Saturday, January 26, 2019

Capturing Morning Creativity


I get some of my wildest ideas within the first 2 minutes of waking up in the morning.  Whether it's a new thought for an activity with my toddler, an idea for a painting, or something funky like styling the objects on my bookshelf differently; they're all visual snippets that I can see clearly in my mind.  Sadly, they all tend to be very fleeting, so if I don't act on them or write them down immediately -- poof!  Gone.

This week, I had several.  Each morning's idea was wilder than the previous morning's.  I started taking a clipboard with paper and a pen to bed every night to sketch (I figured that blue phone glow before bed is a nasty habit to ditch once and for all, even though I do miss a little Insta scrollage); and when I woke up I had it. Morning after morning!  I'd stumble out of bed and write it down right away -- every aspect of what I wanted to do and ideas on how to do it.

I'm fairly certain my newly acquired visions are a fun gift due to …

1.) Getting more SLEEP!  Yep, having two very tiny tots is no joke and it had taken a massive toll on my creativity.  I was in survival mode for the last 6 months (but honestly, more like the last 2 years), and if you know me, you are WELL AWARE of this fact.  I was struggling to get much of anything else done besides managing my household and occasionally baking a batch of brownies (always necessary in my opinion).

2.) Having an incredible phone date with a fellow creative who has always supported my dreams and goals -- (Molly, I love you!  You are CRUSHING it with your photography and always so inspirational).  I really learn a ton from sharing ideas and hearing what other entrepreneurs have been through.  What's working, what's not.  It's critical feedback. 

3.) Podcasts.  I clean, I cook, I do laundry, I tidy...yes.  But I also listen to a boatload of podcasts during these tasks to keep new ideas flowing.  I change it up frequently, but right now I'm really into Goal Digger with Jenna Kutcher and Business Unusual with Barbara Cochrane.  Sometimes it's the off-topic ideas that spark new ideas for me.  

I'm in the process of developing several of these visions at the moment, but one I would love to share is my custom flat lay/background art.  These are one of a kind 22 inch x 30 inch paintings that are unique to each business/brand that's looking to upgrade their visual appeal through their stylized product photos.  I have been blessed by the power of Instagram to have completely booked my schedule through February with custom commissions for an assortment of business owners and bloggers around the nation world (oh hey Australia & Spain, welcome to the party!)

Interested in learning more, or know of someone who has a business or blog that needs a little pop of organic color?  Click here for more info/get on the books to schedule a complimentary design consultation. 

I'm so looking forward to sharing more fun and COLORFUL creations with you.  And as always, thank YOU for your support. :)


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

When Winter Gets Drab, Get COLORFUL.


It's that time of the year, my frozen friends.  Winter is looking and feeling and smelling so incredibly drab here in Minnesota.  I know I'm not the only one craving flowers.  And Spring.  


I have hand-selected these 10 canvases from my inventory and curated a peppy mini collection for ya'll to punch Winter in the face.  So go ahead, after you clean those pesky salt stains off your boots and brush the slush off your (once super cute) entryway rug, check out this collection for a little jolt of joy.



Sunday, January 20, 2019

What I'm Reading


I'm most certainly a maximalist when it comes to reading (and...most other things I suppose). My house is full of books and I tend to read several at a time.  I adore biographies and collect them like it's my JOB.  Interior design/d├ęcor/architecture books and magazines are also a major source of inspiration for my life and artwork.  I figured it might be fun to share what I've been reading lately, and maybe make it into a monthly thing.  Here we go!  I've got FOUR new books and a magazine on deck this week, so get comfy.

