Things I’ve Learned as an Art & Design Student: Part 1


As I’m sure just about everyone is aware of by now, deciding to go (or not go) to college is one of the biggest things you’ll do. It’s a lot of chaos. These people telling you that an education will be what opens doors for you, these people over here saying that in today’s world education isn’t practical, and this group sharing the statistics: many students struggle to find a job after graduation, because a degree doesn’t guarantee anything. And it doesn’t.

I spent my senior year of high school grappling with the idea of higher education. I couldn’t settle on a major and I just didn’t feel like college was the right decision for me. So against the opinions of many, I didn’t enroll. I spent my first year out of high school running a startup bakery and trying to find my place.

About a year and a half after making that decision to not go to school, I started feeling this urge. Like it was time. I’d found my niche, I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and now I just needed the tools and skills to do so.


There are a lot of different opinions on whether or not it’s worth going to school for art. As revealed by the countless Youtube videos I managed to go through, a lot of people seem to believe that it’s not worth spending a small (or large) fortune on things that you could essentially teach yourself. And it’s true, to an extent. With all of the resources on the internet today, I’m sure you could teach yourself quite a bit. But there’s one little problem. Many professional workplaces (even in the art industry, as I’ve found) still want to see something in the “education” section of your resume.

Now, of course you could bypass this if you’re planning on working for yourself. This was one of the main things I grappled with. If I plan on running my own business, why do I need to go to college?

Here are my thoughts.

Starting a business takes time, as I’ve learned. I know that once I graduate I’m going to want to start working in my chosen industry. I also know that I may have to work for someone else for a while, and I’m okay with that. This degree will at least keep that option open, because like I said, many employers still want to still that piece of paper that says you hold a degree in the field.

I’m also learning that there are experiences and opportunities that may only come up as a result of college, like networking through instructors or getting really great internships through references.

I think what I’ve decided is that an art degree is not for everyone. We are all different. I believe that some people could teach teach themselves all that they need to know, find the right people, and be crazy successful all on their own, without a degree. But on the other hand, some of us don’t know where to start. Some of us need the unique experiences that college can offer. And some of us need the extra instruction.


The most important things I’ve learned so far?

1. Keep an open mind.

I went into this college experience with a lot of trepidation and nerves. I doubted whether I had made the right decision, and I admit, I almost didn’t commit to it. I had a few classes that I thought I was going to totally hate and ended up loving them. The point here is that I think just with life in general, it’s important to open your mind to the opportunities and possibilities around you. I really worried about the student loans, and I’m sure I don’t even have to go into detail on those. I’ve heard countless times that they’re a nightmare, that you’ll spend the rest of your life paying them off, and this and that. I fell for it.

I was reminded by someone close to me to change the way I think about them – to open my mind, essentially. This is an investment in myself. In my future. They will get paid off, because they just will. That’s how it works. One way or another. They may even pay for themselves, so to speak, as I work towards my dream career.

I’m learning to like optimism.

2. What you put in is what you get out.

Is college worth it?

If you go into it with the lowest expectations, only do enough to just make it through, and don’t go beyond what is expected of you, then no, it’s probably not going to be worth it. Here’s what I’ve found.

If you go into the experience like this: put in your all. Do the extra work. Ask questions. Work on the extra material. Teach yourself things on the side, as much as you can. Go above and beyond just making it through, then yes, it will be worth it. You will see the results. You will begin to pave the way to success.

What you put into the experience is what you’re going to get out of it, so only putting in an average amount of effort is probably only going to get you an average amount of success. And why spend so much money on that?

I think an education should be something you have a passion for. It’s something that matters to you, so why wouldn’t you want to take the most from it that you can?

3. Put yourself out there.

In other words, network. This one is so, so important. I’m really shy, and even in an online learning environment I’d rather just keep to myself. Guess what? That’s not a good strategy in the very least.

One of the first things I was told when I enrolled in my school is to plan on reaching out to other people. The art industry (design, music, writing, etc.) is the kind of place where knowing the right people can open up opportunities and get you places. College is a great time to start forming these relationships. Do it now, before you’ve graduated and are suddenly thrust into the workforce.

