NEW ENERGY

Meredith C Bullock New Energy Painting A new year brings this new energy, an energy I love and look forward to every year. Unlike most years, this year I didn't write a list of resolutions. Instead, I wanted to give myself the time and space to really dig deep and find out what I really wanted. I didn't want to jump ahead and start jotting down goals, I really wanted to be patient and listen to what my heart was saying.

Several things have been helping me through this self-discovery process, like meditating, writing 3-pages of anything everyday and a book called The Artist's Guide. This book describes a process in which the author took herself through in order to live the life of her dreams as an artist.

When I read the introduction I was immediately hooked and could hear myself through her words. A woman who spent years building up a successful business while putting her painting career to the side. At a certain point she couldn't let the painting be her second priority anymore, and she paved a path to her success.

In this book she describes this path and guides the reader through each step. I'm not quite sure how many steps there are, but already at step 3/4 I know what I want.

Before I started to read this book I knew things were shifting, I knew that what I envisioned for my business and my everyday was different than it was before–even just a few months ago.

The shift, unknown to me at the time, began when I started painting again for my #FridayPaintday challenge. After a few months of getting back to painting, having a collection of new paintings grow and having inquiries about custom artwork come in, it hit me: I want to do this for a living.

I've had this feeling before, but never with so much confidence. Yes the fears flooded in after I admitted this to myself and to my husband, but I know this is right and I've learned I've got to push through those fears if I want to achieve my dreams. One of those fears was admitting this discovery to you.

So today I'm sharing with you that a change is coming and you will slowly see it start to unfold here. I still want to work with creatives to help them achieve their dreams, I still love designing websites and brands, I still want to teach, coach and lead retreats. But I also want to focus on building a career as a painter.

A few changes that have already occurred is that I started taking commissions and my instagram is almost all about my exploration of painting. I ordered sample prints for my artwork, so soon you'll see a bunch of prints available in my shop. I'm also working a new series of paintings for an exhibit this year.

A few things I want to have happen this year:

  • Exhibit my artwork in 1-3 galleries
  • Create 1-3 commission pieces per month
  • Sell my original artwork and prints
  • Have representation from a gallery
  • Be know as an artist and painter in Nashville and beyond

How about you, any changes or goals this new energy/new year has brought to you?

Finding Inspiration / Book Illustration Ideas

Book Illustration Ideas - Finding Inspiration One of my dearest friends and I are working together on a book. She wrote it, I'm illustrating and designing it. This book is full of inspiration, motivational words and so many beautiful things that the artwork has to reflect that same beauty.

I've pulled together some ideas for the artwork. I'm thinking of combining simple line illustrations with washy watercolor elements.

I cant wait to share with you more on this project as it unfolds. For now, check out these amazing artists that created the beautiful work above (starting from top-left, ending on bottom-right):

  1. John Marin
  2. Rosemarie Auberson
  3. Mathilde Aubier
  4. Clare Elsaesser
  5. Mathilde Aubier
  6. Satsuki Shibuya
  7. Alicia Galer
  8. Maria Elina
  9. Ningeokuluk Teevee
  10. Giada Ganassin
  11. Jay Dart

See more of my favorite illustrations and paintings here.

LATELY : 01

Painting in the Studio Full Moon Bonfire

Shelby Bottoms Hiking Trails

Most times when I blog, I schedule 2-3 hours to fully execute the post. And lately, with all of the exciting projects I've been working on, the painting I've been pouring myself into, workshops I've been teaching and gatherings I've been hosting, blogging has sunk to the bottom of my list.

This is not what I want but sometimes that's just the way it goes. So I've given a lot of thought to how I can continue to share what I've been up to without it taking such a large chunk of my time each week.

I came across these two blog features here and hereThey're both simple, easy and an update on their latest happenings. I started to think about how I could do something of the same. Create a blog series that essentially shares what I've been up to lately that's easy and efficient.

So here we are, with my new series Lately. Inspired by the other blog features, I'll list off 3 things I've been up to lately.

