January 2017 has been a growing month for me as I've taken time off from the Studio to strategize and plan (and pray—lots of praying). It's been a process I'm really enjoying. I feel like I have a better vision for my studio.
In this process I have developed a mission statement for Whispering Oaks Studio--Growing creativity through art and fellowship. Seems like a small enough task, right? But, a mission statement can be the "North Star" of a business. I now know that through my studio I want to help people grow in their creativity through their art while fellowshipping with others.
And now having a mission statement has made the process of developing a business plan so much easier. Here are five steps I took in developing the mission statement for my studio:
Grace and Peace,
Planning or having a plan hasn't always been my greatest quality. I like flexibility. But, what I've recently been uncovering is that a plan does not mean there can not be flexibility. A plan can be just that—a plan. But, a well-thought-out plan can be artfully wonderful.
In my previous blog post I touched a little on what I've been doing here in the studio—nothing. :-) Hahaha...it's true. I've laid aside the paint and brushes, pen and ink, and the paper and canvases have been neatly put away. And I've been planning (and dreaming BIG).
I've reached a point with my studio that now requires a plan or more like a business plan. I've been blessed with wonderful supportive customers and clients and I want to continue servicing them in the best possible way. I want my customers to have the best art experience possible and I want my design and marketing clients to be serviced in the best way. A good business plan and a beautifully scheduled calendar will help me achieve the customer satisfaction I desire.
I've really enjoyed the proces of developing a business plan and filling my calendar—and you know what? There is flexibility in all of this for me, the creative flexible loving person that I am. I think it has even given me more flexibility.
At the beginning of February I'll be releasing lots of newness and I can't wait. Until then enjoy this FREE January calendar. I hope you have so much fun planning and filling it up.
Grace and Peace,
Over the past month I have taken a mini "sabbatical" from the studio. A leave that was necessary to pray, think, brainstorm and learn. A break that just needed to happen.
I recently read an amazing article over on startupcamp.com that discusses this very thing of "How to Differentiate Passion from Calling". Something I've been struggling with for months. Anyone else trying to figure this out? If so, I'd love to hear your comments below.
I'm challenged with trying to figure out if the studio is simply a passion or is it my calling. Is it time to walk away from a full-time professional position to give my studio the time and attention it needs? So, during the time I took off these are the questions I've asked myself.
These questions gave me the initiative to do a few things or take action. I began writing a business plan, a mission statement and reviewed past financial records so that within a couple weeks I'll know whether my studio is a viable business. A viable business that will give me the freedom to work around my family's schedule, spend less time away from home, but give my family more time for weekend getaways and vacations.
If you have a success story to share about discerning passion from calling I'd love to hear. Or if you're stuck in the same boat as I am I'd love to hear from.
Grace and Peace,
Giving gifts at Christmas can be enjoyable or stressful for some. I actually like gifting but I prefer to buy local or from small online businesses and making gifts. Many people aren't fond of receiving handmade gifts but I LOVE them. I find it to be more sentimental and meaningful. Now, don't get me wrong I'll joyfully take a store bought gift..uh hmmm...Michaels, Kirklands, Magnolia, Painted Fox...the list could go on. But, I truly adore handmade items.
In doing a little online research for inexpensive handmade gifts I ran across a blog post from The 36th Avenue for 25 Handmade Gifts Under $5. My heart leaped for pure joy! Some of these I want to try with my kids as I know they'll love them just as much as I do. I mean just check these bird nest necklaces out.
And this Snow Globe Necklace.
I could go on and on with the many different ideas from this post but you really need to check these out for yourself.
I'm also a sucker for my beautiful state's craftsmen, bloggers and entrepreneurs. The North Carolina Blogger Network recently released its 2016 NC Holiday Gift Guide. I'm sure you'll find many lovely items from some of NC's finest small businesses.
And I would be doing myself a disservice if I didn't put a shameless self-promotion in here to purchase original artwork from me. Check out my Etsy shop for original artwork.
So, handmade gifts? Yes or no? Comment below.
Watercolor is one of my favorite mediums to paint with. It's very fluid but requires a lot of patience because the detail you can get with watercolor is amazing and you're working from light to dark so you have to think in those terms. For those new to watercolor I like to introduce them first to various techniques before diving right into painting. These techniques are good building blocks to working with watercolor.
Some of the techniques I like to cover may seem rudimentary at first but make a huge difference. For example, working with various brush sizes. Basic enough, right? Well, being able to work with various brush sizes makes a BIG difference in watercolors. So, I ask the students to pick up a pack of various sized watercolor brushes and do an exercise with lines and fills and the amount of water picked up with the paint.
Other techniques I like to introduce students to are finding a light source, textures, using sponges, lifting color, using salt, layering, watercolor washes, scumbling and more. If you're interested in learning more about watercolor techniques sign up for my 4-week online class here. Watercolor is a very rewarding medium to work with and basic techniques are key to creating a great piece of art.
Peace and Grace,
I've said this before and I'm saying it again—I love all things art and design. One of my favorite things to do is share that love through workshops, classes, parties and more. I've had such an extraordinary year doing just that. And the people—wow, they're just the icing on the cake.
Workshops are designed to teach new skills and techniques or refine the skills and techniques that some already have. I'm experimenting with online workshops and studio workshops this Fall by offering two watercolor technique workshops.
