Is it just me, or has it been ages since I last shared some of my recent pet portraits?
Oh, I’ve still been painting them. In fact, today I shipped my 150th pet portrait. Woo!
Here are a few portraits that have made their way out of my studio over the last few weeks.
6″x6″ Oil on canvas
8″x10″ acrylic on canvas
4″x4″ acrylic on canvas
4″x4″ acrylic on canvas
8″x10″ acrylic on canvas
4″x4″ acrylic on canvas
Ever since I started my second business last month selling ketubot and marriage certificates, free time has suddenly become much harder to find. I’m hoping that once I settle in to the rhythms of juggling three jobs (I also do consulting work), things will get a bit easier. That said, I’m not really that stressed. For starters, I love all three of the things I do, so spending time on them never feels that much like work. And then there’s the fact that I started doing yoga three weeks ago. After spending an hour twisting myself into pretzels, I have a hard time getting worked up into a panic.
This week, I worked on three little oil paintings.
I was eating dumplings at Paul’s Pelmeni with my friend Kendra (p.s. if you ever have a craving for beef and potato stuffed packets smothered in butter, curry, hot sauce and sour cream, THIS is your place), when I noticed how great the lighting was and how amazing her hair looked. Her hair always looks amazing, but it looked particularly fabulous that day. She was kind enough to let me snap a few photos, and I later turned them into my second portrait in oils. I know it’s not perfect, but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. Besides, the only way to learn is to do something new over and over and over again. Thanks for lending me your beautiful face, Kendra!
“Kendra” | 8″x10″ | oil on gesso board
A few days later, I snapped some photos of my friend Jackie and her quirky husky Kayak while we were at the dog park. While I took this photo, my dog Copernicus was locked in my car, and I could feel him shooting daggers into my back with his eyes. Once he got to romp around in the snow, all was forgiven. It’s going to be a part of my “Dog on a Walk” series. P.S. This girl has her own business hand-making ceramic home-wares. I am so, so, so obsessed with her collection. I suggest that maybe you pop on over there and treat yourself to your next favorite mug.
“Jackie and Kayak” | 6″x6″ | oil on gesso board
On Sunday, I met my friend Amber in downtown Madison to have some brunch and wander around aimlessly. This, of course, quickly turned into me chasing down strangers with cute dogs to take their picture. Amber rolled with it — I’m lucky to have friends who put up with how weird I am. I snapped this photo of a super nice guy on the way to the park with his Labradoodle, Gunter. Gunter was in a hurry to get there, but he was kind enough to let me snap a few pictures first. I’m experimenting with trying to pack more detail into these tiny paintings. By picking busier scenes, it’s forcing me to learn how to let the stuff in the background be more abstract. I swear, you learn something new with every painting. This is also part of my “Dog on a Walk” series.
“Gunter Does Madison” | 6″x6″ | oil on gesso board
The other big news from this week is that last night, the amazing Michelle Ward interviewed me as part of her Grown Up Gigs free event! Mine was the first live interview of many, so I highly encourage you to sign up and see what else is on the docket. I got to chat with her about how I got started as an artist, my biggest set backs and successes, and what advice I have for people who are just starting to sell their hand-made goods. You can watch the whole thing here, if you’re interested.
Guys, I don’t even know how this happened.
I’ve been following the amazing Michelle Ward (also known as the “When I Grow Up Coach“) for years. And if you’ve ever wondered how to trade in your soul-draining desk job for a fulfilling career, I highly recommend you follow her as well. Next week, Michelle is launching a free online event for aspiring creative entrepreneurs.
In Michelle’s words:
“While books, exercises and coaching sessions are all helpful in getting there, I think there’s such power in stories. So I want to bring to the forefront the people who are working in creative professions…following their dreams and making it happen in their passionate career, but as grown-ups, yaknowwhatImean?”
The craziest part is that she’s asked me to share my story as part of the event! When I saw the line up of guests (including several of my personal heroes) with MY FACE sandwiched between them, I just about died. Look! My face is about 50 pixles away from Jessika Hepburn’s! Aaaaah!
All this to say that I hope you’ll sign up for what will surly be a tremendous event. You can sign up here. Thanks so much for having me, Michelle!
P.S. I’ll be doing a live video interview with Michelle on March 11th. Hope to see you there!
Over the past three months, I’ve been slowly, secretly working on a side project. I made a conscious decision not to mention it here or anywhere because I wasn’t certain what it would become. But today, I’m excited to make it official and public – In addition to my business doing pet portraits and other original paintings, I’m now creating ketubahs!