I’ve talked to everyone from musicians who needed someone to design an album cover for them to people in the film department who needed flyers and other design media. And if I ever need music or anything else for my projects, I know just where to find someone.

5. Work on your career while you’re still in college

I already owned an art business coming into college. For me, this degree is really about building on what I already have. I’m going to be learning a lot more about the business aspect of it as well as the technical areas, which I’ve never been too comfortable with. I’ll be expanding on my knowledge and taking additional classes in web design and HTML so that I can work with a broader audience after graduation. And I’m just slowly adding these things to the business as I go. I’m not starting from the ground at this point, although it’s okay if that’s where you are. We all have to start somewhere.

College is a great time to start figuring out your priorities and goals, meet people who can help you make them happen, and starting building your skill set. It’s a time to experiment with new ideas and learn what works and what doesn’t.

So in short, what have I learned so far?

Be open to change and the unknown and start building lasting relationships.

You can check out my work and follow my progress on Instagram @halcyonevergreen


How to Sell Art Online: Little Things That Make a Difference


I started selling my art nine months ago, and in that time I’ve learned over and over again that it’s a lot of give and take. You can’t force it all to work out, you can just put your heart and soul into it and hope for the best. And you can learn. Learn how to tag items so people find them easier, learn how to put value on something that is priceless to you, learn how to do things better.

I wasn’t new to owning a business when I started selling art. But I was new to putting my visions out there for the world to see.

I’ve seen many things change in these past nine months. One of the scariest things I did was decide to go to college. But I did it on my terms, not because someone else told me I needed to, and that’s why I felt like this was the right time. Not necessarily because I’m 100% ready, but because it was a decision I made that seemed to make sense. It was the same way when I started Halcyon Evergreen.

Guys, I’m going to say it. This art thing has been both inspiring and exhausting. I think it’s a reflection of this life thing. I don’t have it all figured out, I’m always learning new things, and sometimes I just don’t know. But it’s also beautiful. It’s beautiful.

If you’ve been thinking about putting your art out there for the world to see, your writing, your music, whatever it is that makes your soul happy, this is your sign. This one’s for you.

There will be times of doubt. Sometimes you’ll wonder if you’re talented enough, if you’ve got what it takes, if it all even really makes a difference.

I promise you, it does.

I can’t give you a clear cut path to success, but I can tell you a few things I’ve learned along the way:

1. Don’t worry about being perfect. Your work will improve as you continue to create, so one of the best things you can do is just keep making things. Your photography will improve as you take pictures and learn. There are so many resources out there to help you, which leads to my next tip…

2. Research. This will be one of your new best friends. It’s how you will learn things like opening an Etsy shop, the best tags to use, how to build a website for yourself, shipping methods, and just about anything else you need to know. You’ll need to decide what platform you want to sell on and if it’ll be through an outside source or directly through your website. You’re going to have a lot of questions getting started, and most of them can be answered by doing your research.

3. Decide what it is that your work means to you. What is your ultimate goal? People can tell when you actually care about the things you’re putting out there, and it’s why people say that success and passion go hand in hand. If the passion isn’t there the motivation won’t be either.

4. Network. Connect with other makers and creators. Make an effort to comment and actually reach out to them. And please, please don’t advertise on a page that isn’t yours unless you have permission.

5. Know the legal rules and stipulations for owning a small business in your country, state, city, etc. This part sucks, but it will make your life so much easier. I spent a lot of time figuring these things out but it gave me peace of mind and made tax season so much easier.

6. Just do it. You’re probably not going to feel 100% ready, but I like this quote from Lemony Snicket: “If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.”

If you’re not already following me on Instagram, I post my art and other updates: @halcyonevergreen




Halcyon Evergreen: An Introduction


Well hi there, and welcome to Halcyon Evergreen.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to feature some incredible artists on this blog, but I’ve never really introduced myself. I’m going to start posting weekly so I figured I may as well let you know who I am!

My name is Hannah. I’m both @halcyonevergreen and @hannahlincolnx (my photography account) on Instagram.

I’m a watercolor artist, writer, photographer, student, daughter, human.

My love for art actually began with a love for words. I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember. I used to write stories as a child, and I can remember even then the satisfaction I got from putting a pen to paper. Because of course back then all of my books were handwritten! 🙂 I used to illustrate them myself, so I suppose that’s where my love for art really began.

