Well. We made it. It's the last day of the year. It's time for champagne.
I don't remember a New Year's Eve that wasn't cloudy and cold. I love that feeling, like the whole day is just a breath away from night time. It's always a little bit melancholy and a little bit expectant. The greenery is still up but the Christmas reds are replaced with gold and silver sparkle. Is there any thing prettier than greenery and gold and the strains of auld lang stye drifting around like lost snow flakes (is that even how you spell the name of that song? does anyone really know? one of life's great mysteries... I realize how much this blog could be written by Ron Burgundy sometimes. My fact checking is spotty at best)
Anyway, as I said, I love this day. I put a lot of stock in the mystic, the superstitious, and the greater beings that inspire belief. Did you know this about me? I worship at the temple all sorts of spirits and the light shining within me honoring the light within you. Namaste.
And New Year's Eve is the perfect time for one last yoga session to really luxuriate in both spinal twists and all of my feelings about the year that is coming to a close. So many feelings! Enthusiasm and love mix with seething anger, joy and trepidation intermingle. There is much to sort through. 365 days ready to be reflected upon. So, every December 31st I take time to check in with all of my goddesses and inner spirits and take stock of the year.
Last year I believe I wrote a blog post bubbling over with blissful naiveté about how I didn't have a plan for the year ahead. Let me just check back in and let you know how that went - not my best plan. That blog post was so clearly written by the innocent novice I was pre-engagement. A woman lost at sea*. This year I am wholly new in my perspective towards whats to come. Bridal zeal has infused my outlook with unprecedented levels of enthusiasm**
After mining all these feelings and distilling for meaning, the thing that rises to the surface is gratitude. Also, determination much like what Braveheart felt with the blue face paint and the stoic facial expression...
But mainly gratitude. Gratitude that you all keep showing up, gratitude that I get to spend each year doing something I love and gratitude that you made this painting my best seller of all time.
So to thank you, I thought I'd honor that ever-popular sketch with a new version and in this one I've decided it's time to live a little. Forget the coffee date, let's move on to something a little stronger. Cheers to a new year full of gratitude... and battle-ready bravery, but mostly gratitude.
* I could have really let loose here with a lengthy sailing-themed metaphor about how I now have found true north, or that the wind is at my back, or that I have set sails for glory... but I spared you
**I must remember this feeling and harness it! Perhaps teach a motivational class about it!
***buy a print!
This morning I woke up feeling like I'd been set free. This may or may not be because I finally summoned the courage to quit my Equinox membership. Saving future child's college education fund in the process. But, more importantly, I felt free artistically. I've been feeling trapped and anxious about my career and my art for a few months now. Like I've lost touch with why I illustrate the way that I do. Commission work keeps flooding in, keeping me busy and focused on making progress, but blocking out my personal creativity almost entirely. This little voice in my head has been whispering to me to try something different, but another voice snapped right back that I might not be good at something different. This voice battle has been tormenting me all summer. But this morning, finally, the adventurous voice won out and something felt different.
I took a different route to work, stopped in a brand new coffee shop and when I got to the studio, I sat down and sketched this pencil drawing. It was very liberating! And even more liberating to post it here, baring my crude portraiture skills for you to see, realizing I don't have anything to lose by changing pace once in a while.
Which leads me to another change I want to share.
The LASH WEAVE.
It has changed my life. Have you all ever tried it? I mean, it is the primary reason why I had to quit my gym membership (you have to pay for each lash in gold bars) But, so worth it.
I lay on a table for two hours, TWO HOURS, think how many commissions I could have gotten done in that time... and when I sat up, my eyelash professional had affixed hundreds of perfectly placed individual lash bouquets into my natural eyelash line making me the most radiant version of myself I have ever known.
If you're considering an adventure in beauty enhancement, I wholeheartedly endorse the lash weave... as well as taking a different route to work one in a while. It's a new season, full of possibility, both for my eyelashes and for the art I want to make.
I created this sketch in collaboration with Jouer Cosmetics as a gift for her. It was such fun for me to sketch someone I find inspiring and stylish. When the Jouer girls suggested that I illustrate her, I barely let them finish the sentence. Of course I wanted to illustrate her! Her instagrams are so good, her accessories are so good, her magazine is so good. What's not to love!?
HBD, Eva, I hope it was... so good.
have I really never posted this sketch??? I painted this two years ago, how did I forget to share it!? It's a look from the Oscar de la Renta runway archives that are always strutting through my imagination.
I thought it was kind of perfect to post seeing as it's a sultry black gown and exactly one year from today I'll be dressed in the opposite - my wedding gown. Yes, today is my negative one year anniversary! It is the black swan sister of the whitest day of my life.
How should I celebrate this occasion? I'm taking suggestions... Champagne? skydiving? yoga challenges?
Is there anything more idealized than the idea of strolling down the streets of the west village? The answer is no. Especially when that daydream is set to the tune of watercolor illustration.
If I had a dollar for every girl I've met here who said "well I first knew I wanted to move to NYC when I visited and my friends took me to brunch in the west village"... I'd be rich.
and if I had another dollar for every girl who said "and then I moved here and ended up in a fifth floor walk up on avenue B"...I'd be much richer.
When Colleen of Chintz & Swagger approached me to create this scene, I knew I had to take on the challenge.
I mean, it's the perfect storm of a commission request. Puppy, check. Cute store front with leopard Louis XIV chairs, check, passing taxi, check. Pretty blonde interior decorator, check!
Be sure to visit Colleen's new website, featuring my illustration and her lovely design aesthetic.
And while you're browsing, you should also visit the Layla Grayce Backroom to see my newest monthly installation. (pictured below)
Layla Grayce is an online boutique destination for design, clothing and gifts. I illustrated some of my favorite items from their collection for this month's sketch. You can read all about my inspiration on their blog too. Check back each month of the year for new LG items in the form of a sketch!
Each one of these women is doing something something uniquely beautiful - and lucky for me - they understand the ups and downs of building your own job from scratch. We got to talking about the little things that drive us crazy, our hopes for expanding our brands, our dreams of sun-filled studios and how finding time for blogging regularly is harder than it sounds.
For example, I had the bright idea while chatting with these inspiring women that I'd sketch them for the blog today. But, just like what we were commiserating about, there isn't time to do it today. Commissions are piling up as I type!
I had to scale back my blogging ambitions and instead illustrate something a little smaller. So here is one of Loren's designs, the Roxy. Isn't it cool? And yes it's named after Roxy herself and she was wearing it too.