Thursday, August 13, 2015

You add beauty to the world...

Illustrated Inspirational Floral Art Print by Pen & Paint
 I'm pretty sure one of the sweetest things my husband has ever said to me was this: You add beauty to the world. He wasn't talking about how I dressed or my appearance, but he was talking about my art. Those words of encouragement stuck with me over the past six years. Any time I doubt why I create and pour myself into my work, I hear those words. 

These words are for you too. Whenever you doubt your purpose remember you give something no one else can give to the world; you give yourself.  You add beauty to the world.

Friday, August 7, 2015

trust the process

Trust the process: it sounds very ideal and it's probably overused, but in reality it holds so much truth. 

From time to time I'll share on a #penanadpaintsketch how my creative process can be a struggle. I really want to share those feelings of inadequacy with other creatives. I want them to know they are not the only ones who feel their work isn't good enough. I want them to know it takes time and lots of mistakes. I want them to know even through mistakes beautiful things can be created. Every time I take time to open up I am encouraged by others and I see a wonderful dialog open up. Yesterday when I posted this someone commented, "But it's also about letting yourself make stuff you hate! It's just a piece of paper... Not the end of the world (though it can 100% feel like it)." Talk about perspective. It's just a piece of paper. You can start over again. You can trust the process and push through, and something magical will happen. You can finish what you started and hate it, but at least you did it.

I hope you are also learning to trust the process, no matter what it is.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

FREE Back to School Printables

School starts back this week in our neighborhood so I created a few free printables to help teachers and students get to know one another. 

Getting to Know My Teacher - Our teachers do so much, and this is a way to show them appreciation from the first day of school on through the year.  I have designed a printable for parents to send (even with a small gift like these or this); it has a list of simple questions to learn more about your child's teacher so you know what things they might enjoy. Click here to view and print through Google Docs.

Getting to Know You - With a classroom full of lots of unique individuals teachers need a little help getting to know their new students. This printable is designed for teachers to print and have students to fill out during that first week of school. Click here to view and print through Google Docs.
Of course let's not forget homeschoolers!  I've made a Back to School Interview. This sheet can be used at the beginning of the year for your child to record some of their favorite things and goals whether they attend school outside of the home or are homeschooled. My husband has the opportunity to homeschool our boys, and we'll be using this interview on the first day of school! Click here to view and print through Google Docs.
I hope everyone has a smooth transition into a new school year! Enjoy these Pen & Paint printables and please remember they are for personal use only. They may not be altered or used commercially. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

a few things on Friday 7.24.15

-We have been enjoying the summer days filled with popsicles and splashing around in the pool.
-Baby Jane is three months old now! She has the sweetest little smile and she adds so much joy, when she's not crying or doing baby things that make life a little crazy ;)
-If you remember from this post Jack had a heart cath and stint just a couple of weeks ago. He's doing great and back to his normal four-year-old-silly-boy self.
-I have the prettiest zinnias popping up in our little garden. They were an inspiration for this new print in the shop. It's a fun mix of vintage and summer and it feels like home.
-I've also been busy doing lots of work for Jewel. It's so fun to see products with my artwork on it! I can't wait to share.
-Pen & Paint is retiring over 25 items from the shop! I have created a CLEARANCE section. 8x10 prints are marked down under $10 and note cards and mini-cards are discounted as well. These items will be on clearance through 7/26 and then they will no longer be available. Be sure to snag some while you can!
-I'm working on some fun changes for the shop. I've added a few printable coloring pages already, and I have ideas for several other things. Stay tuned!
I hope you are having a happy summer!

