Studio Tour!

Hi everyone! And welcome to my fun little studio tour! 

I wanted to take a moment to show you some behind the scenes images of where all of my paintings come to life! 

My husband and I share this "hobby" room, so this half of the room has become my little studio space, and half of it is home to his desk, TV and keyboard (I just love it when he plays music while I paint-melt my heart). 

While my space may be very cluttered, it is organized (in my eyes) and very functional! Josh and I built the paint table (pictured above) which allows me to see all of my paints and stay a bit more organized than I usually am. I love having such a unique piece of furniture for my studio that we designed and built together! 

My easel was a sweet birthday gift that I received from my mom and stepdad after I graduated from college! I love how it is portable and has storage as well.  The drawer space in my easel is home to all of my oil paints. Also pictured, you can see a stash of shipping supplies, canvases, and wood panels that are waiting for their turn to be painted and put to use! 

This next image features my beloved desk which was a surprise gift from my mom when I was in the 5th grade. I really didn't appreciate this gift until I was in high school/college, but it has been loved on ever since. And yes, I do attempt to play the banjo hence the "Have you hugged your banjo today?" sign...it just makes me smile! 

This half of my space is home to larger paintings in progress and lots of large-scale hand built canvases waiting for their turn!  One day (hopefully soon!), I hope to have a studio with more natural lighting as well, but this window does the trick for now.

Here's a close up of my paint table-full of lots of fun supplies (acrylic paint, craft paint, golden paints, texture tools, paint brushes, pastels, watercolor crayons, etc!) 

I love having so many of my paints hanging up for me to see, and yes...I also use these hooks to dry flowers and lavender. So many uses for this table! 

A close up of my desk top space!

I always love to keep sentimental gifts and pictures as inspiration in my studio. This little chalk board is from my b.f.f. roommate from college! She's just the sweetest. :) 

This corner is home to art from three of my favorite painters- Emily Jeffords, Mae Chevrette, and Susannah Bee!  They fill my studio with a little extra light and inspiration, be sure to check them out. I also painted those sweet hanging hearts (along with many others) to be decor behind the cake table at our wedding! 

Oh, and here's my big ole' stash of fine art prints! Ready to find new forever homes...find your favorite in my etsy shop!

And there you have it, friends! My studio space may be small, but it's where big dreams are beginning to come to life. I'll be sure to keep you all posted on any studio updates as well. Thanks so much for following along on this artistic journey of mine! It means the world to me. XO

Seasoned with Salt Blog Artist Feature

Hey everyone! Today is a special post, and only half the story! I was recently asked by the lovely Laura over at Seasoned with Salt Blog to write a guest post all about my creative journey to becoming an artist. What an honor! Also, a fun challenge to actually sit down and write an article about my path to painting. 

I thought it'd be fun to share the first half of my story here, but you'll have to click the link to visit the amazing, faith and creativity based blog, Seasoned with Salt, to read the rest of my story. This post really came from my heart, and I hope you all will enjoy! Feel free to comment below after you visit Seasoned with Salt and let me know what you thought of the whole thing! 

 

