Hey there everyone. I’m feeling a bit down today, and one of the things I love when I’m feeling down is to read uplifting quotes. I decided to gather some of my favorite quotes about horses and art, and share them with you.
There are so many things I love about being with horses, but one of the best things is to just watch them. I love to see them move across the fields, free and full of grace.
One of my favorite quotes of all time! Some days (especially right now with what’s going on in the world!) I’m feeling so afraid. But real courage is continuing on despite the fear.
Is there anything better in life than the beautiful eyes of a horse? I don’t think so.
This is one of the quotes that I think of whenever I talk about my mission as an artist! Horses have been a part of all of human history and I am fascinated by their history. I hope that my art inspires others to learn about them too!
This quote really hits home for me these days. I am so, so grateful to all of the people who have purchased, shared, or commented on my art in the past two years. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen when I started focusing on my horse art, and I couldn’t have predicted at all where this would have taken me in my life.
Neil Gaiman is just the best, and I really relate to this quote right now. I’ve been throwing myself into creating the past few weeks so I can try to bring some brightness to someone’s day.
Is there any other horse quote more iconic than this one? Even just being in proximity to my horse can elevate my mood and make the world a better place. I just have to watch them out in the field, or pet and brush them, and the world seems like a better place.
Glory has both changed my life and defined it.
I finished this piece just yesterday because I wanted to work on something bright and sunny on a day that was gray and cold – and also because I think the world needs more sun right now! I’m so glad that I am working on this series of horses with medicinal plants right now because I can think about the healing that needs to happen in the world.
What is your favorite quote? Share it with me in the comments!
I was browsing for art news last week and stumbled across an interesting article on a site called Newser, which is apparently a site that curates news from various sources and writes easily-digestible “news briefs” about the story on their own site. Anyway, according to this article, a study was conducted to discover if exposure to the arts has any effect on lifespan.
According to the study, which was published in the BMJ, over 6700 subjects over the age of 50 when the study started were then tracked over the next 14 years. The study tracked how often the participants in the study were exposed to the arts, and how many had passed away by the end of the study.
After controlling for other factors, the researchers found that the subjects who engaged in the arts “frequently” (at least once every few months) had a 31% lower risk of dying compared to those who never engaged in the arts. Even those who only went to an art-themed event only once or twice a year had a 14% less risk than non-engagers.
Theories on this correlation include arts lovers being more engaged with the world at large, less sedentary, more empathetic, and less lonely, which are all factors in living longer.
As amazingly cool as this study is, I think it’s pretty much a “No Duh!” moment for me. Despite the fact that the arts are usually the first thing cut at schools, there’s no doubt that they are extremely important. But it is nice to have a study to point to that can quantify, at least somewhat, just how important the arts are.
Creating a new piece of art, writing a story, listening to a beautiful piece of music, seeing a good movie, going to a concert, looking at something inspiring created by a fellow artist, or reading something that captures the imagination are all things I can personally count on to help with my depression and anxiety. Sometimes, when I’m feeling depressed, the best thing I can do is get out my pencils and put on some music that I love, and just get it all out in my work while I sing along at the top of my lungs. (Be glad you aren’t my neighbor, because I am not a great singer. Sorry to all my current neighbors who may have to deal with hearing me singing along to whatever music fits my fancy at the moment.)
Being an artist and being involved in art has also done wonders for my social anxiety. Joining an artist cooperative has given me a pool of other artists to gain wisdom from, and I can also teach them the things that I know. It’s lovely to know that I have a group of people with similar interests and who all have similar goals. Art means that I always have something in common to talk to my fellow co-op members with. Also, when I do a convention or a craft fair, I don’t have to be afraid to be out in the crowd, because anyone who shows an interest in my wares probably has similar interests to me, so I can talk to them about something.
So, in my personal experiences, art of all kinds helps with my depression and anxiety, makes me more social, improves creative thinking and keeps me learning, and gets me out of the house when I maybe wouldn’t necessarily want to go be in a crowd of people.
I guess this study just proves I’m going to live forever! What positive impact has art had on your life?
If you follow me on social media, you’ve seen my new series of horses I’ve been working on this year – Birthstone Horses. These are horses with coloring based on the birthstone associated with each month, and they also are bordered on two sides with sprigs of the monthly flower as well. I’ve been having so much fun working on this series so far. Actually, the original plan was to do one design a month throughout the entire year, but after I started working on the first one I was having so much fun that I just kept going.