One will be a four-week long online class via a private Facebook group. This is new for me and I can't wait to see how it goes. If you're interested in this online workshop register here. I'll be uploading instructions, cheat sheets, weekly homework, and finally we'll be completing a watercolor piece. This online workshop begins Nov. 1.
The second watercolor workshop will be held in my studio for several hours. This workshop will encompass basic techniques then working on a still-life painting.
Paint classes are a fun way to paint with a group. Most of my paint classes have a theme or specific event. The subject of the paintings are based on the group who are attending and open to all skill levels. I offer both children and adult classes. Classes usually last between an hour and a half to 3 hours; it generally depends on the age group. Click here for a list of upcoming classes.
Holidays, birthdays, gatherings, church groups, businesses and more enjoy paint parties. It's a great way to celebrate and have fun for your special event. All attendees paint the same thing and usually there is a theme chosen ahead of time. To book a paint party simply contact me.
I'd love to hear from you. Comment below with any suggestions or ideas for classes, workshops or even blog posts.
Peace and Grace,
Here is a fun step-by-step painting to do while you're snowed in with your kiddos at home.
First, grab your supplies. Here is what you'll need.
Paint the entire canvas with the white paint. Yes, you're reading that correctly—paint the white canvas white. Oh gussie, you'll get a funny look for that but trust me it's needed.
With the same paint brush grab a little gray paint. The canvas should still be wet from the white paint. Start adding the gray paint to the canvas going in broad horizontal strokes. Keep the gray light and don't go to dark. You should fill about 2/3 of the canvas with the gray. Are you still with me?
With the same brush pick up a little of the blue and begin adding it to the same area of the gray—mixing the blue in with the gray. Add a couple small outlines for hills.
With that same brush you've been using grab the white and blend the sky. Then start adding white to the hills—it should have a hint of the blue.
It's time to start adding in the trees. Take a smaller brush (angled brushes work best) pick up the gray and begin painting in trees. Make smaller trees in the background and larger ones in the front. Try to keep the trees thin when you begin because you can always make them thicker if you prefer. If using an angled brush turn the brush vertical to get thin lines.
Add a little detail to the trees. Grab a small brush and dab in the black paint. Paint small black marks on the tree. See detailed image below.
Here's a fun part the kids will enjoy. Grab the cotton ball and dip in the white paint. Don't get too much paint. Start dabbing the cotton ball along the hills covering the bottoms of the tree trunk. This gives great texture for the snowy hills. (uh hum...notice the great looking nail color I'm wearing.)
Time to add the falling snow. Grab a cotton swab and dab the tip of it in the white paint. Don't get too much on the tip. Now, let the dabbing begin. Be sure to dab some snow on the trees too and make varying sizes of snow. (Oh, please notice that nail color again—my fave.)
Add more snow to the tree branches for detail. (We're almost finished)
You're done! Stand back and take a look.
I hope you've enjoyed this step-by-step painting. Please remember to have fun with painting. I hope you'll join me in one of my classes or reach out to book a party with me.
To say I am excited is putting it a lightly. I'm pinching myself now thinking that this dream of mine has come to fruition. So, I am pleased to announce that my studio, Whispering Oaks Studio, is now offering art classes for both adults and children.
I still work full time so my classes are generally of the evenings and/or on Saturdays. A schedule of classes can be found here. Some of the locations are being ironed out but most all the children's art classes will be held at my studio. I hope to offer a few online art classes as well (working on that)!
Back to that dream coming true. After studying fine art in college and going into the graphic design field and marketing/advertising I wanted to get back to making art. After many years of prayers and a very supportive husband (and children) it's finally here. We built my studio this past Spring and Summer. It's still a work in progress but it doesn't stop me from creating art. I've been asked for many years to lead/teach art classes so I stepped out in faith and opportunities are blossoming. I've even been able to share knowledge of the past artists and masters. Even the smaller children are interested in these artists.
A special THANKS to all my family and friends who have supported me. I cannot wait to see how God continues to open these doors for me.
Excitement. That's the best word for me to start this post. It's almost surreal. I've always wanted to share my art but honestly have never made the time to do just that. So, here goes.
The first prints I'm producing are from the painting below. This piece started by simply sharing with my daughters the different perceptions of art and various art eras. I was discussing impressionism and expressionism. You know, the masters from this era like Van Gogh, Degas, Cassatt, Monet and the list goes on. I wanted my girls to see the brushstrokes and the various colors that could be used for a very familiar animal on our farm, a cow. Ensuring them that art doesn't always have to be realistic. Meaning it doesn't have to look exactly like the real animal. Blues, reds, pinks and blues could be used.
The medium I chose was acrylics on canvas. It's a very easy medium to use compared to oils, watercolors, pastels and etc. I work in all those mediums and more but for this purpose I chose acrylics. The result is below. Grab your print now! Enjoy!
I'm sorry it has taken me this long to update the blog. I've been working on getting my studio up and going. It's A LOT of work and I'm nowhere near being finished. Well, at least for guests. I've been able to work in the studio myself. It's nice having this art and design space (thank you hubby)!
With that being said, I hope to open the studio up this Fall for a few art classes. Please continue checking back.
I will be posting items in the Merch section of my site very soon. Be on the lookout for art prints and freebies.
In the meantime, please enjoy this great article 20 Reasons for Open Ended Art by Prekinders.com. I hope you will allow children of all ages to be creative with materials on hand. Creativity is amazing.
Thanks for stopping by!