A SHORT LOOK AT MY JOURNEY AS AN ARTIST

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When I was in third grade a drew a drawing of a women for a project in Sister Maria's class, she hung it in the hallway and for the first time in my life compliments rained in from all directions, teachers and kids a like. From that moment on people saw me as an artist and I saw myself that way too. Whenever anyone asked me what I wanted to be after that I always said "an artist." I applied to my dream art school in Brooklyn, Pratt Institute, and was nothing short of elated to be an adult, live in New York and start learning how to be a painter and get paid...that wasn't reality though, I wasn't going to just be able to paint in a rad loft studio and make money. I graduated and just looked for any job in a creative office...I worked for a famous Interior Designer who was downright awful and cried everyday at lunch. I became a preschool teacher for awhile and shortly after that the opportunity to be a high school art teacher fell in my lap and I took it. I had my kids and stayed home with them for awhile then started designing wedding invitations. For a long time I worked creating custom wedding invitation suites for design minded couples and loved it.

But last year I accepted the fact that I was totally burned out. The thing that brought me the most excitement had lost it's spark so I decided to let it go. But before I got there I had gotten so many requests for invitation suites with custom illustrations and then just custom illustrations. After a hiatus I relaunched my brand, just offering my art as prints and selling custom illustrations. The support from friends and long time clients was a blessing and I can't speak enough about how happy I am about this new part of my journey. I know it will continue to grow and evolve as I do and my family does and I'm grateful for that.

MY 2019 DESKTOP CALENDAR IS HERE!

I literally can’t express my excitement as I launch my 2019 Desktop Calendar. I have labored over these girls and these pages for months and I worked so hard to make sure it was just right. The girls have been inspired by some of my favorite fashion from each season, some by real people in my life or on the screen. They have been on my desk and hanging over it for months and I have obsessed over them so much they feel like real people to me at this point. They each have a personality and story in my head, maybe I’ll share some of those in the coming weeks but for right now I just want to introduce you to the calendar itself.

Each month is printed on bright white cotton paper with a numerical calendar and you can choose to display your calendar using your own frame, board or tack to the wall. But if you’d like a stand for displaying I’m offering a perfectly modern wooden block stained in a rich warm brown or a simple gold easel. Every month features a solo illustration of the calendar girl on the back so you can still use each month long after it’s passed. Calendars come packaged in a perfectly appointed black shiny gift box, wrapped in a bow ready for gift giving this holiday season!

Shop the calendar here and see all the details!

WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS

WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS

When we were kids and they said you can be whatever you want when you grow up but then they changed their minds when it came to crunch time in your late teens and told you to have dreams but make sure they are realistic….they were wrong.

PERSONALIZED NOTE CARDS ARE NOW IN THE ART SHOP!

I’m so excited to dip my toes back in the stationery pond in a little way and with that in mind I’m officially announcing my newest collection….PERSONALIZED NOTE CARDS!

Each card features some of my customer’s favorite illustrations and can be customized with your name in 3 font options. They come printed on luxurious cotton card and for real paperphiles you can choose double thick cotton card.

They come in a black box tied with the perfect bow, ready for gifting to a special someone or gift yourself!

Happy shopping and keep your eyes peeled for a few more fun things coming your way next week!

THE TOP 5 ILLUSTRATORS ON INSTAGRAM

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It’s no secret that I’m addicted to Instagram. I LOVE IT. FREAKING. LOVE IT. Everything about it, except battling the alogortihm of course. It’s amazing that you can connect with people around the world in real time and with as little words as possible, I’m a visual person (duh) so if I had to choose only Facebook or Instagram it would be a no brainer. { Don’t ask me about Twitter because I HATE IT. It’s the worst. }

When Instagram introduced stories I was skeptical, who needs to post a picture that would disappear in 24 hours and why? And as they worked out the kinks and have made it something more useful to people posting and people watching by finally allowing you to post older pictures, add words right in the app or with a 3rd party application,I fell in love. But mostly it helped me fall in love with some of my favorite fashion illustrators on Instagram. Watching them create or just their behind the scenes was enough to have me hooked. So check out my top 5 favorites below and check them out on IG!

