Nov 27, 2017

Artist Interview with Eliana Marinari

I'm so pleased to share the work of a new artist friend with you today! Eliana Marinari is an abstract figure painter based in Geneva. She has a very unique style; both dynamic and sensual. I hope you enjoy her work as much as I do!Please tell us a little bit about where you live. What is it like being an artist there?I live in Geneva, Switzerland. Geneva is a very conservative city and it is very difficult if you are a foreigner like me who did not study here to be ‘accepted’ and included. I contacted a few artists when I came here 4 years ago from London, to see if I could join some of the local communities. However it was difficult, in particular my work was criticized by some of the artists I met as not being conceptual enough but boringly illustrative. I was looking for beauty and not content, they said. Recently, I finally joined an artistic community where I have my studio, which welcomes different forms of arts and crafts.  Have you always known that you're an artist? When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? How has your art career evolved? I always liked to create things, encouraged in particular by my father, who is very creative. The biggest project we did together when I was a child was to build a Villa for all my Barbies (around 20). We built it from scratch using wood panels, which we cut and glued. Then we painted it, using stencils to copy the logo from Barbie. When I was a kid, I wanted to be several things and changing with the season I think! When I was 14 I asked my parents to join Art school, but I received a clear NO from them, based on the myth of the starving artist. So I had to do it on the side and took several art extra curricular courses. I went on studying in the evening and weekends with 2 mentors from Accademiadelle belle arti in Florence, studying classic drawing and painting and while taking a degree in Science as my real job. I then moved to London, where I did a PhD at University College London on how microscopic changes in cells affect volume and shape of the body. During my 6 years in London my artwork focused on life drawing and figurative painting, studying with a tutor at Central S. Martins. Are you a full time artist or do you also have a day job/side hustle? If you do have a day job, does it tie in with your art practice?I work part-time as a scientist at the University of Geneva and part-time as an artist.  I would love it in the future to be a full time artist but for the moment I don’t earn enough from art practice.Can you talk a bit about your process? How has your work evolved over time? What are you working on right now? What's new or different about it?In the beginning I was drawing and painting nudes. From there I started to focus on movement rather then the form and volume of the human figure per se. I generally start from found images. From there, I build a sketch by digital painting and digital collage. Then I reproduce my sketch on big canvases using acrylics at first and adding layers of oil painting. At the moment I am experimenting new techniques and materials as I feel like I need to evolve.Are there certain themes that show up in your work over and over again?I am also thinking about the subject of my work more. I have always chosen women as the subject of my work and, recently, this very interesting article inspired me: Gender stereotypes about intellectual ability emerge early and influence children’s interests, (published in Science, one of the most renowned scientific journals). This article talks about how common stereotypes associate high-level intellectual ability (brilliance, genius, etc.) with men more than women. These stereotypes discourage women’s pursuit of many prestigious careers; that is, women are underrepresented in fields whose members cherish brilliance. These stereotypes are endorsed by, and influence the interests of, children as young as 6. Specifically, 6-year-old girls are less likely than boys to believe that members of their gender are “really, really smart.” Also at age 6, girls begin to avoid activities said to be for children who are “really, really smart.”To the theme of women, I really I am interested in capturing the instantaneous perception of movement. What is your studio practice like? Do you have any rituals or routines that help you get into the creative zone? Do you ever get creative blocks? How do you get unstuck?I have a very simple studio practice. I go out of the house, leave the kids at the nursery, and go to my studio and start painting or preparing work by doing sketches.  Since I have a limited time for my art, I really try to get the most out of it, and in general, I am quite absorbed by my work.  In the pastI have experienced a creative block for 2 years. But I felt ‘haunted’ by my imaginarypeople, and when I paint them, I don’t feel haunted by them anymore and it’s liberating.The fluidity and sense of dynamic movement in your work is so compelling! Can you please talk a little bit about the inspiration for your paintings?Thank you! I draw inspiration from movement, and dance in particular. My favorite choreographer is Pina Bausch, and you could say that my work is figurative, being the female figure the main subject. However, I usually develop my work almost like an abstract painting by studying the color composition and integrating the figure in it.Let's talk about work/life balance. How do you balance family life, studio time, business and time for yourself?This is a very important and critical question because I am still struggling with keeping a ‘balance’.  I have two kids, a 4-year old and a little one of 8 months. I work full time, having 2 jobs, and I see them at night and weekends (when I am not painting). This is a right ‘balance’ for me because I spent 8 months home during maternity leave with my eldest son and since then I knew that being a full time mum for me was not a good option. I mean, I love my kids very much but I wasn’t happy. Who (or what) are your biggest creative influences?One of my biggest creative influences is Gerard Richter. He studied motion, the human figure and he is an amazing oil painter.What does being an artist mean to you?It means create and realize the projects and ideas that I think about, so they do not haunt me anymore. And my biggest dream would be to do it full time.If you could give your 20 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?Don’t listen to your parents when they decide for you what to do with your life. By the way, I probably wouldn’t give this advice to my kids! ;) Wonderful! Thank you, Eliana. For more information about Eliana Marinari, please visit her website. You can also follow her on facebook and instagram.Do you have any questions or comments for Eliana? Please add them to the comments below! 