Monday, June 15, 2015

my favorite new mama basics

Little Jane just turned two months old, and we are finding our groove. Even with Jane being our third addition I still feel like a new mama. Things have changed in the five years since I had my second child, and I'm loving some of the new mama basics I have found. 
  • Nursing cover - My Covered Goods nursing cover has been essential! This cover is perfect; it is very lightweight and stretchy. We don't get hot when we use this cover and that's important in the summer heat. I like that it has full coverage, and I don't feel exposed at all. I carry our nursing cover with us everywhere, and it has been so helpful for feedings on the go. Covered goods also makes a versatile product: you can also use the cover as a car seat carrier cover and when baby is older it's great to cover the shopping cart seats. 
  • Essential oils - I used essential oils throughout my pregnancy and now love that I can use them with Jane. Our favorites right now are lavender which I diffuse with orange when she is getting fussy. Also, I have been using Gentle Babies when she has any skin irritations. I dilute it with sunflower oil and see relief so quickly. For my recovery I used this new mama spray; it is made with essential oils and is a great natural alternative for postpartum recovery.
  • Mason Jar Tumbler - I carry my Mason Bar Company tumbler with me everywhere. I mean it. It helps keep me hydrated and fits perfectly in Jane's diaper bag.
  • Teething Necklace - I love wearing big, fun necklaces, but with a baby that is not always convenient. They want to chew on my jewelry, so now I have the perfect new mama necklace for once Jane starts teething. 
  • Encouragement - A little encouragement goes a long way, especially for an exhausted new mama. This print is a good reminder to mamas that they are enough and they are doing a good job.
These are great for new mamas whether it's the first child or the fifth.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Let Love Grow {the love project}

This summer my second son, Jack, will have a procedure to repair a hole in his heart. When he was 1 month old we found out was born with a atrial septal defect and pulmonary stenosis. We were so scared to find out our child may have to have procedure or even open heart surgery, but at the same time we had hope and peace because we knew he would have amazing doctors and quality healthcare. Not once did I have to worry that my child would not receive the care he needs; I know we are fortunate beyond measure. So when Ashley shared with me about The Love Project I knew I had to be a part.
The Love Project is working to provide for families around the world parenting children with heart disease. These families are faced with the horrible realities of leaving their children to suffer or abandoning them due to financial limitations. The Love Project requires significant funding and that is where other creatives and I are joining together to donate artwork for sale to go to the Love Fund. All funds raised go directly to families in need of assistance to provide life-saving surgeries for children with operable congenital heart defects.
A special online shop has been created filled with 17 original downloadable prints available for purchase. Our hope is that you would join us in providing life saving surgeries and helping preserve families by purchasing a print.
I've created this watercolor painting below for sale in The Love Project Shop. I hope you will consider joining us in growing the Love Fund by purchasing one of the beautiful prints for sale or even by making a donation directly to The Love Project (there is a place at the bottom of this page to do so).

Thursday, May 28, 2015

let's create {my favorite supplies}

"You can't use up creativity. The more the you use, the more you have." -Maya Angelou
I've added a few new things to my art supplies so I wanted to give y'all and updated list of my favorites.

Sketchbooks: Strathmore is my go to sketchbook. I try to stock up on them when they are on sale at Michael's. I just recently tried the Strathmore mixed media visual journal for my watercolors, and I love it. I also use Master's Touch sketch paper for drawing and Canson Mix Media for painting with watercolor or gouache. 
Pens & Markers: Fabre Castell Pitt pens are my favorite. When I say favorite I mean it. I've used several other brands but I always come back to my Pitt pens. They are waterproof so they are perfect if you will be using paint or markers. I also use a Sharpie marker and Pentel brush pen with my hand lettering. For markers I use Pentel color pens. They are wonderful and have a HUGE variety of colors. 
Pencils: I like simple No. 2 pencil for sketching; I use fun, personalized "Pen & Paint" pencils from this shop. The colored pencils by Pentel are definitely a good fit for my collection of supplies. I love the range of colors offered. Also, I have to hide them from my boys. I also have a set of Prismalcolor watercolor pencils that I like.
Paints: Dr. Ph Martin's liquid watercolors are what I'm using right now for the majority of my watercolors. I love how vibrant they are and how easy they are to mix. I still use my Winsor Newton pocket box too. I chose Reeves to try gouache for the first time. The set was affordable and offered a fun collection of colors. My acrylic paints are for the most part an inexpensive collection of my favorite colors. 
Brushes: My watercolor brushes are Royal, and I also like to use Craft Smart and Loew-Cornell for acrylic painting.
Programs: I used Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to create and edit all my vector art. I still have a ton to learn, but the great thing is I can learn and create at the same time.
Work table: I found this table and knew it was perfect for my studio. I actually only purchased the legs and then went Home Depot and had a piece of wood cut for the top. You can see more of my studio in this post.
I also have an FAQ here for other questions you might have.
I hope this is helpful for any of you who are interested. Remember, whether you have a Sharpie pen and a cheap sketchbook or fine art pens and paper, the main thing is that you are taking time create. Also, it's okay to buy cheap supplies. The first watercolor set I started really experimenting with was $8. I bought it because I liked the colors. It got me interested in trying a new medium and allowed me to get my feet, or should I say brushes, wet.
Now go create!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Shop Anniversary Sale!