 
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NIKI GROOM | @miss_magpie_spy

Nikki Groom is a UK fashion illustrator with a fun, loose style filled with bright colors. Her rendering of patterns captured my attention a few years ago and I have been addicted to her work ever since. She posts amazing stories of her travels and you can watch her paint live or on her story regularly which is beyond amazing. She shares her favorite tools and explains her process in such an approachable way for artists and non-artists alike.My 2 favorite things about Nikki is that she is super honest, even when things aren’t so glamorous and that she is super charitable. She is a concerned global citizen and encourages and informs her audience to give back to various causes near and dear to her and that is so refreshing.

 
 
 
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KATIE RODGERS | @paperfashion

Katie Rodgers is a true inspiration. Her work is so magical and you can often watch her create her work right on her story and if it doesn’t inspire you to make something I don’t know how to be friends with you anymore. Glittery gold, rich pastels and delicious brushstrokes are always on tap and the music she paints to is always mesmerizing (often soundtracks from movies)…it’s like she transports you to another place with her photos of NYC, bright bold flowers, tiny creatures that visit her rooftop garden and gorgeous illustrations. She is a can’t miss on Instagram, you’ll thank me.

 
 
 
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DAVID DOWNTON | @DAVIDDOWNTOWN

David Downton has been an idol of mine since I learned what fashion illustration was. He is a classic staple in the fashion illustration world and always will be. He recently posted a lot about my most beloved Antonio Lopez, a fashion illustrator who died years ago but his work still influences fashion illustration today. Downton’s style is loose but classic with modern edge. His Instagram feed is filled with his work and his inspiration but honestly one of my favorite kinds of posts from him is when shares vintage images of fashion mavens from times gone by.

 
 
 

TRACY HETZEL | @TRACYHETZEL

Tracy Hetzel is at the top of my list for her beautiful detailed illustrations that always have an air of rebellion. She is a graphic designer by day and illustrator by night. Her feed is full of her finished masterpieces and seriously brimming with personality. You can shop her work or commission a custom piece on Etsy in her store called Long Blue Straw.

 
 
 
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BROOKE HAGEL | @BROOKLIT

I had the immense pleasure of meeting NYC based Fashion Illustrator when she was a guest a Stitched Fashion Camp a few years ago in the Hamptons and she is as sweet as her drawings. Super girly and super fun, all of her work is to die for and her Instagram feed is so beautifully put together you can’t help but fall in love with all the blush pink, images in and around NYC and of course her super gorgeous girls. Her story is equally amazing…updated everyday with her adventures, live drawing gigs and videos of her at work on her desk or iPad, you’ll never be bored!

I hope you have a chance to check out all of my favorites and you might find they become one of yours too…and it would be really awesome to give them some love by following or even buying a piece of their art!

Happy scrolling!

 

LOSING EVERYTHING

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That’s a dramatic title for a blog post. I apologize….but not really. If you’ve ever felt like you lost everything you know there’s nothing dramatic about it. Drama is fabricated, loss is real. And sometimes those around you don’t see or understand your loss so you find yourself hiding your feelings or worse, justifying why it’s significant. That’s not worth the effort and it’s not going to change your sense of loss. It’s your’s to own not anyone else’s to understand.

A few months ago I went into my basement late at night looking for a box of books to decorate a shelf with (after a glass or two of Pinto Grigio, I’ve been known to redecorate) and when I opened the door it smelled how I imagine a rainforest would smell. I took several steps down the stairs into the pitch black laced with humidity, feeling for the light switch on my right. As the lights came on I became aware of the loud hissing sound and my eyes turned up to it’s source I realized a pipe in the corner of the basement had burst into two, spraying water across the entire width of basement soaking everything underneath. There was water at least 3 or 4 inches deep everywhere. I francticly ran up the 4 flights of stairs to get The Big Guy up so he could fix it, because honestly what was I going to do about it?

 When the water finally stopped spraying we looked around and started to access, if I’m being honest…what the hell had happened. There was an empty plastic storage bin in the middle of the room and it was filled to the top with water….water had to be spraying for DAYS, more than a week probably. Clearly we never go in the basement. Snowboard boots were filled with water, cardboard boxes were soaked through, some things were already turning moldy…and then it happened. I had stayed calm until this point because no reaction I have to it would change anything but that went out the window when my eyes fixed on what was in the corner under the pipe, what had gotten the most water damage. And it made me so angry and sad all at the same time. It was every painting, print, photograph and collage I had created from the time I was a teenager through college and several years later. My entire early history as an artist was soaked in water, covered in mildew and paint and ink were running down them like a nightmare. EVERY PIECE OF ART. If your an artist, you can understand the magnitude of this…if you’re not but you’re a parent imagine losing every photo of your children’s childhood.

