Hi everyone! Some of you might know that, in addition to being a watercolor artist, I have also previously worked as an art therapist. A few years ago, I quit my job as an art therapist so that I could focus on expanding my growing watercolor business. I have loved getting to focus full-time on my watercolor business so that it could continue to grow and improve. As much as I love my business, I have also found myself missing my career as an art therapist. As a result, I recently decided to accept a job as an art therapist at a school for students who have autism. With this new role, I will continue to run my watercolor business, I will just be doing so on a slightly smaller scale. I wanted to share the news with you all and say thank you for your wonderful support as I continue to pursue both of my passions! If you have any questions about what this change means for my business, please feel free to contact me. Thanks so much!
Some time ago, when I was first starting out as a professional artist, I remember hearing from an artist that someone had gotten a tattoo of one of her paintings. I remember thinking at the time how impressive that was and wondering if perhaps one day I will have enough success to warrant anyone ever wanting to get a tattoo of one of my own paintings. So you may imagine just how surprised I was when a stranger reached out to me recently to share that he had gotten a tattoo of my robin
painting on his arm. Brian I. shared with me, “I recently got a tattoo…and the design was almost fully inspired by one of your pieces…titled ‘American Robin II.’ I loved the positioning and the watercolor, too, and just wanted to say thanks for the inspiration!” I am so appreciative to Brian for taking the time to share this with me. His message not only completely made my day, but it helped me feel more confident about my artwork and about my career path as an artist. I am incredibly humbled and grateful for all of the support that I receive from so many of you for my work. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I cannot say thank you enough! I still have a long way to go in my journey as an artist, and at times I still feel very much of a novice at what I do, but your wonderful support really makes me feel like I am on the right path and that there is purpose to what I do!
My sincerest gratitude,
I am excited to share that my husband, my sweet pup, and I are moving to St. Louis, Missouri at the end of the month! It is bittersweet to be moving, as we have really come to enjoy living in Austin, Texas. However, this move affords us a wonderful opportunity to be closer to family and friends, and for that we are incredibly grateful. With all of the “moving” parts going on between moving out, moving into a new home, and setting up a new art studio, these next few weeks are going to be quite busy! As a result, any orders placed on my website between March 27th - April 16th will be packaged and shipped on April 17th (or sooner if I can!). Thanks for your wonderful support, and please be sure to stay tuned for a sale once I have settled into my new studio!
P.S.- This might sound “corny,” but I am really looking forward to seeing the Midwestern scenery again, cornfields and all! I really must be a Midwestern gal at heart!
We recently welcomed a new dog into our family! He is a beautiful shepherd mix who came from the local animal shelter where I volunteer. After losing our dog, Bailey
, this past summer to cancer, I didn’t think that I would be ready to open my heart up to another dog for a very long time. I missed him tremendously, and I didn’t think another dog could ever come close to replacing him. I still miss Bailey and think about him every day, but I also eventually came to realize that bringing a new dog into our home by no means meant that we were replacing him. No one will ever replace Bailey; he was one-of-a-kind. It was simply time to begin moving forward by opening our hearts up to a new dog. And that’s where Mick came along.
"Think not so much of 'moving on' but of 'moving forward.' And as you move forward, you ALWAYS do so with your loved one by your side, in your heart, within your very breath. They are part of you now and always. You move forward with them and continue to engage in life because of their inspiration."
- Ashley Davis Bush
I think that part of the readiness to adapt again came from volunteering at an animal shelter. Helping other dogs in need has allowed me to continue honoring Bailey’s memory in an impactful way. There are so many deserving dogs out there who just want a chance to share their love and to be loved back. And volunteering with some of those dogs also helped me realize how much more love I still have to give, too.
Although I didn’t think that I was ready to adopt quite yet, I wanted to do more to help out the shelter and decided to foster. My husband and I took Mick home as a foster dog, but we found ourselves immediately falling for him as he brought new joy and excitement into our lives. It was a perfect match in many ways, and we just couldn’t bear the thought of letting him go. I took that as a sign that I was in fact ready for a new and permanent four-legged family member, so we adopted Mick. Our foster dog is now our adopted dog, and we are so very happy to have him as part of our little family!
Do you have an adoption story about your furry companion? If so, I would love to hear it- please feel free to share your story in the comments below!
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Texas! This has been quite a year for me with a lot of changes both in my personal life and with my art business. I especially appreciate all of the support that I have received over this past year as my business moved across the country to my new home in Austin, Texas. Thank you so much to all of you who support my work, you really mean the world to me!