Hi, friends! I’m Bethany Joy, a painter of color and “joy.”  The feeling of paint on my fingers, wearing my favorite denim paint shirt, squeezing a new tube of paint, watching paint drip down a canvas, even waiting for paint to dry…those things make my heart smile.  But, I didn’t choose painting, at first that is…
As early as kindergarten, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher.  I enthusiastically pretended to be a teacher for my stuffed animals and dogs each day after school.  My mother says she could amusingly discover the details of my day by listening outside my bedroom door while I taught my stuffed animals and my two, very patient, and thanks to me, well-read dogs.  I even had my own white board and legit grade book, and old-school bulletin board décor!  Art was not a prominent part of those younger days, but my closet was fully stocked with every craft supply and tiny treasures in my “making things drawers” for the creative times that I would attempt to re-enact art class.
I do, however, have two distinct memories from my childhood involving paint.  The first painting encounter for me was when my mother placed me, then a young toddler, into my high chair fully surrounded by drop cloths, giving me freedom to explore my creativity with paint.  I eagerly painted, ever so happily with an extra sparkle in my eye.  Another memory that has become more treasured with time since the passing of my granddad, is when “Gaga” handed me one of his paint brushes to help him paint the shed he that had so proudly built, as he lovingly and proudly winked and whispered in my ear, “don’t tell your mother”!
Through the years art was fun to me, although more of just a simple hobby.  In high school, even though I passed on taking art classes, it was during my senior year that I wondered if art could be incorporated with my dream of becoming a teacher.
Through all the college applications and interviews, I was awarded the NC Teaching Fellows Scholarship and accepted into UNC Asheville.  I thought I now had everything set in place to officially pursue my lifelong dream.  Just for the heck of it though, my mom suggested we take a closer look at Brevard College, the smallest, most unique, outdoorsy and artsy school ever. Within moments of the short campus tour, I realized this was the perfect college for me.  I walked over to my mom with tears in my eyes (I knew there was no possible way we could afford tuition), and told her this is where I had to be.
My tuition was prayerfully covered by a miracle scholarship, and so my journey began…as a photographer/teacher!  Yep, I thought I’d choose photography as my art concentration.  Classes entailed learning all the ins and outs of the dark room and film photography, and somehow, I managed to ruin almost every roll of film.  Super frustrating!
Thankfully, program requirements meant that I was to try all fundamentals of art, and so I enrolled in my first official painting class.  And boy, was the classroom setting beautiful!  The studio was filled with white walls and floor-to-ceiling windows giving half of the studio a beautiful view overlooking our campus creek.  Talk about creative inspiration!.....

Okay guys! That's where I'm leaving off and leading you to read the rest on Seasoned with Salt Blog! Let me know if you read the rest, I promise you won't be disappointed. Much love and many thanks to Seasoned with Salt Blog and all of my sweet friends, family, and supporters! xo

5 Little Painting Tips to Make a Big Impact

Hi everyone! I'm excited to share a short post (I could talk about this topic for days) today about 5 small things you can do to improve your paintings in a big way.  I decided to start by sharing only 5 words of advice, because if you're new to painting, things can definitely be overwhelming and you'll want to start small. 

These little suggestions are all things that I personally incorporate into my own painting process and were tips that I learned along the way during my college studio days.  (Such a blessing to learn from such wise professors!)  Many things about my painting style change on a daily basis, however, these 5 things remain the same and I'm sure they always will as I develop more into the professional art world. 

Sharing my love for art and the process of painting is such a passion of mine and I hope to make that evident through this blog.  Even if you're not ready to try painting yet and you just enjoy admiring art, I hope this post will be some fun insight into how my paintings come to life!

 

Tip #1:

Layer, layer, layer! 

This is probably the most important step in my personal painting process.  I begin each painting with very loose and light paint washes (watered down acrylic paint, maybe some pencil marks, possible watercolors or watercolor crayons for initial texture).  Each layer beyond that becomes more thick, textured, and colorful!  Be sure to let each layer dry before painting another.  Also, make sure to let some of the previous paint strokes beneath the surface shine through the new layers, too, in order to create more depth.

 

Tip #2

Stand Back

Every once in a while, be sure to stop for a minute and take a few steps back (maybe 10-20 feet) in order to observe your painting from a different perspective.  While you're at it, you could even try turning your painting upside down or sideways in order to see things from a different angle and make sure everything is well balanced.  It's easy to get caught up in the little, up close details of a painting, however, many paintings are viewed from afar, so it's important to think like the viewer for more success!

