February 11 :: Spice!

When I learned long ago that cinnamon came from tree bark, my head exploded and I've never looked at it quite the same. I cook a lot and love to try new spices and seasonings. Cinnamon is one I use quite often. It's funny these things we use everyday without knowing very much about them. Today's Friends of Flow Pinterest Post is dedicated to spices and cooking ingredients. 

PS. It was really very hard for me to not use a witty pun about the Spice Girls. 


February 10 :: Celebration!

CELEBRATE [sel-uh-breyt] verb (used with object) 1. To observe or commemorate with ceremonies or festivities. 

I love Celebrations. Celebrating does not mean cakes and banners and confetti, although I'd never pass up a party. To me, it's about taking time to be happy about life - as simple as that. To make ordinary and special things alike a little extraordinary. I don't think anyone has died thinking they had too many celebrations. We can celebrate getting up in the morning, getting older, meeting new friends, finished projects, growing a fruitful garden, overcoming a fear, winning or losing a game just because you had the opportunity to play; All cause for celebration. And in place of a party, you can share a meal with someone in the park. Paint a picture for someone whom you value in your life. Share tea with someone when they've done something they thought they couldn't do; All a way to celebrate. 

If you'd like to see more celebrations, visit Flow Magazine's Friends of Flow Pinterest page. Happy Pinning! 

February 9 :: Stamps

STAMPS = Little tiny stickers adorned with art which stand for money in mailing things to people you love. Everyday Magic Indeed. Here's a little history of our magical money note:

In 1837 Sir Rowland Hill, the British Postmaster General, introduced the "Post Office Reforms" whereby the mail could go anywhere in the British Isles at the same rate (a penny a half-ounce); the postage was to be paid by the sender -- not the addressee; and payment was receipted by placing a small piece of colored paper on the outside of the letter -- THE STAMP! Of course Hill's proposal was heavily debated for a few years, but after serious discussion the change was enacted and instituted in 1840. Thus on May 6, 1840 (first date of valid use) the first government-printed postage stamps were born.  - The American Philatelic Society

At an estate sale, I found a stamp collection book filled with tons of collectors stamps from the 40's and 50's. It was a dream find and the best $3 I ever spent. The woman who collected these labeled and numbered each of them in very child like handwriting. Wait. Maybe it was a child. I don't know! Anyway it's one of my treasured finds. I did a couple of paintings of the stamps this summer because I love them so much. 

Today's Friends of Flow Pinterest Post is dedicated to stamps! Happy Pinning! 


February 8 :: Stories

STORIES are everything. There are people in the world that I could sit for hours just listening to their stories. "Tell me another, anything, just tell me something," I say to my 85 year old friend Emogene. And she does, and before she knows it, she's talked all through her life, up and down story after story. I hurry and I write her stories down when I leave trying not to miss a detail. I love stories in books, by mouth, by audio, and any other way they can make their way into my mind. Today's Friends of Flow Pinterest Post will celebrate the Everyday Magic of Stories. 

Happy Monday World! 

February 7 :: Friends

Friends are Every Second of Everyday magic. I am increasingly thankful for my friendships new and old. I've always had many fiends, a few close friends, and even a couple I've been friends with almost my entire life. 

Since college, my partner, Matt and I have been moving from place to place to see new surroundings, landscapes, cities, and people. Though I moved around some as a child, as an adult, it's been completely different. Friendships do not naturally bloom like they do in school, and when you're freelancing and working alone, it's almost impossible to make new friends without effort. It has forced me to be more approachable, to initiate conversation instead of waiting for others to engage me, and to really value the people and friends I am with at any given time. It's also given me a deeper appreciation for the friends I already have, though most are miles away.

Today's aptly named Friends of Flow Post is dedicated to those goofy, serious, caring, understanding, and quirky friends that I and you know and love so much. 


February 6 :: Coffee

Everyday Magic. Like every single day magic. 


Click on the coffee to see more from the Friends of Flow Page! Happy Saturday! 

Feb 5 :: Grey Jumping Squirrels

If you know me, then you knew from the first day of February that squirrels would make it on my list. They are my favorite animal in the world. Big statement I know - there are creatures that make my mind explode in awe - but I always come back to the squirrel. It's for the simple reason that squirrels encompass everyday magic. They are essentially adorable furry acrobats, jumpers, and goofballs in and around our lives. They do not care that you have bills to pay or places to get to or goals to achieve. They will chase each other 'round trees for hours and perform acrobatic tricks before your eyes if you think to look up. 

Since moving to Nashville, I have come to know and love the grey jumping squirrels.  They are slender with skinny tails, and are quite impeccable jumpers.  One cannot have a bad day when squirrels are hopping all over the place - it's just not possible. If you'd like to fill your Friday with these gems,  head over to Flow Magazine's Friends of Flow Pinterest Page! Enjoy!

February 4 :: Chair

Today's Friends of Flow Everyday Magic post celebrates chairs!! 

This is one of my favorite chairs - it's an old red thing I found at a vintage store here in Nashville and I just love to look at it, sit in it, read in it, and watch my animals sleep on it. I found so many great pieces to share on Pinterest. Some of my absolute favorites I knew had amazing chair pieces were Maira Kalman and Isabelle Arsenault.  Countless others grace the board I share with you on this Thursday - a  little bit of extraordinary magic. Enjoy! 

February 3 :: The Post

In America, most of us call this The Mail. When I hear people talk about The Post arriving, I think…they've got a little more magic in their life than I have and I'm going to adopt it! I try to slip it in every now and then and I always feel a little jolt in my toes when I say, The Post! So today's Every  day Magic Friends of Flow Pinterest Post is dedicated to this lovely extraordinary part of our lives. I'm not gonna brag but I found so many perfect pins this morning - you're in for a treat! Check it out! 