I thought that I would take this time to share my final finished painting from 2015, a beautiful Mountain Bluebird (below this post are also a few photos of my painting process for this bluebird in case you like to see my work-in-progress photos). You can also view details on purchasing your own archival print of the Mountain Bluebird painting here.
Bluebirds have a special meaning for me personally, as they would often make their way into my art journaling and became a symbol for peace and calm in my sketches. So I think that it is fitting that my final formal painting of this year ended up being a bluebird. I had quite a hectic year, but within the chaos there were many special moments of peace, love, and happiness as well. And I think that the chaos helped teach me more about the meaning of unconditional love and how to better find peace in my life. So I am incredibly grateful to share this meaningful painting with you all, and I hope that you enjoy it!
Have a wonderful and peaceful Holiday, and I hope to see you in 2016!
Tim and I just returned from our honeymoon to find that our wedding photos were mailed to us! It was such an incredibly meaningful and emotional day for many reasons, much more meaningful than I ever thought it could be. And going through our photos seemed to bring everything back about that day. So I wanted to take the time to share some of my favorite photos along with some backstory about what made our wedding so very special.
The week leading up to the wedding was in fact the hardest week of my life. My dog, Bailey, passed away just days before we were to say our “I dos.” And what was supposed to be the happiest time in my life quickly became the saddest. I hate to share such a sad experience within such a happy one, but the two are so entwined with each other that it is almost impossible to separate them.
Bailey had been sick with cancer for some time, so the wedding planning almost had become a chore for me at times. When I was supposed to be enjoying dress fittings and decoration planning, my mind wasn’t completely there because my main focus was caring for Bailey. And on top of that, Tim and I were in the middle of planning a cross-country move. So leading up to the wedding, I was worried about a lot of things. And the worst of those worries came true when Bailey passed away. I knew that he was getting weaker in the weeks leading up the wedding, but I also held out hope that he would make it past the wedding. He was my best friend, and I truly couldn’t even picture my wedding day without him there (we even had picked the venue with him in mind). I honestly think that Bailey knew how badly I wanted him there with me, so he tried to hold on as long as he possibly could to be there for me. But he was suffering towards the end, and I knew that I had to let him say goodbye.
Despite trying to prepare myself for Bailey’s death, it still came as a shock of sadness. Needless to say, I was a basket case of emotions the week of our wedding, and I didn’t know if I would even be able to enjoy our wedding day. Tim was incredibly supportive through the whole thing, letting me cry and breakdown as I needed to. We even thought about postponing the wedding, but we decided it would be best to move forward with it.
In the end, I am glad that we had the wedding when we did. We felt such an outpouring of love from our family and friends, and I think that was exactly what I needed when I was aching so much from the loss of Bailey. It was almost surreal how Tim and I could actually feel the positive energy of love flowing from our guests throughout the day. We also had the perfect weather for our outdoor wedding, something that I like to think Bailey had a hand (or paw) in. I still had a few moments of sad tears for missing Bailey (I teared up before walking down the aisle because I had always envisioned Bailey with me there at that moment), but luckily the day was overwhelmingly a joyous one. And reminding myself that Bailey was still with me in spirit also helped me feel better.
Most importantly, it felt unbelievably wonderful to officially marry Tim. It was such a special moment to stand together and say our vows to each other. We wrote our own vows, and when Tim read his vows to me, I actually forgot about everything else for a moment. They were touching and from the heart, and he made me feel so lucky to get to be his forever person.
There were too many happy moments throughout the day to count, so hopefully these pictures help sum everything up. But I really need to thank our family and friends for helping make the day such an extra special occasion. In addition to Tim’s amazing support, I especially have my parents, my brother, and my sister to thank for helping me with a lot of the planning and decor leading up to the day. Also, I need to mention that our wedding officiant and his wife, Michael and Evelyn Cobb, were a great support team for Tim and me in the months leading up to the wedding. The rest of our wedding party rocked, and we are so thankful for all of you. And, of course, all of our guests were wonderful. I also want to give a quick shout out to my hair stylist, Jen Skladanek, our photographer, Jessica Quist, and our venue coordinator, Whitney Sleiter. All these ladies helped make the day essentially stress-free.
Tim and I had such a special wedding day thanks to everyone’s incredible support and love. What could have been a really sad and difficult day became such a heartwarmingly joyous one.