As of the time I’m writing this, I have 4 Birthstone Horses designs complete and am halfway done the fifth one. I’d like to introduce you to the first four designs and tell you a bit about the eight designs that are coming up in the series as well.
The first stone of this series is the Garnet. Garnet has been a popular stone in jewelry for a long time and has even been found used as beads in a necklace from 3000 B.C. The name of this dark red stone comes from the Latin word “Garanatus”, meaning “seed-like.” The gem likely got this name because small ones look like the small seeds that would be found inside of Pomegranate. Bohemia, which is now a part of Czechoslovakia, was a prolific source of Garnet. Many Bohemian castles and churches were decorated in Garnet. The stone was also popular in Victorian jewelry. It is said that Garnet is a powerful stone for curing many ailments, especially blood ailments, because of its deep red color.
The January flower is the Carnation, which I chose to also color in the same reds as the horse of this January design. The Carnation has a history which dates back at least 2000 years. The January flower represents gratitude, beauty, pride, divine love, and feminine energy. Carnations have a dense, hardy core surrounded by feathery soft and delicate petals.
Amethyst once was a stone that could only be worn by royalty. Amethyst is included in royal collections all over the world, from Ancient Egypt to modern Britain. It was once more prized than ruby and sapphire. The name Amethyst comes from the ancient Greek word “amethustos”, meaning sober. It was believed that wearing one of these beautiful purple stones would prevent the wearer from becoming intoxicated. The stone has also been associated with controlling evil thoughts, increasing intelligence, and even keeping warriors safe on the battlefield!
The flower that is associated with February is the Violet. Violets were cultivated around 500 B.C. by the Greeks. Today, there are over 500 species of violet, including those known as “pansies”. Violets symbolize modesty, spiritual wisdom, faithfulness, and humility.
The third design in this series is the first one where the stone and the flower weren’t the same color, so I was nervous to get going on this one. However, once I started coloring I realized that this combination of light blue and brilliant yellow was just gorgeous!
In the 19th century, the more green varieties of Aquamarine were the most popular. But now the more blue stones are the most desired. The largest Aquamarine stone ever found was discovered in Brazil in 1910, and weighed 243 pounds. Greeks and Romans knew the stone as the Sailor’s Gem, and it would ensure safe passage across stormy seas. In 1377, the stone was widely regarded as a cure for poison, and it was said that even wearing the gem as a pendant or ring would work. It was said that Aquamarine could cure many ailments, including stomach upset.
The Aquamarine horse is bordered by March’s flower, the Daffodil. Daffodils are associated with new beginnings and the coming of spring, since they are one of the first flowers to bloom after winter’s frost. They are grown all over the world and have been the subject of poems and songs. In China, the Daffodil symbolizes good luck, prosperity, and good fortune.
Diamond gets its name from the Greek word “adamas”, meaning “invincible”. Diamonds come in a wide range of colors, including black, blue, red, pink, purple, and yellow. The color of a diamond is influenced by the impurities present in the stone. Diamonds are one of the hardest substances on earth, and wearing one is thought to give the wearer better relationships, inner strength, balance, clarity, and abundance. Some ancient peoples believed that diamonds were created by lightning, or that they were the tears of god. During the Middle Ages, diamonds were thought to have many healing powers, and to cure ailments of the brain and pituitary glands. It was believed that heating a diamond and taking it to bed with you would draw toxins from the body. Diamonds are the king of birthstones, and are the most widely sought after gems.
The Daisy is the flower of April. Daisy captures the essence of Spring’s happy-go-lucky energy. Daisies also symbolize purity and innocence. In Norse Mythology, the Daisy is Freya’s flower. Because of this, Daisies were often given to new mothers. The Daisy is a composite flower, meaning that they are actually two flowers in one. The inner section is a disc floret, and the outer section is a ray floret. Because of this, Daisy also symbolizes eternal love. The phrase “fresh as a Daisy” comes from the petals of the Daisy closing over the center during the night and then opening again in the morning.
I will be continuing to do more Birthstone horses until I have all twelve months complete. Here is the list of stones and flowers I’m planning, broken down by month.