Nov 27, 2017

Cyber Monday Sale!

Today only, save up to 40% Off + Free Shipping on orders over $100! sale ends: 11/27/17 at 11:59 pm PT.(*Free Shipping excludes Framed Prints, Canvas Prints, Floor Pillows, Throw Blankets and Throw Pillows.)SHOP HERE

Nov 2, 2017

Spruce up Your Walls!

Fine Art Prints are an easy, affordable and fun way to add style and sophistication to your walls. Check out this great article about creating your own gallery wall.All the prints shown here are available for sale in a variety of sizes, framed and unframed.CLICK HERE TO SHOP. 

Oct 18, 2017

Artist Interview with Michele Landel

I'm so excited about today's interview with mixed media artist Michele Landel! Michele is an American artist living, creating and raising a family in Paris. I find her work captivating and I think you will too. Enjoy:So many artists (myself included) dream of living in France. How did you and your family end up there? How long have you been there? Is it as romantic as it sounds?My husband is French and American. We met in NYC. He took a job in Paris and I came along. I think our original plan was to live in France for 2 years. We’ve been here for 12.I love living in France for lots of different reasons and Paris is beautiful. Sometimes it is very romantic (warm croissants, beautiful museums, long walks) and sometimes it is just life (dentist appointments, traffic, lines). Ido try to take advantage of the city as much as I can and remember how I am lucky to live here. I think for a lot of artists, there's a tension between feeling called to be an artist and the pull to have a "sensible" career. Have you always known that you're an artist? How has your art career evolved?Up until a year ago, I have always had a“sensible” but meandering career. I have a BA in fine arts and art history and MA in art history. I moved to NYC in the early 2000s for a curatorial internship but then got a job in event planning and then with an architecture firm...Most recently, I was doing freelance marketing and communications for French start-ups. I always made art, but was afraid to call myself an artist. About two years ago, I started focusing more and more on art and less and less on my freelance career. I still feel the “sensible” career pull, but am really trying to ignore it.You have a very distinctive style. I'm fascinated by the layering and textures. Can you talk a bit about your process? How has your work evolved over time? What are you working on right now? What's new or different about it?Since I was little, I have loved paper. I started sewing on paper about six years ago. I don’t remember any more why. I was punching holes and hand sewing layers together. Then two years ago, I spent a week studying with Val Holmes, a British artist, who teaches artist workshops and has a B&B here in France. It was amazing! She taught me machine embroidery on paper and how to burn paper and how to make paper. It really changed everything for me.Lately, I have been trying to deal with more personal issues in my art. I just finished a series called Postpartum and I am now working on a new one called The Perfect Darned Home. Are there certain themes that show up in your work over and over again?Houses and buildings, probably from my earlier career in architecture. Women, I took a lot of feminist art history classes. Circles and holes, probably a push back against postmodernism.What is your studio practice like? Do you have any rituals or routines that help you get into the creative zone? Do you ever get creative blocks? How do you get unstuck?I drop my kids off at school in the morning and go for a run. This is often how I get unstuck too. I run 20-30km a week. I try to be in my studio from 10am-4pm four-days a week, but honestly this rarely happens. I do try very hard to make something