Recently I've had a shift in the way I approach my artwork, that began when I started envisioning my artwork on home decor. The question that now frequently comes to mind is: "Would I put this design in my own home?".

It's surprising how much the answer to that question can change the outcome of a design. If the answer is "no", then I know the artwork is not really "me" and either needs re-working or gets tossed into the scrap pile. Asking that question has also rekindled my love of interior design, which I studied for a full year back in the day. So starting a personal project with a focus on home decor seems like a natural segue.

The idea of an artist personal project is not new. Illustrator Andy J. Miller successfully completed his own by drawing a different character each weekday for a year. More recently, artist Zoe Ingram completed 100 days of plates. I have both of them to thank for inspiring me to take on this project of 100 Days of Pillows.

There are several goals I'd like to accomplish with this project:

1)  Grow my skill set as an artist and designer.
2)  Build a strong body of work for my portfolio.
3)  Hopefully draw more attention to my work for the sake of...
4)  Growing my business so that I can...

  • make more art.
  • give more.

I believe leveraging my talents for the benefit of others is part of my purpose on this globe. (You can read about the ministry that has captured my heart on the bottom of my About page.)

So today, I'm committing to create artwork for 100 different pillow designs across 100 week days. They will be as consecutive as possible, but with the upcoming holidays and planned travel, there will be short breaks here and there. I'll post each one to my Instagram and Facebook pages so you can follow along and will update, less frequently, here as well.

Here is Day 1 of 100 Days of Pillows!

The design was derived from a simple stacked stone sketch I made in my art journal recently.

Stones - Pillow

Is this a pillow I would place in my own home?

The answer is definitely "yes". :)

~ Christina

Analysis Paralysis

Sep 15, 2017

In:Drawing

Analysis paralysis: I'm trying hard not to fall victim to it. ;) I'm still working with manufacturers for my first batch of throw pillows. The process is not as straightforward as I had hoped and there are quite a few options to sort through. Coupled with the week-long vacation Chad & I just took, things are moving slower than I would like.

But, everything in its own time.

Getting away was a treat. Chad's Gram turned 100 years old (!) so we headed out to CA to celebrate her birthday. It was so nice to see family we hadn't seen in years. Along the way, we also visited Albuquerque and Santa Fe, NM since neither Chad or I had been there before.  Seeing the desert shrubs, pueblo homes, original art, jewelry, unique interiors of the hotels we visited, mountains and Pacific ocean all in one trip was completely inspiring.

Even the desert is full of color.

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September

Sep 1, 2017

In:Business, Drawing

September Wind

This has been a week of really trying to balance creativity with business tasks. And sometimes the scale tips in favor of business over creativity, because it must.

I completed a custom jewelry order and finished a couple of simple art pieces, but a lot of my time went into researching manufacturers for custom pillows and other products. The good news is: I think I've found one.

September is here and I'm really looking forward to seeing the new products that will be introduced near the end of the month.

Change is a 'comin. And it's good. :)

~Christina

...you've put in the work and realize the "magic" is finally happening. :)

This week I hit on something really special: a combination of charcoal drawing, color and pattern. Prior to this I had never considered using charcoal in pattern form. Yet once I designed the first one and added color, I knew that it was "me" more than anything else I've created to date.

The fall theme probably adds to this feeling. It almost makes me want to cry (happy tears, of course).

Charcoal Pumpkins on Green

I sat on this breakthrough for a day, with another charcoal pattern following quickly, and still didn't know what I was going to do with this artwork. I've only considered charcoal for fine art...the kind you frame and hang on the wall.

And then it dawned on me how beautiful charcoal grays are in home decor. I even have gray walls inside my own home. So, I tried a pattern on a mock throw pillow and LOVE it.

Charcoal Floral Pumpkin Pillow

When I look at these patterns I see the practice that has gone into them, from the early years of charcoal drawing to the past 5 months of learning pattern design and how to work with digital tools. I've heard it said over and over again that as an artist, if you just put in the time and work, your personal style will start to emerge. Now I finally believe that's true, as I haven't really been able to see my own style...until now.

I've already started dreaming of how this might go further...of at least one (big!) retailer that I'd love to work with, that might be interested in putting this type of artwork on their home decor products. It's exciting and scary at the same time.

