hurt, right?

I hope this gave you a little nudge to nab a plant or two or twelve from the store next time you're out. Enjoy your little green friends! :)

I Cut My Hours to be an Artist: The Beginning Stages

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What we make time for is what is most important to us. This is actually kind of embarrassing considering the stuff I've logged countless hours doing (gives Netflix an accusing glance), but this has really been hitting home lately; in somewhat unsettling ways. I've touched briefly on the subject of creativity and inspiration and the silly expectations we get stuck in. It can actually be self-crippling in a way because, say, if I feel more strongly than life itself that I'm meant to be a world-famous, critically-acclaimed painter, I can quickly and easily become consumed by that expectation, not the actual art, which in turn makes me feel either so inadequate I wonder why I bother, or resentful of anything in my life that I perceive as a hinderance to my goals. I speak from experience. Big time. I'm probably not way off the mark here that every artist has felt this to some degree (if you haven't, I will personally interview you and air it on all the major networks).

I've been trying to see it all more simply. Honestly, I just simply love painting. I love art. I love that it pursues me; it's right at my fingertips whenever I return to the easel no matter how much time I've spent away. Art has no expectations. It just says, "Here, try this. See what happens." Art feels like home.

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So here's the skinny: I decided very recently to cut my hours at work so I can commit more time to "Home." I TOTALLY haven't had moments where I think, "WHATHAVEIDONE??????" and start scavenging for large boxes in case we have to live in an alley... but crazy awesome things don't happen without crazy scary feelings right beforehand.

Let's face it, there's a stigma in the world regarding making a living as an artist, and, frankly, it can sometimes be for good reason. I'm currently trying not to get hung up on that as I type this. I'm not going to try to argue that, but what I will do is list my reasoning for this big transition in my life that I've dreamed of for years so that, if you're in the same boat, I can help a fellow creative rationalize such an emotional decision.

  1. FINANCES: Okay, so, my husband's a youth pastor and I've been working a graphic design job with freelance design and painting on the side. With all that, we do kind of mostly alright. We live in a really affordable area and own our 850 sq. ft. house. BUT, we by no means live a lifestyle that many would call...decadent? Or even, in some circles, nice? And you know what? It's changed our perspective. Instead of working more hours so we can eat out more, shop at World Market with reckless abandon, and get our galley kitchen expanded out about twenty thousand feet, we've discovered the sweet simplicity of homemade hot chocolate and good conversation with people we really like. It's encouraged my creativity by making me see the potential in Goodwill finds. It's forced us to really analyze what makes us happy (disclaimer: it's not "stuff"). It's so cliché, I know. That's why we love it. So that's why I'm not completely wigging out about this. Sure, we will probably (definitely) have less income for a while as I work on my business, but we know what's important. We will make it work.
  2. FULFILLMENT: This builds off of finances. I was really really fortunate to figure out early on that I wasn't getting fulfilled through clothes, knick knacks, or imagining myself working at Pixar (I graduated with an animation degree). I'm such a simple person; I just want to hang out with my mom, catch a movie with Dad, pet my cats, make dinner with Jonathan, and live a life full of art and love. I for real just got this hilarious visual of Jon Lennon nodding his head appreciatively at me. Such validation. Are you living a life that reflects your fulfillment? Do you spend time deliberately? I certainly wasn't for the longest time and it's actually mind-boggling to look back on how I spent my days just two years ago. Complacency is the wall between us and fulfillment. But really, folks.
  3. SELF-MOTIVATION: This is the trickiest one. Ugh. I, ironically, just don't even want to try to explain this one. Here's the gist: I started joining freelance and artist Facebook groups. My whole Facebook feed turned into people seeking advice, posting wins, and showing off their amazing work. I got some help from some of the communities and have gotten more and more engaged with the members. It seems stupid-simple, but I don't think I would've had the chutzpa to walk into my boss' office and start the "So here's the thing..." conversation with him without the support of these internet strangers. I wouldn't feel half as motivated to paint without seeing the hard work of other artists. Seriously, COMMUNITY MATTERS SO MUCH. I can see a massive difference between Pre-Facebook Group Lynn and Now Lynn. easel

This is my most recent painting, "Isle Survive." This one is going to hold a special place in my little arty heart because it's kind of a symbol of this transformation. To me, this painting says, "I'm the real deal! I was made with passion and purpose." Same here, painting, same here.