everyday, even if it’s just with a postcard that arrives in the afternoon mail and bits of paper from my desk.The book, “The War of Art” has had a big influence on my studio practice.When I am burning paper or working on my laptop, I listen to podcasts, such as the Jealous Curator and How I Built This. When I am sewing, I listen to Q2 Music radio out of NYC. I found that modern classical music goes really well with the thump, thump of the sewing machine. I really love your postpartum series. Can you talk a bit about what that series means to you?I wanted to juxtapose idealized domesticity with the isolation and loneliness that can come with motherhood. I have three beautiful young children. I also had four miscarriages, struggled with infertility, and suffered from prenatal depression. Many of my friends and family don’t even know that I went through this. I think a lot of women suffer quietly while trying to appear perfect.I cut these women out of modern paintings and Photoshop them into impossibly minimalist interiors from design magazines and books. The women are semi-translucent, over-lapped and repeated so they (hopefully) appear to be in dialogue with themselves. I also ripped, burned, and then sewed the images back together to represent both the fragility and strength of women through the paper itself.Are you a full time artist or do you also have a day job/side hustle? If you do have a day job, does it tie in with your art practice?This fall, I am teaching two-classes to forth-year students at a communications school in Paris. It doesn’t really tie into my art practice but it is fun. The students are dynamic and smart. Let's talk about work/life balance. How do you balance family life, studio time, business and time for yourself?I don’t really. This is a constant struggle.Who (or what) are your biggest creative influences?Feminist artists influence me. Artists I follow on Istagram and things I see walking around Paris inspire me. I am really motivated right now by the Thrive Studio Mastermind group, which is how we met, that I recently joined.What does being an artist mean to you?For me, being an artist means saying something visually and having it connect with others.  Sometimes I have a clear idea that I want to express and other times it is just an image or idea that I need to get out. I love exploring texture and movement and seeing how far I can push it with paper.If you could give your 20 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?Call yourself an artist. Stop being afraid. Photo Credit: lenzmama Thank you so much, Michele! For more information about Michele Landel, please visit her website. You can also follower her on Instagram or buy her artwork on Saatchi Art.Do you have any question or comments for Michele? Add them to the comments below!

Oct 5, 2017

How to Have a Perfect Fall Picnic

Fall is here and in the Pacific Northwest it's a pretty magical time. The air gets a little crisper, the light is low and golden, the apples are ripe...what's not to love? To celebrate the seasonal change, here is a quick list of essentials for the perfect fall picnic. Enjoy! Picnic basket, plates, utensils, napkins Thermos with warm soup, mugs Artisan bread, charcuterie, cheese, apples cutting board, knife Wine, unbreakable wine glasses, wine key Picnic blanket Camera Book or journal If you live in Whatcom County (WA), check out some of these amazing spots: Hovander Park Whatcom Falls Park Samish Lake Park Silver Lake Park  

Sep 26, 2017

New Art Print: Crinoline

This etching was inspired by the Crinoline, one of the many peculiar undergarments of the Victorian era. I find it both fascinating and disturbing the way the female body has been molded through the ages to fit the ever changing ideals of beauty.Prints are available for sale HERE.