ONE Almost every week I've stuck with my #FridayPaintday project. Through this self-initiated challenge I've rediscovered my deep love for painting, my strong desire to exhibit again, the need to express myself through art. I've missed painting. About 5 years ago I used to paint almost daily, prepping for my latest exhibits and shows. I stopped painting when I discovered avenues of income in calligraphy and custom work, allowing me to finally quit my day job and pursue creative endeavors full-time. Fast forward several years to just a few months ago when I found myself writing about how much I missed creating for myself, especially painting. I was at a breaking point and had to stop dreaming about it and make it happen. I had to start painting again. That's when #FridayPaintday was born. I share a lot of my discoveries, artwork and reflections about this project on instagram.

TWO When we moved to Nashville I had no idea what to expect when it came to the community of creatives, but what I did know was that when we moved here I was very interested and motivated to connect and build a community of creatives and like-minded individuals. A few months back my friend and in-house photographer Allison invited me to an Instagram meetup. I was a meet-up virgin eager to connect and make new friends. Inspired by all of the connections I made and my desire to build community, I hosted a Harvest Moon Bonfire at my home a month later. I invited a bunch of ladies I knew from workshops, from the meet-up and other ladies I knew through instagram. It was a magical night of 20+ woman meeting, connecting, laughing and letting go. Since then I've hosted another gathering and this weekend I have my first ever all-ladies retreat. I never thought about the results of what building a community would be. After just a few evenings of opening my heart and doors to new and old friends, I'm grateful for all of the friends, connections and community that's building. It's changing me in the most beautiful way. I feel so loved, connected and supported. The next all ladies gathering is in a few weeks, but this time we're hosting it at a friends. If you're a lady creative in Nashville and want to attend, send me a Facebook message.

THREE Something my husband and I love is to carve out time on the weekends to spend time with each other.  Sometimes we watch movies and eat pizza, other times we go for a hike, a walk, a movie and/or dinner. We're both self-made artists and entrepreneurs, so conversations about dreams, goals and our latest big idea are always on the tip of our tongue. Recently we discovered the beautiful Shelby Bottoms Hiking Trails in East Nashville and we're smitten with the beauty and nature that we get to indulge in so close to music city.

#FRIDAYPAINTDAY

#fridaypaintday #fridaypaintday Process

#fridaypaintday Brushes

#fridaypaintday Painting No2 - 1

#fridaypaintday Palette No2

#fridaypaintday Painting No2

#fridaypaintday Palette copy

#fridaypaintday Painting No1

Last week I began #FridayPaintday, a self-made project in which I carve at least 1 hour out of my Friday each week to create and paint for myself. Like I mentioned in last week's post, this was a practice I followed weekly. Getting back to painting and creating for me and me only was freeing, exhilarating and reminded of how much painting is part of my fabric that makes me, me.

I curated a music mix, made sure all of my work was done for the day, and let loose. This is what it looked like and today, I'm about to start again.

I plan to have a few Nashville photographers visit my studio to capture pictures of me painting and creating. Stay tuned for those. For now, follow along and watch my progress via instagram.

Happy Friday!

 

DESKTOP ART // FRIDAY PAINTDAY

Watercolor Wash Free Wallpaper Download Desktop Art Today marks the first Friday that I'll be painting for myself, because I can't remember the last time I created for myself. Several months back I wrote a newsletter about this very thing and realized how much I missed painting. So to get back into it, I'm dedicating 1 hour each Friday to paint and create for myself. I'm calling it #FridayPaintday.

Typically when I paint - and when I say paint I mean spread out on the floor with a big canvas and get messy kind of paint - it's in acrylic with an abstract approach, listening to dark music loudly. But I'm ready for anything. It's been so long since I painted regularly - I used to paint weekly and have art exhibits monthly - that I'll explore different mediums, combine them, try different canvases, textures and techniques, maybe even different styles of music. Because when I paint, it's a release of energy from within. Not a practice of emulation or realism, it's self-expression and therapy in a way. So whatever I'm feeling, experiencing and have buried within will be called out and turned into paint on canvas.