 To some this may not seem like a big deal…it’s just paper, it’s just canvases and your house is still standing, your kids are ok, your husband is healthy. But to me it’s a lot more than physical object. It is or rather it was my history. Each piece was deeply treasured by me but not because they were all fabulous but because they each held a story. Some were stories of struggles with a medium or a concept. Some were  memories of late nights working with my friends to get them done by class. Some were reminders of words of wisdom from professors. They are also memories of where I came from….each one marks a place in my own personal history as an artist and to lose them felt like losing my history. I will never remember each one and what it meant to me without them physically being present and that made me feel like the memories would be lost forever.

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But they all were destroyed and needed to be thrown out, so while I was at work the next day my husband did it so I didn’t have to. I came home and ignored the dumpster in the driveway. Frankly I ignored the loss for a long time which is probably something most people do when facing a large loss. Recently I went down to the basement again looking for a wreath for the front door and noticed the empty corner where all of my work used to live. And I cried. A lot. And hard. I acted like I wasn’t, I cried while I looked over the wreaths deciding which one to grab but I wasn’t thinking about the stupid wreaths. I was missing something.

I felt really sad every time I thought about it that week, like there was a hole in my chest. I knew I couldn’t bring them back so I had accepted it and ignored it but it still burned whenever I thought about it.

I let myself grieve and then I let myself consider the other side of loss. And for me the other side meant I was no longer tied to those stories, I could start over. Any ideas I’ve had about who I am as an artist no longer had a piece to support that as evidence. I could be anything…I could start anywhere. I could reinvent myself and that, my friends, is where I found the power of the situation. I’ve started to really believe in the power of my own thoughts over the past few years…if you think it’s the worst thing in the world, it will be, if you think this could be a new beginning, it will be. So in this frame of mind I realized that losing everything is a gift…it’s the power to rebuild something bigger, better and more you than you have ever had before.

So I denied the loss, and when I couldn’t hid from it anymore I grieved it and then I was ready pick up the pieces and reassemble in whatever way I want. I’m reassembling myself in a way that begins with positivity, creativity and no rules. When it comes to my work, I do what I want when I want…I try new things, I try things I’ve done before that didn’t work and I abandoned, I rework things I’ve done forever. And the space to feel free in my work is a breath of fresh air and let’s me know the possibilities are endless.

5 ULTIMATE STEPS FOR STYLING YOUR FAMILY PHOTOSHOOT

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So it’s Fall, the temperature doesn’t agree with me but the leaves on the ground are a sure sign and that means you’ve got to get your ducks in a row for your holiday card photo shoot.

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I love getting creating a concept and getting all the looks together for the whole family... after all it is the one day of the year everyone has to listen to me and wear exactly what I say! Over the past few years I’ve been asked to by a lot of local client's to help style their family and choose the perfect location BUT unless you want to hand over everyone’s sizes and your AMEX that’s pretty difficult. So this year I’m going to walk you through my top 5 tips to styling your family photo shoot. This will help you easily create a seamless coordinated look. I follow a simple formula that anyone can replicate so get ready here we go!

TIP 1: GET INSPIRED

So this is easy, start with one piece of inspiration and build from there! You can choose an article of clothing or a piece of jewelry or any accessory that you love and that can literally dictate the entire direction of the styling. I grabbed Avy's dress for last year's shoot after I saw it on an end of summer sale rack and thought she would love the colors in it, and bonus the dark background and bright colors are great compliment to her fair skin. So every decision I made about what to wear or where to take the photos was made because of this dress from the bright colors in The Dude's outfit, to the dark blues and denim my husband and I are wearing....even the sunny summery natural location.

The formality of this piece can determine what's appropriate for the location too! So picture this...you like a plaid shirt your husband has, that's a great pattern to work from and you can take your photos in a barn or field. If you like a black and white dress your daughter has maybe the boys in black and white suits in a formal location like your living room or even studio shots. Maybe your little guy has a gorgeous Irish sweater so you can take your photos surrounded by snow or in the fall leaves. Let the inspiration piece do as much work for you as possible!

