Celebrating How Far We Have Come

FallTreesThis was the view from my yoga mat yesterday afternoon. Spectacular!

Last week I celebrated a birthday, which always incites a bit of reflection .

As of late, I have felt a little…adrift. I have a few (exciting) licensing deals in the works, but they are still months away from launch. I know where I want to go–I just don’t know exactly how to get there.

Back when I was in school for graphic design, I remember sitting in class, listening to advice from seasoned designers, and feeling in awe (and rather intimidated). They had already achieved that coveted title ‘Graphic Designer.’

Fast forward a year. I finished school and took on my first real projects with real clients. But…working as a graphic designer didn’t feel like I thought it would (like I had arrived).

Too often, when we finally hit the mark, we have already re-calibrated where we want to go.

There will always be something new to aspire to. It’s human nature to reset the bar.

So this week, I want to recognize how far I have come in the last three years. I have only been illustrating since my daughter was born.

In just a few years, so many exciting things have happened–commissioned jobs, licensing deals, my first art show, making the semi-finals in Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search, being featured in Uppercase’s Work/Life 3 illustration directory.

And my art has grown in leaps and bounds.

So instead of feeling discouraged about not quite being where I want to be with all of it, I am going to acknowledge and enjoy just how far I have come.

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And don’t forget, 10% of anything you buy from my online store will be donated to Arts Street, a local non-profit program that creates opportunities for the young people of Colorado. Their mission is to “…cultivate low-income and under-served youth into a creative and culturally competent workforce. We use the power of the arts and arts professionals to nurture leadership and engage youth in learning.”

 

Global Talent Search Winners Announced

Mudita

The Dalai Lama explains Mudita (Sanskrit) like this,

“If I am happy for myself, many fewer chances for happiness. If I’m happy when good things happen to other people, billions more chances to be happy.”

Yesterday, Lilla Rogers announced the winners of her Global Talent Search. I am so excited for Tara Lilly (Grand Prize winner), and Rebecca Jones and Flora Waycott (both special Studio Award winners).

The final assignment was to create a line of home decor products. Here is Tara’s final submission:

TARA_LILLY_NATURE_PG1

TARA_LILLY_NATURE_PG2

Isn’t it gorgeous! Check out Lilla’s blog to see the winning work from Rebecca and Flora.

I am so happy for the winners and can’t wait to see what they do in the coming year. Many congratulations to all three of you!

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Also, don’t forget I’m donating 10% of the proceeds from my online store to Arts Street, a local non-profit program that creates opportunities for the young people of Colorado. Their mission is to “…cultivate low-income and under-served youth into a creative and culturally competent workforce. We use the power of the arts and arts professionals to nurture leadership and engage youth in learning.”

I Like To Ride My Bike

I Like To Ride my Bike

Whether riding around town and towing my kids behind, or up in the hills on my road bike, I love to ride.

That feeling of freedom that you first experience as a kid–it never goes away.

What do you do to take care of yourself? I’d love to hear from you!

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Also, I’m donating 10% of the proceeds from my online store to Arts Street, a local non-profit program that creates opportunities for the young people of Colorado. Their mission is to “…cultivate low-income and under-served youth into a creative and culturally competent workforce. We use the power of the arts and arts professionals to nurture leadership and engage youth in learning.”

It’s Snowing!

The First Snow doodle

4:00 am. Deep in dreamland but always listening with a mother’s ear, I hear the pitter patter of tiny feet.

“Mama?”

“Hi sweetie. What do you need? It’s very early, ” I mumble.

“Mama…did it snow?!” she asks, and I can hear the excitement in her voice. I tell her to go look out our window.

The ground is still bare, the grass still green. No snow.

“We’ll check again when it’s time to get up,” I tell her as I tuck her back into bed. She nods, smiling, and nestles under her covers.

The day before, we talked about how it might snow. We talked about making snow angels and building snowmen–her eyes lit up. We talked about eating snow (her favorite part), and skiing (my favorite part).

In the morning, we looked out the window again. No snow, but a cold, light rain was falling. Hazel stayed by the window, watching intently as I went to her room to pick out her clothes.