For those of you unfamiliar with the term, signing a ketubah is an ancient Jewish wedding tradition. Two-thousand years ago, couples would sign a contract detailing the responsibilities of the bride and groom and giving the bride certain assurances in the marriage. It was actually quite radical for its time and one of the first feminist documents! These days, the ketubah is usually a piece of beautiful artwork that also contains either the ancient ketubah text or a modern interpretation of the promises a couple is making to one another.
You’re probably wondering how this all got started. When I was planning my interfaith wedding last summer, I began my hunt for the perfect ketubah. I absolutely loved the idea of participating in this ancient Jewish tradition and of having a beautiful rendering of our wedding promises hanging on our wall. But as I searched, no ketubah I found seemed to fit the quirky, interfaith celebration we were planning together. Many designs featured symbols and places that didn’t speak to our interfaith family. Other designs were beautiful, but lacked the vibrant color and simplicity that I crave as an artist. And no design seemed to speak to our shared experiences as a couple.
In the end, I simply designed my own using a combination of hand-painted and graphic elements. And I had such a wonderful time doing it, that I designed 17 more. This week, I’m officially launching my shop “Ink with Intent.” My mission is to create ketubahs that are simple, contemporary, colorful, and inclusive of all types of couples.
I don’t plan to talk much about my new venture here on my painting blog, but if you’re curious about what I’ve been up to, you can check out my new website, like my new facebook page, or sign up for my new newsletter.
And if you just so happen to know any Jewish brides and grooms, I’d be ever so delighted if you’d send them my way.
Ever since I cracked open this brand new box of oil paints, I’ve experienced this insane burst of productivity. When I’m not standing at my easel, I’m thinking about how soon I can get to it. These bursts don’t come often in the winter, so I’m going to ride the wave as long as I can. If you’re curious, here are a few of the things I’ve been up to in the last couple of weeks…
I decided to try my first portrait in oil paints. I picked a photo I’d snapped in Chicago of my amazing roommate. This girl is one of the coolest people I know, and it was super fun to study her face for a few hours.
Here’s the finished portrait.
Copernicus and I braved the cold and took a trip to the dog park. We met a shar pei!
My husband and I finally took the time to hang a couple more paintings, so now the family portrait wall in my studio is complete! He brought me those pretty flowers after the big talk I gave. What a sweetheart.
It turned out okay, but not nearly as good as hers. I’ve got total artist envy.
Then, I worked, worked, worked on my “Dog on a Walk” series. Over 60 people have sent me their photos, and it’s been so hard to choose what to paint first. I started with this upbeat Pomeranian. I loved the fact that this tiny dog was casting such a humongous shadow.
And then I moved on to a golden relaxing on a park bench.
This photo came from a good friend of ours. I loved how the figure was lovingly watching the dog, and the dog is completely engrossed in her stick. So typical.
Someone sent me a photo of walking their dogs on a misty, dim beach. The photo was haunting, and I wanting to capture how mysterious everything seemed. It was so hard for me to tone down my colors. All I wanted to do was add a splash of red or orange. I’m glad I stuck with the plan though.
Busy week, right?
I’m not a terribly shy person.
I’ll strike up conversations at the coffee shop, make new friends at the dog park, and call strangers to tell them how much I love their work. Put me in front of anyone, and I’ll start chatting. But put me in front of a group of people and I’ll basically have a heart attack.
You see, public speaking is one of my greatest fears (along with centipedes and tornadoes, if you’re curious.) And in the past when I’ve found myself talking to a roomful of people, my throat will suddenly clench up and I’ll turn a deep shade of red.
So when one of my local clients asked me to participate in an Ignite Madison event, I had every intention of saying no. But for some reason, I surprised myself and said, “Yes.”
I regretted my decision immediately. I spent the next week coming up with as many plausible excuses as I could for why I had to drop the commitment. Laryngitis? Dog ate my laptop?
But in case my plans to bail fell through, I also started to tentatively sketch out what my short talk might look like. And then, because I still hadn’t gotten the courage to call the organizer and quit, I began to practice my talk – in my car, then in front of the mirror, then in front of friends on skype. I even googled for pictures of audiences, and practiced in front of them. Before I knew it, the big night had arrived. I somehow managed to drive myself to the venue, and even walk the 5 steps up to the stage.
That night I got in front of 200 people, and I talked about my art.
It was absolutely terrifying. But I didn’t have a heart attack. And even if I did turn beet red, it was too dim for anyone to notice.
This is not a post about challenging ourselves to push past our limits.
This is a post about being willing to take that tiny first step, and then another, and then another.