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Lately Around Here: Winter + Art

Lately Around here

We’re in a deep freeze here lately in the northeast–It’s been cold, cold, cold here for weeks.  I’m a pretty up beat person, but this crazy weather can wear anyone down!    We did have a tease on Sunday though–40 degrees and it felt like a Spring day, but now we’re back to the frigid teens.  Boo hoo.

In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer. -Albert Camus

Well played, Albert.  This too, shall pass and the warmth of summer will be back.

Winter

With the cold winter comes some beautiful views too.  I mean, really?  Sometimes I feel like Snow White in my own enchanted forest when I look out the back window and see this:

Deer

This isn’t a great picture, but I feel like this duo-selfie captured the moment perfectly–me and my Valentine went out for a romantic dinner together on the 14th.  We had such a great time checking out the Biergarten for a pre-dinner drink and then heading to Moonstruck for an amazing feast.  Swoon.

My Valentine

On the art front, this is another girl coming to life.  I love watching the process progress through pictures, it gives me a different perspective on the whole thing.

Beginnings
Beginnings progress

And here’s a peek inside my tweaking process with the color of the prints.  Since I have my own fine art printer, I needed to figure out the process so I can create a print I’m proud of.  I also wanted to make sure I was consistent, too, because there are so many different ways to create a print.

Along my journey, I’ve realized I just have to figure out the combination that I like best.  Have the printer control the color?  Have Photoshop control color?  There are a lot of combinations that can change how the print looks and it took me awhile to figure out which to use.  And even though the whole color management process can make me ca-razy with all of the adjustments, I’ve learned a ton along the way and I’m happy for my pages + pages of mistakes.

Tweaking colors

Here’s the final result of my tweaking.  I gave this sweet girl away for my Valentine’s giveaway.  Congratulations Felicia!

Valentine's Giveaway

And, oh yeah–I’m also in the middle of planning my wedding.  Holy moley, it feels like it’s taking over my life right now!  And it is, but that’s ok.  I dodged a major invitation debacle this weekend (the time was printed wrong!)  so I feel like I got my one bad thing out of the way.  Smooth sailing from now on…

Invitation graveyard

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PS: Don’t ask for permission to take care of yourself

Lately Around Here: Winter + Art2018-03-29T20:23:12-04:00

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not all who wander

I love the simple reminder of this quote, to wander + dream.  

It keeps me calm amid all of the talk and pressure to constantly be something better.  I’m quietly making my way through all of the exciting ideas that come up as I let myself wander and let go of expectations.

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Not All Who Wander Are Lost2018-03-29T20:23:13-04:00

Art In Progress: Be Gentle With Yourself

Art In Progress: See how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.

This week I’m highlighting a piece I called ‘Be Gentle With Yourself’.  When I started this one, I wanted to create something with a little bit of a lighter feel because sometimes the colors can get so intense on the canvas when I’m painting!  I wanted to create a background that was a little calmer and more soothing.

Here is the first layer:

Be gentle

I liked where the background was going and decided to place the girl into it right away.  As I was flipping through papers to use, I saw the pattern of her dress and immediately loved it!  I added the ‘belt’ details, complimenting some of the colors of the background to bring it together.

Be gentle

(Sorry this first one is blurry–not sure what happened when I took the picture, but you get the idea.)  She is coming along with her pretty hair and hooded lids…

Be gentle

Be gentle

Next, I added in the sentiment and the two little love birds.  For some reason, birds seem gentle to me–maybe it’s how fragile and small they are?  I was on a walk with Chris not too long ago and there was a finch calmly hanging out on the sidewalk as we strolled by.  I reached down and pet her, then she flew away–that gentleness of her trust stayed with me for days.

Be gentle

In all,  I think I succeeded in keeping this one pretty simple; sometimes it feels good to strip it down to basics.  The calm vibe of this sweet girl (her name is Bella) is just what I was looking for.  You can find her in the shop here!

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Art in progress banner

 

Art In Progress: Be Gentle With Yourself2018-03-29T20:23:13-04:00

How I Started Painting {And Pictures From My Gallery Opening.}

Wow, wow, wow.  Friends, this past weekend was so monumental for me!  I am part of an art show at a local gallery and showing my art totally put things into perspective.  It felt so right.

Growing up, I was always a little artistic;  I used to draw + make dioramas quietly in my room– it was a way I could relax from the busy-ness of grade school + my large family.  In 3rd grade I won the art contest for my drawing of “what my family means to me” (It was a drawing of us eating Sunday dinner together in the dining room and my dad still has it framed + hung there to this day).

I was always trying to figure out something new to try, artistically.

The creating continued in high school where I would collage with my buds on poster board on the weekends until three in the morning.  We were obsessed with cutting out the right words + images from magazines to show how we were feeling at the time (or how we wanted to feel).  Little did I know, I was actually creating a vision board.

Throughout college and after, I continued to dabble in sketching and painting, but nothing of a consistent, concrete nature.  I would just pick it up now and again when I had some time.

Prep for the show

Fast forward to a couple of years ago when I started taking a local abstract painting class.  It was my first formal art class as an adult and I wasn’t sure what to expect, I just knew I needed to try it.  Would I like it?  Would I be any good at it?  Would I be able to express what was deep in my heart that motivated me to go there in the first place?

Turns out I was pretty bad when I started painting in that abstract class; I felt clumsy and misunderstood.  What I was painting was not jiving with what I wanted to paint.  Looking back, I realize I was painting in a way that would help me fit in–it was awkward to try something new as an adult and I was trying to paint like the other students (and how my teacher told me to).

