The Bootcamp Gallery is Open!

It's open! I was so excited to see what all the other artists had submitted and there is some gorgeous work! Take a look here.

I ended up on page 10! They're not in alphabetical order so I think they are probably in the order they were submitted. Guess it pays to get done and submitted early. That's a goal of mine for next month.

There I am, in the middle on page 10!

There I am, in the middle on page 10!

After not looking at it for a couple days, am I in love with my design? Not so much. I like it but it's very clean and looks very digital to me, if that makes sense. I prefer art that looks more hand drawn or maybe it just needed better execution on the computer. Or maybe it was the colors. I didn't have time to deviate much from my original idea so I probably would've tried other things. That's ok, though. Thankful for the learning experience and motivation to keep creating.

MATS Bootcamp Journal Design Assignment

I wrote about joining Lilla Roger's Make Art That Sells Bootcamp here. Well, I completed and submitted the first assignment yesterday – an Edwardian theme journal cover. The private facebook group has about 700 members and it is an amazing artistic community where people shared their art and got feedback. A public gallery will be open tomorrow and I can't wait to see everyone's finished work.

I thought I'd share some more sketches and then my final design. | MATS sketches | MATS sketches | MATS sketches | MATS sketches

And the final design... | MATS journal design

I'm excited for next month's project and also glad to take a week off! :)

Books I Read Last Year

Last year, I probably read more books than I had in the previous ten years combined! I always thought I wasn't much of a reader, was too slow or just didn't have the time. Well, last year I didn't have more time but I decided to try to read more and to also try fiction. I had usually read non-fiction and most of the time just couldn't finish. I would feel bad if I couldn't get into a book and gave up reading it. Then I felt like I shouldn't start a new book until I finished the boring one. | Books I Read Last Year

I discovered I needed stories that sucked me in pretty quickly...and then I couldn't put it down. I even tried some YA.

Here's what I read: (Disclaimer: some I'd recommend and some I wouldn't.)

On my hopeful list for this year is the next two books in the Divergent Series (Insurgent and Allegiant), Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, The Secret History by Donna Tartt, Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham, The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure, Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin, The Vacationers by Emma Straub, It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell and to finish reading How to Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon and Art, Inc. by Lisa Congdon. We shall see how I do this year.

What books do you like to read? What is your favorite genre? Do you have any must read suggestions?

Creative Week #2

I made it through another week of doing a daily painting or drawing. There were a couple days that I had to finish up a drawing on the following day but I did DRAW EVERY DAY! And that is the goal. Woo hoo!

A boy and his pug. This reminds me of my son and our dog, Pudgy.

A boy and his pug. This reminds me of my son and our dog, Pudgy.

Edwardian locket, inspired by the mini assignment I'm working on.

Edwardian locket, inspired by the mini assignment I'm working on.

Another Edwardian inspiration.

Another Edwardian inspiration.

Edwardian inspiration – gems!

Edwardian inspiration – gems!

It's really COLD here and snowy and I needed something green!

It's really COLD here and snowy and I needed something green!

I guess I was hungry for cookies!

I guess I was hungry for cookies!

Monochromatic with Edwardian inspiration.

Monochromatic with Edwardian inspiration.

I Love Learning – Lilla Roger's Make Art That Sells Assignment Bootcamp

Yep, I'm a nerd. ;) I love learning and I especially love learning about art and how to improve my art. That's why I take classes as often as I can. My husband jokes that we need a line in the budget called "Sarah's Classes." Oops. I really try not to spend too much and find classes that give the most bang for the buck. On black Friday, I decided to buy the Make Art That Sells Bootcamp class (since it was on sale) by Lilla Rogers. You can read a little more about Lilla Rogers here but, in short, she is this amazingly successful art agent that I've only heard good things about! 

The 6-month class consists of a "mini" that you get on the first Monday of each month. This assignment is designed to be fun and get you warmed up and the creativity flowing. On the 2nd Monday of the month we get our final assignment that turns our initial sketches into a finished piece (perhaps ready to sell!) due by the 3rd week of the month. Then we also get a special piece of advice on life, art, or business, too. 

What I'm finding the most valuable about this class so far (and I'm only a week in) is the community! We have a private facebook group full of artists both new and returning to do another round of bootcamp. These artists are so inspiring and encouraging, like nothing I've experienced since art school!

