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my first giveaway + a bit on courage

TITLE: She Sings Like the Flowers. Prints available in my etsy shop.
The other day I was talking with artist Jan Avellana over at Hazelnut Cottage and we got to discussing creativity and the courage it takes to really take chances. 
I’ve always been creating something, trying to find my niche, whether it was with clothes, writing, photography, floral design, whatever. But painting was the thing I always thought I’d never have a chance with. 
Last spring (2009), someone said I should sell these feather hair clips I was making on etsy. So I posted them and some beaded earrings. That felt safe to me. Then, as I was browsing etsy at the time, I was really drawn to folk art and paintings of girl characters that expressed emotion, magic, beauty and whimsy. Those pieces seemed to best express what I was feeling inside, so I tried painting my own characters (I hadn’t really painted in 10 years).

First, I painted on masonite board because that’s what I used in college. Then I found these square canvases and loved that each one could be its own succinct little story that someone could just hang right on their wall.  

TITLE: Share Your Gifts. The Original Painting + Prints available in my etsy shop.

Once I saw those folk art paintings on etsy, it made it okay for me to paint my square canvases. No one had to see them, except friends when they stopped by my house. I was terrified to share these new paintings.

But as I started painting, I was having so much fun, I couldn’t not talk about my paintings. And when friends + family did finally see them, they gave me such encouragement and said I should have an art exhibit. That bit of support and a whole lot of encouragement from Brian pushed me to talk to the local library where I actually booked my first local art exhibit last November. At my little art opening, a bunch of friends turned out and some people I didn’t even know gave me positive feedback and actually bought originals!  That was amazing to me!

Then I noticed artists on etsy not only sold their paintings, but prints and wearable art too. That made it feel okay for me to do the same. I invested in a printer and found some vintage jewelry to feature my artwork and started listing my original paintings, prints and jewelry-all in my etsy shop.
 TITLE: Be, Phenomenally. The Original Painting + Prints available in my etsy shop.
    
I feel like creativity, whether your form of expression is painting, photography, talking, writing, or cooking, is a constant discovery and unraveling of ourselves and following whatever we’re drawn to. It all just takes time and patience to evolve.

Last week, I finally took steps toward meeting one of my bigger goals-getting published-and I sent my first real submission of original art to Somerset Studio, one of my favorite magazines! I had twice submitted to them last year, small illustrations that felt safe to me, but this time I actually sent originals I really care a lot about. And I cannot tell you how nerve-racking that was for me! I mean, getting published in a magazine has been a dream, let alone having my paintings published! I couldn’t have done it without all of your constant support and encouragement in helping me have the courage to share my art. I am so very grateful, grateful, grateful for all of it!

I hope you’ll stop by and enter my ABALONE SHELL NECKLACE giveaway over at Audrey’s blog, so that I can give back to you in my own little way.

THANK YOU!

32 Comments

  1. I love your story!! Your courage and drive is so inspirational! 🙂 thank you!! I am heading to her blog to enter the giveaway! 🙂

  2. That's fabulous! It is really nerve racking! But taking that step is HUGE. So exciting….lets all send our positive vibes. Have a wonderful week. xx

  3. congrats on your courage! it takes a lot of courage to create and put our art out there. I just found out that Sew Somerset is publishing my mini concertina quote books this Dec… and that will be my 16th publication, but no matter how many times I am published, it is still a thrill! they will adore your work Juliette!! and I cannot wait to see it in print! congrats on sending it in!! xx's

  4. Such a heart warming story of creativity and courage unfolding! You are so sweet and talented…thank you for sharing this inspiring story!

  5. What an inspiring story of courage, Juliette! Loved reading it. And your artwork is so original and lovely to the eye … can't imagine you ever being reticent about sharing it, but I do understand. Your baby is your baby – and any rejection would really hurt. Thanks for sharing!
    oxoxo
    Denalee

  6. love your work, and your story is lovely! Thanks for sharing!

  7. AMEN to the courage it takes to embrace the risk of a creative career. I'm reading “Lit” right now by Mary Karr (gotta love the double meaning). My favorite quote:

    “….writers had heretofore been mythical to me as griffins—winged, otherworldly creatures you had to conjure from the hard-to-find pages they left behind. That was partly why I’d not tried too hard to become one: it was like deciding to be a cowgirl or a maenad.”