I currently have a few completed novels out there on the internet for free reading, but unfortunately I’m still writing under a pseudonym and I won’t be making that name public yet. But my novella has just hit 25k reads which is just crazy! I never expected anyone to enjoy them as much as they have. I’ll be publishing those under my own name sometime in the next year.

You probably know Halcyon Evergreen from Instagram. That’s where I post most of my paintings and new things that I’ve made available on my Etsy shop (which you should totally check out :))

I’m currently earning my degree in graphic design. I think the next 36 months are going to be quite an adventure! I’m attending Full Sail University online, and I’ll be posting about my experience with the school and degree program as I start to get into the swing of things.

So, Halcyon Evergreen.

This project has both inspired and frustrated me. Ironically, I think the name fits: to me, it stands for blissful perseverance. And we will persevere, won’t we?

The name covers every form of my art, from my paintings, to my books, and all the way to my music, which I hope to start sharing with you very soon.

Someone who inspires me very much once told me something that has stuck with me, and it’s this, in a very short version of her beautiful words: “Being you is really the only option you ever had.”

I am learning this more and more every day.

There is a beautiful community of artists, writers, creators, makers, humans out there, and the support they show each other is amazing. I’m not going to pretend that there aren’t issues (copyright infringement being one of them). Of course there are. But at the core of things, it’s a fantastic community and it’s a pleasure to be part of it.

Thanks for reading! I’ll be posting 1-2 times a week now, so stay tuned if you’re interested 🙂




Artist Feature: Katelyn Morse

Tell us a little about yourself!

Hi! I’m Katelyn, from the oceanic east coast of Canada. I’m a full time artist who is obsessed with my cat and frolicking around greenhouses.

In your opinion, what defines an “artist”?

Anyone who produces something creative in which they have poured in passion, joy and imagination.

What inspires your work?

Nature! Mountains, foliage, peonies, the moon, crystals, forests, etc. There is so much beauty to be enjoyed and inspired by and it’s all been freely given to us. What a wondrous thing!

Do you have a certain process when creating?

I’m quite spontaneous. I try to calm myself down first and make sure I have lots of time so I don’t feel rushed. I have tea or coffee and sometimes play some music. I give myself a good dose of inspiration first and then I dive in!

What are three things that you value the most in your work?

Wonder – I like for people to appreciate the natural beauty around them when they look at my work. I hope it sparks a sense of wonder.

Peace – I aim for each piece I paint to have a sense of peace, a calm, or a soothing vibe to it. Nature is the best medicine, some say!

Organic – I love that all of my work is based on subjects found on our earth. We have been given SO much to appreciate and enjoy here and I hope more will realize that and go out and explore more!

Do you have a formal background in art or are you self-taught?

I am self taught! It’s always been a hobby of mine.

What advice would you give an aspiring artist?

I never thought I could be an artist. I thought it was kind of impossible, but it’s not! Keep producing work. Be as kind as you can be. Do not give up, persevere. Do your research. Research social media marketing. It’s not that scary, Instagram is fun! Get to know other creatives, so you can bounce ideas and ask questions to each other! The merriweather council on Facebook is a great group for that! Love what you do and don’t be discouraged. Good things take time. Be open minded and be kind to yourself. Enjoy every moment!


Artist Feature: Shaylen Broughton

Tell us a little about yourself!