February 2 :: Nuts

Happy Tuesday, the second day of February. For today's Friend's of Flow post, I chose to draw nuts. Nuts are in my opinion, a tiny piece of magic that we see and take for granted everyday. The way they are harvested, the plants that produce them - I strongly encourage you to dig a little further in finding out where your favorites come from. For instance - did you know that cashews do not come in shells, but are a part of cashew apples? APPLES. Yes I said apples. Magic Magic Magic. 

I started pinning beautiful illustrations of nuts and their plants, and before I knew it, I was pinning miniature felted mice sleeping in walnut shells. As you well know, that's the power of Pinterest. Go have a look! 

Friends of Flow: February

This month I was asked to be the guest pinner for Flow Magazine's Friends of Flow Pinterest Board! I've decided to start each day out with a drawing to celebrate or highlight a little ordinary element of my life that I find extraordinary. After pinning my drawing, I'll be pinning similar themed illustrations, drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures. In addition to pinning my work, I'll be posting the images here as well. To follow along, hop over to Flow's Pinterest and see new work everyday! 

February 1 :: Chimney Smoke

my day

For Flow Magazine's first issue of 2016 (which just came out), I was invited to illustrate what my typical day looks like. If you work for yourself, then you know the levels of routine which are available to you - they range from having zero routine - to having every hour meticulously planned in your Google Calendar. I know people on both ends and they equally freak me out. I fall somewhere in the middle, but as with anything, it's been a learning experience. 


I used to work late into the night, fueled by coffee and Robyn, convinced I was putting my best efforts forward. This only meant I was to rise around 9 or 10am, eat breakfast, drink more coffee, huddle around emails, and I'd finally make it to my studio around noon. Little did I know I was sleeping through the most creative hours my brain was capable of. 

I should say, while I was in school, I was always a morning person - I worked two jobs in an office and at a coffee shop while attending school full time. I wasn't afraid of mornings, but when no one is expecting you at their door at 7am, it's easy to justify late nights and later mornings. 


Fast forward six years later and throw in a husband who, as a teacher, wakes also at 5:15am daily.  I have not only improved my routine, but I have found that my most creative energy can be harnessed immediately upon waking. Like..throw coffee on the stove - stagger over to my table -  nose to the grindstone. Sometimes I'll be sitting in my pajamas for hours, skipping breakfast, getting jittery on caffeine, before I realize it's 10 o'clock and I've gotten days of work done in those wee hours of the morning. The sun comes up, the lighting is perfect and it's just me and my work. 

Then, after feeling like the ultimate slug, I work out, shower, take my little dude, Mori, for a walk  (which is really the best part of my day - and I think his too), make a big lunch and then get back to work. 

In my illustration for Flow - I guess you could call that my dream day. Currently I'm working from home while I await the opening of a new building which is to house an illustration studio that my friend Kayla Stark and I are opening up here in Nashville. (Which I will be sharing SO soon - it's hard for me to keep this under wraps because it's a dream that's actually happening!) For the sake of all the folks in this great city, I won't be wandering before daylight in my pajamas to my drawing table. I might actually have to get start getting dressed again before dawn. Wish me luck!

I'd love to hear about your daily routine - have you found one that best suits your craft?

Love me some animals.

Last month I did a flash pet portrait project where I accepted ten commissions. Normally I have a very hard time painting people's beloved pets but I felt I needed to overcome the challenge and make good work despite my own obstacles. Painting these lovelies was a great way to become more familiar with anatomy, pattern, type, and expression. I'll share a couple with you here, but you can view all the paintings on the gallery page. Each painting is 8x8", gouache and colored pencil on smooth bristol paper. 


Happy New Year! 

I am busy working on some larger projects which means I have to wait a bit to share them. In the mean time, I'll see if I can sneak away and draw some little things for me and for you. 



The Death of Magic.

Today is a personal post. 

Last month I attended Nashville's Creative Mornings and Chris Olux did a powerful talk. A talk so bold my toes were numb and I wanted to get off my chair and scream, "YES!!" Yes to everything new. No to everything old and tired and repetitive. 

His talk focused on making work that YOU want to make. Not what everyone wants you to make. Not what everyone thinks you should be making. Because I will tell you - it's easy to get boxed in and feel a tremendous amount of expectation and pressure. But we cannot be put in boxes and we certainly cannot put ourselves in a box. We are complex beings that grow and when you are making work, work grows too. A quote that he shared that morning that pierced me:

“Forget safety.
Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation.
Be notorious.”

It's the destruction of reputation that resonates so strongly with me. I am not saying that millions of people know my work or that I have a preconceived reputation. We all have reputations and they must all be reflected upon and possibly destroyed.  The truth is, it's hard to change course in a true and pure way. As I was talking to my friend, the wonderful illustrator, Lauren Lowen, she mentioned that she had to differentiate the joy she found in making work with the joy she found in other's approval of the work. When she said this, my head exploded. THIS. This is the struggle that I am currently going through.  I want to make work that I just can't. stop. making. 

This morning I was sharing all of these utter frustrations with my friend Greg Oberle, whom I admire so much for his personal resilience and ideas. He shared this line with me from an interview with Bill Waterson.  "Repetition is the death of magic." The whole interview is incredible and I urge you to read it - but those lines just struck me (which is why he geared me in that direction.) It's why I have such a difficult time making prints, or cards, or teaching online classes about my style or how I work. Because every day should feel new and I have no idea who I am artistically. I hope I never do - because that will mean I've ended up in a box. 

You'll see I've taken down so many of my paintings from my site, and while I appreciate the huge amount of support and care for those and so many works, I have to cut that attachment. Close my eyes and jump.  Forward ever, backward never.