 

The "Art" of Inspiration

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I don't love "inspiration." It's the Creatives' Anthem, sure, but it's so fickle; it should be called "fleeting-euphoria-that-you-must-act-upon-NOW," but Webster has yet to respond to my calls. Disclaimer: I know my tagline "Make Life Inspiring" might seem contradictory to this whole post, but it actually works with it. You really do have to make inspiration!

But really, if you are a creative type in any capacity, and you don't feel inspired, congratulations on being a normal human (sorry, I know we hate being referred to that way). ;) As I've been making strides to transition my art from hobby to profession, it's become even more... sludgey...when I paint. That was the only word that came to mind (another note for Webster). On one hand, I'm super jazzed about getting my work out there and it's challenging me in really cool ways, but on the other I feel like I'm constantly on the brink of burnout and wonder why I'm even bothering. This is NOT a pity post, it's an encouragement post because I KNOW for a fact that this is reality for so many. I don't have a perfect nugget of wisdom that will transform your entire life and I'm definitely in the midst of learning a LOT of hard lessons that I can't even identify yet.

On THAT heavy note, I do have a pretty simple method I recently found that's really effective at reminding me that I really do love what I'm doing and that it's worth it, and lucky for you, I'm not the secretive, stingy type (which has been my downfall on occasion)!

PAINT WHAT YOU KNOW AND LOVE

Replace that first word with "write," "bake," "sculpt," whatever applies to you. It seems WAY oversimplified and, honestly, sounds like a phrase I would normally ignore for being a meaningless platitude. But seriously, guys, there's such a pressure to push boundaries and take risks (hey, this whole blog is a risk for me in its own way!!!), but pursuing the new and edgy and totally original just for the sake of responding to that pressure is exhausting! The subtle things you learn from delving into the familiar are endless and essential for creative growth, which is what I'm learning right this very moment. 

Here's exactly how I made this (gradual) discovery, because being vague on subjects like this is awful and we all want to look at pictures now!

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That is Lake Michigan as seen from Highway 2 in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, a.k.a. where my heart and soul live. If you know me on a remotely personal level, you will have already been aggressively made aware of this. I seriously love it up there.

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I've lately been in the habit of painting aerial scenes of water, all starting with this:

Sea Kayak Painting

...which started with a cool featured image of rough waters I once saw on a streaming music site. While painting it, I thought Huh. I like kayaking in Michigan a lot. I'll just put a kayak in it. Whatevs. And you know what, that's one of my favorite pieces ever. I know now it's because I painted what I knew and loved. 

I liked painting that one so much, I just kept doing similar pieces: aerial views of water and waves, with the occasional kayak. It's not the most boundary-pushing, gritty art I've ever produced, but I have grown as an artist in this phase more than ever!

So on our latest trip to the Upper Peninsula (also known as the UP), I took a few pictures to reference on this next painting to give me an extra boost.

I wasn't going for realism here (I'm the queen of Nopatience Land), but reference photos can be awesome and, I'll finally admit, I used to really resist ever painting from photos because I wanted to be SO original, resulting in some wonkily inaccurate, under-developed weirdness where it just didn't belong. Remember that point about pursuing the edgy and totally original...?

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This isn't really a painting tutorial (you can see one here if ya want!), but I'll include a few good ol' progress pictures.

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Voilà! I happily thought of the UP the whole time I worked on this and ended up with something that's meaningful and loved, which, I think, is always evident in a piece of art.

Shameless Plug Alert: If you'd like a print of this and other pieces, check out my shop! :)