Lately : 05

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It's been a while since I've written here and it's because I sometimes don't know what I'm going to write about. Back a year ago, my daily thoughts used to include ideas for business growth, marketing, what I'd blog about, and building my business as a designer. So writing a was kind of easy for me and essential to my business.

These days it doesn't come as easy. I no longer have the head space to plan out an entire blog post or compose a newsletter just off a single idea because my thoughts and my priorities have shifted dramatically. My main focus is painting, my baby and my mom.

ONE

Painting | Since launching my new artwork, I've sold several of my original pieces and have been commissioned to paint some lovely pieces. I feel like I'm exactly where I'm supposed and so grateful for all of the support and encouragement I've received.

I started a new series of paintings called In Utero. This series has a washy, ethereal vibe and a painting for each week of pregnancy, starting at week 13. See more here.

As I look forward to the next 4-1/2 months before our baby arrives, I'm brainstorming and making plans to grow my painting career as much as I can. Here are just a few of many things I have on my to-do list:

  • design and order postcards and send to galleries, previous clients and fans
  • consider wholesale sales
  • book art show
  • prep for art show at Holley Maher's Shop Launch Party
  • set up painting classes
  • curate a group art show, find a space, promote, etc
  • order prints of work
  • photograph artwork with real-life vignettes
TWO

Baby! | When I'm not daydreaming about what it will be like to be a mother, to raise a child far from my family, what the nursery will look like, and what our baby boy will be like, I find myself worrying about the baby. With my history of 2 miscarriages, I sometimes can't help that my mind goes there. I wonder if I didn't have the miscarriages if I'd worry like this. How about you - did you worry when you were pregnant?

So far, it's been an incredible pregnancy. The first trimester was a little rough, but mostly I've learned how to deal with the tiredness and queasiness with lots of naps.

Yesterday we had our 20 week checkup and ultrasound and found out we're having a boy! Honestly, we were very surprised because we were certain it was going to be a girl. But now the idea of boy is all I can think about. And regardless of the gender, we're just to grateful that the baby is healthy and growing big! Y'all should see my belly - it's growing like crazy!

THREE

My mom | About 2 months ago my mom was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). It's been almost a year since the symptoms began and the hunt for what was causing her weakness, inability to eat certain foods and declining health. A year ago, just before the symptoms began, she ran a 5K with me here in Nashville. It was such a fun thing to do together. I remember saying to her "we're almost there, I see the finish line" then we turned the corner and realized that we were only halfway!  I remember how proud I was of her too. We went out to breakfast and treated ourselves for such a feat!

Today, she can't walk unassisted. She needs help with several daily tasks and her ability to talk is rapidly declining. To say my thoughts are with her is an understatement. I think about her all the time and can't go a day without calling her.

They say that this disease can slow down and even plateau for a while. We are hoping and praying this will happen for her. ALS is something I know so little about, please feel free to share any advice or thoughts below in the comments.

So, what have you been up to lately?

New Paintings & Big News!

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The day I realized I longed – I needed – to paint again, was the day I challenged myself to paint at least 1 hour each week. With my schedule packed with loads of design projects, it wasn't easy to find the time. But I made the time and found Fridays to be the best for me, coining #FridayPaintday as the name of my personal challenge.The challenge began in August of 2014 and since then I've accumulated dozens of paintings and rediscovered my calling, my innate desire, my what-I-was-put-on-this-earth-to-do-realization that painting was what I needed to do.

After only a few short months, I didn't feel like I was on a challenge any more, I felt like I was back on track, back on my path. Realizing painting was what I was going to pursue came with a mound of fears "who's actually going to buy my paintings?", "can I make a living painting?", "what will my husband think about me shifting my career, again?", "will anyone like what I create?"....

I tossed and turned for weeks scared to admit it to myself, to my husband and to everyone else that I had to follow this calling. Because I knew it meant so much change and hard work. But I kept looking at the paintings on my wall, paintings I had created years ago when I was painting and I was less fearful and jaded, and the paintings I had created in the past months, and just I knew I couldn't wait any longer. I had to follow my heart and face my fears - not just because I owed it to myself, but also because we had just found out we were pregnant (!!).

I confessed everything to my husband – and hearing myself say it out loud – I felt immediate relief and a sense of calm wash over me. I was exactly where I needed to be.

So here I am today, excited to share with you what I've created. I'd love for you to go and take a look around. You'll see paintings that date as far back as the beginning of the challenge and some as new as last week. You'll also see a few of my new series dedicated to each week of my pregnancy. These paintings have more of a simple, calm, ethereal feel and are created with watered down acrylic paint on watercolor paper. They begin at 13 weeks and will continue till the end of my pregnancy.

When I was asked by Craft Your Life Collective why I paint, I answered:

"Painting and creating art comes from my desire to express myself and to somehow capture and render the emotions and beauty I experience. It also pushes me against insecurities and boundaries that limit my imagination. Each day I paint I feel more whole and exactly where I'm supposed to be."