“Mama, mama!!!” she hollered, “Mama, look! It’s snowing!!!”

I came back into the room. Her small hands were pressed up against the glass. The rainy sleet had indeed turned into snow.

Seeing life through the eyes of a child is a wondrous thing. She stayed glued to the window as I helped her get dressed and brushed her hair. The “snowstorm” lasted for maybe 10-20 minutes. Nothing stuck–it was almost over before it even began. But it was one of the highlights of her day.

And that it made it one of the highlights of mine.

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Also, as you know, I have been donating 10% of my proceeds to a charitable organization for the last couple of months. I want to be able to make more of a difference, and have concluded that switching organizations each month just isn’t helping anyone enough. So I’m going to change things up. For the next few months, I want to focus on one charity. And we’ll see how that goes.

I will be donating 10% of the proceeds from my online store to Arts Street, a local non-profit program that creates opportunities for the young people of Colorado. Their mission is to “…cultivate low-income and under-served youth into a creative and culturally competent workforce. We use the power of the arts and arts professionals to nurture leadership and engage youth in learning.”

Check ‘em out.

Both the End and the Beginning

penelopedullaghan_liberalallowanceoftime

I am head over heals in love with this illustration. The composition. The emotion. And those colors. 

The image was created by Penelope Dullaghan. I am a huge fan of her work.

Entitled “A Liberal Allowance of Time” (Thoureau!), this piece was a response to her daughter starting kindergarten. You can read more about it on her blog. Prints are available for purchase here.

My daughter started school this week as well. Pre-School. Before I was a parent, I didn’t understand why this was such a big deal.

She will only be gone for three hours, four mornings a week. I will have enough time to unload the dishwasher and check my email. Then it will be time to pick her up.

But as I walked to my car after dropping her off, it felt…immense.

Bigger than her first tooth. Bigger than her first step. Or her first word. Excited that we have reached this milestone, and so proud–yet at the same yearning for the tiny baby that once fit in my arms.

As is the case with most of life’s transitions, it feels like both the end and the beginning. I’m just grateful to be along for the ride.

Artists Around the World Blog Hop

Last week, I was honored by Croatian artist and friend Antoana Oreški-Džafić, with an invitation to participate in a blog hop featuring artists from around the world. I am very flattered–and excited to join in on the fun!

Today, I will share some of Antoana’s gorgeous work, answer some questions about my own creative process, and I will introduce you to a couple of artists who truly inspire me, Jennifer Orkin Lewis and Nelleke Verhoeff.

International Inspiration

Antoana and I met in Assignment Bootcamp earlier this year. An incredibly talented illustrator, I love her lush colors and her great character design. The level of detail she adds to her pieces is truly inspiring.

Antoana created this Koala piece for Tigerprint’s Cute Character competition. I enjoy so much of her work, but this is one of my favorites. The color palette, those koalas, and what a sweet message! Wish her luck. The winners will be announced next month.

Illustration by Antoana  for Tigerprint's "Cute Character" competition

This was Antoana’s Global Talent Search entry. The little girl riding on top of that fabulous elephant is my favorite part–oh my, that hair!!

ANTOANA_ORESKI_Dreamland Terrarium

Antoana’s patterns are magical as well.

Exotic

Balancing work with family, Antoana is a dedicated mother of two. As I muddle through, trying to strike a balance between work and parenthood, I’m inspired by fellow mamas working as artists as well.

To see more of Antoana’s work, check out her website and her blog.


How I Work

Next up, a few questions about my creative process:

What are you working/writing on?

Right now, I’m building out a wall art collection for an exciting licensing deal that’s in the works. I’m finalizing another wall art deal (details coming soon!), and waiting to hear on a couple of other pending collections as well (eek–fingers crossed).

I’m also trying to make a decision about Surtex next spring, and whether to just walk, or to go for it and try to exhibit. Oh, and overhauling my website too. I tend to work best with a lot of irons in the fire.

How does your work differ from others in your genre?  

As many artists have said, this is a hard question to answer about yourself. If I were to sum up what I do, I would say my work is whimsical, layered, and sophisticated. Color is one of my very favorite things. And I enjoy creating depth and interest with a variety of textures.