Now for the mini: this month was "Edwardian Brooches." I had no idea what that meant. Ha ha. Guess I slept through class the day that period was covered in art history. Did some quick wiki searching and it's the time period from about 1900-1914. If I remember correctly, you can see a lot of Edwardian eye candy in the movie Titantic. It coincides with and is influenced by the belle époque and art nouveau periods, as well. It was marked by designs that were delicate and feminine with lots of diamonds and symmetry.

Edwardian brooches can all be found with a quick search on Pinterest.

Edwardian brooches can all be found with a quick search on Pinterest.

Here are some of my very initial sketches. A little embarrassing posting these in their super early stage but here I go anyway. I have more time today and this weekend to sketch so guess what I'll be doing?! | initial Edwardian brooch sketches

I can't wait to get into these even more. You know what I'll be doing this weekend. What will you be doing? :)

Creative Week #1

I want to get in the habit of creating every day, whether it be painting or drawing. I was inspired by August Wren and Crystal Moody's #yearofcreativehabits. It's not exactly a New Year's Resolution but I did decide January 1 was a good day to start. If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably seen all of these but I'm going to post all of them once a week. :) I don't have a theme or plan as yet but maybe one will evolve. Stay tuned. :) | 1/365 | 2/365 | 3/365 | 4/365 | 5/365 | 6/365 | 7/365

Happy New Year 2015!

I'm not sure what it is but I am very excited about this year! I have a renewed desire to make art again and know what direction I want to take this blog in (hint: more art). I've taken a couple of classes in the last few months that have inspired me, too. It's just all good. I'm not one to make resolutions (I am still working on my 36 in 36 list) but there is something about the new year that feels like a fresh start.

One of the classes that I took is another Skillshare class by PaperFashion. This one is called Telling a Story Through Fashion Illustration. You can take a look at my project here. I gathered some inspiration images and my favorite was this Oscar de la Renta gown and this lovely staircase. 

Here is the finished piece:

Drawing Sarah | Oscar de la Renta gown

Watercolor Wreaths

My son's school was having a craft show and they needed some school families to participate. I had the idea of selling little plants (thanks to Grammy who can actually grow plants) and I thought some holiday cards to go with them would be nice. I decided a theme of wreaths would be fun. Here are a few that I painted:


The craft fair was kind of a bust as we only sold a few plants and a few cards. :( But the good news is I am going to list some of the cards in my (currently unopened) etsy shop! Gotta start somewhere, right?

Five Happy Years

My husband and I are celebrating our 5 year anniversary today! He has spent this week spoiling me with 5 days of presents. It's been so fun and he is so thoughtful. I'm not sure how I got so lucky with him but I feel really blessed. He makes me want to be a better person and, at the same time, I feel so loved and so secure with him. I'm sure you get it...I think he's pretty great. :)

Below are the five days of presents (the man did good!), plus a picture of the card I painted for him:

drawingsarah | day1-2
drawingsarah | day3-4
drawingsarah | day5-card

Business Coaching Call with Le Papier Studio

A while back I won (yippee!) a business coaching call with Le Papier Studio. I wasn't sure if I should even enter the contest since I don't have a creative business yet.

I've been following the lovely Vana Chupp of Le Papier Studio for a while now. I love her charming silhouettes, fine art prints and jewelry. Plus I went to college with her husband, so it's fun to see their growing family on her blog and instagram. I really love her story, too. She's a mom. She wanted to be home with her babies, help support her family and do something she loved and was passionate about. A story I could relate to. 

I took a page of notes while we were talking and I thought I'd share some of my biggest takeaways. The painting above was inspired by one of the points that really stayed with me. Vana said, "Give yourself permission to start!" That is huge. I think sometimes we want everything to perfect first: the perfect idea, the perfect blog post, the perfect website, the perfect timing. Nothing is perfect and you have to JUST START! | Just Start!

Other points of great advice were:

  • Don't think about the money. Do something you love and are passionate about.
  • But still have a goal. How much money do you want or need to bring in?
  • Figure out your strengths and develop them. What can you do that no one else can?
  • Have an online presence.
  • The "about" on your website or blog is important!
  • Be the expert and inspire people. Offer valuable content on your blog.
  • And, get into the mindset that "I'm starting an etsy shop (for me)."

I had some questions for Vana about Etsy, since that is where she started and still has a shop there today. I asked her how many listings to start with? Fill the page, about 20. And if there were any resources out there to help with Etsy? She recommended the Etsy Blog and Etsy Seller's Handbook.