Watch the process unfold on instagram and keep a look out for future behind-the-scenes shots of me on floor painting and getting messy. To celebrate this #FridayPaintday, here's a watercolor wash for your desktop, laptop, tablet and phones. Have a great weekend!

I'M TRAVELING TO YOUR CITY

I'm Traveling to Your City Working with creatives & entrepreneurs in-person and face-to-face, sharing with them what I've learned about calligraphy, lettering, art, branding, business and blogging is a very big goal of mine. Currently, I work with creatives from all over the US, utilizing Skype as our main platform of communication. This works great for those "face-to-face" interactions, but I want more in-person and real face-to-face conversations and experiences. I want to work one-on-one with you, intensively, till we get the job done!

In order to make this happen, I'm traveling to your city!

Meaning, I now offer the option for us to work together in-person and one-on-one. The way this works is I either travel to you, or you to me, we work intensively Monday-Friday for 1 to 2 weeks on your project and execute all goals, plan and projects before I leave. This option is great for creatives looking for more in-depth guidance and one-on-one direction. This is also great for those who need their project turned around quickly.

You see, back when I was a hairstylist, I would have 8-10 clients per day that'd I'd meet in-person, have conversations with, develop relationships with and help them look and feel beautiful. I loved this - the connections I would make and the influence I had on their confidence and in their lives - it filled me up.

As the years passed, I felt drained and burned-out. Having meaningful moments and conversations with 6-10 people per day, all while standing for hours on end, was impossible. I realized I couldn't do this forever - it was unsustainable and life-deteriorating.

I shifted focus on other creative endeavors and eventually found success with my Etsy shop. I was able to quit my hairstyling job and focus solely on calligraphy and my Etsy shop full-time (hooray!!). I felt more energized and looked forward to the possibilities of being self-employed.

At first switching from face-to-face, in-person interactions to 100% online interactions was a shock and something I had to get used to. I had so much to learn - from how to write an email that captured my personality & essence to having a conversation on the phone that felt like an in-person interaction. It was tough, but eventually I got better at it and realized that I could utilize Skype to have more of those "face-to-face" conversations I desired.

I miss those connections. And in order to have more real face-to-face, in-person interactions, build relationships and to work one-on-one with other creatives, I'm traveling to you. Not only will I travel to you for projects, I'm also now booking workshops across the US for this fall, winter and spring.

I'll be offering the following workshops:

  • modern calligraphy
  • calligraphy as a business
  • watercolor lettering & painting
  • brush lettering
  • blogging & brand development
  • social media & online growth
  • any ideas - email me!

Here is a current list of cities I've been asked to travel to:

  • NYC
  • New Jersey
  • Ithaca, NY
  • Green Bay, WI
  • Madison, WI
  • Chicago, IL
  • Murfreesboro, TN
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Monterey, CA

Are you interested in having me travel to your city for projects or workshops? Leave a comment below or send me an email with what workshops or projects you're interested in and what city you live in. I can't wait to meet you in-person!

 

MY HOME STUDIO

My-Home-Studio-Desk-700 My-Home-Studio-Pencils-Brushes-Art

My-Home-Studio-Desk-Headphones-Glasses

My-Home-Studio-Books-Plants

My-Home-Studio-Plants-Art-Inspiration-Canvas

My-Home-Studio-Notebooks-Desk-Window

My-Home-Studio-Cat-Rug

My-Home-Studio-Paint-brushes

My-Home-Studio-Plants

My-Home-Studio-Painting-Art-Jump

My-Home-Studio-Paper-700

My-Home-Studio-Chalkboard-700

My-Home-Studio-Meredith-Bullock-Art-Markers-Pens-Canvas

Surrounding myself with things that fill me up with ideas, inspiration and energy and keep me moving throughout the day is vital to my business growth and something I take very seriously.

For a long time my creative zone was wherever I could find enough space and resources to get in the groove. And still, if I want to create when I'm on vacation or traveling, location or space will not hinder my flow.

