We’ve somehow almost made it to the end of this year! Am I the only one who feels this year has been the strangest time warp?
While this year has had plenty of heartache and uncertainty, I wanted to share
three highlights of my year with you:
The Sketchbook Project
I started 2020 working on a sketchbook that my friend gave me as a Christmas gift. This sketchbook was part of a larger, global creative movement called “The Sketchbook Project.” With input from my instagram community, I decided to create illustrations around the theme of “simple joys.”
Once completed, I sent my sketchbook to become part of the Brooklyn Art Library. Due to the pandemic, it took awhile for them to include my work in their digital library but it was very recently published. So exciting! Would love it if you take a peek here and favorite it if you feel inclined.
Growing and Learning
This year, I spent considerable amount of time reflecting on my art journey, educating myself as well as exploring with color and shapes. I worked mostly with acrylic paint and decided that play was my therapy for not only getting through this tough year, but also helpful in figuring out where I want to go with my art.
I’ll share more about my goals for the new year soon but it definitely felt like my art went through a strong transition period this year. I designed a new logo and completely updated my artist website. Seems like this will always be a “work in progress” but I’m much happier with how it looks now.
This contemporary bee painting is available in my etsy shop. You'll find some of my other paintings there too and I share my newest hummingbird art in my online shop.
So if you have any blank walls that could use some joyful art, I’d feel honored to help you!
If you follow me on instagram, you often see me posting pics of weird mushrooms and beautiful Pacific Northwest nature. I love exploring the woods with my family and most often find my “simple joys” in nature.
During the fall of 2019, I took an online course through Oregon State University as a first step towards becoming a certified Oregon Master Naturalist. The next step was the field course which was unfortunately (along with many other things) cancelled for spring 2020. Thankfully, OSU decided to offer this course as a hybrid this winter. I was admitted to the course (yay!) and recently started with a combination of zoom calls and homework in the field on my own.
Just like with anything, the more you learn about something, the less you feel you know…. so I’m not going to be a nature expert anytime soon but I feel really good about becoming a more educated advocate for our natural environment and finding a way to give back to my community through the volunteer work I’ll be doing.
I’d love to hear about YOUR reflections on the year.
Did you learn something new? Gained a new insight? Became curious about something? Found a new medium to express yourself creatively? Fell in love with someone or a new pet? Celebrated a milestone or special anniversary? Became an advocate for something you’re passionate about? Learned what gave you most joy and peace during this difficult year?
I read all my comments so please share!
Finally, thank you so much for your support and encouragement! It truly means the world to me!
Wishing you and your family the most joyful holiday season!
I don’t remember exactly how old I was but I distinctly remember the trepidation I felt when my grandpa suggested that I climb the ladder. First of all, I’ve never been a fan of ladders. Not sure why but they kind of freak me out. Secondly, this ladder was leaning against their garage and on top of their flat roofed garage was a box. The box was a bee hive. And tons of bees were flying in and out of the box. Like…. a lot of them!
My grandpa was a beekeeper. And perfectly comfortable around so many bees. While I was nervous about his suggestion, I trusted my grandpa. Plus he was right there next to me. So, I carefully took that first step up the ladder. And then another one. Before I knew it, my face was even with the box and honey bees were flying all around me! They didn’t seem bothered by my presence and seemed too occupied with their work to care. I was very careful to stand still.
Soon my trepidation was replaced by an overwhelming sense of wonder and awe.
As I grew older, I learned how to tell the difference between honey bees, bumblebees and hornets. I’m not afraid of bees now. In fact, I’ve only become more amazed by them and grateful for them.
This year, I’ve taken on a more intuitive style of painting. I realize it might sound a bit wacky but I allow the paintings to guide me “what they want to be” instead of starting out with a subject in mind. It’s been a fascinating journey to say the least.
While I took artistic liberty in painting the bee in my newest artwork “Free to Bee,” my childhood memory of standing on that ladder while my grandpa shared his lovely bees with me, came back to me strongly.
I allowed the linen canvas to shine through on one of the corners of the painting as I liked the natural feeling it gave to the painting.
“Free to Bee”
16” x 20”
Acrylic Painting on Linen
To see if it's still available, please check here.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about this contemporary original art.
Are you fascinated with bees? Grateful for the important work they do? Love honey?!
I’d love to hear from you!
Thank you for following my art journey!
