Posts tagged custom portrait artist
When You Want to Say Yes to Everything
artist studio of Michelle Schneider, The Art of Michelle

artist studio of Michelle Schneider, The Art of Michelle

I'm not sure why it took me so long to realize that full-time stay-at-home mom is not the life for me.

In order to keep my sanity and still grow as a person, I need a lot of alone time to think, read, journal, pray, paint, and work on my business. You just don't get that kind of time when you have a toddler running around the house in her diaper screaming! :)

I'm willing to give up nearly everything for my kids, but, I've come to realize that there are some things I'm actually NOT willing to give up. My career has just meant too much to me- it's a part of who I am, really. It's one of those things that brings me joy and restores my sanity. I'm just not willing to give it up right now.

an animation I've been working on

an animation I've been working on

Having kids has been a great filtering system for me to see quickly and clearly what I need to start saying "no" to and let drop out of my life and what I want/need to say "yes" to. It's actually helped me simplify my life to where I now feel the freedom to be much more selective with my decisions in order to allow me enough time to be with my family and do the things that are really important with my career.

Nowhere does this filtering system serve a better purpose than in my business. I used to feel like I wanted to do everything, literally everything, with my art from licensing to wholesale to illustration. I was always adding to the list of aspirations.

out for a walk with Josie and Sarge

out for a walk with Josie and Sarge

But now it seems to be crystal clear that my focus needs to be in just two areas every single day: serving my customers and working toward a career in children's illustration. The rest, for now, I'll have to say no to, even though saying no literally gives me pain in my gut almost every time. I still want to do everything, but I now know that I just can't do it all right now.

This newfound clarity has really been inspiring and motivating for me lately, and, for the first time in a very long time, the lack of clutter in my brain has caused a flood of new ideas for my portfolio and for children's books and illustrations. I've been working on my portfolio nearly every day when I finish my commissions, which is huge for me!

So, I'm thanking God today for all the help I've had lately with Josie and for the clarity that I've been so desperately praying for! I'm hoping to start sharing more of my personal illustrative work here on the blog and will in some small ways over the next year, start to turn my career in that direction. 

Old Photos into New Paintings

I'm always honored to receive requests like this one.

A customer purchased a Family Portrait and then sent an email explaining how close his wife is to her grandparents, specifically her grandfather who is now aging and poor in health. He told me how instrumental her grandparents had been in her childhood and how this portrait would mean so much to them both.

This customer wanted me to recreate an old photo of his wife when she was young laying in the grass with her grandpa, both smiling and enjoying each other's company (above).

How sweet is that? Major props to the husband for being so considerate of his wife!

Here's how the portrait turned out...

custom family portrait, grandfather portrait

custom family portrait, grandfather portrait

New Year's Resolution
custom family portrait, custom watercolor painting, family picture

custom family portrait, custom watercolor painting, family picture

Watercolor is a very unforgiving medium, and sometimes I have a bad week or am grouchy and tired and simply feel too pooped to make anything beautiful.

But since my job requires me to be continually creative and produce pretty paintings on a daily basis, there really isn't much room for negativity. Also, babies pulling on your arm while you paint doesn't help. 

Last week I made this really terrible painting (above). I ended the week with two paintings: this family portrait that needed completely redone and a house portrait needing major corrections. It was very discouraging to me!

I literally make hundreds of paintings every year, and yet when one painting goes wrong, I'm not sure why I immediately throw myself under the bus. But I do! I just kept thinking, "Painting people is so hard! Will I ever be good at it??"

custom family portrait

custom family portrait

After church on Sunday while Seth stayed late for a meeting, I put Josie down for a nap and came out to the studio, feeling eager and refreshed. I set my timer and told myself to draw and paint as quickly as possible. To start completely over and draw this family as if there were no pressure or stress in my life.

If there's one thing I've learned from years of painting almost daily, it's that stress stifles creativity. Happy people make happy paintings that make you feel good just looking at them.

Anyways, the shift in my mentality seemed to make all the difference. I love how the final painting turned out (the one on the right in the photo above). I can just feel the stress in my shoulders when I look at that rough start on the left. Yikes!

All this to say, I have two new resolutions this year. First, I'd like to time myself each time I paint a portrait and get 50% faster by the end of the year. Second, I'd like to practice painting people daily, if possible, in my sketchbook by drawing one person a day (or at least several a week) including children.

What about you? Do you have any New Year's resolutions this year? Do you even make resolutions?