I am from Richmond VA, which is also currently where I live and work from most of the time. I may or may not have a slightly unhealthy addiction to traveling. I am most definitely nomadic at heart. My major life goal is to take my art and live on the road. I have been making art since I can remember being able to hold a paintbrush or pencil. I was the kid who drew all over the walls if someone handed me a crayon. I remember waking up in the middle of the night with crazy ideas about what kind of art I could make the next day. My grandmother Grace, who was a professional portrait artist, taught me formally how to paint with oils and watercolor when I was 7, probably to stop me from making crayon art on the dining room walls.  Though art has always been my true love, I did not always feel that I would be able to make a living this way. Sadly, I think this is the case for many artists. So of course I went for a more “practical” degree in college. I obtained my BFA in Interior Design from SCAD in 2011. I quickly realized, after working in the industry for 2 years, it was not for me. So I decided to take a chance and do the thing that I actually really love, instead of what I thought I should love. Sometimes you have to do the wrong thing in order to realize where you actually want to be. It will be 3 years this March that I have been working as a full time artist.  It has been a crazy journey so far, a constant struggle, full of a lot of frustration, rejection, blood, sweat, and tears (literally I am pretty sure some of my art has my blood in it)…but worth every single second.
In your opinion, what defines an “artist”?
I think an artist is anyone who feels compelled to share their “invisible self” with the outside world. It can be through music, poetry, visual art, film, storytelling, it really doesn’t matter how it gets shared.  We all feel things. It is what makes us human.  Art reminds us we are not alone.
What inspires your work?
Nature is a big inspiration. That sounds cliché. But really it is this existence that inspires me. I have been visiting the ocean for as long as I can remember. I still look at it with childlike wonder and awe. I could spend hours watching the sunlight dance on the waves, and thinking about how incredibly vast and deep and mysterious it is. I feel the same way when I look at the sky, at the clouds, or the stars and the moon. The way the trees move in the wind. Everything Ebbs and Flows. That’s a big theme in my work.
Do you have a certain process when creating?
My process is ever-changing. I am a big fan of trying new things.  Sometimes I feel frustrated with myself because I think maybe I should be more consistent. At the same time I believe it is what makes me who I am, remaining in a constant state of flux. The one thing I do consistently is meditation. I always want the images to come purely from the heart. I do not like to overthink or plan things out. I let everything come alive as it wants to. I believe this is why I am drawn specifically to colors on a higher vibrational level, like purples and blues.
What are three things that you value the most in your work?
1-      The adventure of making, the experimenting, and the unknown.
2-      Getting to unapologetically share my heart with the world.
3-      Making connections with other likeminded artists and art lovers all over the world (Thank you internet!)
Do you have a formal background in art or are you self-taught?
Well. Yes and no. I went to an art school… and I have a design degree. I use so much of the knowledge I learned in college still in my art practice. I was also taught about formal painting from my grandmother, and had the typical high school art education where I learned the basics. However, I have learned so much along the way just working my way through stuff, figuring things out as I go. I consider myself a student of life, always. I will never claim to know it all, my mind is always open. I want to be learning new things until the day I die.
What advice would you give an aspiring artist?
Try all the things, all of them. Follow that nagging feeling, the curiosity. Find that thing that you just can’t stop doing, and then don’t stop doing that thing. Create and share. It doesn’t matter what you’re creating. Share it with your friends, share it with your family, share it on the internet, share it wherever, just share it. Art wants to be shared. It’s scary, believe me I know, but if I can do it so can you. Ask questions, get to know other artists. They are more willing to help you than you know, most of them, anyway.  This is the best advice I received from a fellow artist when I was starting out. “It is possible to make a living as an artist, it won’t be easy, not even a little bit, but it is possible.”

Artist Feature: Ingrid Sanchez

ingridTell us a little about yourself!