Sep 18, 2017

Resources for Artists #2

I love being an artist! I can't imagine living my life any other way, but it does get tough at times. Working in isolation can be lonely and trying to pull off this "business-y" stuff, when I'd rather be doing anything else is a challenge. Luckily there are some incredible resources that readily available:NetworkDon't worry, I'm not talking about those painfully awkward networking events where you wear a name tag and pass out business cards. However, networking is important as an artist for so many reasons: sharing resources, trouble shooting, collaborating, staying sane! I've tried a few different online networks and recently joined one specifically for women artists. THRIVE is a mastermind group that meets once a month (in person if you're in Vancouver, Canada or online). Members meet up to share exciting accomplishments, work in progress, resources and ask for help or feedback.Social MediaSocial media, what a beast! New platforms keep popping up and the algorithms keep changing. It helps to have a resource like Hootsuite Academy to stay up to speed. Canva is a free online image editor that includes a bunch of templates optimized for social media and Square Size app is an easy way to create perfect square images for Instagram. When is comes to posting, it's such a huge time saver to prepare a bunch of posts and schedule them in advance. Later is great for Instagram and has a free option.Systems & HabitsThe Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp is a classic. It includes 32 practical exercises for cultivating creativity. James Clear and Leo Babauta of Zen Habits both write about systems for business and life. Megan Minns is a systems coach. She has a ton of useful videos about planning and she sells super affordable, easy to use spreadsheets project planning a tracking.Grant WritingApplying for grants can be incredibly daunting. The Foundation Center has a lot of grant writing resources as well as a massive database of funding opportunities.Exhibition OpportunitiesCall for Entry is a great place to look for exhibition opportunities. The website is user-friendly and has a lot of listings to choose from. Artists can apply directly from the site and store image files for later use. Create Magazine is print publication and website that supports artists through online features, call for entries and grants. Open studios and art fairs are great for gaining exposure, making sales and networking. Here is a really thorough checklist for hosting an open studio. Square is a nifty gadget that allows you to accept credit card payments with a smart phone.Do you have any favorite resources to share? Add them to the comments!

Sep 7, 2017

New Decor and Art Inspired by Japanese Textiles

I love Japanese textiles! In this collection of home decor, I've incorporated traditional motifs and added some unexpected modern twists, like in this chevron patterned floral shower curtain. The collection includes four different complimentary prints available in a wide variety of home decor items including: shower curtains, bath mats, throw pillows, duvet covers and more.Available for sale HERE.The print shown is a reproduction of a two color etching and is available in a variety of sizes, framed or unframed.Prints are available for sale HERE.

Jul 25, 2017

Grandma Was Right. It's a Great Life Unless You Weaken!

When I was a kid, my Grandma used to say this all the time: "It's a Great Life Unless You Weaken!" At the time, it struck me as a really negative thing to say, but now I see it as defiantly optimistic or in the words of Elizabeth Gilbert "Stubborn Gladness". Oh, hell yes! When it comes to celebrating optimism in the face of adversity expressed in the medium of needlepoint, I'm in good company. One of my all time favorite artists, Louise Bourgeois embroidered a similar sentiment: "I've Been To Hell and Back. And Let Me Tell You, It Was Wonderful."This artwork is available as fine art prints in various sizes, framed or unframed as well as greeting cards.

Jul 12, 2017

Creative Writing Journal Prompts

Creative writing and journaling can be a great way to unwind and gain clarity, but sometimes it's hard to know what to write about! That's why I love writing prompts to get things going. Here are a few to get you started: Describe a time when you surprised yourself. Describe a time when you were brave. Imagine your life 20 years from now. Write a letter to your current self from this older, wiser self. "My favorite way to spend the day is..." What do you love about your life? What are you grateful for? What do you consider your biggest mistake in life? What did you learn from it? What words do you need to hear right now? What makes you feel most alive? If time and money weren't factors, what would your dream vacation be? What are you intensely curious about? If you need a new notebook, check out my new notebooks here! 

Apr 27, 2017

Pretty Cards for Mother's Day

These floral printed note cards are perfect for Mother's Day! Available for sale here.

Apr 18, 2017

New Home Decor Collection: Shangri La

This collection of home decor was inspired by the intricate and exotic patterns of antique textiles. Pillows, rugs, duvet covers and more are available here.This print of two young mannequins snuggling, is a reproduction of a photo etching. Prints are available for sale here.
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