Although sometimes you have to make do with what you have. When I lived alone, in a one bedroom apartment, my desk, artwork and supplies were scattered throughout my living room and kitchen. I created my first art exhibit paintings on my kitchen floor. My first art prints and stationery (that I sold on my first Esty shop) were photographed on the carpet against a sheet of white paper.

As my business and life grew, so did my space. When I married my husband, we moved into a 3 bedroom apartment where I - for the very first time - had my own studio space.

Having my own designated space to work and create was transformative to my creative in and business growth. 

Today I have a living-room-sized home studio where I create, meet and work with my dream clients, brainstorm, design and develop brands and websites, paint, write, email, read, daydream, and enjoy the majority of my day.

I have a huge painting that I created a few years back of someone jumping off a cliff to remind me of how scary life can be sometimes but that when you trust the process and have faith, you can take the leap.

I have a wall plastered with post-it notes and ideas and goals on my blackboard to remind of what I want to do. I have an empty white canvas on an easel waiting for me. I have a book shelf drenched with resources and ideas. I have pictures of family and loved to remind me how I got here and how I continue to go forth. I have plants everywhere to give my energy and life. I have nearly every supply, tool or piece of equipment I could ever need to create with. And I have this desk and computer to keep me connected to you.

Everyday when I set foot in this room, I automatically feel energized, motivated and ready to begin my day. Check out some other seriously inspirational studio spaces herehere and here. And here some tips on how to make your space super creative.

How about you, what do you surround yourself with to fill you up with inspiration, ideas and creativity? What are some of your favorite things about where you create?

BE A HERO

Be A Hero, Donate Blood  

A few years ago I remember getting this Facebook invitation to an event. This event wasn't a party or a date on the calendar, it was an invitation asking for help.

I was invited to the event my an old high school friend, so I trusted it was something worth reading, not to mention the title Help Me Fight Back! was calling my name.

I opened the event and first saw a picture of a girl I recognized, but she was bald. She was pictured with a little boy and had a smile as warm as the sun.

I dove into the description of the event wondering how I knew her and why she was bald.

In the humblest of fashions, Chelle shared her story. She had a rare form of blood cancer, a syndrome that she witnessed her mother loss the battle to, and she needed my/our help.

She asked for me/us to donate blood.

My heart ached for this girl as I scoured through her profile and saw pictures of her with her two beautiful children, laughing, smiling, scared while she had her head shaved, and strong as she stood with other friends and family who also shaved their heads in support.

I thought back to the only time I had ever given blood which was in high school. Once. I remembered it was a little scary, with the needle and the wooziness that follows a blood donation, but I also remembered it being pretty easy and painless.

I immediately searched online to find a local blood drive, scheduled a time and donated blood for the second time in my life.

It took about an hour of my time and it was super easy, they even gave me little snacks, juice and water afterword.

I sat there with other donors, eating my raisins and drinking water, feeling like I helped her. That I'd just given the best gift I'd ever created. 

While there, I also learned I had a blood type that can be used with most other blood types (type O). So in instances when there is no time to test a victim when being rushed into the emergency room after a fatal car accident, they can use my blood.

I felt like I had liquid gold coursing through my veins and that I had the power to help people, and that I was valuable. People needed me.

After 56 days, I donated again. This time I had my very own donor card and knew what to expect. I even asked my husband to join me and together we donated blood, ate snacks, and wore our "I saved a life" stickers proudly.

It's been a few years since the Facebook event invite and I've donated 4 times. I wish I could say more, but I've been told when you're trying to get pregnant and having 12 weeks of when I was actually pregnant, that you need to conserve all of the blood for the baby. We're still trying to get pregnant, therefore it's not safe for me to donate right now.

Chelle has been doing great the past few years, she got engaged and even started her own business. But the other day she shared that her blood count is low and needs blood transfusions again.

She needs your help.

The thing is though, that Chelle is just one story. There are millions of people all over the world that need your help. People just like you and Chelle that suffer from illness and disease, have newborn babies who need transfusions, and victims of fires and accidents who need your blood to save their life. The list goes on. And the facts are alarming.