My name is Ingrid, I am originally from Mexico but I’ve been living in the past 12 years in different places. First in Barcelona, then London followed by NY and back in London. I obviously like traveling and art. I graduated as a Information Designer years ago and I also completely a master in Book Publishing. I have other passions, like ballet which I studied for years since I was five, but I discovered Yoga as an adult when I was dealing with health problems and since then, along with meditation, it is part of my daily practice. I’ve completed several yoga teacher trainings, but I’ve only worked in the yoga ‘industry’ as a designer.
In your opinion, what defines an “artist”?
I think there is the misunderstood concept of the artist as someone that paints. I think that any person that expresses oneself through creation is an artist. It doesn’t matter if you live from it, if you work in a gallery or what materials you use.
What inspires your work?
Inspiration doesn’t exist for me as an emotion or a moment of ecstasy that invites one to create. I find inspiration in conversations, books, something I see, in the more unusual places and moments, it comes from experiences that give me ideas or the wish to explore something.
Do you have a certain process when creating?
Yes, I love rituals! When I get ready to paint I usually start with a meditation and burning some wood like palo santo or herb such as sage or sweet grass (this is called smudge). I plan in advance my workspace setup by choosing the paper, palettes and brushes so I can focus on my painting instead of what I need. I let go of the expectation, if my painting wants to go to a different direction than my original idea I let it happen. If I feel ‘blocked’ I stop and go for a walk to a water canal that is close to my flat or I join a yoga class. I always have a warm cup of tea, I love painting barefoot and in the comfort of Thai pants.
What are three things that you value the most in your work?
1. Freedom to do what I love the way I want to. 2. Knowing that my paintings are traveling to different countries and that most of them are given as a gift to another person to comfort, wish well or ‘just because’; that is then when I really think that my art become great and special 3. Being able to illustrate the words of others to inform about important situations, sometimes about special needs, yoga as therapy, compassion, etc. This gives meaning and purpose to my work.
Do you have a formal background in art or are you self-taught?
Although I studied design, I am more a self-taught artist. I bought myself my first óleo set when I was around 9 or 10 years old, i cannot recall exactly where I got the money from, but I think I saved my lunch money or something and bought a small set in a small shop close to my parents house.
I had an art class during my high school years once a week which I loved, my teacher is still a friend of mine, an amazing illustrator based in Madrid.
After that I tried to take a couple of classes that I never completed because I found them boring and I’m really bad at following instructions.
I completely stopped painting for years just because I focused on other stuff, like traveling, then college, then more traveling, formal work and so on.
During my year in New York I took a workshop with the amazing Helen Dealtry and a couple of workshops at The Art Students League of New York. I found them really useful and inspiring, I think for me short workshops are the way to go because there is no time to get bored and you can choose a very specific theme you are actually interested in, that’s why I choose to teach workshops the way I do, four intense hours with one theme and the most important: freedom to experiment.
What advice would you give an aspiring artist?
Create a lot, experiment a lot. Get inspiration but don’t copy other artists, this will make your voice more difficult to emerge and it’s not kind to appropriate someone’s idea and hard work.
Move away from Pinterest and Instagram when you are looking for inspiration, go to a library, go for a walk and take pictures, create your own inspirational gallery.
Experimentation is really important. I get the same questions again and again: “What paper do you use? What brush is that? What brand of watercolours do you recommend?” I always answer and there is nothing wrong with asking, but materials are different for everyone, it depends in the style and the project, the only way to know what works for you is by practicing and trying different materials. Go to the art shop, get some supplies and experiment.

Artist Feature: Ashlee Bennett


Tell us a little about yourself!

I’m a Melbourne based, Australian artist and (almost) art therapist. That’s how I define myself to the outside world, but more personally, I am a young woman navigating the world, learning about what it means to be human. The people who know me would say that I’m definitely not a surface dwelling person. I enjoy the surface, but only as an entry point into the depths! I live to connect to others at their deepest most enduring place. I want to know what scares you, your dreams, how you really feel, what your experience is like as a human on this planet, where do you go when you stare into space? I’m an explorer of inner worlds!

In your opinion, what defines an “artist”?

An artist is someone who really looks around – whether that is looking internally and/or externally, and they translate what they see through a lens that is uniquely theirs. This lens is made up of their experience: emotional, physical, spiritual and intellectual. Being an artist is a way of thinking and feeling. It’s not necessarily dependant on technical talent. Skills help artists translate their experience through visual language; skills are like a vocabulary is to words. However remember, some of the most powerful expressions use very simple words.

What inspires your work?

Definitely my inner world…I’m also inspired by human expressions and relationships.

Do you have a certain process when creating?

My process is very important to me. Initially, I am guided by sensory aspects – the way a colour feels, the texture of a material, is it slippery or dry? What does it mean that I’m drawn to these materials right now? I wouldn’t say I analyse myself along the way, I am more curious about what an artwork is communicating to me. Art making is a way my body communicates to me. That might sound quite abstract… The body communicates through sensations, through the senses. We all began as a baby and we discovered the world purely through sense – that’s why babies always want to put things in their mouth! We never stop this kind of communication and discovery, we just add to it with words as we get older, but there are still layers of us that communicate with imagery and sensation. Art engages both. Beyond this, I really try and “get out of the way” of my work, I see it as something that will reveal itself in time. As soon as I begin negatively judging as I’m making I stop and usually finish for the day.