Charcoal pattern #3 is already in the works. Check out my Instagram or Facebook feed on Monday to see it. :)

~Christina

Custom Quote Prints

Aug 18, 2017

In:Design, Faith

This week I worked on the sweetest custom order which included 2 monogram prints and 2 quote prints that needed to be designed.

I love this call to start each day with gratitude.

Start Each Day with a Grateful Heart

While I've made a few designs on my own that incorporate text, this was the first time being commissioned to do so. One thing I learned (or re-learned) is that if it looks simple to do, it's actually not. To do it well, even the selection and placement of text requires the use of design principles.

be on your guard

"Be on your guard" and "stand firm in the faith" resonate deeply with me right now. The Christian walk is a constant battle between living for the One who gives abundant life vs. living for ourselves and ultimately the one who wants to knock us down.

Working on this print was a good reminder that because of God, I can be courageous and strong!

So can you. :)

~Christina

Friendship

Aug 11, 2017

In:Drawing, Life Lessons

This morning I met a friend over coffee and a cinnamon roll. We've known each other for years, first having met by being in the same "community group" within our church. She is someone I can be real with. Someone with whom I can share my successes and struggles and ask tough questions and receive honest answers.

Working for myself, it's easy to become isolated during the day and not have the people interaction I sometimes need. So I cherish friends who simply say "I'm available" and carve time out just for me. That's such a gift.

Now I'm feeling sentimental over all the friends I have in my life, even if we don't go quite as deep. Friends just make my life more rich. I am known by them. I feel understood. And hopefully I do the same for them.

So I encourage you to allow people into your inner circle. Let them get to know you and what you're going through at any given time. We were made to be in relationship. Life is infinitely better that way.

So here's to friends (and cinnamon rolls):

I'm so thankful for you!

friendship

~Christina

Journals are IN

Aug 1, 2017

In:Design, Drawing

I'm so happy to announce that the first batch of blank journals has finally arrived. :) There are 4 different cover designs, illustrated by me, and 80 crisp white pages to fill to your heart's desire.

I've included this trendy pineapple design that has been one of my favorites since I started making patterns this year.

cute journal

Each journal is 5" x 7" and fits perfectly in your hand (and bag).

Even the inside covers are printed with a simple pattern of mine.

journal inside cover

If you'd like one for yourself or for a friend, click here to shop the entire collection on Etsy.

~Christina

Quick Painting Video

Jul 28, 2017

In:Painting

It's rare for me to record video, but I realized my computer has built-in screen capture software, so I thought I'd give it a try. I'm working on an "Under the Sea" design that, so far, includes a jellyfish and starfish.

Here's a short 1-minute video I posted to Instagram that shows what my screen looks like while I'm painting:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXF4JMaFGxM/?taken-by=christinastewrd

And here's the finished starfish (and jellyfish):

jellyfish starfish

This is a theme I've wanted to work with for awhile now, since I was born and raised in Florida.

It has a good feeling to it. :)

~Christina

Pattern Design

Jul 20, 2017

In:Design, Drawing

A few new patterns have been made this week, including this bright and colorful watermelon pattern. It was inspired by a group theme challenge called "summer fruit". And nothing says "summer fruit" more than watermelon!

Watermelons pattern

I'm really starting to gravitate toward gouache paint...of the digital kind, that is. It has a beautiful hand-painted appearance and can have as much or as little texture as you'd like.

This next one I've called "fresh dots". I noticed that dots were making a frequent appearance in my work lately, so I decided to dedicate an entire pattern to them.

Fresh Dots Pattern

I think this pattern would look great on a phone case and just might be something I'm going to look into soon. ❤

~Christina

I enjoy hearing the thoughts of others about my artwork because, visually speaking, they often see things that I don't. A good example is this whimsical pattern I made this week, inspired by simple mark-making.

maker mark pattern

At most, some of the lines reminded me of flowers and the dotted arches of the "pebbled" jewelry pieces I've made. But after posting the image to social media, I received comments that others thought of pumpkins and even Cinderella's carriage. After looking at my artwork again, I could see those, too. It gives even more meaning to my work simply knowing how others respond to it.

This pattern has become one of my favorites lately and may or may not end up printed on a journal soon. ;) My first batch of journals is finally in print-production and I can't wait to see them when they're complete!

~Christina