So today, I'm asking you to give a gift, be a hero, save a life and give hope by donating blood.

If you can't donate blood, ask someone to donate for you. Ask your friends, your family, your colleges. Share these posters on your Facebook wall. Anything you can do to help will be noticed. And will be worth it.

And because I can't donate blood right now, I need someone to do it for me. Will you help me donate? Go here to schedule your donation and be a hero.

Give Hope, Donate Blood       Give a Gift, Donate Blood       Save a Life - Donate Blood

Wanna print these posters out? Click on each link below to print of a 8.5x11" print to hang on your wall, give to your friends and family or to post on a bulletin board at your local store.

PAINTING WITH WATERCOLOR

intro-to-watercolor-with-fruit  

HerbalCalendar2013

 

In a few weeks I'll teach my first watercolor class. If you're in Nashville, come paint some food, fruit and herbs with me and learn exclusive tips and techniques on how to paint with beautiful and delicate watercolor. Sign up for the class here.

If you're not in Nashville and want me to come to your city and teach a class, check out my workshop page here.

A little side note: I used a brush pen to create the "watercolor" lettering, doesn't it look great?! And yes, I will be teaching a class on brush lettering very soon.

How about you - are you teaching or attending any classes, if so what are they? Need a few tips on how to prep for your class? Read more here.

FREE VALENTINES DAY CARDS

Beard-card-free-download Bangs-card-free-download

mustache-card-free-download

 

A few years ago, when I first started making cards, I created the "I love you and your beard" card (shown first). It was a huge seller and even made the front page of Etsy!

At this moment, I no longer sell cards but wanted to share with you these 3 cards for free! Simply click the picture to download a pdf that you can print out, cut and fold to give to your valentine. Happy love day, enjoy!

I AM NOT SPECIAL

i-am-not-special I am not special. Yes of course, my mom, my family and my husband (I hope) think so. But really, I'm not. I'm just like you. I have fears, dream, goals, aspirations, victories, failures, good days and bad days.

When I read other people's stories - on how they got started and what got them to where they are today - I get inspired and feel like it's truly possible to achieve that same greatness. So today, I thought I share with you my story on how I got to where I am today. And that you too can achieve the same success.

Growing up, art was always what I favored - well, that and music. I remember getting a pair of large headphones and locking myself in my room to bliss out to music and draw or paint. This was my happy place.

When it came time to decide what I wanted to do before graduating high school I considered arts. Maybe graphic design or communication arts (whatever that means) - but really those jobs sounded terrible back then. The idea of sitting in front of a computer all day was not glamorous or dreamy at all. I also considered becoming an art teacher. But the idea of so many years of school killed me - I hated school (for reals guys, the only class I liked in school was art).

Because I couldn't decide what I wanted to do and the idea of going into debt to study something I didn't even know I liked, was not an option.

So I chose Cosmetology school. A left field decision, yes. But I great decision for sure. I grew up with two aunts that were both self-employed hairstylists. The idea of being able to make people feel beautiful and working for myself sounded very desirable. That's when I really knew I wanted to work for myself.

For thirteen years I worked as a hairstylist and for ten of those years I was extremely happy doing it. Then I started pursuing art in my free time, moved to a more cultural, art-supportive town and found myself exhibiting art at local restaurants, shops and galleries. I was always drawing, sketching or painting in my free time and finally did something about it. I was creating because I knew I wanted a change, I knew I didn't want to do hair forever. 

After a few exhibits and opening my first Etsy shop, I began to experience what it felt like to make money doing what I loved. It was pennies but a huge boost and confirmation that I could do this.

A few months later I got engaged and decided to design my own wedding invitations. I picked up a set of nibs and calligraphy tools I had from years ago and created our wedding announcements and stamps. I posted them on my Etsy shop just for fun and immediately I was being emailed by many for custom work.

I went with it. I started creating more calligraphy designs, receiving custom orders and posting more products. After my first month I was making more than just pennies.