 

Tip #3

Mix your colors 

Often times, the paint colors that we buy are stunning straight out of the tube, however, mixing them even just the slightest bit with other colors makes things a little more sophisticated.  Plus, mixing your own colors opens up endless amounts of new colors and shades that you can't buy!  How neat is that?  Mixing green with a tiny bit of orange is one of my personal favorites (to create a rich olive green) as well as mixing pink and orange to create a stunning coral color.  What color combo are you looking forward to trying?  Comment below!

 

Tip #4

Texture tools

Painting doesn't restrict you to only using a paint brush!  There are so many fun tools you can use to create extra textures combined with the ever-loved brush strokes.  Adding texture is a great way to increase the interest and depth in your paintings.  A few of my favorite tools are palette knives, pencil marks, texture combs (similar to these or a plastic fork will do), bubble wrap/pattern stamps, and simply my fingers (brings you back to elementary school finger painting, and it's perfect!)  Have fun and experiment!  

 

 

Tip #5

paint over things

Yes, I said it.  Paint over parts of your painting.  Even the sections you love most (but not all the time).  It's scary, but this form of layering can definitely be an improvement to your creations.  Sometimes, certain areas of a painting, or the majority of it, just aren't cohesive and will continue not working until something drastic is done.  I've had plenty of moments where I decided to paint over huge chunks of my canvas or even the whole thing, and trust me...the finished art turned out much better than it would have.  Be brave and see what unfolds! 

 

Hopefully this round up of little painting tips has been encouraging and helpful, and will make a big impact in your painting endeavors.  Let me know in the comments if you've tried any of these tips and how they turned out!  I'd love to hear from you.  Thanks so much for taking the time to read this post as well!   

 

Top 10 Reasons to Choose Art as a Career

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First of all, welcome to my new blog!

I'm excited to be sharing personal thoughts, inspirations, new projects, lots of paintings, and so much more here with you all. 

I thought it would be fun to celebrate this new blog by giving you all the main scoop on why I chose to pursue art as a career (part time for now-full time later?) and hopefully encourage some of you to find your inner artist as well! 

All throughout my childhood, if I was asked the ever-so popular question: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I always answered that I was going to be a teacher. Well, that's definitely still true (although I'm not your traditional school teacher, Boys and Girls Club is where my heart currently lies), it seems as though each year, art squeezes its way in and takes up a larger part of my life. 

I started making art at a young age as you can see below, however I didn't take any official art classes until I attended college. I don't exactly remember the moment when I decided to be an art major and pursue art as a career (as well as getting my K-12 art teacher license as backup) however, the moment I stepped into the art building at Brevard College I remember feeling that I had found a new home. (Special thanks to all my wonderful professors who helped shape my art and guide me through it all!)

After graduating, I knew it would get more difficult to create art unless I really forced myself to do it, and that's exactly when I decided to open an etsy shop, build a website and social media following, and take my art more seriously. As a reflection of my first year in the art "business," here's my top 10 reasons to choose art as a career!

 

Reason #1

Constant Exploration

Trying new things is a huge part of making art. Your style of art should change and grow as you do, and exploring is essential! Exploring can include trying out new artistic processes, new materials, or new subject matter. Best of all, it can also mean literally exploring new places! Traveling, even small day trips, can be a huge inspiration to your art as you use those experiences to bring your art into a whole new world.

I had the privilege of taking a mixed media class in college and that really encouraged me to experiment with my art, even taking long walks to see what I could find to add into my paintings (rusty paper clips, nails, stamps, pressed flowers, lace, natural pigments). If you love to explore and experiment, don't be afraid to let that become a major part of your artistic process. 

 

Reason #2

Mistakes into Beauty

Artists must learn the mystery of turning mistakes into something beautiful. This process teaches forgiveness, acceptance, patience, and joy when you see something you didn't like before turn into a true masterpiece. The perfect process to experience often and let spill out into other aspects of life! 

 

Reason #3

The Process is Never Boring

It's true, I'm not the most organized person in the world. I'm a messy painter and have accidental paint on the majority of my clothes and shoes (and carpet-sorry mom). The process I use to make art is fun, never boring (which causes the mess that I secretly love). As an artist, we get to choose our own process of making art. Each person does things a little differently, creating our own fun. 

