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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.


Prints available in the shop!





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

Lately Around Here: Making Progress

Lately Around here


Oh, hai.  It’s been a while since I gave an update on what I’ve been up to, so I’m filling you in on what’s been happening lately around here.  I was writing this kind of post every week for a while and it started to feel, well…stale.  So I’m going to go with the normal pace of life and post when I have things going on to share.  Life is a lot easier when I just follow the flow of things.

So anyhoo, I’ve been diligently working on getting my Etsy shop in order.  So yeah, WOW.  Who knew there were so many details to get to!  Summaries + descriptions + tags, the list goes on and on.  And then I have to figure out how to share it with the world.  It can feel a bit overwhelming at times, but I have to remind myself that it’s exciting, too.  (My newsletter peeps will get a special discount on prints when I open the shop, so sign up here!)

Fear is excitement

I’ve been trying hard to be more intentional about getting into the studio and putting in the time because these things aren’t going to paint themselves!  And me being on social media or email?  That’s not getting it done either.  I’m trying to figure out a rhythm that feeds my creative flow while also being a little disciplined about finishing projects and not falling down the Instagram rabbit hole for hours. I swear that place is like visual crack.  Here are a few pieces in progress:

Painting In Progress

Painting In progress


I kind of surprised myself at how totally psyched I was when Chris’s brother offered us tickets to see the Eagles game in his company’s box.  I’ve never been to a live, pro football game and WHOA–this is the way to go.  We had food and drinks at our fingertips, a private bathroom and our very own cheerleaders!  I’m ruined for football games forever.   How will I ever sit in a normal seat now?

Eagles Game

Go Eagles!

My cousin Seth has this totally rad hipster-fest art show each year in Asbury Park.  It’s not your typical art–it’s individually decorated motorcycle helmets by some amazing artists from all around the country.  He got a few companies to donate  the helmets and each artist put their own spin on it.  Talk about creative!  There was one covered in denim, you guys.

This year it was held at a retro bowling alley.  Bowling?  Um, yes please.  We not only were surrounded by fun, interesting people, but we could have a beer and bowl the night away.  AND all of the helmets were auctioned off to benefit waves 4 water.  It’s just a really cool idea and for a great cause.

Moto Show

Me + Chris before our attempt at bowling.

Me And Chris

A cousin sandwich.


My sister, the unofficial model of Two Moto.

Swanky Liv

The art helmet hipster fest was hard to beat, but I was psyched to start back with my art class on Monday.  In the middle of painting session this week, our teacher told everyone to come outside to look at the light and colors of the sunset.  We all stood around taking pictures for five minutes and every minute it looked different!  The pinks + peaches + purples + blues were breath taking in a way that only nature can create.  I loved getting lost in all of the colors and loved that there were eight other people around me who felt the same way.

Big Sky

Michaelangelo Sky


Lately Around Here: Making Progress2018-03-29T20:23:14-04:00

How I Handle Overwhelm. {Lessons on Tending the Mental Garden.}

How to handle overwhelm + lessons on tending the mental garden


There are some days I wake up and feel completely overwhelmed for no specific reason.  It seems to happen when I have a lot of projects going on, and I don’t feel like I’m making much progress; it feels like I’m stuck in quicksand.

Even though I have a full-time job, this blog, a wonderful relationship, loving family and friends, an active social life and a healthy mind and body, I can still feel like I’m treading water and not getting anywhere.  I’m busy, but sometimes I’m just too far into the woods to see I’m surrounded by beautiful flowering trees.

Overwhelm can often come from living life fully.

The cycle of overwhelm is familiar to all of us; here’s the process I use for digging my way out.  (You have a process too but maybe these tips will help.)

1.)  My path back to solid ground starts by just acknowledging the overwhelm and giving in to it for a bit.  Rather than fighting the feelings, I wallow in it for a bit because the only way out is through; whether it’s sadness, fear, stress or anger, I swim around and let it wash over me.  It’s quite indulgent in a deliciously negative way, but in order to move on from it, I have to know what it is.

2.)  I begin to remember that the heaviness holding me down is not something I want taking root in my life.  I remind myself that overwhelm is happening because even though I feel stuck, there’s a lot of action happening in my life that is causing it.  A lot of action means that I am trying, I am taking risks and staying open.  And that’s a good thing.

3.) I continue digging myself out by mentally regrouping. I make lists and do some deep breathing. I pay attention to the part of me that really wants to grow + learn from my experiences, even when I’m feeling trapped and paralyzed.  I take a step back and have gratitude for what is good; that helps put everything into perspective.

::  I tap into the feelings of what is working in my life and make moves towards growing that area.

::  I begin to peel away the fear.  I don’t dive into things headfirst, I cautiously unwrap myself.  Gentleness and patience are my friends.

:: I look at things as they are rather than how I want them to be.

::  I set aside time to be quiet and listen to my heart.  I feel my way through the process of slowly climbing back up rather than muscling my way out. I trust my gut.

4.)  I make a mental list of how I can use these tricks for next time.  When I feel like myself again sans panic, I can step back and see what I’ve done–how I’ve untangled myself from a web of fears that probably don’t even exist to begin with.

When I take the time to slow down and reevaluate, I see that my overwhelm is usually 1/3  my imagination, 1/3 unorganization and 1/3 dread of tedious, but necessary tasks.  Picking it apart helps me see more clearly–It brings light to the darkness, levity to the heavy.  In the end, I try to appreciate my courage for moving forward and getting over that hump of overwhelm.

This process is a part of becoming more me;  just like soil that needs to be turned, the richness is under the surface.

How do you handle overwhelm when it takes over?




How I Handle Overwhelm. {Lessons on Tending the Mental Garden.}2018-03-29T20:23:24-04:00
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