Feeling Crabby

I'm currently hard at work on my last assignment for this year's MATS Bootcamp! I can't wait to share it with you, but right now I'm taking a break to share last month's project with you.

I began with the mini assignment to draw crustaceans. As little as I want to be near actual crabs, I had a great time drawing them.

I also drew patterns as part of our mini assignment, and when the final assignment came out I learned why - a set of nautical-themed plates featuring crustaceans and brightly colored patterns.

Now back to work! I'll be back soon with more fun stuff from MATS Bootcamp!

Home is...

In February, our MATS Bootcamp mini assignment was plate scenics. If you're scratching your head at that, know that you are not alone...I was irritated. What the hell is a plate scenic? I'm supposed to sketch plates? Or the scenes on plates? As always, Lilla provided some guidance and inspiration – lovely photos of vintage plates, with romantic little scenes painted on them. I still couldn't quite wrap my head around it. I asked myself what kind of plate scene would appeal to me, and the answer was clear – the same kind of scene that always appeals to me – adventurous nature. I immediately began sketching various National Parks and wilderness destinations we've visited in our travels. Just like January, I started out annoyed and overwhelmed by the subject and ended up in love.

When the main assignment came out the next week, we were to create our art on wood slices – a perfect fit for my natural theme. This also gave me a chance to stretch my painting muscles as well as pick up a new skill (although skill may still be a generous term for it)...wood burning!

Devils Tower in Wyoming

The assignment called for one finished piece, for the wall art market. I made several to test the waters and really play around, and ended up with 5 pieces that I love, all of which are now hanging in my guest bathroom.

See more of my favorite pieces here, and check out my final submission and those of my MATS buddies here.

Hidden Gems

I have the month off from MATS Bootcamp, and am excited to use some of my 'free time' to catch you up on what I've been working on. I love the format of MATS Bootcamp. During the first week of the month, we get a mini assignment – an assignment that centers on a single theme, and involves research and sketching the subject without really knowing where you're headed in the main assignment. By the time the main assignment is revealed during week two, I've already fallen for the subject matter and I'm ready to go!

January's mini assignment was Edwardian brooches. When I received the email, I went into instant panic mode. I found the subject completely unappealing, and couldn't see how it would work with my style. Nevertheless, I began my research. I found some interesting shapes, and began to latch on to the facets of the gems.



Before long, I had 6 pages of sketches and I was hooked!

When the main assignment came out the following week, I had lots of icons ready to pull together. The main assignment was journal covers for the gift market, and the brooches were a perfect fit!

I typically draw using paper and pen, and scan my drawings into Illustrator to digitize and color. I decided to stretch myself further on this assignment, incorporating watercolor into my work. I'm really pleased with how the textures came through, and will be using this method again.

By the time my project was submitted, I was so infatuated with Edwardian brooches that I decided to translate them into a repeating pattern for fabric as well, now available in my Spoonflower shop!


I'm not one for New Year's resolutions. I think that it's a surefire way to set yourself up for disappointment and guilt. Any time I've tried, I start off strong and fizzle out before Valentine's Day, and then the self-loathing sets in. I do understand the desire to start the new year fresh and how the future seems full of potential. I do believe in setting goals, and I've set some for myself this year.

I want to make my art a priority, and to devote time to practice and to develop my work while learning new things. I want to push myself and grow my portfolio. To that end, I've made two investments in myself for this coming year.

First, I signed up for a yearly membership to Skillshare. I took Elizabeth Olwen's surface pattern design class last fall and love it! It was truly inspirational, and it really motivated me to get to work. Skillshare has hundreds of amazing online classes across all sorts of creative subject matter. Here's a link to get a free month of Skillshare Membership and unlimited access to these classes.

Second, I signed up for Make Art That Sells Bootcamp! Last year, I participated in Lilla Rogers' Global Talent Search and I've been dying to sign up for one of her classes ever since. I'm saving my pennies to be able to take some more intensive lessons her studio school offers, but Bootcamp has me pumped. Every month I'll receive a professional-level assignment, cutting edge trend information and inspiration, and my work will be published in a public gallery. In addition to having structure to keep me on track and accountable I will be able to participate in a supportive, inspirational community. I'm so excited to begin!

Market Fresh!

I recently signed up for a SkillShare membership. For those of you who don't know, SkillShare is a website where designers, artists, programmers, and the like offer self-paced classes in an online community where you can get advice and feedback on your projects. It's an inexpensive ($9.95/month as of the time I signed up) way to get inspirational, expert advice and direction on your own schedule.

The first class I signed up for is Pattern Design: Creating Inspiring Repeats, taught by the AMAZING Elizabeth Olwen, a surface pattern designer from Toronto. While I have been creating patterns on my own for a while, I wanted to get some guidance on how to improve my skills. I found Elizabeth's class to be engaging, inspiring, informative, and entertaining. I can't recommend it highly enough to those wanting to work on their repeat pattern-making chops.

As my class project, I designed a farmer's market-inspired pattern called Market Fresh.

This is a seamless, repeating pattern and I don't mind saying that I'm really pleased with how it turned out. If you'd like to see more about the class and my process designing this, check out my project page on SkillShare.

I've also posted this artwork to my Society6 shop on tote bags, wall clocks, and mugs.