What are three things that you value the most in your work?

I value that my work contains things I couldn’t have said with words alone, colour combinations, and that my work never really feels done. It’s never a full stop, always an ellipses…

Do you have a formal background in art or are you self taught?

I have so much art training it’s insane! I’ve completed five years of art school, and now I’m studying a Master of Art Therapy. Art school didn’t really give me technical skills, which came through practise, but I really learnt how to think critically about what I do. Art school will encourage you to do a few things – stop what you’re doing and experiment with new things. If you’ve done it once and you feel okay, make 500 of them, it’s about really understanding your expression and materiality. Change the scale, if you’ve made a small painting, make it huge and visa versa.

What advice would you give an aspiring artist?

Make and make and make and make. Don’t fixate on needing a style, it’s the fastest way to become stale or turn art into a chore. Know why you want to make art, or at least be open to thinking about why. Trust yourself. Try not to compare yourself to other artists. We’ve all heard the whole “there aren’t any original ideas left” – I think this is fear talking. It’s like saying “I’m never going to use red because someone else used it”, if we choose to use red we will express it in a way that no one ever has because no one has ever been you. Even if ten people painted a separate surface the same colour red and exhibited them, each person would have a different story to tell about that colour. Express what you really want to express and check which language can do that most effectively – it could be done visually, musically, with words, or your voice.


Art Healing: Transformation



Written by Larissa Mariani

I had the opportunity to work with the ever so talented and sweet Larissa Mariani (known as @lariswrotethis on Instagram). We teamed up to create two pieces around a common theme: transformation.

This particular theme has been resonating with me a lot these days. It encompasses change and growth, and in my case coming to terms with the mental and emotional aspects of growing up.

When I sat down to paint around this theme the phases of the moon seemed like a good way to go. I’ve be always had a special love for the moon; I think the symbolism is extraordinary.

It symbolizes change, growth, transformation, serenity, release, renewal, and serves a small a reminder that there is peace and healing to be found in even the darkest of nights.


Artist Feature: Jessica Kippes


Tell us a little bit about yourself!

Everyone has a story, and for all of my life, I felt drawn to understanding an individual’s story. For as long as I can remember, I have relished really ‘getting to know’ people. I almost hesitate to say this, but I almost dislike pleasantries, like, how’s your day, what about this weather, etc. I’ve always wanted to get right down into understanding the background of a person, what makes you who you are. From that aspect, I have developed some pretty good listening skills, and overtime, noticed that more and more people tend to open up to me early in a relationship and I have before long, known something about a person that they have ‘never told anyone.’ I have long thought this was just an interesting trait that I am able to draw out of people, until one day two years ago, I attended a psychic fair and was told that I am a healer and a teacher. It took me a while to understand how that really fit into my life, but through this journey, I have come to understand that before I took on a more traditional role of a healer, that having people open up to you is a sure sign that you are a healer too.

Not long after this amazing psychic experience, I started to experiment more with my own creativity. In fact as soon as I returned home from this awesome event I made my first painting, which I like to call “Into the void”. And a second painting which still sits on my bedroom wall, and it’s a peacock by a tree, two strong symbols for me and my life. I am constantly inspired by animals and nature, and especially trees. I find that the best inspiration can be found in an amongst all of natures creation. On top of my artistry, I have a formal training in Theta Healing, which I currently take clients for in person and over the phone. I also teach painting workshops which combine both energy healing work and artistry.

In your opinion, what defines an “artist”?

Everyone is an artist. I have a strong belief that every person has a unique gift that they came here to express. Not every gift takes on a traditional artistic format like painting, sculpting etc. I have seen the most ornately decorated houses, multi-flavored meals, perfectly manicured lawns, and in each and every one of those outlets there is a person behind it that is ‘the artist’. A person who gets lost in an activity they love. That’s how I define an artist.

What things inspire your work?

I feel all my work is divinely inspired. I think almost everyone who wears an artist hat (which we learned previously is everyone) at some point receives divine inspiration for their work. Whenever you create art that comes from the core of who you are, it becomes not only an expression of you, but an extension of the divine. That said, I feel a very strong connection to nature, and love to see the unique and ornate patterns within everything that grows. I’ve taken a liking lately to macrophotography, it gives you a unique view from the world that you have to stop and really look at to see.