May – Emerald and Lily of the Valley
June – Pearl and Rose
July – Ruby and Water Lily
August – Peridot and Gladiolus
September – Sapphire and Morning Glory
October – Opal and Calendula
November – Topaz and Chrysanthemum
December – Turquoise and Holly
If there is interest, I definitely want to create a set of notecards and possibly a 2021 calendar with these designs once they’re finished! T-shirts of the first four designs are available and prints will be listed for purchase from my online shops soon as well. They would’ve been up already but I ran out of the plastic bags I put matted prints in to protect them and I’m waiting for my new shipment to arrive.
Sometimes I feel like I have artistic ADD. I like to go from new art project to new art project, experiment with styles, mediums, subjects, and even going to completely different types of art! I’ve probably tried more different types of art than I can even remember, but there’s always something more that I’d like to try. In a perfect world where I had infinite time, money, and resources, these are the types of art that I’d love to try.
I can remember looking at Tandy Leather catalogs and drooling over the leather stamping and carving tools when I was as young as middle or high school. I used to love getting those leather craft kits where you’d make a bag or a medicine pouch from pre-cut and punched pieces. But I always wanted to get the mallets and design stamps and make the elaborate, beautifully tooled pieces I’d see in the catalogs. I still love the look of tooled leather- have you ever seen the English saddles that are tooled like fancy Western ones? They’re amazing!- but haven’t ever had the time, money, or space to get into the craft. Maybe one day, but for now I will admire all the gorgeous works of leathercraft that talented makers create!
When I was in high school, we went through a stint of being interested in sculpting, specifically with polymer clay. I’m not gifted with sculpting, but sometimes it is nice to make something that’s got a third dimension to it. In my high school art classes we would sometimes do clay projects where we’d make pots using different techniques, none of which turned out well for me. I remember a coil pot that came out of the kiln having fallen over and was very sad looking. But even though I haven’t had a lot of luck with pottery, I’ve always wanted to try throwing a pot on a wheel. I don’t know if that fascination is because I watched “Ghost” a lot as a kid (Even though the ending of it terrified me and gave me nightmares) or what, but I’ve just always thought pottery wheels look like a lot of fun. A giant mess, but a lot of fun!
My first job out of college was at an Office Depot, working in the copy center. I actually really liked that job, even though the copy machines constantly seemed to break and I attracted all the crazy customers, because I got to be creative sometimes and because I had access to all the really fun machines. One of the things I really liked doing was bookbinding, especially with the Perfect Binding machine that we had. You’d put the papers into the machine with the side you wanted to be the spine facing down, then load in a tape strip. The machine would hold the papers in place, heat the glue on the tape strip, and then fold the tape strip around the papers to make a book. And I loved it! I thought it was just the coolest thing, and I’ve wanted to try other forms of bookbinding ever since. I have a sketchbook that a friend made me a few years ago and he sewed the registers by hand. It’s one of my favorite possessions and I kinda can’t bring myself to really use it because it’s so special. So anyway, this is a long-winded way of me saying that I’ve always wanted to try other forms of bookbinding so I could make my own books and sketchbooks.
I don’t think there’s one member of my family that is musically inclined. I had a cheapo recorder as a kid with a book of songs from Aladdin, but I wasn’t ever actually good at it. I’ve always wanted to learn how to play an instrument, preferably the piano/keyboard or the guitar. Keyboard might be better because it would require a little less finger strength (I’d assume?) and sometimes my hands ache just from working on a piece of art. Hopefully one day I’ll get a chance to play around with learning something, even if I can only play one song.
Am I the only one who loves putting together those cheapo furniture things? There’s something so very satisfying about creating something that’s useful, like a bookshelf or a desk. Which is why I’d love to learn how to do woodworking someday. Thankfully, I have a Dad who is willing to teach me how to use power tools, so this one is a definite possibility. I might be able to make something other than a particle-board bookcase at some point!
Are there any types of art or crafts that you’d like to learn? Let me know!
Prints are an affordable way to collect art that you love. They are generally much cheaper than originals, depending on the printing method, and are usually more accessible than buying originals because there can be as many copies as the artist likes of that piece! Below is the step-by-step process that I use to take an original piece of art and turn it into a high-quality print, and how I safely mail that print to my customers. I like making my prints at home because I can carefully control the look of my prints and make sure that each one is as close to the quality of the original drawing as it can possibly be.