P.S. For a sprinkle of joy in your inbox, consider joining my email community below. I like to share happy surprises, exclusive content and sneak peeks!
The Christmas Collective 2020
It’s November! It’s my birthday month and the trees are changing colors making the Pacific Northwest even more magical than it typically already is. I have a really exciting announcement to share with you!
This year has been so challenging for many of us. I had this feeling that I wanted to do something joyful and uplifting to counteract all the hard stuff. So when Melissa AuClair from The Creative Season asked me if I was interested in being a speaker at an online summit she was organizing, it felt SO right and I immediately jumped at the opportunity!
“The Christmas Collective” is an online retreat for women happening virtually from November 11-14, 2020, before the intensity of the holiday season starts. With a variety of workshops covering a range of topics from creative activities to home decorating and memory making, I know you’ll find something you’ll be super into and have tons of new ideas and inspiration to make Christmas extra meaningful this year.
As you might have guessed, my workshop will be all about celebrating the simple joys at Christmas. O, and did I mention you can sign up right now… for free?!
If you’d like to learn more, here is the link to the Christmas Collective registration page.
Being familiar with Melissa’s work and having such a wonderful line up of women speakers, I’m so sure this conference will add joy to finish your year on a positive note.
Hope you’re enjoying all the beauty fall has to offer. Please let me know if the comments if you've signed up for the event. Would love to hear from you!
Thanks for joining me on this journey!
The Christmas Collective was so fun! It gave me and so many other women a chance to connect and feel inspired with new ideas. As part of my workshop, I offered a giveaway of a set of wood burned ornaments. I wanted to share the winner of the giveaway (selected by computer generated name pick): it’s Sharon Dobbs from Virginia!
I really appreciate all the women who watched my workshop and reached out to me with such kind, encouraging comments. Thank you! Also big time thanks to Melissa AuClair from the Creative Season for organizing such a fabulous online summit!
I’m so excited to share my new painting collection with you!! So much is involved with launching an art collection but I’m so pleased with how this collection came together.
I named this collection “From Shore to Field” as it celebrates the simple joys found in nature from the salty coast to lovely mountain meadows. I worked in a limited color palette for these pieces with warm, more muted colors as we head into the colder months of the year.
This collection evokes feelings of calm and serenity. I used an intuitive style of painting and believe this is what I needed during this year of complexity and uncertainty. I hope they'll have a calming, uplifting impact on you as well.
Also, these paintings remind us of those moments when we realize that beauty is around us on even the most ordinary of days.
All artwork was painted with acrylic paint on canvas and kept unframed so you can choose a frame style that matches your home or office decor.
16 x 20 in.
16 x 20 in.
8 x 10 in.
16 x 20 in.
I’d love to hear which one of these paintings speaks to you most and which one is your favorite. If you're interested in any one of these paintings, these are original artwork so only one of them is available. You can check availability by clicking on the photos. Please email me at email@example.com if you have any questions.
Does the coming of the fall season make you want to declutter and organize too? I realize most people refer to SPRING cleaning but I recently had this crazy burst of energy and motivation to turn my art studio upside down and make it a more workable space.
My art studio is in a part of our back porch. Even though the space is not well insulated and too cold to work in winter, it works well for most of the year in our mild Pacific Northwest climate. Since I used to do a lot of stained glass mosaic, I didn’t have to worry about little glass shards on the wooden floor.
Now that I’m painting more, it's nice not having to worry about paint getting into our carpet or on furnishings. I just love spending time in my creative space surrounded by art books and art supplies.
The best part about being in the back porch is that I can look out and see birds in the bird bath, and hummingbird flying by in the garden. These encounters inspire me when I paint.
My art studio also held tons of little kids art supplies from when our kids were little. They were cluttering the drawers and shelves big time. Somehow (and way too fast), our kids have grown into teenagers and they aren’t going to be playing with any of those supplies anytime soon anymore….
Going through them was really kind of bitter sweet as the items reminded me of time we spent creating together when they were itsy-bitsy. But I also realized that being an artist, I apparently LOVED buying them art supplies! Too much stuff!
I decided to donate all the art supplies we didn’t need anymore through our neighborhood “buy nothing” group so I felt good about a neighbor with little kids being able to use the items.
After I decluttered all the art supplies that weren’t being used, the space felt so much better! I organized the supplies in bins and drawers I already had but that now had enough space to hold them. I also cleaned all the dusty surfaces and swept the floor. Ahhhh…. it felt like new again!
