I started a new painting today. This happens a lot, so I don’t know why I haven’t gotten use to it by now, but that moment of starting is at once exciting, hopeful, and daunting.
I have a hard time working out ( I blame the kids + schedule, but it’s totally just me) but I often think that starting a painting is like starting a race. You’ve signed up for it. All eyes are on you. But what if you freak out half way through and it’s super embarrassing? Or what if you get confused and take the path that goes to the woods when the person commissioning the painting wanted you to go to the beach? But the love of the race is enough to make you start. It get’s me every time. …and I do love, love, love this race.
Today’s painting is teal (as many of my paintings are) so I washed the canvas in shades of green and blue and cream, spoiling the perfect minimalistic white canvas that had been there. I keep making marks, shaping and forming clouds and land and, honestly, it keeps looking worse and worse.
But I press on. Fighting. Loving. It’s nearly a game: my hands vs. my ideas.
By the end of the day this painting will be completed and it will be up on my mantle (where all the paintings go when they are “done”) and then I’ll get that sweet feeling of pride and accomplishment that makes the race totally with it.
It’s on a good course. But at this moment, while is sits on my easel, flaunting it’s flaws and unfinished spaces, it needs more love, more fight, more passion.
I love that phrase “follow your passion” so much these days. When you’re in the thick of it; excited, tired, drained, and yet loving every moment, it is passion that strengthens you. It is not some illusive idea or an ethereal feeling. Passion is love, heart, grit, and determination. If you are passionate about something, you are willing to suffer for it. Long hours, sore fingers, hours of thought, sacrifice… totally par for the course.
Sometimes it’s less about what you do and more about how you do it. Loving what you do or what you create, having that passion and fire within, spills over into how you do it.
Quality comes of love.
This post was originally written for the beautiful blog Sarah In Pursuit which you should totally check out because Sarah is lovely and so is her blog!
Until next time!
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Hey everyone! It’s me, Emily, alive and typing.
I’m popping in real quick to update you on my life for the next little bit.
FIRST UP giant commission, drowning me in paint and shades of golden gray (which doesn’t sound like a bad way to go and I’m rather enjoying it.)
NEXT: THIS WEEKEND is the Indie Craft Parade and it is always a CRAZY party full of handmade goods for a well curated life. If you’re in the region you really need to visit. (Plus I’ll be there, giving things away, selling original artwork and other goodness. If that doesn’t convince you, come for the food.)
THEN: I’ll be jetting off to Texas for the Circles Conference which should prove to be an insightful and inspiring time. (I’ll report back later on this.)
FINALLY: My shop will be reopening (cheers) October 1st with a few new things and a couple exciting changes. Get on the email list for the goodness.
AND ALSO: Minted + Domino Magazine are hosting an art contest, so of course I through my hat in the ring. Really, how could I say no to these two? Please vote for my painting, “Leave Behind the Shadows” if you’re so inclined! I would be SO grateful!! <3
“Count your blessings”…. that phrase has always bugged me because it assumes that this “task” (eww) is actually possible (which is, of course, totally ridiculous). Life is full to the brim with blessings – regardless of your current situation, health, mood, whatever… (trust me, I’ve had many, many down days. I know them well and we are not friends.) But the act of thinking about your blessings is incredibly healthy. It re-orients your perspective & adds some gratitude to your mentality.
I often fall into the trap of not noticing these good gifts – and certainly not actually celebrating the awesome things that happen in life. I often let them roll past me with a hasty nod while I press on, working towards the next thing – which I will then nod to and continue rushing past life like the little engine who could(n’t). This is so unhealthy, ungrateful, and totally un-fun.
So today, I’m counting & celebrating. Cheers!
1: Let me first say that I am SO SOOO honored to be the Artist of the Month for Minted and Domino Magazine! DOMINO!!. These two are partnering to introduce you to new artists/designers and this month you got meeee!!! –You guys already know me, of course, but if you’re interested in learning a little extra you are welcome to check out this feature on Domino Magazine‘s website! Thank you for all the stunning photos Paige French! You made these features shine.
2: West Elm may be looking a little extra artsy these days! They’re currently carrying one of my paintings exclusively in their art collection! I nearly burst with pride when I saw that live and with my own eyes, BTW. I’m a huge fan of West Elm, so it’s was a dance-party-in-the-middle-of-the-day kind of moment for me. ;)
3: Minted now has an ever-expanding collection of my art available for your visual pleasure… I’m honored to be on their front page and to have a storefront in the Art Market! They have several prints exclusively in their art collection (like one of my favorite paintings, “Summerwinds” ).