Making the print
Once I have my piece of art complete, I either scan or photograph it so that I can get it into my computer to make prints. For scanning, I use the scan feature on my Canon TS6020 to wirelessly send my image to my desktop. The most important thing to remember when scanning your image is to set the scanner to at least 300dpi so you’ll get a good print from the digital image.
I use the photo setting on my scanner and set the quality to 600dpi, then send the image to my computer.
Once my artwork is digitized, it’s time to make a print! Most of the time, I do this through the Print function in Windows 10. I simply open the folder where my image is saved, select the image that I want to print, right-click the file, and select Print.
Windows brings up a printing window with several options that usually suit my needs for simple printing. For the print that I’m creating in this example, I’ve selected an 8×10. Windows will automatically resize or crop the image so that it fits in those dimensions.
I use a glossy, 230gsm photo paper to print my art on. The Canon TS6020 has a rear paper tray that I use both for photo printing and for printing labels, so I make sure I have my photo paper in the tray. Then in the printer properties, I set the quality to Photo Printing and make sure that the art will print on the paper in the rear tray. Make sure to change your settings to glossy paper for the best results, or your print may turn out streaky!
Now that my printer is done, it’s time to mat the print. All my 8×10 reproductions come matted so that they are ready to put into any commercially available 11×14 frame. I used to hate the matting process, but I’ve discovered a trick that makes it a lot less harrowing! I purchase mats for prints in bulk.
To start, I place the print on my desk or a table, with the bottom edge hanging off the table. (You’ll notice that I didn’t trim my paper down to 8×10 after printing. I do this so that I have more “wiggle room” with the matting, but you can trim your print down if you’d like) Then, I place one piece of tape on each corner, with the sticky side of the tape facing UP. It is very important to make sure that your tape is on the backside of your print and that the sticky side is up, or the mat won’t stick to the tape!
Next, take the mat and carefully put it over your art. I don’t put the mat all the way down just yet so that I can be sure it’s as straight as possible, and that there’s no white from the untrimmed paper showing around the edges. I also make sure that I place the mat so that my artist signature is still visible and not cut off. Once the mat is where you want it, set it down and reach under the mat and print to press the tape up onto the underside of the mat.
Now that the bottom bits of the print are stuck to the mat, I turn the print and mat over to the backside and put tape around the edges to hold the picture to the back of the mat. And now we just need to put a backing board behind the matted print and put the whole thing in a bag!
My chipboard backs and print bags are made of 100% recycled and sustainably produced materials. I have been trying to reduce my plastic waste over the past few years and using regular print bags made me feel guilty, but I don’t like sending out my work without some protection around it! So when I found these bags from EcoEnclose, I knew I had to have them. They cost a good bit more than the print bags I used to use, but I think it’s worth it to use recycled and sustainable materials.
Mailing the Print
Now that our print is matted, boarded, and bagged, it’s time to ship it out to another happy customer! My most important consideration when mailing a print is having it get to its destination without getting banged up, ripped, or dented.
To start, I take the bagged print and put it face down on a piece of foam board or cardboard. I’m using cardboard in the photo because I ran out of foam board (will have to go pick some up!), but I prefer the thickness of the foam board to regular cardboard. Next, I put a few pieces of tape on the edges of the bag to hold it securely to the protective board. I use my label maker to put a reminder to be careful when removing the print from the mailing board, just in case!
I like to include a packing slip either from PayPal or Etsy, so I print one for each order that I’m working on and use the bottom of the packing slip to write a quick thank you note. Every single order is so precious to me, so I like to include a little hand-written note along with it to express my gratitude.
I put two business cards in with the note as well so that my customer has them to give out to anyone else if they wish to do so.
Finally, I print out a label and slip the print (on its protective board), note, and business cards into a pretty butterfly-covered poly mailer. The label goes on the front, and the package is ready to go on to its new home! Sometimes I print out pre-paid USPS labels from Etsy or PayPal, but sometimes I print out a label and purchase postage in the post office, it really depends on if I have time to run into the post office or not that day. Smaller items like wooden ornaments almost always get pre-paid labels, because I can slip those packages into my mailbox and have them picked up. Can’t do that with matted prints, however!
