Devices
Social media and I have had a confusing relationship ever since we discovered each other. By nature I'm a fairly shy, introverted person, yet I have a deep need to be in community with others. Those characteristics together can present interpersonal challenges. Social media, however, gives me a window into the lives of others without having to be more outgoing, as I've sometimes wished I was. I love catching glimpses of what's going on with my family and friends. I love seeing the creative work of other artists and being inspired by their successes. I love meeting new people (and making great friends) through social media that I otherwise would not have met. I love being inspired to do good, especially in the midst of dark days.

But for me, there is a trade-off to the constant information-feed of social media. First, it's become a habit. Just like I wake up and eat breakfast without thinking about it, I often grab my phone to see the latest news on Facebook or Instagram, without thinking. And if I do that enough times in the day suddenly minutes (hours?) disappear without me being aware. Second, while social media can be incredibly positive, it can also be wildly negative. It's a place where many people don't think about the impact of their words or the images they share. There is open judgement, slander and inappropriate content. I also recognize that everyone simply wants to be heard and validated, sometimes hurting others as they react to their own personal hurts. But is it wise to feed our minds with negativity, day after day, much like a never-ending reel of the evening news? I don't believe so. Third, it tempts me to be discontent. I think this may be the biggest offender. I see the beautiful vacation photos in my timeline and the skilled artwork of fellow artists, happy things that most definitely should be celebrated. But if I'm not careful, my thoughts can easily shift from celebration of their joy to *myself*, wondering when it will be MY time to enjoy that tropical destination or have such incredible talent. And if enough people are "liking" the things I post, that means something, right? It's the ultimate comparison trap rooted in the lie that we can't be content where we are today with everything we already have.

So what does this mean for me?

I'm breaking up with social media.

Sort of.

I'm not quitting it altogether. But it's no longer going to play a significant role in my life as it has in the past. The good news is that the chains have already begun to loosen when it comes to my personal use of it. But for work, not so much.

I confess it's a little scary, as an artist, to think about not highly leveraging this tool. After all, what I do is visual in nature and what better avenue to share my work than a website that others view every day. But for now, if doing so isn't best for me personally, then it's not best for business. As I recently launched the new print collection, I had a beautiful season of productivity when the art poured out. I want to tap into that kind of productivity again, this time though, not feeling the need to stop and post my work along the way. At least, not as often as I was. One of my triggers for spending too much time on the web is posting content. Chad likes to say I start "squirreling" (i.e. going off on tangents) and while I used to take offense to that, I laugh now because it's COMPLETELY true. Being on Instagram sometimes feels like being a kid in a candy store. I am wired to create. I am not wired to gorge myself with social information.

Squirrel

If these thoughts are alien to you and you've always had a healthy perspective on social media then kudos to you! I sincerely admire you. But if you can relate, I hope this inspires you to make positive changes regarding your own use of social media. I've been battling these thoughts for far too long. Enough is enough. Time is too precious to spend another (unaware) second with my face in my phone.

It's time to look up.

It's time to live in the present.

I am worth it.

You are worth it.

New Art Prints Released!

May 20, 2016

In:Art

I know I won't do this blog post justice since I have a TON of thoughts floating in my head and not enough time, at the moment, to capture them in writing. But, I wanted to share that after many weeks of creating and editing, I've finally compiled a small collection of prints that are now available online.

I've chosen pixels.com to host my artwork. Not only do they make it very easy for artists to feature their work, but they also make it super easy for buyers to choose prints, select mats, frames, etc. and also purchase products such as phone cases, throw pillows, tote bags and more.

I confess that I geeked out a little when I first saw one of my patterns on a phone case. I never envisioned having my art printed this way and yet it seems so right.

phone case

This graphic dogwood print also made the collection with more soft blues and vibrant greens.

Devices

I'm truly thrilled by all of the design possibilities. There has never been a time like this when artists have so many different ways to share their work, right at their fingertips.

You can see the entire collection by clicking here.

~ Christina

Patterns and Butterflies

Apr 20, 2016

In:Art

Patterns and butterflies. Not necessarily butterflies in a pattern, but the butterflies I've felt in my stomach as I continue making art and know I'm going in the right direction.

Since my last post I've been consistently trading off between watercolor art and more modern, graphic art with saturated color. I'm leaning toward one vs. the other (I think) and am having more thoughts regarding product possibilities. I'm still practicing patience as I wait a little longer, create art and refine ideas...and trust that allowing this process to happen naturally will yield better results.