4: There is a super sale happening on Instagram this afternoon (beginning at 3:00 est)!!! Follow my shop account: @Emily_Jeffords_Shop for the goodness. The new collection of botanical prints will be on sale! Gotta get these beauties out into the word pronto!!! I’m in love…
5: …I’m so in love, in fact, that I just created two iPhone cases (and a pile of other rad products – but the phone cases are my fave) each featuring a botanical painting! I cannot WAIT to flash mine around town. Maybe this is a little vain? Oh well.
6: Oh yes, the Huffington Post feature….. well, here’s that little sweet thing.
7: My 4 year old makes lunch now – All by herself!!! I’ve always loved hugging her, but now I really, REALLY mean it. I love you, kid. xox ; )
There we have it. 7 things that are totally worth celebrating.
I think I’ll gather my fancy husband and go out with some friends tonight! Join me, wherever you are in the world, in finding the things in your life worth celebrating!
Oh! One more (see, I told you you can never count them all…)! Minted was so sweet and featured me and my bebe in their “Kids Art” catalogue! (Once again, photo by the crazy skilled Paige French)
Well, you asked for botanical prints (no really, I get asked literally every day), and now, all is well and good again in the world. There is a collection of fine art reproductions that are live, lovely, and thriving in my print shop!
These prints are so fancy – printed on canvas with a giant printer – they totally look like originals. Each one features a sweet botanical study, joyful colors, warm sophistication, and textures you could stare at for hours. (I know, because I have and these bebe’s do not disappoint.)
Originally, these paintings are 4×4 inch oil paintings on canvas with reproduction sizes ranging from 4×4 to 12×12.
So, hop over to the shop if these lovely things have caught your eye and be sure to use the code “BotanicalArt10″ to take $10 off your order!
Today is a totally lovely day.
This is the last in the short painting-a-day collection and my goodness, this painting “Evensong”, totally has my heart.
When have humans not been romanced by the expanse of open space?
As much of a city girl as I am (or have become) the liberty of space refreshes something deep inside of me and seems to fill up my soul with quiet. Do you feel the same?
An “Evensong” is sung as a prayer; a celebration of the evening, thankfulness for the day, and praise for of the goodness and grace of God.
The notes drift smoothly through the open windows of an English chapel, drenching the landscape with peace, serenading the sheep, calming minds of people nearby. Totally serene, am I right?
This landscape is also full of those calming, live-giving notes: cool and warm jewel tones made even more alluring by the soft, feathery sky and the deepness in the ground. So poetic and yet so simple.
18×24 inches, oil on gallery wrapped canvas (has extra thick sides and does not need to be framed). Evensong will be added to my shop in one hour (noon, EST) and will be $200 (instead of $400) www.EmilyJeffords.com
I came to the studio yesterday feeling pressure. A dead car battery, issues getting the dumb thing fixed, a busted lip on my little girl, visual clutter in my home, emotional and physical tiredness… not the way I want to come to the easel in the least.
But I got there in the afternoon. Late. Too late to finish a painting? I might as well try, I told myself. They’ll understand it if doesn’t work out today…
The girls were happy to be in their space and went right to work creating little watercolor pieces. I turned up the music, let the peacefulness of that space wash over me, and set to work mixing shades of gray and peach, thinking about how uplifting the creative process is.
I think these little life events – nothing memorable, just every-day stress – allowed me to feel this painting. It is more abstract and focuses on movement and shape more than some of my pieces – and I loooove that.
Abstract art seems to depict emotions rather than reality more than most art, and it feels like to me like this painting dips into that a bit. Dancing brushstrokes, muted colors, contrasted by vibrant jewel tones, and movement full of joy.
There is one last painting in this short series coming tomorrow & more exciting things happening next week! Thank you ALL for an amazingly wonderful year! #EmilyJeffordsArtCelebration
Ok, is it just me, or does it look to you like the Von Trapp children might come running through the scene, searching for edelweiss and singing in perfect harmony? …While running (Naturally.)
Either that, or a heard of very hungry, plump cows, bells a-ringing, singing their own monochromatic tunes…
There is so much peacefulness in wide-open space where the breeze is free and the light is unhindered. It is so easy to slip away into thoughts that are flitting, sweet for your soul, and somehow they’re not really your own. They belong to the land and the sky and they sweep you away up into them.
That got quite abstract…. but I hope you know what I’m talking about because I hope to goodness you’ve felt it before!
I wanted to paint a horizontal painting (I mean wide instead of tall) because I really wanted to play with the lushness and fertility of the grass.
I adore skies and clouds (obviously….), and I’m super happy with the way they evolved in this painting, but the field and I battled it out several times; we loved each other, hated each other, then decided to work together to show you all how lovely a field can be (this was about midnight, BTW. Stubborn field.) I am so pleased with the peace and grandeur in this painting.
“Finding the Breeze” 18×24 oil on canvas. This painting will be in my shop in just a few moments (noon, est). $200 (instead of $400) as a part of my #EmilyJeffordsArtCelebration event!