Six years ago today I opened up my shop. I was a new mama creating artwork for friends and family. I had someone encourage me to sell on @Etsy, and I wanted to see what this handmade marketplace was all about. I had no idea how much things would change and grow. I went from making large, custom paintings to small, fun paintings to illustrating and designing art prints, stationery, and so much more. I never dreamed I would have the opportunity to create and share my artwork with people around the world. I am so grateful for the support I have received from my family, customers, and friends. 
It's time to celebrate Pen & Paint today! All prints (5x7, 8x10, and 11x14) are buy one get one free. No coupon code necessary. With every print you purchase you can get a FREE print (of the same size) of your choice. Enter the free print description in the message to seller at checkout. Sale is for 5/27/2015 only. 
Thank you for your support!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

dreaming big

For the past three days Pen & Paint has been represented at Surtex by Jewel Branding. Surtex is the annual trade show for the surface design industry, and that means my artwork has the opportunity to be viewed by manufacturers and retailers around the world. I honestly can’t believe it! This is a dream come true.

I opened my shop six years ago in May of 2009 as a hobby and creative outlet. I left the workplace to stay at home with my first child. I loved to create, and I started painting for friends and family.  After three years of painting custom canvases and nursery art my work evolved, and in 2012 I began drawing and designing art prints. I changed my shop name to Pen & Paint and began a new adventure. The shop grew and I learned so many things. I finally felt like I was an artist and I knew it was what I wanted as a career. I was no longer a stay-at-home mama who painted and drew, but I became a work-at-home small business owner. Last year my husband and I realized it was time to take Pen & Paint full time. This meant my shop would become our main source of income, and my husband resigned from teaching to help take care of our children and assist with the business. This was the biggest, scariest thing we’ve ever done. What if the shop didn’t bring in enough income? What if I failed? I had dreams and plans, but the fear of the unknown was really hard for me. I had to constantly remind myself giving up wasn’t an option.

One of my goals in taking Pen & Paint full time was to begin licensing my work. I had so many ideas and things I wanted to do with my artwork, but I was limited because I could not produce them on my own. I wanted the chance to create artwork for home d├ęcor, textiles, and so much more. I spent several months looking for an art agent to represent Pen & Paint. I knew I needed someone to handle the business side of licensing so I could focus on what I love – creating. I found Jewel Branding and knew it was the right fit. I was thrilled when they accepted me as one of their designers. Since January of this year I have been working to create patterns, greeting cards, wall art and other designs. These designs and pieces of artwork can now be licensed with companies for products (meaning you’ll be able to find Pen & Paint on a variety of items sold in stores)!  Some of my new designs you will see integrated into the art prints and stationery I sell in my shop as well. I still love running my Etsy shop and the opportunity to share my artwork on a handmade and personal level with my customers. My shop is what supports my family 100%. I am SO grateful for the support and encouragement I receive from my customers because without y’all none of this would be happening!

I share all of this to encourage you to also dream big and make it happen. Whatever that thing is that you want to do, you can do it. There will always be fears and what if’s. There will be failures and setbacks. It will take time and patience and lots of work. It will be HARD and you will want to give up, but nothing worth doing is easy, right?

"You must do the thing you think you cannot do." 
-Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday, May 18, 2015

Surtex 2015

Pen & Paint is at Surtex! You can find my designs represented by Jewel Branding at Booth 417. This week I'll be sharing a bit more about my journey over the past six years, my new designs, and this wonderful opportunity to create for the surface design industry.