It was amazing to have the opportunity to speak to an experienced and knowledgeable blogger, business owner, etsy seller, working mom and all around lovely person! :) I soaked up every bit I could from our conversation.

Now, everyone out there, including me, whether it's a business idea, clearing out clutter, exercising, etc., let's follow Vana's advice and . . . JUST START!

36 in 36

I woke up this birthday morning feeling like I needed about two more hours of sleep (as usual). I've had my coffee now and am feeling ambitious. I've seen these birthday lists before – # of things to accomplish in a year based on your age – and thought I'd take a crack at one. It'll be interesting to see how much I've crossed off by next year... one? five? none?

So this year, let's see if I can come up with 36 things, in no particular order...

1. Eat a salad most days of the week.
2. Exercise more
3. Eat less junk food
4. Draw everyday
5. Paint/finish my giant canvas
6. Join the Midland Artist Guild
7. Use up all of the blank sketch books that I currently own
8. Travel to see some far away family
9. Read a book a month-ish
10. Paint more often
11. Try out new/different art media
12. Take walks
13. Take bike rides
14. Explore some local stores downtown
15. Open my etsy shop
16. Blog at least once a week
17. Organize already printed photos
18. Catch up on Eli's baby book
19. Print more photos and get into albums (I'm so behind)
20. Create/print some family "year books"
21. Go antiquing
22. Plan next summer's vacation with dear old friends
23. Work in the yard/garden - get ready for fall/spring
24. Get together with my sister every month or so
25. Come up with a house cleaning schedule
26. Follow above cleaning schedule :)
27. Put together a chore/jobs chart for the kids for the school year
28. Plan meals
29. Try some new recipes/freezer meals. Get out of the rut!
30. Put together my graphic design portfolio for the blog
31. Decide if we're going to try for another baby
32. Clean out closets!
33. Go see some waterfalls in the U.P.
34. Make new friendships-be more social
35. Explore the downtown shops in a nearby town
36. Take more pictures WITH my kids. You know, like be IN the picture :)

Have any of you ever come up with a list like this? I don't usually make "new year's resolutions" but I often make a mental list in the fall. I've blogged about it before here. It's funny how some of these are just always on my to-do list. How successful were you with actually crossing things off the list?

Words On the Porch - a DIY project

I am very fortunate that my house has a lovely screened-in porch. It's a very peaceful space with views of our small, tree-lined yard. The only problem is the one giant wall of tan siding that is just begging for some art.  Whatever I put there needs to either be weather resistant or something that I don't care if it gets ruined by our extreme seasons. 

I was inspired by this post on the blog Young House Love so I decided to look for some large/cheap art at a rummage sale. I had some luck with this faded reproduction of Willard Leroy Metcalf's The Last Snow. It's the perfect size (37"x34"), neutral enough to paint a quote on and $10! Can't beat that. If you're curious, this is what the original painting looks like. 

Faded rummage sale find perfect for painting a quote on!

Faded rummage sale find perfect for painting a quote on!

I wanted a peaceful quote so I decided on Matt. 28:11 which is "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest." I wanted to make my life simple so rather than draw the letters by hand, I went to Michaels to look for a stencil. I found this fabulous one from Hazel & Ruby. It was $19.99 at Michaels and I had a 50% off coupon so that was a score! Each letter is a vinyl sticker that you can paint over if you wanted to and then peel off revealing the background. I decided to trace around each letter and then color it in with a paint pen which worked perfectly!

Tracing the vinyl "sticker" stencil.

Tracing the vinyl "sticker" stencil.

Filling in the letters with a black paint pen. I loved how it dried shiny and matched the sheen of the rest of the canvas.

Filling in the letters with a black paint pen. I loved how it dried shiny and matched the sheen of the rest of the canvas.

To hang the canvas on the vinyl siding, I used these hooks from amazon and they won't put a hole in the siding. They seem to be doing a great job. Below is the final product! I like it. :)

The final product! Pay no attention to the giant yellow canvas. That is for a future project I'm working on. :)

The final product! Pay no attention to the giant yellow canvas. That is for a future project I'm working on. :)

And that giant yellow canvas? Well, pay no attention to that. Just a future project I'm working on. That yellow is just the ol' underpainting. 

Have you taken on any DIY projects lately?