TWO more paintings left in this short painting-a-day collection! Stay tuned! More exciting things coming next week!
Friendships take work.
Heck, all relationships take work, am I right?
But what if you’re in a friendship (or any other kind of relationship) with a creative person?
Sounds exciting, right? Open minded discussions, exciting adventures, picking up on the energy & passion that surrounds the creative process, an excuse to go to fancy galleries openings, loud concerts, and posh parties…
Ah, what a life!
…But what if your artsy-besty doesn’t call you back for a week? What if they actually seem to have forgotten about you altogether? What if they’re rude for no reason? What if they get strangely emotional? What if they have a hard time hanging out with your other friends or doing some of the things you like to do?
None of these things mean that you are less of a friend in their eyes. In fact, if you can stick through these things along with them (listening, being gracious with the flaws, making an effort to bridge the gaps) you may actually be their very best friend in the whole wide world.
Here are 10 things your creative friend probably wants you to know about your relationship (but might not have the words for)
…and yes, I’m totally writing from experience.
1) Listen earnestly. Most creative people have a hard time articulating their thoughts with spoken words, so when they speak, listen with an open & gracious mind. I like to think this is because our minds are full of so many wonderful ideas that they have a hard time spilling out (and that’s actually kind of true…)
2) Figure out how your friend communicates best and meet them there – talking, phone calls, writing, singing, with images… Even if you don’t communicate that way, appreciate that they do.
3) Fight for your friendship. Don’t hesitate to insert yourself into their life (tactfully & graciously of course). You will probably have to put for extra effort to make this relationship actually happen. We’re sorry!!!
4) But also, give them space, knowing that creativity takes extreme focus, time, and may mean that other things in life get 2nd priority for a time (even dear friends).
5) Be willing to live a little outside the box. It’s fun, you’re going to feel like a crazy person sometimes, but it is fun.
6) Creativity takes a lot of the emotional energy, be ready to support and strengthen. No harsh judgment, no insult, no unneeded criticism.
7) Delight in their creation. Regardless of how confident a creative person may seem on the outside, they are their own worst critic and those voices are deeply ingrained in their heads. Be a positive influence.
8) Offer valuable encouragement and feedback, and critique with knowledge. Remember that the closer you get to someone the more weight your words carry. This is 200% true for creative people.
9) Keep life in perspective. Most creative people are very driven, but not in the way you might expect. There are spurts of intensity, and times of creative rest. Remind your friend that these times of rest, dry spells, are healthy and nothing to be ashamed of.
10) Dream and philosophize together. At the heart of creativity is an idea. Coaxing that idea into words and visual forms is the fun part. Be an “ideas person” – if only for the duration of one meal. ;)
…ok, one more, because it’s super important:
Creativity takes a certain amount of emotional rawness. It means that creative people get very happy, very sad, are in tune with their surroundings, and feel things very, very deeply. This isn’t always easy to live with (for either person) so be ready to be the support we all need at times. And, I guarantee you, if you are ever in need an empathetic person (and you will sometime), you’ve got the very best at your shoulder.
What would you like to add to this list? What have you learned thee hard way?
PS. Creative people, share this post with your sweet friends… I’ll be your voice. ; )
PSS. The image at the top with the totally lovely lady in it was taken by my good friend Paige French. She is a photographer, life-lover, super-creative, and a wonderful friend to many.
Until next time,
I began this painting anticipating something a little dark and moody; something with some grit to it or at least a little mystery. But as things progressed, and my emotions shifted throughout the day, this painting evolved.
I love the delicate colors, the vibrant and carefree brushstrokes, and the modern coolness in this painting. It felt so good to create…
A sweet friend dropped by my studio to bring me iced coffee and to distract my mind for a moment and very candidly said, “its like you’re painting an alternate reality. The painting looks so peaceful and calm!” –in the most honest and loving way possible. And you know, she was totally right. All around, I was surrounded by crayons, papers, books, little shoes… kids being kids. I have my two little girls in the studio with me everyday, and while my days can be crazy and messy at times, they are also peaceful and grounded.
But, at times, I do slip into a headspace where I need to surround myself with positivity – not moodiness. And this painting mirrored that!
So, I dedicate this painting to coffee, crayons, little girl’s laughter, and good friends who see past the mess of life and focus on the beauty.
“Cool of the Stillness” 18×24 inches, oil on canvas. It will be in my shop in one hour! $200 (normally $400) as a part of my Art Celebration thanking everyone for am AMAZING year!
And guys, yesterday’s painting sold in TWO minutes. I’m floored. Thank you all for your immense support and love. I can feel it vividly.
This painting-a-day collection will go on until the end of the week then next week other exciting things are set to take place! Stay tuned!