Photos by Jessica Quist Photography
It has been a crazy time for me to say the least (see previous posts)! My husband and I have been busy unpacking and getting settled in to our new home in Austin, TX. So far, Austin seems like a great place to live, and I’m really looking forward to exploring the city and surrounding areas much more in time. As a Midwestern gal, though, I must admit that adjusting to the heat down here is certainly going to take some time!
With everything going on in my personal life lately, it’s been nice to finally start getting back into a grove with my art business. I’ve started painting again, and I just finished a new abstract painting entitled “Heavenly View.”
I like each viewer to see what he or she wants or needs to see in my abstract work, so I don’t like giving too much away about my thought process for creating a piece. However, I thought I’d share just a little bit into the creative process behind this painting.
Without trying to sound morbid, the concept of death intrigues me. I previously worked as an art therapist with older adults with dementia, so I became quite used to dealing with end of life issues on a daily basis with my job. And with the recent death of my beloved dog, I have been thinking about this topic more and more. Consequently, I’ve been reading a few books as of lately on near death experiences and the idea of life after death. This piece represents my thoughts and reactions to what I have been reading, and what the transition of life on Earth to life after death could possibly be like. I really enjoyed painting this abstract, as it pressed me to dig deep. It’s a very soft work of art, and whether or not the viewer sees what I see in the painting, it is meant to encourage peaceful contemplation.
I hope that you enjoy this painting and that you perhaps even come up with your own interpretation of what it represents. That’s why I love creating abstract work- each person sees something different in each piece!
Life has been, well, crazy. In the span of just two weeks my beloved dog passed away, I got married, and my new husband and I moved from Milwaukee, WI to Austin, TX. I think those are all the big life moments that I can handle for a while…
It has been an emotional time for me to say the least, and I have been filling these past few weeks with both happy and sad tears. I’m trying to let myself go ahead and feel the mix of emotions that I need to feel during this time. I still miss my dog, Bailey, immensely. I am actually writing this at 2:00 AM because I am having trouble sleeping without Bailey by my side. I am also happy to be married to the wonderful man that I now get to call my husband (and I’m still getting used to even calling him my husband). I am excited for our new adventure here in Texas, but our new house also feels quite lonely without Bailey and my family nearby. And I’m exhausted from all the packing and unpacking! Talk about a lot of emotions to feel at once!
Someone wise reminded me recently that I am going through three of life’s big stressors all at once, so it is okay to deal with and process everything at my own pace. It’ll take some time to feel a sense of normality again, but for me that starts with painting again.
Making art is my way of keeping a diary- it allows me to express how I am feeling in the moment. And it is through this process that I both find and lose myself at the same time. It has been about a month since I have painting or even sketched anything, and for me that is way too long. As an art therapist, I know the healing powers that art can bring, so I know that making art is in my best interest for my sanity if for nothing else. I started setting up my art studio earlier today so that I can finally sit down to paint again very soon. The studio will be a work in progress for a while, but as long as I can start creating art again I think that it’ll do nicely.
I am heartbroken to share that my Bailey passed away on Monday night. I got to hug and kiss him as he sat on my lap in those final moments, and I have missed him every second since then. I only hope that we will meet again some day, and until then I have to believe that he is with me in spirit. This is one of the last pictures I have of us together, taken just a few weeks ago. It is a blurry picture, but I wanted to share it because I think that it shows the unconditional love that we had for each other.
Thank you all for your love and support during this rough time as I grieve for my best friend and family member.
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” -Anatole France
I’m kind of a basket case of emotions lately. Partly because I’m prepping for my wedding and a big move in just a few short weeks, but mainly because my dog, Bailey, is sick. He’s dying from cancer, and recently he’s been getting weaker and weaker. So when I saw the video, “Denali,” a few nights ago while cuddling with Bailey, I basically lost it. It is definitely worth watching, especially if you are a dog person. I must warn you, though, that if you are anything like me you will cry.
The video is narrated by Denali, who is Ben Moon’s beloved dog. Denali is dying, and this video showcases Denali and Ben’s love for each other. It is a beautiful little film, and it’s crazy how much I can relate to it right now. Much like Ben does with Denali, I take Bailey with me everywhere and I don’t like leaving his side for even a few minutes. Early on in the video, Denali recalls Ben asking him to let him know when he’s ready to go. I’ve had the exact same conversation with Bailey, telling him to let me know when he is ready to go. I don’t think I will ever be ready to say goodbye, but I’m hoping that Bailey will let me know when he’s ready.
Bailey when he was just weeks old.