What I've Been Up to Lately

Hello there! It's been a while. I've been posting often in my head but that doesn't really help this blog now does it. :) I have been busy with a couple of fun projects which I'll post about soon. 

Yesterday was Father's Day and I wanted to make something fun for my hubby. He is a great daddy who also happens to love baseball and the Red Sox. In our driveway, I made a chalk drawing of Fenway Park and put our youngest, Eli, in the picture "hitting a home run." I think it turned out cute (even though I had to bribe him with suckers). And daddy loved it so that's what matters. :)

And some outtakes... 

Hope everyone had a nice weekend and Father's Day.

How To ... Procrastinate?

I have a very serious DIY post today. This is not a joke! Ok, maybe it is. I've been so busy lately. And when I'm busy I tend to be in a state of denial and I might just procrastinate a little. The only good thing that comes out of this is that I usually get other things done that I haven't had/made the time for. So maybe it isn't procrastinating as much as a creative restructuring of my To Do list. Ha!

Here you go... How To Procrastinate in Three Easy Steps:

  1. Have LOTS of work to do. This could include work from a paying job, setting up your etsy shop (*ahem), house work, yard work, child rearing, etc.
  2. INSTEAD of actually getting some of the above done and satisfyingly crossing them off your To Do list, find something else to do. Example: Maybe a project idea comes to mind, like displaying your babies' home-from-the-hospital-outfits in a shadow box. Begin to imagine how you might make that dream project a reality.
  3. GO TO MICHAELS. This is always the perfect start to perfect procrastination. I mean this could lead to HOURS of procrastination.

So there you have it. Procrastination is as easy as 1, 2, 3. 

And, so you're not left hanging, here are some lovely iPhone pics of how I put the above steps into practice. See, you can do it, too!

Lovely shadowboxes found at Michaels. Originally $29.99 and I got them on sale for $13.50! From left to right: Emma, Aiden and Eli. :)

Lovely shadowboxes found at Michaels. Originally $29.99 and I got them on sale for $13.50! From left to right: Emma, Aiden and Eli. :)

Here they are on the wall which leads down to the basement playroom. It's been bare for two years. Another reason not to wait one more second! Even though I had lots of other things needing to be done. ;)

Here they are on the wall which leads down to the basement playroom. It's been bare for two years. Another reason not to wait one more second! Even though I had lots of other things needing to be done. ;)

On Experimenting

I don't know about you but I am a rule follower. If I'm not doing the "right thing" then I am out of my comfort zone. That being said, I do think it's important to break the rules and experiment in art. I don't usually even try out an idea unless I'm pretty sure it's going to turn out. (That's why I have all pinterest wins! Ha ha!). Experimenting feels foreign and scary to me. I mean, what if I don't like the outcome? Gasp!

Every weekday morning, I have 40 minutes of silence between the time the big kids get on the bus and the little kid gets up. I normally use that time to drink coffee, look at some sort of social media or email and start to work. I'd love to draw and paint but it's not really enough time to start and finish a painting. Because, heaven forbid, I have to work on something in more than one sitting. ;) Are you getting the hint that I like short and successful art projects? 

But this morning, I decided to do some experimenting. I wanted to see how different colors would move and work on the pages of my sketchbook. Right away, things weren't turning out exactly how I saw them in my mind but I told myself to simmer down and keep going. Pictures below. I'm going to try to do this more often and I may not even post every experiment on the blog but just keep them for myself whether or not I think they are a success or failure.

What about you? Do you play it safe in whatever creative outlet you have? Do you love to experiment? Is it scary or exciting? What do you discover about yourself or your art in the process? I'd love to know!

Flower Sketch

Last week was spring break for the kids. We didn't go anywhere but tried to do something fun everyday. We shopped, hit the movies, the pool, went to a frog exhibit and visited Auntie in Detroit. It turned out to be a very busy and fun week! The big ones are back in school today. Yay for routine!

My daughter and I did a little sewing project (a mini-messenger bag) so she could learn how to use my sewing machine. It turned out great and I was a more patient teacher than I thought I would be. Ha!

It is starting to feel like spring here (hope I didn't jinx us by saying that) so here is a flowery sketch. Happy Monday!

Here Emma is practicing, getting used to the sewing machine and the finished product on the right. She picked out the fabric, too.

Here Emma is practicing, getting used to the sewing machine and the finished product on the right. She picked out the fabric, too.