After our wedding in August of 2011, I opened my second Etsy shop Hazel Wonderland. By April 2012 I was interviewed for the Etsy Featured Seller (for those of you who don't know, being asked to be an Etsy Featured Seller is a huge deal. The interview is opted on the Etsy homepage and viewed by millions).

A few months later, I quit my day job. 

Things were great. Better than great, I was on cloud nine. I was scheming ideas, daydreaming of what the future could look like, I was unstoppable.

Then a few months into designing wedding invitations and working with a couple that challenged me, I realized I was not doing what I was called to do. Yes, I was creating art and yes I was extremely grateful to have clients, to be making money and to be self-employed. But I was not passionate about working with wedding clients. Working with couples was fun and always beautiful to see how each project unfolded, but I was not happy, I was stressed. I still felt like there was more and this was not it.

I spent some time soul-searching and digging deep. Listening to the heart and imaging those moments when I felt the most alive, the most true to myself. I discovered I felt the most alive and heartfelt during conversations with other creatives, artists or friends. Conversations about how unhappy they were at their current job or position, how they dreamed of being more, accomplishing more but had no idea how to get there. They had a passion, a calling, a God-given talent, but no clue how to monetize it.

And that's when I knew what I really wanted to do, what I was called to do. I wanted to help others discover and grow their talents, personality and skills so they could make money and bring value to the world doing what they love, helping us find ultimate fulfillment. 

That meant working with people like me. Artists, musicians, woodworkers, designers, illustrators, photographers, printers, instructors, teachers... that wanted to leave their day job to make money doing what they really love.

When I realized I had to make the switch to start working with creatives and stop working with weddings, I came up with a plan. A plan to slowly phase out of weddings and into business coaching, branding and designing. This process took about eight months.

On October 15, 2013, I launched this blog (yep, the one your reading right now) and started talking more about what I was doing, why I was doing it and who I wanted to work with.

Fast forward to present day and here I am living my dream. I'm working with my dream clients, creating work I love and influencing others like I hoped I could. I create brands that tell others stories, I plan out strategies to help people get to where they want to go, I coach to help others find clarity and brainstorm new ideas, and most recently I teach to help inspire others to imagine, start and grow their business, expertise and craft.

I was put on this earth to help creatives like you. To help you imagine, create, find happiness and find ultimate fulfillment. What do you feel you were put on this earth to do?

("I am not special" was inspired by the talented illustrator Molly Jaques and her Instagram post here

WHAT IS A CREATIVE COACH?

what-is-creative-coaching When people ask me what I do and I respond with I'm an artist, designer and creative coach. Without fail, the followup question is what is a creative coach? I'm happy to answer a creative coach is an expert/teacher/mentor that helps guide creatives, artists and musicians to achieve their goals. 

Think back to all of the teachers that have taught you something. In my experience, there are two types of teachers; one that guides you through each step, and the one that does the work for you.

Back when I was a teenager attending cosmetology school, there were two classrooms (each with their own teacher) that us students were divided into. One teacher that was rumored to be sweet, nice and easy and the other teacher was rumored to be a hard ass. I had the latter and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Because although at the time it seemed harder to be with this particular teacher and way scary to mess up a haircut, my teacher never leaned in and finished my work just to make things easier. She would stand next to me, guide me through the task, remind me of my knowledge, give me confidence to complete it. Eventually her style of teaching allowed me to feel confident enough to teach a few cosmetology classes while I was still a student. As for the students in the other classroom, lets just say most of them never went on to cut hair professionally.

So when I say I am a creative coach, I mean I am your rock standing next to you, supporting your ideas, reminding you of your courage, helping you over hurdles, empowering you with confidence and equipping you with the tools to successfully accomplish your goals.

Whether you need a single session to get over a creative hurdle, or a 6 week session to prepare you for your big business launch or brand overhaul, I am here for you. Email me today  meredithcbullock@gmail.com to find out how we can work together to accomplish your goals and start 2014 on the right foot!

( PHOTO )