Bailey is my best friend. He’s been there for me during some of my best days and also some of my worst. And since he’s always been there for me, I am trying to be there for him now. I’ve been spending my days taking him to the park, cuddling with him on the couch, and making him scrambled eggs with cheese (his favorite). And I consider myself very lucky to be able to put my business on hold so that I can do all these things with him.
Bailey and me as youngsters.
I love and appreciate all the time that I’ve had with Bailey- sixteen years we’ve been together. I’m grateful for all the walks we’ve taken together, all the times we’ve played in the snow together, and all those little moments where he has just made me so happy. And until it’s time to say goodbye, I’m glad that we still get to have a few more of those moments together. I know that he’ll always be with me, even after he’s gone. But, wow, it‘s tough having to imagine life without seeing his happy, wagging tail or petting his soft, silky fur anymore…
Most of you know that I am getting married to my amazing fiancé later this month! With that comes a lot of change, but one thing that I will not be changing is my name. Because I have already had a lot of questions and even some pushback surrounding this decision, I wanted to take a moment to briefly explain why I am keeping my maiden name when I get married.
I first want to start off by saying that this is an individual choice I am making. I am not trying to convince anyone that this is what all women should do when they get married. I am not trying to say that a woman who takes her husband’s last name is not for gender equality. Both my mother and grandmothers took their husbands names when they got married, and I do not see them as weaker women because of that decision. After a lot of thought and consideration, keeping my birth name makes the most sense to me. And here are a few of the reasons why:
- My name is my identity. I like my name. I have built a “name” and a career for myself, and my name is even directly attached to my business. Given all of that, it seems silly to me to alter that identity now that I am getting married.
- Knowing what I know about the history of the women’s rights movement, I personally feel proud to even have the right to maintain my birth name. Many women have fought throughout history for the right to maintain their last name, just as women have fought for the right to vote, the right to own land, etc. We are still a long ways away from true gender equality, but, personally, I feel that keeping my birth name after getting married is a step in the right direction, made possible only by women who championed for that right.
- I am not planning ahead in case of divorce. I love my fiancé dearly, and I hope that we will be spending our entire lives together. Me not changing my name is not an indication that I have any reservations about our union. I am not demanding that my soon to be husband change his name, and I appreciate and highly respect the fact that he is not demanding that of me either.
So that is basically why I feel it is important for me to keep my birth name even after getting married. I know that not everyone will agree with this reasoning, but I do hope that you can respect this decision that I have made. Thanks for reading, and I appreciate you for hearing me out!
PS- For a sneak peak of some of my wedding decor for the big day, follow along on my Instagram account here :)
Life is chaotic. And there has been quite a mix of good and bad chaos in my life lately. I can definitely say that this point of my life is full of transition, and I am in the middle of processing it all. I’d like to share with you all just what kind of chaos has been occurring in my life, and I think the best way to share that with you is through art. I’ve been keeping a drawing journal to jot my emotions down, which has been helping me process things in my own way. So I thought that I would share a few of my drawing journal entries as of lately while also sharing a bit about my life right now.
Some of you may know that I am getting married in June to the most amazing person. As I am sure many of you can relate, planning a wedding is certainly a mix of both good and bad stress. And on top of that, we will be moving cross-country right after our wedding (more on that to come)! And even though I am beyond excited to marry my amazing boyfriend of almost 10 years, I have been struggling with some sadness during this time as well. You see, time is a funny thing, how it works both for us and against us. So while I have been looking forward to getting married for some time now, there is something going on in my life that also makes me wish time could move slower or even just stop for a bit…
My dog, Bailey, is sick. He has cancer. Cancer that is not going away. We found out in January, so it’s been a tough time for me ever since we got the news. He’s been in my life since he was a newborn puppy 16 years ago, and it is pretty much impossible for me to think about life without him. I know that I have been lucky to have him in my life for this long, but that doesn’t make it any easier. He is family to me, my best friend. He has been by painting buddy for years. He is a fighter, and I am so proud of him for that. But I know things are getting harder for him. And seeing him decline as the days and weeks pass is excruciating. All I can do is be there for him and try to lessen his pain. I’m not ready to say goodbye, but I know that day is coming soon. So right now, my art business has taken a bit of a back seat while I care for him and try to spend time with my Bailey while he is still around.
I don’t think I’m ready to share all of my emotions surrounding this period of transition for me, especially because I am still processing everything. But I wanted to at least share with you some of what I am going through right now, especially because it has been influencing me as an artist. I read during my training as a counselor that chaos plays a critical role in creativity, growth, and change. And now that I am truly in the middle of the chaos, I can better understand what that all means.
“In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.” – Carl Jung