A recent addition to my fleet is a couple of what some may call "self help" books (I know, I know), but they're more along the lines of *entrepreneur/biz dev meets life coach meets that is SO OBVIOUS, why didn't I think of that??* reading.  And I love it.  My new favorites right now are by Rachel Hollis (Girl, Wash Your Face) and Gary Vaynerchuk (Why Now Is the Time to Crush IT!).  I'll be honest here, I'm not great at explaining the takeaways from things I've read when it comes to topics such as this, mainly because I feel like these books inspire readers and hustlers like myself in a zillion different ways for a multitude of reasons.  Rachel's a mama, so obviously I'm inspired by her in that respect and the way she's been able to curate her dreams and achieve enormous goals she's set for herself, but it's a lot more than that.  And then there's Gary -- I've actually never watched his videos on YouTube, but I can assess just from his writing that he's a fiery dude and was born ready to conquer whatever projects he sets his mind to, because he clearly has the gift to see big picture and then some...and then some more.  If you're looking for some va-va-voom to set your goals ablaze I highly recommend these two books.  They certainly got me jazzed about managing my art in a new way and (totally unrelated but equally valuable advice): weekly snack and meal prep planning!  Namaste, Rachel & Gary.

Next in my stack this week are two design gems that I am thoroughly enjoying paging through.  Eye candy for my soul!  Ok, that was dramatic, but if you can appreciate how expertly Bunny Williams beautifies a space or how DesignSponge visually inspires widely assorted interior tweakage in your own home, then my get me. 

Lastly, I often fantasize about one day hosting stupid-lavish monthly tea parties with my girlfriends (and fascinators), but til that day comes, I adore indulging in Tea Pleasure Victoria Magazine 2019.  For those of you in Minneapolis, I scored this magazine at Lunds & Byerlys.

Happy Reading :)


Friday, September 7, 2018

Workspaces, Dreams, and A Whole Lotta Diapers

You guys.  I haven't blogged in over a year.  "WHAT HAPPENED?!", you may ask.  Well, I'll tell you exactly what happened.  I had a small bumper crop of children.  :P Just typing this post feels foreign.  I can barely remember how to format this crap.  What font did I normally use?  Oh my stars.  Here goes nothing.

As a new mother to two tiny humans, my life is so, so different from the way it was when I started this blog.  If you recall, I started this whole spiel back in 2015 as a means to figure out what I wanted to do creatively with my art, etc. and it all just sorta...came together organically somehow.  I blogged pretty religiously, too.  It was cathartic.  I look back at my old posts about my artistic meanderings and cringe/smile/cry/rock out (I had some badass musical jams in there!), but mostly I reflect on what a wild ride its been and how grateful I am for all the experiences and the people I've met along the way.

My artistic journey began when my husband and I relocated from Minneapolis, MN to Rapid City, SD and I was essentially searching for the strength to follow my artistic dreams. I got lucky with finding an incredible space in the heart of downtown Rapid City.   For practically peanuts, I paid a kind gentleman to rent a 2nd floor loft-style office in his restored historic building.  I even had my own mailbox at the bottom of the stairs and my name on the building's information board.  It felt unofficially official and I was beyond excited to have my first art studio. 

View of the alley from my 2nd floor studio.  I was there daily, rain or shine.

Painting in the amazing natural light

 After having my first art show (thank you so much, Sturgis Center for the Arts!), creating a wide variety of commissioned works, and meeting some incredibly talented local artists, it was time to hit the dusty trail.  We moved back to Minneapolis, and I was ready for anything.  

My next art space was in a funky extra room/walk-in closet space that connected the main house to the carriage house we were renting.  Since it was originally the "end" of the house before the carriage house was added, it had interior windows that looked into our rental space.  It was totally charming and I loved it so much.

Setting up some inventory and enjoying a cuppa ;)

Working on something or other :P

My time in the carriage house studio was very special, mainly because I said "yes" to tons of opportunities that opened many new doors.  It was a circus.  As a self-taught artist, I was trying to build my portfolio, and I was BUSY!  I couldn't believe I was getting accepted into juried exhibitions and getting accepted to was a fricken blast and some of my most creative time.

And then...I had to slow my roll, so to speak.  I shifted my focus and put my art on the back burner.  My life was now 100% my family.  We relocated again, and I had a small shared basement office with my husband.  It worked just fine for what I needed it for, which was honestly not a lot.  I tried to revamp things after my son was born, but I really struggled to make the time.  But that was ok.  My energies were needed elsewhere :)  I had a small window of creative rejuvenation for some commissions shortly before I found out I was pregnant again, and that was wonderful!  But again, my focus was redirected to mom life.