Do you have a certain process when creating?

When I create my artwork, I generally like to take a bit of time to get myself centered, I release any distractions I might have rolling around in my brain, and then I try to set the tone, either by putting on some quiet music, lighting a candle, having a brief walk. This usually helps jump start my creativity. From there, I try to just open up and allow inspiration to come. And for me the less I think about it the better. Often I hear guidance in my mind as I go, try yellow here. How about a flower there, sort of thing and I try not to question it, I just listen and it almost always works.

Do you have a formal background in art or are you self taught?

I have never taken any formal classwork on art. My mom taught me how to make a quilt in high school, and from there, I have been just ‘seeing stuff I like’ and trying to see if I can make it. Painting has been the first thing that is a mostly ‘original work’ where I create stuff that isn’t really from something someone else has made, but a unique piece based on an idea in my mind.

What are three things that you value the most in your work?

Selfishly, I create art, mostly for me. I never really set out to be a famous painter, I discovered how amazing I felt when I was in a creative moment, and I just decided that I wanted to have more of that feeling. And as an extension to that I also want to help others connect to this feeling as well.
I enjoy seeing how my art can inspire, it seems sort of crazy, but I truly believe that as you create something, your energy goes into it, so if you have an angsty artist that has lots of built up anger and they take it out on the canvas, you can feel it when you look at the painting. I had a particular series I developed of 4 paintings, that as I was developing, got me really emotional, like I literally started to cry as I did them. I showed them to one of my intuitive teachers, and she immediately said, oh, these make me want to cry. So I truly believe art can be transformative, and what energy you put in can be an extension to the person receiving it.
I teach workshops and my favorite part of this process is watching people become more confident and empowered. Generally most folks start out feeling they are not creative and can’t make a beautiful piece, but what they miss is that, saying you aren’t creative is just a belief, once you get past that you can open up the door to so much more possibility. So being able to teach others how to connect to their creative nature is priceless in that sense.

What advice would you give an aspiring artist?

If it’s something you love to do, make and protect time to do it. And never give up, especially if it’s something you love. Generally when you feel like quitting, you are only halfway there, just keep going. Oftentimes when I paint, I get part of the way in and say, ugh, I don’t like this one, and I keep hearing, just keep working on it, try a little of this, or try a little of that. Eventually it gets there, but you can;t give up so soon. Do it for the process if this helps you, don’t focus so much on the end goal. Focus on how it makes you feel when you do it.

You can connect with Jessica through her website, which links to all the other places she shares her art:


Artist Feature: Kae Anderson

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

My name is Kae, and I live in Nashville, Tennessee. I’m a nine-to-fiver who spends my nights and weekends making things. When I’m not working or creating I like reading, traveling, and petting every dog I see when I go for walks.

In your opinion, what defines an “artist”?

To me an artist is someone who uses their creativity (in whatever form that takes). I think everyone is creative, but a lot of us get taught to be “practical” or to focus on things that will get us a good job, and we forget that we can make things!

What things inspire your work?

The project I’m working on is based on Sleeping At Last songs, so that’s the inspiration! His music makes me want to create things. I remember watching a video of a dancer doing a routine that used a Sleeping At Last song and it made me wish I was a dancer too! I haven’t taken a dance class since I was six, so I thought painting might be a bit more of a reasonable creative outlet for me!

Do you have a certain process when creating?

I don’t really have a certain process – sometimes I listen to music and other times I have reruns of Parks and Recreation playing in the background. With this project I’ve been doing things in batches, so I paint a bunch of backgrounds and then put them in Photoshop to add the lyrics. I’m going through the songs starting with an album that came out in 2003 and going up to the current releases, so that gives some structure to what I do.

Do you have a formal background in art or are you self taught?

I have a degree in Anthropology, and am definitely a novice art-maker. I’m currently enrolled in the school of Youtube. 🙂

What advice would you give an aspiring artist?

Start making stuff – if you don’t like it you can always start over or make something different! When I feel like other people are making way better than I ever could I try to remind myself that we all have to start at the beginning and nobody is perfect when they start.

Check out Kae’s work at