I instantly felt motivated to go to work! I like being surrounded by all my little knick knacks and I’d say the space is still not very minimalist but now I can actually find things. Ha!
I’m currently working on a new painting collection and have a large easel on my desk. These pics of my art studio were taken right after I cleaned. I wanted to share that moment of joy with you!
Do you find joy in creating art? Would you consider yourself more of an artsy or crafty person? Did you enjoy seeing the "behind the scenes" of my art studio? Would love to hear from you in the comments!
Thank you for following my art journey!
Simple, yet Empowering Words
A cup of coffee and a few minutes to catch up on happenings in the world.
After reading a few NPR news articles, I ended up scrolling my facebook feed. I have to say, I’m not a big fan of facebook. My favorite time spent on the app is in some of the groups I belong to where I learn and share about art and living a creative life. I enjoy meeting fellow artists this way, especially in this year of social distancing, and learning new tips and techniques.
However, this day found me mindlessly scrolling my feed. Most days, this is a complete waste of time and leaves me not feeling any better than when I started. But among the endless posts, there was a nugget of pure wisdom from a person who is not a super close friend, but who I admire a lot for her warmth, spiritual insights and perspective on life. Just had to share it with you.
Besides the general gist of the post being about how the world really needs more kindness right now (something I wholeheartedly agree with), I found these words:
Do the next loving thing.
I don’t know who first said or wrote these words to give them proper credit but what a simple, yet empowering concept.
When life gets tough, do the next loving thing.
When you’re confused, do the next loving thing.
When you feel overwhelmed, do the next loving thing.
When someone is hurting, do the next loving thing.
When you’re the one hurting, do the next loving thing (yes, taking care of your own body and heart is a loving thing to do too).
I realize it’s sometimes hard to know what the next loving thing to do is, especially when someone you love is hurting but in many situations, the simplicity of these words can bring clarity to help you move forward.
So, this is my resolution today: to keep these words close to heart as I move through my days. Do these words resonate with you too? If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Thanks for joining me on this journey!
Simple Joys Mini E-Book & Journal
It’s almost September and our teenagers are getting ready to start school this week. It will be a different start than normal for sure, all virtually for now, but I’m hoping I can still talk them into letting me take a first day of school pic!
How have you been feeling? I think most of us would agree it’s been a hard year. I’d really expected something good out of a year with such a fun number sequence…
20-20! But nope. This year has pulled out all the hard stuff and packed it into a teeth grinding, stomach upsetting, headache giving sandwich that has left many of us hurting, exhausted, depressed or at least anxious and unsettled.
I’m feeling it too. And I can tell you that I don’t have any good answers for how to cope with it. One thing I know for sure though, is that I feel happy when I can add some joy to someone else’s day. So often, when we give, we receive even more in return, don’t you agree?
So I’ve been thinking…
What adds joy to my day?
What pulls me out of a funk?
What makes my life happier?
How can I share joy with others?
I decided to put some of these thoughts down on paper and a mini e-book was born! The book I’m sharing with you is not so much about my personal reflections. That would be quite boring I think…. To make it more useful and interesting, I made it into a journal for writing, doodling and reflection on YOUR experiences.
During such a tough year, I wanted to do something positive and uplifting for my community. No, it won’t solve any real problems but I hope it will help you to celebrate the simple joys, not just during this year, but even during a year when the hardest stuff is an overwhelming to-do-list….
You’ll receive this Simple Joys E-Book & Journal immediately after you join my email community (access the sign-up form by clicking on the image below). Besides this e-book, you’ll receive exclusive content and insider news from my art studio.
Hope to see you on the “inside”!
Thank you for following my journey!
P.S. If you like the Simple Joys E-Book & Journal, I'd love to hear from you in the comments! What are your simple joys? What does joyful living look like for you? I look forward to hearing from you!
See that big smile? That's me holding my most recently finished hummingbird painting called "Hummerville" which I painted in an intuitive style with a layered acrylic painting technique. This painting was so fun to create!
I thought you might enjoy seeing all the steps and phases of my acrylic painting process, from the first brushstrokes to the completed painting hanging up on our wall. Creating this finished piece of artwork took many layers in order to create that interesting, yet soft texture.
I didn't set out to create a particular subject but decided to add elements as I went along. I find my paintings are more playful and spontaneous when I paint in this intuitive style and end up being better than if I decide "this is the subject I want to paint."