Yesterday I walked in the back yard to find natural inspiration for artwork and had something very specific in mind. Instead, the unexpected caught my eye (love when that happens!) and shifted my focus entirely. I noticed small, maple leaf seeds in the form of "helicopters", as I call them, dotting the ground underneath our tree. Their unique V-shapes automatically suggested a pattern to me, so I went to work and ended with this:

Seed Helicopters Pattern

Black, white, gray, red-orange and red-purple - my personal, perfect color palette. This pattern says "decorative pillow" to me.

→ Continue Reading

Every artist experiences bountiful seasons of creativity and dry seasons when good ideas seem elusive. Sometimes in the desert, your heart tells you it's time to create but instead, you find an excuse to do anything but make art. I didn't use to believe in this concept called "artist's block", but I've experienced it enough times to know it's a real thing. Fortunately, though, I'm currently in one of the most freeing times in my art journey.

The one thing I've been missing for *so long* is to just

Play

and be okay with whatever ends up on the canvas...or paper...or computer screen. To just let the art pour out and not judge what I've made, or feel like others have to like it, or try to make something that will sell. Those things are certainly important in business, but as I work toward finding my unique style, it's necessary to just experiment and make what I personally love, so my art can become a true reflection of me. → Continue Reading

A few weeks ago I shared with you the charcoal drawing we were given, made by Mom Steward, that we didn't even know existed. Since then, we've received more of her art possessions that are equally as special: an old box of charcoal sticks and a charming wooden box of Talens colored pastels. Again, we had no idea she experimented with art, let alone saved her supplies!

Char-kole box

Talens Pastels

→ Continue Reading

Stretching

Mar 16, 2016

In:Art

The first day of spring is four days away and this season always makes me want to draw and paint. It's one of the few constants in my creative journey. So, I've been thinking a lot about the direction of my artwork.

Since making the decision to work entirely online, it's given me the freedom to focus on my art again. As I explore digital techniques more and more, I've realized there is still so much to learn about drawing, painting and expressing myself through art. And I believe the only way to arrive is by doing.

In my last post I shared some discoveries about image manipulation using Photoshop. Making those prints has since led to creating art, in a more traditional sense, using Photoshop "brushes".

When I discovered you could create a traditional "oil" painting in Photoshop...or a watercolor painting, acrylic painting, charcoal drawing, etc., it was revelational to me. An entire world of possibilities opened up and I felt like a kid in a candy store.

Pear - Oils → Continue Reading

In my recent post about printable wall art, I shared with you some original sketches I manipulated in Photoshop to make them more graphic in appearance. This week, I've taken Photoshop a little further and used real photos I've taken in various places.

First, I'll say I'm no professional photographer. But, I do have fun with a camera once in awhile. And as I've learned a few new techniques in Photoshop, using photos in my artwork was a natural progression.

The funny thing is that some of the concepts I've uncovered are not that different from ones found in Adobe Illustrator, which I use for vector drawing. I just hadn't realized the potential with image manipulation and how it can be incorporated into digital art.

Take this first print, for example. Obviously, the original image of the water lily was rectangular in shape. Photoshop allows you to "cut out" any shape you wish and drag and drop it where you'd like. In this case I chose a circle placed on a white background. Think of the circle being "layered" on top of it.

Water Lily Instant Download Print → Continue Reading

Recently a special gift was given to Chad and me: a charcoal drawing made by his Mom when she was young. Receiving it was completely unexpected because we didn't know that Mom ever drew anything, especially with charcoal, and we've never seen the drawing until now.

Mom S Charcoal Drawing 2 → Continue Reading

Last week I introduced several new printable wall art designs. Though I didn't know beforehand how the actual art would look, the concept had been on my mind for awhile: taking original, hand drawn sketches and converting them to digital prints.

The tropical theme came naturally since I grew up in Florida and am drawn to the water and sea life (and miss it tremendously). I browsed through my collection of reference photos and first decided on a jellyfish, then a palm tree and sand dollar.

The goal for the sketching phase was not to fuss! I tend to strive for "perfection" and consciously chose to keep it somewhat loose and allow for mistakes with little erasing. It helped knowing I was going to convert them to digital drawings where I could edit out any major flaws.

Here's a look at the original sketches. You can see I've used textured charcoal paper and drew them to the actual 8x10 print size.

jellyfish sketch → Continue Reading

Newbie

It was the Spring of 2012, just a few months after I began selling jewelry. Up to that point, all of my jewelry orders had been from friends and family members. They were (are) so supportive that way.

I was thrilled when I received an order from someone I didn't know, someone who found me on Etsy. She was the very first to order the copper bangle bracelet set, and I wanted it to be perfect.

Copper Bangles → Continue Reading