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TIP 2: ACCENT IT

Note as we continue through the tips that each tip leads you to a different family member. I began with Avy's dress and now this tip determines a key piece for The Dude. If you chose one item for each step for a different family member it will help fill in the blanks more effectively.

So most people would choose the easy way out after looking at the dress and pick some blue pants for The Dude. But we don't want matchy matchy....matching is a bad word in this case. Instead choose one of the accent colors or less dominant colors in the inspiration piece. I searched for a pair of bright red or even bright yellow pants to pull from the floral pattern and was ecstatic when I found these intense red pants! Boom! Done.

TIP 3: MIX IT UP

Next it's The Big Guy's turn.

Mixing patterns and textures is the key to looking put together but effortless. Change up the pattern and the use of colors in another article of clothing. So my husband has thousands of button down shirts, I knew I could find something to compliment The Dude's red pants and Avy's dress in less than 60 seconds and this shirt fit the bill. It's a gingham so it's not as organic as the pattern on the dress and the pattern itself is much smaller than the floral. That's a technique interior designers and stylists and fashion designers use all the time. Go simple and mix a stripe with polka dots or go crazy and mix leopard with stripes, or even camouflage with polka dots. As long someone else is wearing a common color from the pattern and you alter the size of the prints you will all looking amazingly stylish! And it looks more carefree...matching sweaters and pants isn't how you would normally dress so why would you for a photo shoot?

As long someone else is wearing a common color from the pattern and you alter the size of the prints you will all looking amazingly stylish!


Want a monochromatic shoot? Easy enough...mix your textures instead of patterns to create interest. If everyone is wearing white feel free to mix a white lace dress on you with a white satin dress on your daughter and a white tulle skirt on your other daughter. Mixing textures is easy and doesn't have to be reserved for monochromatic shoots either!


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TIP 4: GO NEUTRAL

Now for me...use your neutrals and staples in your wardrobe...you don't need to buy everything and it doesn't all have to be colors or textures you find in the inspiration piece! I decided on my favorite dark blue jeans and my standard chambray shirt, both neutrals. Yes, blues are neutral when they are denim or chambray! Neutral doesn't translate to just beige, black and white. Army green or even leopard print can be a neutral because you can literally wear them with any color...that's what defines a neutral.

So now that everyone has something, fill in the blanks...The Big Guy got to wear his jeans and a white t-shirt and a gray sweater on The Dude round out my neutrals.

TIP 5: BE EXTRA

The devil is in the details….in design and in your wardrobe so don't forget to accessorize! All well dressed women know how to do this, it's the icing on the cake and it's the difference between wow and everything else. I love giving Avy a huge statement necklace from my collection but you can add scarves, gloves (and not for the warmth but for the stye) sun glasses, fabulous shoes and any piece of jewelry you want. So the boys wore some brown leather high top sneakers from their closets, Avy got a pair of booties in a matching brown and I pulled out my favorite Shop Bop boots.

And now here me on this...hair and makeup should be extra too. Seriously. It's the last thing that will take your look and make it sing. I went with a red lip to tie some color into my look and Avy got a relaxed wavy look with some loose braids to frame her face...looks natural and not over done but is definitely done. Don't go with your everyday hair but rather elevate it to make it special.

*Disclaimer, my girl Meredith from Meredith Mascola Photography is a wizard with the camera and makes my vision come to life every year….she never bats an eyelash when I tell her my crazy concept and she’s right on board. So all photos in this post are her amazing work and she deserves all the credit to making us look our best every year!

Comment below if you have questions or let me know how your styling went this season!

THE MOST POPULAR PRINT IN THE ART SHOP!

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The most popular new print in The Art Shop is this bad ass. He was created as a gift for my husband for Christmas, we love skulls of all kinds, and he kept saying "You have to add this The Art Shop" "Why isn't this in the shop?" so I finally bit the bullet and I couldn't be happier that I did. The response has been an awesome and I've already sold out of it TWICE! But not to worry this watercolor art print has been restocked and is ready for you! Available in three sizes: 5x7, 8x10 and 11x14 printed on the best white cotton paper. Happy shopping party animals.