How does your creative process work?

I love an assignment. Please don’t tell me I can do whatever I want, however I want–I will freeze like a deer in headlights.

When I do start a new project, I’m usually super charged up and excited. Lately, I have also been trying to set an intention at the outset–a kind of prayer to my cosmic muse–that the project will be successful. Then I begin to draw. Without thinking too much about where it’s all going, I fill pages of my sketchbook. Usually just pencil on paper. Then I go back and I look for what’s working (it’s a gut feeling). I scan those drawings and start to play with elements digitally.

At some point in the process, more often than not, I hit a wall. I get stuck. Nothing is working. My excitement morphs into anxiety. And it talks,‘You’re not good enough. What were you thinking? Why you?’ When this happens, I need to walk away.

One of the things about working while being at home with my daughter (3) and my son (8 months), is that I spend a lot of time thinking about different approaches, compositions, and solutions in my head. All this thinking time usually means when I actually sit down to work, I make real progress. Not always, but usually.

Once I have the composition dialed in, I start to play with color. Like I said, this is one of my very favorite steps. I adore color.

Happy with my palette, I take the whole thing into Photoshop and rebuild it, adding texture until I’m happy and the piece is finished.

Why do you create?

From an interview I did last year for Uppercase’s Work/Life 3 Illustration directory:

“When working on a project that I’m really excited about, I get this buzz…an electric current of excitement that lights me up from head to toe. I am an illustrator because it makes my soul sparkle.”

 


Two Artists You Should Know

Enough about me. Now I want share the work of two incredible artists who inspire me.

I met both of these women through Lilla Rogers’ classes (one of the best parts of class is connecting with a community of talented and supportive artists), and I am truly honored and excited to share their immense talent with you.

First up is the fabulous Jennifer Orkin Lewis, whose work was recently featured in Uppercase magazine.

Jennifer, who works under the studio name August Wren, maintains a 30-minute-a-day sketchbook practice. Below are some excerpts. I am inspired on a daily basis by her creations (check out her Facebook page to follow along).

Blue Lady illustration

Jennifer Orking Lewis_Daily Sketchbook

Jennifer Orkin Lewis Uppercase Spread

Jennifer is also one of the semi-finalists in this year’s Global Talent Search!! This was her Terrarium entry.

Terrarium_GTS_AugustWren

I’m so excited to see what Jennifer creates for the second round.

For more of Jennifer’s work, check out her website and her blog .


Next, I present to you the lovely Nelleke Verhoeff. Creating work that is whimsical and fun, yet incredibly sophisticated, Nelleke works under the studio name Red Cheeks Factory, which (from her bio) “…stands for enthusiasm, but also for shyness and excitement.” What I adore most about her work is her loose style and her wonderful people.

“Puzzled,” available for purchase here.

Puzzled

“Ma Cherie,” available for purchase here.

Ma Cherie

Trio Umbrella available for purchase here.

TrioUmbrella

Her patterns are top-notch as well–and I love how she mocks them up.

Dancing_Feathers_Nelleke_Verhoeff

You can see more of Nelleke’s work on her website and blog, and in her online shop.

This has been so much fun! Thank you for following along. These women will be talking about their own creative process,’ and sharing a few artists who inspire them next week. I hope you’ll follow along.

Grow

Don't be afraid to stand in your own power and blossom

This past Tuesday, the semi-finalists in Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search were announced.

My piece didn’t make the cut.

The assignment was to create a piece of wall art with a ‘Little Terrariums’ theme. And I was thrilled with what I came up with–I had so much fun!! Even though I didn’t make it through, what I created was 100% me and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

That’s not to say I’m not a little disappointed. Last year (to my amazement–I entered on a whim), I made it through to the next round. This was my submission (the assignment was to create a journal cover with a ‘Playground’ theme).

Let's Play

So I knew it was possible…

There were 999 entries this year. You can see the list of semi-finalists here. And this year, they published everyone’s submissions–so you can peruse the entire gallery if you are so inclined. It’s an impressive collection, and I have no idea how Lilla and her team narrowed the field to the top 50 (what I would’ve given to have been a fly on the wall for those conversations).