I hope that this look into my print-making and mailing process has helped answer any questions you may have about the quality of my art prints, or about how safe mailing a matted print to you would be. I take pride in making my prints as high-quality as I can and getting them to every customer in great shape so they can be displayed immediately!
Disclaimer: This post includes Amazon Affiliate Links. If you make a purchase from Amazon after clicking one of my links, I receive a small percentage of the sale. This does not cost you anything extra, and helps keep my small business afloat.
New years have an energy to them. They’re a time to reflect on the year that’s passed and to set goals for the year ahead. I don’t really make resolutions, but I’ve been thinking about goals for my personal life, my horse life, and my art life for the past few months and I thought I’d like to share some of them here.
My Yearly Business Goals
Create more art pieces than last year
Grow my social media (Focusing on Facebook and Instagram)
Complete at least 12 custom commissions
Participate in 6 markets or fairs
Blog regularly on my web-site (which I’ve already started, but I’m hoping to turn it into a habit!)
Get a daily/weekly routine in place to maximize productivity
My Yearly Personal Goals
Make healthier diet decisions
Increase my water intake
Begin a regular exercise routine
Declutter and organize my space
My Yearly Horse Goals
Spend more quality time with my horse
Keep Glory healthy and happy
Go for a trail ride!
The other night I finally pulled the trigger on ordering the Powersheets planner, which I’ve been looking at and wanting to get for months now. Ordering it right at the end of 2019 isn’t ideal, because I should have done the planning work before the new year began, but I finally had the money for it so I did it. I’m really excited to try this system out! I’ve tried a lot of planners and none of them have stuck for more than a few months, usually because life throws me a curveball or because the planner gets buried under junk on my desk (see above goal of trying to organize and declutter my space). But I’m hoping that this planner will help me break down my goals and help me achieve the things I really want to this year! I will probably do a review of the Powersheets after they arrive if I like them.
What system do you use to track and achieve your goals for the year? What goal are you most excited about achieving in 2020? Let me know in the comments!
I’m not one of those artists that can sit around in silence when I’m in my studio. I need music, a YouTube video, movie, or a show playing in the background pretty much every minute of my day. I can’t stand silence most of the time, and it’s very rare that I’m creating without anything playing from either my computer, tablet, or phone. Here are my top picks for what I listen to while I’m working away in my studio!
I have a very eclectic taste in music, and I judge what I like on a song-by-song basis. This means that though I don’t like Country or Rap as entire genres, I do like certain songs from those genres. My most important criteria for music is whether it has strong lyrics. If I can connect with the lyrics and they move me or make me think of an experience in my life, or they tell a story, then I’m more likely to love the song.
My top favorite musical artist right now is an independent band called Icon For Hire. I stumbled across them randomly on YouTube one day and have been to two of their concerts, am a member of their Patreon, and participate in several of their Facebook Groups. Icon For Hire is fronted by lead singer Ariel Bloomer, an amazing song-writer and just an amazing human in general. In the beginning of 2019, she released a book called Turn Your Pain Into Art that I not only own multiple copies of (including the audiobook and a signed copy) but I have purchased it for several friends who deal with mental illness and self-hatred as well. I could write an entire blog post about this band and the impact they’ve had on my life, but maybe I’ll do that in a future blog! Instead, here are links to a few of my favorite songs from Icon For Hire.
Other musical artists that I like, in no particular order: Linkin Park, Panic at the Disco, Fall Out Boy, Katy Perry, Halestorm, Above Only, Against the Current, ONE OK ROCK, P!nk, Poets of the Fall, The Glitch Mob, Fefe Dobson, Mary Fahl, Disturbed, Savage Garden, Meghan Trainor, Breaking Benjamin, Beth Crowley, Owl City, Lindsey Stirling, Taylor Swift, Korn, Kesha, Avril Lavigne, Paramore, and so, so many more.
I have a confession to make: I am a YouTube junkie. Right now I have two monthly subscriptions, and one of those is YouTube. I subscribed to it so that I could turn my phone screen off while a video is playing, and so that I wouldn’t have to sit through ads all the time!
I’m subscribed to lots of channels, but when I’m working on art I like to have longer videos (thirty minutes or more) on so that I can get lost in what I’m doing without having to change the video a lot.
