Wednesday, April 29, 2015



There is nothing like finding that one thing you were meant to do and doing it. But how and when do you know what that one thing is? Some people come into this world with knowledge that's clear as a whistle, they know with absolute certainty what they are supposed to do and they start doing it. For most of us, it doesn't come this easily. Looking back for me, it is clear that I had an instinct from a very young age what mine was...

I would sit at my desk in my room facing a window to the street outside and painting for hours. I had a simple watercolor set, brush and water, that was it, but it was my favorite thing to do. I loved it. When I was painting there was such joy and contentedness that filled me. Every once in a while, on a special occasion, my mom would take me and my brother to the toy store and let us pick out one thing, anything we wanted. What would I pick? The hot new un-get-able toy? Nope. There was nothing in that entire store that made me happier, than a fresh, brand-new box of 64 Crayola crayons. That's what I wanted. I can still feel the feeling of popping open the perforated edges, lifting the top, and see all of the untouched, crisp, clean colors inside. Crazy right? I must have known then that this is what I wanted to do...

But knowing and realizing that you know are two different things when it comes to finding your calling. As we get older, our intuition becomes clouded with the opinions, the should do's, the should not do's...we become influenced by the so called "path to life" that is set out before us and dutifully follow "what we are supposed to do next." Pretty soon, that clear voice that was telling us to follow our calling, gets shushed and squashed back into the recesses of our minds. I never actually thought I could do this for a living. I loved it to much. It made me so happy. No, I needed to get a real job. Do something serious. 

There's a voice inside of us that knows what we are supposed to do, we just have to listen. When you look back to being a kid, what was that one thing that you just loved to do? That made you so happy when you were doing it, if you were told you could do anything you want, that's what you would pick? That thing is often the secret to our calling...what's your's?

Monday, April 27, 2015


I recently stumbled upon the work of artist Kent Youngstrom on Lulu & Georgia and I was immediately smitten with his bold use of color and energetic brush strokes.  His work is fun, inspiring and easy to get addicted to. Check out how he first discovered art, what his process is like and how he handles fear in art...

How did art find you? we found each other.  i was bouncing around between interior design, graphic design and art.  i always came back to or long to be with art.  there is no pretense.  no reason to change something to please others.  art turns me on.

What was it like when you were just getting started?  laughable.  unprepared. intoxicating minus the morning gatorade.  i had no idea what i was doing or what direction i was headed. not exactly sure when i started to be honest.  i think it was and continues to be a blessing that i fumble around like a new dad in the grocery store and try to to follow someone else’s lead.

Why should we do what we love every day?   have a drink with the guy who hates what he does everyday.  that sounds fun huh.

Fear and art. What's it like? Being an artist can have its ups and downs and unpredictability. i’m crawl in a ball and hide under the desk afraid every time i show something new.  i am my work. its called exposure for a reason.

What's your creative process like? i just do.  i wake up.  get off the couch.  show up on time.  work my backside off and i surprise people - then do it all over again.    how do i know it’s done? i feel it’s exhaustion.  

I make paintings with no pretense. I just paint what I like. (And I like to feel alive).

small secret… i occasionally paint things i assume will sell well.  it seems to pan out like ben fleck as batman.  when i put all pretense aside and just let the work flow it is more academy award winning.

What's your studio like? small garage + 1200 paintings in 5 years = need for new space…  warehouse facility in Matthews which contains an office, a gallery and a working studio.  rolling working spaces. large walls to stretch canvas.  room for 20 people at painting classes. gallery openings. holiday and corporate event parties.  grateful.

Last experience that totally blew your mind?  California.  winter.  surfing.  i felt alive but couldn’t feel much else in the cold water.

Friday, April 24, 2015


"The work of Austin, Texas-based visual artist Ysabel LeMay can be summed up simply: W.O.W. It stands for her 'Wonderful Other Worlds,' digitally composed panoramas of natural splendor so vividly realized that one feels drawn to step into them. While the technique is high-tech, LeMay's hypercollage process is instinctual and organic, allowing each piece to dictate its own destiny." -quoted from LeMay's site. 

The other day I had the privilege of seeing LeMay's work at Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago. WOW is such an appropriate word to sum it up. Her work is so beautiful, it will bring a tear to your eye. I will show you some photos of her work, but I assure you it will not do it justice. There is nothing like seeing it in person. Her work surrounds you and wraps you in this cocoon of the most beautiful world you can imagine. The beauty of nature's best parts, all swirled together is so delightfully overwhelming. See more of her work here and please if you can, go check out her show

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Naomi Ernest

One of my favorite artists, the ultra-talented Naomi Ernest, kicks off a new series featuring fellow art addicts, those that are living the artist's life and creating art. Get ready to get inside their head and see what what inspires them, how they overcome fear and why they do what they do.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

Growing up, my parents were both artists-on-the-side. I remember happy days painting flowers with my mom when I was very small. When I was a bit older, my sisters and I would surreptitiously peek through old boxes of the slightly indecorous artwork from my dad’s teenage years.  In high school I was voted class artist; my art teacher entered my work into various school competitions, and I sold my very first commissioned piece to the middle school library. 

"I never stopped creating; like my parents and so many others, I have always been an artist-on-the-side.  Despite a lifetime full of happy creative moments, it simply did not occur to me that I might choose art as a profession.  After years of searching and sorting and patience, I have only recently begun to understand it as a deeper calling."