Through Lilla’s MATS classes, I know a lot of the artists who made it through. And I am genuinely excited for them. I can’t wait to see what they create for the next round.

There were a lot of entries that I loved–pieces that would have made my top 50–that didn’t make the cut though.

That’s maybe the best and the worst of what I do, that art is inherently subjective.

In all honesty, I did host my own private pity party for a good part of the morning on Tuesday when the list of semi-finalists was announced. And then I got on my road bike and went for ride up a really big, steep hill. As always, this helped, immensely.

And then I picked myself up and dusted myself off. And I’m getting right back in that saddle. Giddyup.

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And don’t forget, this is the last week in August–for the rest of the month, 10% of what I sell will go to DAVA, a local organization that “… provides high-quality, after-school programming in the Aurora community and has become an anchor of free arts education for 900 urban kids (ages 3-17) annually. DAVA programs are designed to provide young people with the tools necessary to activate a new vision for community through the arts.”

 

Still Waiting…

KellyAngelovicArtPrintsforSale

Purchased prints to be mailed out.

Last week, I posted about Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search. The first round of submissions were due this past Monday–wall art with a “Little Terrarium” theme. The talented top fifty will be announced on Tuesday (the 26th).

Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search

I feel like I submitted my entry AGES AGO (and am keeping it under wraps until the semi-finalists list is out).

I am nervous and so excited. Regardless of the outcome, this contest is so much fun to be a part of. If I make it through, the next assignment will be given on Tuesday as well.

Any guesses as to what it might be??

Based on the list of prizes, (this is a COMPLETE shot in the dark) my guess is a bolt fabric assignment based on typewriters.

In the meantime, I’m keeping myself busy with customer orders and a collection that I am building out for an exciting wall art deal that’s in the works. Details to come!

Best of luck to all the participants nervously chewing fingernails as they await the big semi-finalist announcement!!!

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And don’t forget, for the month of August, 10% of what I sell will go to DAVA, a local organization that “… provides high-quality, after-school programming in the Aurora community and has become an anchor of free arts education for 900 urban kids (ages 3-17) annually. DAVA programs are designed to provide young people with the tools necessary to activate a new vision for community through the arts.”

An Awfully Good Adventure

Green and lovely aren't they?

Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search has begun! The deadline for the first round of entries is due Monday. A bit ahead of the game (and with sweaty, shaky palms), I submitted my piece yesterday.

The assignment was to create wall art around the theme ‘little terrariums.’

Succulents. Cacti. Strange, wonderfully shaped containers cradling exotic plants within their transparent walls. Run with it.

Have fun.

Create something you would hang on your wall.

People buy your joy.

One of the reasons so many artists want to be represented by the fabulous Lilla Rogers is that her assignments are full of nurturing directives. Who wouldn’t want to work under someone urging you to, above all, follow your joy? 

Plus, an industry juggernaut, her business sense is as finely honed as her artistic eye.

I can’t show you my entry just yet, but no matter the outcome of this first round, I had an amazing time creating it.

An ‘I can’t sleep because my whole body is creatively buzzing’ good time.

It’s exhilarating. And terrifying. Bigger than me. Or that’s how it feels when I’m in my groove.

In this messy, hard, scary, beautiful experience we call life, you can be an observer. You can sit on the sidelines and watch it all unfold.

Or you can get out there. Jump right in the middle and see what happens..

Seize your moment.

It will be scary. You will hear voices (inside your head and out)–voices telling you you’re not good enough. Voices asking ‘why you?’ Voices telling you you’re crazy to even try.

Do it anyway. No matter the outcome, it will be one helluva a ride.

“To live. To live will be an awfully big adventure.”

- Robin Williams, Hook

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And don’t forget, for the month of August, 10% of what I sell will go to DAVA, a local organization that “… provides high-quality, after-school programming in the Aurora community and has become an anchor of free arts education for 900 urban kids (ages 3-17) annually. DAVA programs are designed to provide young people with the tools necessary to activate a new vision for community through the arts.”