I LOVE true crime and documentaries, so a lot of what I watch on YouTube is in the true crime genre. My favorite true crime YouTubers are Stephanie Harlowe (well researched, multi-part videos about cults and true crime), Danelle Hallan (focus more on missing person cases and solved cases), and Kendall Rae.
I also like listening to The Mile Higher Podcast, which is about an hour-long or more and covers all kinds of topics from current events to true crime to the paranormal.
My favorite horse-related channels are The Budget Equestrian and YourRidingSuccess. Obviously I need to find more horse channels to follow! If you know of any good ones, drop a comment and share it with me! I used to follow Evention TV, but they haven’t put out new videos in a long time.
I follow a ton of other channels that are a mish-mash of movie reviews, video essays, business advice, anime reviews, legal videos, and a bunch more.
Movies and Shows
So if you hadn’t yet noticed, I have eclectic tastes in just about every facet of my entertainment. It should come as no surprise that I have a wide variety of movies and shows that I like to have on while I’m working. Just like with YouTube, I like to put something on and not think about it for awhile so that I can get lost in the art that I’m doing. This is why I also tend to pick things that I’ve already seen so that I don’t have to concentrate on what’s going on with the plot.
I like all kinds of movies, from animated to sci-fi to fantasy to comedy and more. To list out all the things my husband and I own on DVD and Blu-ray would take forever, so instead I’ll list out a few of my favorites and concentrate on mainly what I have digital copies of in Movies Anywhere (because that makes them easily accessible back in my office from my computer browser, phone, or tablet). I’ve written already that my favorite horse movie of all time is Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken (DVD). But also in my frequently watched are Krampus, Big Hero 6, The Croods, Pacific Rim, Deadpool and Deadpool 2, Spider-man: Homecoming, Wonder Woman, Ghostbusters (2016), Zootopia, Inside Out, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Thor Ragnarok, Into The Spiderverse, and Hocus Pocus.
Shows are tricky since I don’t have Netflix anymore, so I’ve been mainly limited to shows that I can find on YouTube. For YouTube shows, I like Hoarders and I Shouldn’t Be Alive. But, when I get my Netflix access back, I’m going to be back to watching my other favorites: Heartland, Criminal Minds, Free Rein, Voltron Legendary Defender, Trollhunters, Queer Eye, and Parks and Recreation.
As long as I can remember, I’ve been creating art. Around high school, I developed a love for cartooning, animation, and manga. Up until then, I had drawn mainly realistic things, or at least as close to realistic as I could get at such a young age. It was this shift to cartooning that made me realize how much I loved telling stories with my art. This made sense in hindsight because I was always a prolific writer as well as an artist.
When I was very young, I remember creating “books” out of pads of post-it notes, complete with hand-lettered text and full illustrations. In middle school, I wrote an entire novel in a Marble composition book. Well, it was probably more like a novella, because it was a wide-ruled notebook, but at the time it was much longer than any other story I’d ever written.
Telling stories and creating something beautiful to look at have always been my goals as an artist. If I can combine those two things, then that’s all the better as far as I’m concerned!
My goal with my Horses of the world series is to tell the story of the horse, its contributions throughout history, and how deeply intertwined the history of the horse is with the history of humanity. This way, I can combine the subject I’ve loved to draw since I was very young (horses), with storytelling aspects. I choose both well-known and very popular breeds for my illustrations, as well as less known and less popular breeds. Many of the lesser-known breeds in the series are endangered or have dwindling numbers, like the Misaki and the Akhal-Teke, or are even extinct, like the Quagga. By using these breeds and combining them with world maps, I hope to inspire learning, discussion, and conservation efforts for the breeds that can be saved.
Horses have been part of human history since prehistoric times. They have been used for food, transportation, war, and to help shape civilizations. When someone sees my art and sees a horse breed they have or haven’t heard of, along with a map behind that breed, it opens up a conversation. Children and adults love to learn about horses and especially breeds they don’t know of. I hope that my art encourages giving back to these amazing animals who have given so much of themselves over the centuries to help humans.
My mission as an artist is to bring joy, to start conversations, and to inspire curiosity in those who love these animals as much as I do. I hope that my art and my words will inspire the animal lover in you, and open a dialog with other horse lovers so that we can make sure these beautiful animals don’t disappear.