 

Reason #4 

Reflection

I'm quite the introvert, and usually require lots of time to reflect on experiences. Sometimes I take a walk, write in my journal, or read. For me, however, painting is the perfect way to ponder what I have going on and to think through things. Although some of us choose art as a way of life and making money, it can still remain a passion and personal time to reflect. Just try not to let the stress of actually selling art get in the way of making art. 

 

Reason #5 

Connection with Others

As an introvert, it can be quite daunting to put yourself and your art out into the world. Knowing that someone might make a personal connection with you and your art serves as huge inspiration. However, it can inspire new friendships as well as new work. Since starting my small art biz about a year and a half ago, I have been surprised, making many meaningful connections with new friends and customers (hello social media and local art fairs!) that I would have never known if it weren't for my art. It truly is amazing when your art resonates with others in a unique way that you hadn't even thought of when creating the piece. 

Reason #6 

Traveling Art

Can I just say that it is SO cool that my art is in many different states and even a couple other countries! Seriously, how neat is that? When you begin selling your art (or even giving it away) your art gets to travel to places that you may have never expected (or heard of) and that is a very cool feeling. 

 

Reason #7 

A New Home

Making art is a very personal process and connection to each artists' own heart. I believe that a little piece of your heart lies within each masterpiece. That being said, it can be very difficult to let go of some pieces (trust me when I say that I can't let go of many paintings..they have each found a spot in our living room, fortunately, my husband is perfectly accepting of my love for flowers!) When you're selling art, however, it is fun to think of what its new home will be like and how it must bring another person or family a special joy, too. What an honor to have your art chosen to hang in someone else's home! 

 

Reason #8 

Community

There's a whole community of artists and small creative business owners in this world, and they are truly amazing! When you begin your journey as an artist you may think that you're just one small fish in the sea of so many other talented people. However, you're the only person who can create exactly what you do and the way that you do and the world needs your art! Social media is a great way to connect with the art community as well as your own hometowns. Some days, you'll wonder why you chose the life of a "starving artist" but there's so many people out there ready to support you and help you along the way. Keep striving for the creative life you dream of pursuing. 

 

Reason #9

Lifelong Learning and Teaching

Although I didn't choose the traditional path of an elementary school teacher like I always thought I would, I still teach every day and love that I am able to inspire others through my art. Throughout my college career, I took the path of becoming an art major with a K-12 art teacher licensure add-on. My professors were constantly reminding us that as teachers (and artists) we are lifelong learners, having the unique privilege of learning from our students while we teach.

Artists have something special to share, and that is not only to teach the history, color theories, and ways of making art, but also to light a spark in other people (of all ages) to find their own artistic voice. When you listen carefully with your ears and your heart, you'll be able to learn from your students, too. 

Reason #10

Sharing your Faith

My faith is a huge aspect of my life, and I thank God every day for the blessings He has given to me. I enjoy talking about it and sharing with others through conversation; however, I've never been too outspoken and enjoy sharing my faith through bold colors, encouragement, and florals (think about how incredible it is that God made all the gorgeous blooms for us to enjoy). God is the ultimate creator, and I know that it is my calling to share the creativity He has given me with the world as well. If you're a person of faith, sharing faith through your art will be a huge blessing to others. 

 
Your talent is God’s gift to you, what you do with it is your gift back to God.
 

It truly means the world to me that you have taken the time to read my blog post! I hope it has inspired you in your creative endeavors and I can't wait to see how each of you will bloom into the art world. I am a young artist, and pretty new to the art world as well, however, I hope my thoughts and insights have been helpful and encouraging. 

I'd love to learn from you all and know what inspires you to be an artist, too, so feel free to comment below (click on the blog post header to find a comment block at the bottom of this post).