  8. You story points to an important characteristic of artists–most of us take risks, because it is part of creativity. In the business world, the people who get promoted are often the people who took NO risks–who were so risk-averse they never failed big, never did anything that they didn't know the outcome to. Well, that explains the state the world is in!

  9. i love hearing your story! it is so much like mine. i started out selling little knitted things, because it was way safer than putting my actual painted art out there. i think your work is just lovely and you are a very talented folk artist. keep pushing yourself! 🙂

    http://www.feedyoursoulart.com

  10. What a great post! Thank you for sharing it here, and for sharing your artwork with us. I love the whimsy and rich colours you use in your paintings. 🙂

    Stephanie
    (via Flying Lessons)

  11. Juliette, congrats on finding your niche…it does take courage, oodles and oodles of it, for if our work is authentic we artists constantly walk around with our hearts on our sleeves…hopping over to join in the giveaway:D

  12. Thank you so much for your encouraging words on my blog! Your story here is inspirational too. I think I really needed to hear your words today!

    I really like your pieces “sharing her heart she healed”, and “The world Inside us”!

  13. Juliette, I love how you have listened to those whispers along the way and followed your intuition. Look at what beauty it's invited you to create for the rest of us! Can't wait to see what the next whisper will be and how you'll answer its calling… 🙂

  14. Your post today is so telling of how brave and courageous you are. Putting your work out for public review is very intimidating yet you have persevered and now look at you. Successful and enjoying the process of your super talent. Somerset would be very remiss if they don't publish your artwork. Happy creating Juliette…

  15. Thank you so much for all of your kindness! I so appreciate your encouragement + am happy i can share my story + offer some inspiration for you here!

    Working on a summer inspired version of my SPRING + THE BOOK DRESS painting. We'll see how she turns out, Liv 🙂

  16. These are all SO lovely and so very striking! Beautiful colors, so rich and gorgeous. And congrats on your somerset submission! It is such a thrill and nerve wracking to send your 'babies' off like that. Best of luck to you!

  17. hi juliette! yay! and goodie for you on your brave, brave somerset step! may every good thing come your way (somerset will just loooveee you!) 🙂 jan

  18. Look at you! That is so wonderful that you took the chance, I bet you'll be published very, very, soon! You are soaring, yes.you.are!

  19. I wish you all the luck in getting your paintings published… although, I don't think you need any, you are so talented… Beautiful post…

  20. OMG Juliette, I just sent a package of originals to Somerset Studio yesterday after wanting to do it for ages. And I've been drafting a post so very similar to this all week about how painting pushes me to the edge of my boundaries and beyond.

    Isn't it amazing to find such kindred spirits on the journey.

    I love you artwork. I love the boldness, the uniqueness, those fabulous women you create. They seem so gutsy and strong. I'm saving my pennies for an original one of these days.

  21. Thank you so much for sharing your story! I am right where you were – scared to share. But I am slowly getting there and it is so encouraging to see how far you have come in a year. Love Love Love your work – Congrats and love sent your way!

  22. hearing your story is encouraging, thank you for passing it on. just what is needed today. to see another soar is wonderful.
    *

  23. The doors are opening the whole time, we just need to be brave enough to step through them. Congrats on the courage! 🙂

  24. It's awesome that you found your niche! and congratulations on all of your accomplishments. It was like taking in a breathe of fresh air when I read about your courage. You are an inspiration! =)
    xx
    samos

  25. You go, you courageous girl, you! I LOVE your work! It's always a treat to come here and see what you have just finished. xo

  26. Good for you! I am going to send out some positive vibes and keep my fingers crossed for you. I love your paintings and love this story you told. You have quite a wonderful gift and you deserve to soar!

  27. I celebrate your COURAGE…for listening to the feeling that painting was your sweetest adventure waiting to be expressed…for opening yourself up to all the possibilities that have been waiting for you to say YES.

    Celebrate ALL this Juliette!

    Love, Danielle xox

  28. I love your story and can relate in many ways. Best of luck!

  29. what a brave beautiful post! thanks for letting us in on the process… and good luck with the magazines. you stuff rocks!

  30. this post is so beautiful – I am seeing more and more the ways I keep myself safe in the creative world….and it's not working, so cheers to courage! fingers crossed on the somerset submission.

  31. I loved hearing how your paintings came about. That was a great story.

  32. Beautiful story! I am so happy for you!

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