Ready to see the process?
These were literally the first brushstrokes I painted on the canvas. It can sometimes be intimidating to see a big, blank canvas in front of you. It’s helpful to just pick a color and put it onto the canvas. Starting is half the battle! Once you have some paint on the canvas, it’s easier to apply the next brushstrokes!
Done with the underpainting! I covered the entire canvas with paint creating subtle textures and gradations. I really liked how this underpainting looked. In fact, I liked it so much that I kept it in my art studio at this stage for days just to enjoy it for awhile!
After looking at the painting for an extended period of time (sometimes I work on another painting if I need to and let it simmer for a bit), the next step will come to me. I can’t explain this part but I’ll suddenly “see” a bird or flower or another subject appear and feel moved to help it come to life. Once that happens, the painting part comes pretty easy.
Finally...... finished! While I purposely wanted the hummingbird and main flowers to be a bit hidden in the abstract background that reminds us of a field of wildflowers, the extra details I added since the last phase make these subjects a focal point and provide the exciting “pop” in this painting.
I hope you enjoyed seeing all the steps involved in my layered acrylic painting process of this hummingbird painting on canvas. If you did, I’d really love to hear from you in the comments! Also, if you share via the social media icons, it really helps my little blog post to get found among the gazillions of pages on the internet. Many thanks!
While the original art is not for sale, high quality art prints of this hummingbird painting are available in my online art gallery with Fine Art America in a variety of sizes, along with framing options. Since the original is hanging in our living room, I can tell you from personal experience, this painting adds joy to our home environment every day! I also have a number of original paintings with hummingbirds available through my online shop. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
For a sprinkle of joy in your email inbox (and the occasional discounts!), please join my email community via the form below.
Thank you for following my art journey!
Pffff….. It’s been a whirlwind couple of months. While the world is undergoing some massive changes, so has my small creative business seen an impact.
With so much uncertainty going on, I needed something to keep my mind occupied besides endlessly reading news reports which only increased my anxious feelings… Since I always like to continue learning (and my naturalist field course had been cancelled due to covid-19), I decided to immerse myself in a creative business course that helped me to reflect on what I enjoy most about my art journey and where I’d like to focus moving forward.
Focus has been a bit of a challenge for me as I like to get involved in so many creative activities (apparently there's a term for that: multi-passionate!) but since the beginning of the year, I’ve been loving the therapeutic feel of paint on canvas and I realized this is a direction I’d like to continue to explore.
This realization led to a bunch of research on the best place to offer my joyful paintings. I decided on opening an online art gallery through Fine Art America (also called Pixels). The reason I chose to open a gallery with this company is because they’re known to provide customers with an infinite variety of art print sizes, substrates, framing options, and even other fun goods. They have an excellent customer service guarantee which is really important to me.
Another big change has been designing a new logo. I’ve used the name Presents of Love for many years but have decided to use my personal name going forward. I hope to explain this decision in more depth in another blog post.
One thing kind of led to another…. with a new logo and the exciting start of an online art gallery, my website needed some serious updating! I hope you noticed I gave it a serious face lift! I’m super happy with how much better it reflects me as an artist. I’m sure I’ll keep tinkering with it because these things are always a work in progress but I like the joyful feel and organized structure of my website much better now.
My art has always helped me through challenging times. Art has been my way to both find and share joy. I’m so very grateful with all of you for watching me grow, learn and standing by my side with a word of encouragement and support. Thank you!
Has art been meaningful in your life? In what way? Also, would love to hear what you think of the new website! Share in the comments!
I finished my sketchbook project!! You may remember me telling you in my January blog post that my friend gave me a special sketchbook destined for the Brooklyn Art Library. Well, it’s taken me a few months but I finished it! I feel really good about filling this sketchbook with illustrations all about simple joys!
Before I send it off, I wanted to share it with you through a short, little video. I took this video myself in my art studio in Portland, Oregon so it’s nothing fancy (anyone else have mommy maker hands with crazy dry skin from frequent washing during this pandemic?!) but I’m a big believer in celebrating even the smallest accomplishments. ;0)
I’m keeping this month’s blog post short but I hope you’ve all been okay during these difficult times. My hope is that you not only stay healthy but also find some joy in your daily lives while sheltering in place and that my “simple joys” illustrations bring a smile to your face.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments which one of the illustrations is your favorite. Which one speaks the most to you? Thank you for taking a peek and visiting me in this space!