The unexpected art supply you can’t live without…

Toothpicks and cotton swabs. Very unglamorous, but handy for so many little details in my work!

Dream dinner party... (4-5 guests, living or dead...)

Frida Khalo- to paint and to share the beauty and volatility of human nature
Eddie Vedder- to play ukulele and sing
Mark Twain- to share laughter
Mother Teresa- to demonstrate living fully and humbly
My husband- because moments are infinitely more wonderful when you share them with those you love best of all 

Favorite contemporary artist/s

My art loves are forever evolving. A few of my current crushes: Yago Hortal. Claire Desjardins. Patricia Derks. Kristi Kohut. Jose Romussi. Amy Judd. Zena Holloway. 

How do you feed your head? (What inspires you?)

Like many artists, I am a very visual person.  I have an everlasting habit of seeking details and separating out the world into pleasant and interesting segments. I reflexively deconstruct scenes and moments into smaller compositions of their bare elements— a certain smudge on the window, the flecks of color in someone’s eyes, the shape of a shadow creeping across the wall, the outline of trees against the sky.  My habit is to notice details of color, shape, mood, texture; as long as I am mindful of it, I can constantly find inspiration.  

What's inspiring you at the moment? 

Color color color.  I am a naturally moody person; much of my work reflects that with muted or sophisticated shades and monochromatic colors.  It’s where I find my calm, and where my work feels most comfortable.  But I am trying to stretch myself because I really do love interesting and unexpected color combinations. There is currently just so much vividly good and inspiring color— in art and fashion and decor; I’m trying to see where it might fit with my work. 

Fear in art, how do you fight it?

I arrived in the professional art world only recently.  I am not a trained artist.  I am still discovering my niche.  I work in several mediums. My artwork is varied, organic and intuitive. Because of all this, and aided by that personal fear within each of us, I am very aware of how easily my work can be dismissed. 

But I am usually successful at keeping fear in the back of my mind, where it pushes without paralyzing.  I give myself permission to try new things and to fail at those things.  I often allow my creativity to rest—I  read, take a walk, wash dishes, bake bread, do other things that want doing.  And then I make myself keep trying even when I have no good ideas and no good work.

"I remind myself that we are all valuable souls. At its best, my work shares a bit of my own soul with the world, so I try to remain confident in the value of myself and of my work.  If it is honest and true, it is always worthwhile."

My uniform... 

I love a high-low mix. Destroyed denim and well-loved tees mixed with unexpected accessories, great shoes, and a bit of sparkle.

What you wish you had known when you were just starting out:

I discovered that if something— in art or in relationships or in life— is consistently making me unhappy or frustrated, it’s not right. I’ve learned to say no, try something new, look at things from a different angle, or at least leave it alone for a time. It’s also perfectly ok and quite necessary to let yourself rest and wander.   

“The imagination needs moodling,— long, inefficient happy idling, dawdling and puttering."
-Brenda Ueland

I suppose it might have helped to know all along that being an artist were an option, but I don’t regret my path for a moment. My experiences are all useful.  I have learned to appreciate being exactly where I am.

On the nightstand... (What are you reading?)

“Legal Guide for the Visual Artist.”  Not very fun but very important.  
And I always have a book of poetry and a good novel nearby; Whitman and Faulkner are usually within reach.

What’s next? Project you are currently working on…

I’ve been stocking my online shop with original work for the past few months, but I’m finally starting to feel caught up in that area. I’m working on a few personal projects combining multiple mediums.  I have lofty ideas, but for now, my experimental attempts are in the totally awkward, cannot-possibly-show-to-another-living-soul stage.

I’m also beginning work for some forthcoming shows.  It seems to be taking me forever because I am so very deliberate in trying to find the right fit, but I am really anxious to start showing more.  It’s just a million times better to see original artwork in person.


Naomi's work is available at and Artfully Walls.

Saturday, April 18, 2015


I've admired the work Lourdes Sanchez for so long. I love her graphic prints and optimistic, colorful watercolors. She started out creating prints for the fashion industry and after 18 years, the call to create art became so strong that she walked out one day and started painting. Aren't we so thankful she followed her calling?

"A Cuban-born artist and textile designer currently residing in Brooklyn, where she makes her painterly watercolor patterns that are equal parts geometric and organic. Her client list is a roster of awesomeness:Anthropologie, Kate Spade, Crate and Barrel and Prabal Gurung, to name a few. She was even snatched up by West Elm, who translated her art into framed pieces and pillow designs featuring painted aquatic motifs." - Ginny Branch Stelling, Design Sponge. 


Friday, April 17, 2015


You know when you stumble upon a new artist who's work makes you so happy you want to discover everything about them? Simone Shubuck just did this for me. Her whimsical, layered, playful works are full of color and texture. Her work has been shown in numerous places from Taylor De Cordoba in L.A. to MoMA and is collected by Amanda Peet and Mario Testino. 

"The works brim with a sense of playfulness and irreverence. A collage-like quality pervades, as seemingly incongruous colors and sudden shifts in style pile up on top of each other. Yet this exuberant variety somehow all coheres in forms redolent of an explosive bouquet. Underscoring this effect is the sudden appearance of green leaves and floral motifs, and it comes as no surprise to learn that Shubuck has worked for years as a florist." - MOSES DRIVER, W MAGAZINE