Let me know what you think by sending me an email or by going to my instagram and saying hello. If you see something you like or are interesting in a custom piece of artwork, let me know. Read more about my new decision and new energy here.

Desktop Art / Painting No.13

Painting No.13 Desktop Art Yesterday I celebrated my birthday by going for a hike, then to the art museum, then out to dinner. It was such an amazing day! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and here's a new desktop art download for your computers or phones. Enjoy!

Painting No. 13 Download

Psst...Find this same painting here as iPhone cases, pillows and more!

Abstract art iPhone case and pillow by Meredith C Bullock

A CHALLENGE TO PAINT

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It's official: I'm now accepting commissions for abstract art! After 13 weeks of #fridaypaintday – a self-made challenge to paint 1 hour each Friday for myself – I've reconnected with my truest passion; painting.

Most of you might not know this about me; painting was something I pursued several years ago. I was constantly painting and preparing for the next exhibit. I loved painting, the process of getting lost in music, color, paint and texture was a dream. And to see what I created on the other end was always something I loved.

I could paint all day long but I didn't know to make a living doing it. Back then I didn't have the knowledge I have now. I didn't know how to share my work (rather than sell it) or how to leverage my connections and online presence to grow my business. I was so new at it all and didn't know what I was doing.

I kept creating and sharing and found that a lot of people were interested in calligraphy. So I put my paintings on hold and followed the demand–which meant I could quit my day job sooner. I opened a second Etsy shop dedicated to calligraphy and wedding related items and in less than a year I quit my day job and was a Featured Seller on Etsy. After about 6 months of wedding invitation design I realized I wasn’t doing what I loved and I shifted focus to work with creatives on their brand and business.

Fast forward to a few months ago, I noticed that most of my day-to-day work was in front of the computer and filled with calligraphy and design work. Both crafts I enjoyed, but I was missing painting BIG TIME and not doing exactly what I loved. I wanted to create with my hands more and to step away from the computer.

That's when I decided enough was enough. I had to carve out time for something I was missing. I couldn't be reactive, I had to be intentional about what I wanted. Through the process of #fridaypaintday–starting a challenge to create change– I learned I wanted to paint more often; for myself and for you.

Today I challenge you to start a project that creates change for you in your life. Perhaps you want to paint but never have the time. Start a challenge that gets you painting at least once a week and see what happens. I bet you will be painting more than you ever imagined. And who knows, maybe someone will notice.

If you're interested in having a custom painted piece of artwork with your choice of colors to coordinate with your home or space, check out how a commission works here>>> and feel free to email me with any questions or ideas.

Here's to a new year and a new you!

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#FRIDAYPAINTDAY

#fridaypaintday #fridaypaintday Process

#fridaypaintday Brushes

#fridaypaintday Painting No2 - 1

#fridaypaintday Palette No2

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#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!

 

FINDING INSPIRATION / ABSTRACT PAINTINGS

Finding Inspiration - Abstract PaintingsMy first love was drawing, my second was painting. I remember back when I was a teen I started my first painting that took nearly a year to complete. I still have that painting - maybe I'll show it to you some day. Since then I've had my artwork (mostly abstract paintings) displayed in dozens of galleries and spaces and still feel gravitated and in my element when I'm painting. For me, the painting process is all about taping into the subconscious and using movement, gravity, water and my hands to create the art. I recently started a painting for a friend and can't wait to share it with you. For now I've been pinning and collecting amazing and inspirational create be these talented artists:

From the top left, zig-zagging to the bottom right:

  1. Fede Saenz
  2. Arite Kannavos
  3. Ashley Goldberg
  4. Willem de Kooning
  5. Patricia Vargas
  6. Claire Desjardins
  7. Britt Bass
  8. Kirsten Handelmann
  9. Fede Saenz
  10. Miranda Skoczek
  11. Britt Bass
  12. Kreetta Järvenpää

 

AN INTERVIEW WITH JENNIFER FLANNIGAN

An Interview with Jennifer Flannigan -1Jennifer-Flannigan-Interview A few months ago I stumbled upon this amazing, colorful and abstract art that reminded me of my own passion for painting and creating art with my hands. Naturally I was curious about the artist and wanted to learn more...so I interviewed her. I discovered we both started out as hairstylists - an experience where we both developed our communication skills and perspective on color. Here's what the warm and inspired artist Jennifer Flannigan had to say.

AN INTERVIEW WITH JENNIFER FLANNIGAN | VISUAL ARTIST & PAINTER

How did you get started as an artist and painter? I have always been drawn to art, especially abstract paintings. My grandmother introduced me to the artwork of some of my favorite artists at an early age. Jackson Pollack, Dale Chihuly, Salvador Dali, and many others. As long as I can remember I've always been inspired by art museums, and interested in learning about modern art. It fascinates me to learn how they create and what inspires them. What I guess really motivated me to create more artwork is buying a new home. I was looking to buy some large abstract pieces for my home and decided I would attempt to create some of my own. I had experimented and painted on a smaller scale but became excited about the challenge of doing larger work. Realizing how much fun it was to have such a creative outlet I became hooked. Since then I have been painting and always experimenting with different styles and mediums to keep my work fresh and original. I am constantly challenging myself to try new ideas and to never stop learning.