But painting like everyone else felt wrong.  I wasn’t enjoying it and it quickly began to feel like a task rather than a release.  So I gave myself a pep talk, “Steph you’re here to have fun–to explore the deep desire in your heart to create.  Listening to others and their direction is not going to get you there, so let’s start doing it your way.”  After I admitted painting for them and not me was not going to get me where I wanted to go, everything changed.

I started exploring my own style, my own voice.  Even though it looked very different from my classmates.

And then the girls were born.

Me + my work

This past Sunday when I was standing in front of a wall full of my creations thinking about my rocky start, I was so grateful that I followed my heart + kept trying.  I knew that I needed to express myself through painting and collage, but I wasn’t sure how to do it or where it would lead me.  It was a humbling reminder that a lot of life happens just by showing up and being willing.  This art journey I’m on is so very fulfilling + make me so so happy when I’m immersed in it.

Me + Chris

Me + My Honey

me + my muses

My nieces (and muses)

So I encourage all of you out there reading this to listen to that little whisper inside your heart that’s calling you to do something.  We all have those whispers. Take a mini step today towards that thing, even if it’s just writing it down or saying it out loud.

My 2 hour class each week over the past few years led to this gallery show.  I couldn’t have seen this on my first night of painting in class, but inch by inch, I made a dream come true–and you can too.

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PS: Want to see some of the girls in the show?  Look here and here and here.

How I Started Painting {And Pictures From My Gallery Opening.}2018-03-29T20:23:14-04:00

Lately Around Here: Adventures In The City + Nature

Lately Around here

Life is moving so fast lately, yet moving slow at the same time.  Have you ever felt that way?  It feels like my life as a whole is speeding by, but the day-to-day is going at a snail’s pace.  Which at times can be good–it really makes me appreciate the little things and the beauty of everyday life.  I enjoy everyday life and I want to dig in more the the nuances of living because that’s where I find comfort and happiness.  The big sparkly events are great, but I love  simple life happenings–a hot shower, inspiring conversations + a good book, to name a few.  It’s so easy to forget that the everyday gestures are what makes my life special, not the once in a while grand events.

Grand events are good too, though.  Liv + I went to the city to see Idina Menzel in If/Then.  The day before the show, we found out Idina’s understudy would be performing instead of her.  Womp womp.  Turns out, the understudy sounded exactly like her and we were far enough away that we couldn’t see every facial detail so it didn’t even matter!  Total win, you guys.   The singing was amazing and it was a fun adventure night out–and we even got to meet my brother for a bite before, at the famous Shake Shack.

Me + my peeps

Shake Shack

If/Then Stage

In the northeast, we’ve had some amazing weather lately–Fall is taking hold, but at a sweet + slow pace, and this past weekend was perfect weather for a hike.  There’s something about nature that calms me in a way nothing else does.   You too?  Maybe it’s the quietness of the trees or getting away from being busy, but it lulls me into an easy space where I feel more grounded and centered.  Nature reminds me not to try so hard, but just to be.

Snake

View of Hike

Foliage

Me + Chris

After the hike, we headed over to the lighthouse for some majestic views.

View from Lighthouse

Another little day trip I went on lately was to Princeton University.  That place always blows my mind!  The buildings + the scenery + the whole vibe is steeped in such long-standing tradition.  (And to be honest, I feel like I get a little smarter when I visit. Ha!)

Princeton

Trees changing

You are beautiful sticker

I’ve been replenishing my book stack lately and these are some of the goodies I found.  I love, love, LOVE to read, but I’m usually in the middle of 2 or 3 books at a time and that causes me to be a bit slow on finishing them.  I’m on a creative/build your business kick lately so I’m into the self-help genre but I’m due for a good juicy novel soon.  Too much self-improvement can make me a little batty.

Books I'm reading

And of course, I’m still working on my Etsy shop!  I have my printer all set up and ready to go, so this weekend I’m going to scan my heart out and post some new goodies for you to enjoy.

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Lately Around Here: Adventures In The City + Nature2018-03-29T20:23:14-04:00

Art in Progress: Bloom

Art In Progress: See how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.

I was inspired by a color palate I had seen online and wanted to create something that felt light + hopeful.  I can sometimes get carried away with intense colors and forget to leave light space in for a place for the eye to rest and chill out. (It’s a good metaphor for life, too.)  I gave myself the challenge to stay light with this one and it was a fun task to remember along the way.  The first layer or two was fast + easy and included some tissue paper.

Bloom 1

I added some objects early on, which I don’t normally do because it limits what I end up doing for the final product.  I usually turn the canvas around a lot and try different viewpoints, but when I put an object in, it anchors the piece a specific way.  Oh well!  The colors were calling out for some flowers.

Bloom 2

I couldn’t resist my nagging urge (ha!) to darken it up a little with that purple.  So I added in a little white stencil on the side to balance it out and added more light objects in the bottom left corner.  I’m starting to like it at this point because it feels light, but like my individual style, too. (I feel like I’m always finding my style and changing it up.)

Bloom 3

Here’s a close up of that bottom corner before the purple, I love the colors together!

Bloom 4

And the flowers.

Bloom 5

I added a few more small accents and I’m done.  That space in the middle bothered me at first, but then I remembered my challenge was to stay light and there it was!  It was a perfect place for my sentiment–we all need space to BLOOM.

Bloom

Prints available in the shop!

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Art in Progress: Bloom2018-03-29T20:23:14-04:00
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