This leads me to my latest venture!  Finally, I'm at a place where my mom life and my creative life are ready to tango.  I'm super excited to be setting up shop in a brand new space -- this time in one of the spare rooms in our new home's basement (yes, we moved yet again and are happily living in our longterm home).  More photos to come, as I'm still ironing out some details about the wheres and the whats.  But the chandelier is up, so that's a start. 

Chandeliers are very important to me, you see ;)

I cannot wait to use this space to curate something brand new.  My next artistic pursuit has essentially been 4 years in the making.  I wouldn't be able to attack this idea without meeting the people I've met and doing all the wacky things I've done with my art.  Its been an ongoing learning experience and this is a dream that I cannot wait to make a reality.  I think this is the big one, guys.  I'll be combining three passions: painting and sewing and maybe even *more*.  I'll let you ponder that one.

Gotta go change a diaper ...


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

A June Update


My, my, time flies...somehow the wee babe is already 2 months old!  As I slowly emerge from the newborn phase (the sleep deprivation is REAL, people.), I'm so excited to launch my artwork again!  I've just started squeezing in art time during his naptime or after baby bedtime, and it feels fantastic to be back at it. Yes, there are typically lots of interruptions, but this is my new normal and I love it :)  If anything, the frequent but shorter creative sessions have been helping me create smarter -- I've found that I dawdle a lot less.  I still dawdle, of course!  That's how I come up with most of my art ideas, but the dawdle quality has improved.  Does that make sense?  I suppose it's more purposeful dawdling :)  I digress.

After relocating from my old studio space last September, I've encountered a bit of a down-scaling challenge.  I was pretty spoiled in my last studio -- there was so much storage space that I could squirrel away lots of things.  In order to get my new space to work, I knew I had to skinny down and only keep the essentials.  After some major sorting and parting with a lot of excess junk, I have a studio space that I actually enjoy more!  It still has the natural light that I adore and it has just enough space to create what I love.  Everything that I need has a tidy little home.  Take a look...

Desk with my beloved white chair & original pillow design from my 2016 'Life & Style' collection

I truly hate parting with any art supply that is still potentially usable, but I knew I had to move several items along. As a result, I can actually see (for the most part) all of my supplies in one place. !!! This really comes in handy when I need a particular paint or brush immediately.   It has certainly sparked some new ideas :)

Paper-less shmaper-less.  Truthfully, I don't know how to organize my life without a file cabinet.  Just makes managing paperwork that much easier -- for running a small business and for life in general :) 

Stick around!  New stuff to come :)  Today's musical selection is from last week's closing credits of Silicon Valley.  Can't get enough of that show (mostly Jared):

 Walking on Sunshine (Estoy En El Cielo) - Silicon Valley (End Credit Song) via Youtube


Friday, December 9, 2016

OJD: Life & Style


Well, I've been majorly off the grid since August -- you could say that life just happened, I suppose.  We moved homes, I started a new job on the side, and then on top of that . . . we discovered I was in the *family way* :)  So excited!!  Due in March.  Oh boy oh boy oh boy  <3

Anywho, I wanted to share with you one of the projects I was just wrapping up at the end of the Summer before things got nutz around here at Olivia J Designs.  I'd chatted with a few awesome people about expanding my work into the homewares branch of design, and after collaborating with some buddies who were willing to share their lovely home, original music, and photography talents with me (thanks Jen, John, and Paul!), I created a video to showcase some of my "paintings-turned-homewares" designs.  I'm calling it my "Life + Style" Collection.  Take a peek at OJD Summer 2016:


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Pop-Up Shop & Closing Reception at Black: Coffee and Waffle Bar

Hello there!

I'm excited to announce that Black: Coffee and Waffle Bar is hosting my Pop-Up Shop and Closing Reception next week!  

I'll have lots of original paintings for sale -- *all different sizes* on both canvas and paper.  Swing by for some tasty waffle creations, Dogwood Coffee, and the local jazz/funk sensation The Very Trio :) 

See you Wednesday, August 31st from 5:30 PM-8:00 PM!