Looking back at your childhood, did you have any creative talents that eluded to a successful career as a artist? I'm not sure if I had any real talent at any of the artistic things I tried as a child, but I was always experimenting in drawing, pottery, and paper mâché. I remember always making crafts and working on little creative projects that I took very seriously. My mother was very creative and loved doing these things with me which is probably what encouraged my creativity. Jennifer Flannigan - Create Jennifer Falnnigan - Art -1 Jennifer Flannigan - Art What do you believe is one of the most important things you've done to successfully grow your business as an artist? The decision and the ability to sell my paintings online was key to expanding my business, and has allowed me to promote my work all over the world. Since I mostly sell and market my work online being able to photograph my paintings myself became very important. It took a long time to learn how to accurately capture the colors and textures of my work on camera. Without a greatphoto of your paintings selling online becomes impossible.

What is one of your greatest accomplishments? I’m probably the most proud of being able to get past the insecurity of venturing out into a new area of work. I have always loved to paint, but considered it to be a personal passion; one which I wasn’t ready to share with others. Through the process of educating myself on how to become a better artist, I’ve gained the confidence to not only show my work online, but I’ve also begun to challenge myself in other areas such as textile design.

How do you make the transition from providing a service that's always in demand to creating artwork? Being a hairstylist and painting are really similar in the fact that both are creative and deal with color. Being a stylist taught me a new perspective on color and sharpened my communication skills, which helps me when creating custom pieces for clients. I have found that doing commission paintings is a lot like creating a new look for someone. You must feel out their personal style and really listen to what they are looking for by asking the right questions. The client must really trust your artistic abilities and you must work together to create that special piece they have envisioned. Someone loving your work so much they want to look at it everyday is to me, the ultimate compliment as an artist.

What's one challenge you've encountered as an artist and how did you overcome it? Every creative venture can become stale at some point. When you are creating commissioned work and have to push past deadlines, it can be very challenging to keep the designs fresh and truly original. I started doing these three-minute painting exercises. It’s similar to breaking through writers’ block- this approach forces you to work quickly and really helps you let go and use your instincts. Being able to tap into your creative mind on-demand and consistently staying true to your personal artistic vision are challenges that all artists face; having these tools at my disposal has helped me overcome them.

Jennifer Flannigan - Studio Jennifer Flannigan - Studio -1 Any words of advice for other artists looking to take the leap and get paid doing what they love? Really take the time to make a strong online presence. Put together a website that you are really proud of and that you update often with your latest work. Social media is such a great tool to promote your artwork. Whether it's Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, or starting your own blog, dedicate the time to connect with others and to consistently put yourself out there. I cannot believe how many wonderful people and connections I have made through social media. Also, make the effort to promote and encourage other fellow artists. It's good karma and it will come back to you in your business. As hard as it may seem try not to compare yourself with other artists online. There are so many talented artists out there but each of us has unique talents. I've learned to try to only be competitive with myself and concentrate on how much I've learned or improved over the years. Doing this you are always growing and moving forward towards becoming better at your craft. Comparison only discourages and takes away the enjoyment and freedom that creating art can give. Jennifer Flannigan - Quote
If you had 5 minutes to pack a bag and move, where would you go and what would you bring? I took a girls trip two years ago with one of my closest friends, my sister, and cousin all through France and Florence, Italy. I would definitely want to go back to Florence. Such an inspiring city, especially as an artist. So much amazing art and food. I don't think I could ever get tired of all the beautiful architecture and art museums. I am terrible at packing light, usually bring twice as much clothes as necessary. Would be sure to bring my camera, ipad, and really good walking shoes. Learned the hard way how important good shoes are on that kind of a trip.

What's the first and last thing you did today? First thing I did today was cook pancakes for breakfast. It's a Sunday tradition in our home and one of my husbands favorites. The last thing I did was play with my two Bengal cats. They won't let us sleep without playing fetch for at least thirty minutes before bedtime. Probably, one of my favorite parts of the day is spending time with them.

If your friend was asked to describe you in one sentence, what would they say? Probably, that I am talkative, a planner, nurturing, and really passionate about animals, especially cats.

What's the last music you listened to? Led Zeppelin and Dave Mathews, both I listen to often while painting

Last book you read? Wild written by Cheryl Strayed, great book but I'm much more likely to be reading interior design or trashy magazines

Coffee or tea? Being from the south I would have to say sweet tea.

To see more of Jennifer's work, visit her Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Photo credits to Anna Aycock and Jena Smith