Art by Megan

Annapolis Art Show + Painting Class

This past weekend, my friends Kim (@kimhovell) and Farah (@heyfarah) and I hosted an art opening and painting class in Annapolis, Maryland at Lightbox in Downtown Annapolis. The space is PERFECT for an art opening or event because its gorgeous and drenched in light with bright white walls and floors. I love it there.

Here are some photos of the event. Thanks so much to everyone who joined us!

Motherhood X Art

Recently, I read this article on Artsy that really made me question the relationship between success as a female artist and motherhood. I know that I can do both, sometimes even well. Hereโ€™s a podcast all about the article, too!

But, the essential question isโ€ฆcan I do motherhood and art SUCCESSFULLY? My answer is YES. YES YES YES a million times over!

multi-tasking Mama here!

multi-tasking Mama here!

At an art show in 2018 (while visibly VERY pregnant), a man told me that I should stop having babies because they derail art careers. I was too tired and nauseous to care, but every time I juggle our new baby on my lap while responding to emails I remember that quote and think, โ€œI am going to prove people who think that way wrong.โ€ Thatโ€™s a funny thing about me, I like to prove people wrong.

So, when Brit and Co called me last year and asked to film a HUGE project together, I thought to myself, โ€œyep, I am flying to CA". The caveat was that I had been VERY sick while pregnant and wasnโ€™t at all myself. And my ankles were HUGEโ€ฆlike scary huge. And I felt terrible. But, I did it anyways, because women are badass. I hid that 6 month baby bump behind some beautiful painting ladies and I filmed that show and I am so proud of myself for it!

Also, for any fellow mothers out there trying to achieve the ever-elusive balance of it allโ€ฆlisten to this amazing podcast (Artist Mother Podcast) for tips on how other moms are out there crushing it in the art world!

Art by Megan X Brit and Co

Art by Megan X Brit and Co

Behind-the-scenes: Podcasts I love!

I am a "lifelong learner" as they say and cannot get enough information, inspiration and ideas from all over the place.  So, one of my favorite places to get amazing inspiration recently is through podcasts.  I often listen to them while I paint at the studio, but also love them at home while my little one does homework or while we hang out in the evenings.  It's an easy way to engage my brain without total visual distraction.  So, here is a list of my favorites! 

photo by Amy Frances Photo.  

photo by Amy Frances Photo.  

Best podcast for kids: 

Wow in the World. This podcast is GENIUS.  It explores fun scientific concepts and is super silly and fun.  My 1st grader is OBSESSED and we have learned some awesome new trivia and science facts from just listening to it together on weekend mornings or in the evening as a "bedtime story".  Mindy and Guy Raz (of How I Built This Podcast on NPR...another absolute favorite!) are hilarious for both adults and kids, so I highly recommend you give it a listen! 

Best podcast for female run businesses: 

Second Life by My Domaine and Hillary Kerr.  I LOVE this podcast and am so thankful that I discovered it recently for my long drives for work events.  I found the questions and inspiration of women who own businesses after pivoting from other areas of expertise and other jobs so interesting.  The host, Hillary Kerr, does a great job asking probing, important questions to the guests and I just can't wait for the next episode to air!  

Best podcast for artists and inspiration:

I could go on and on about my favorite art podcast and most of you have probably heard or seen me gushing about it on instagram, but that won't stop me from sharing it again.  Listen to Danielle Krysa on The Jealous Curator's Podcast called Art for Your Ear.  I love hearing the stories of artists who have chosen to follow their passion, what they were like as little artists and how they got to where they are today.  It's so intriguing and really a great way to stay inspired in the studio as I paint.  

Best ridiculous and funny podcast: 

My Favorite Murder is a new one that I have gotten hooked to. You definitely have to be in the right mood to listen to it, but the satire and general ridiculousness of it all is so fun and funny.  Try it out if you like making fun of the news, people in general or if you need a good snort-laugh.  

Some of my future podcasts are within these curated lists, so take a look at these lists! 

Levo League's 10 best Podcasts for Women

 Buzz Feed's 13 Podcasts by Women you should know about

A solo show + celebrating the tiny victories!

This coming Friday, May 11, I will be having the first solo show (at Captain's Daughters in Provincetown, MA) during my 3 years of "official" business as Art by Megan.  While I have been SO busy (and under the weather recently due to family expansion!), I kind of forgot until today to celebrate this big (HUGE!) step.   

So, I want to celebrate by taking a little trip down memory lane, Art by Megan-style.

Sometimes I completely forget that ONLY 3 years ago this past weekend, we moved to NYC and started almost completely over in a new city with just a few friends and 2 brand new careers.  It was exhausting and overwhelming and terrifying and completely amazing all in one breath.  

After some time spent unpacking, setting up a new tiny home, learning how to do things the "Brooklyn way" and teaching my little one some important life lessons like how to ride the subway and how to ride a scooter to school, I began to work full-time as an artist and small business owner in the fall of 2015.  I worked from the "Teeny Tiny Studio" aka the spare bedroom (aka the walk in closet in any other state) in our first apartment. 

It was my dream come true. 

I had dreamed of having a space to call my own as an artist for my entire life and this felt like the "big leagues" or at least my childhood fantasy coming true and I was so pumped.   A few months later, I was picking up a package from the UPS guy at our front door while covered in paint and he asked what I did for a living.  I said, confidently and maybe for the first time ever, "I am an artist" and he replied "wow, I have never met a real artist". 

I started to notice that I was saying to people I met, "I am an artist".  It felt amazing and surreal.  

The "Teeny Tiny Studio" - photo by  Amy Frances Photography  

The "Teeny Tiny Studio" - photo by Amy Frances Photography 

Time passed and selling occasional paintings became less infrequent, but each time I get an order for a print, small painting or large commission, I giggle. 

I always tell my family, "oh my gosh guess what?  I sold a painting!" when it happens and the "honeymoon phase" hasn't worn off yet. I sincerely hope it never does. 

Then, in March of 2017, I found my first studio outside of our home.  I was quickly outgrowing the "teeny tiny studio" and finding that paintings were always on the kitchen table, drying in the hallway, being photographed above our bed and our space for family was getting a little crazy.  So, I took a big financial and business risk and put the down payment on my first studio in Gowanus, Brooklyn in an old warehouse on a crazy street.  I loved it so much.  I will never forget the feeling of stepping into that empty room and thinking "oh man, this is just so cool."  

I cried that day, happy tears.  

My Gowanus, Brooklyn Studio, 2017 // Here's an awesome  feature  on our studio with photos by  Amy Frances Photography  and featured on Household Mag's Blog.  

My Gowanus, Brooklyn Studio, 2017 // Here's an awesome feature on our studio with photos by Amy Frances Photography and featured on Household Mag's Blog.  

This past February (2018), I moved in with 2 of my favorite business owners ever (Whitney of We Gather and Betsy of Sylvan Park) to our new space at Industry City in Brooklyn, NY.  Industry City is like a magical-google-campus-vibe for creatives and innovators in Brooklyn.  When I step foot into our studio each time I go to work in the morning, I sigh and think or usually say out loud, "dang this is a cool spot". 

My "roomates" often hear me say it and we all giggle or agree.  

As an impatient person with a fierce streak of overachiever, I often forget to take a deep breath and let it all sink in.  But, I am making a sincere effort to do so as I get older and, dare I say, a little bit wiser. 

So, this post is really just a little reminder to myself and to all of you who support me that I am VERY thankful:

  • I am thankful for the friends I have made while growing this business.  
  • I am thankful for the clients who support me by purchasing artwork and prints. 
  • I am thankful for the tough lessons I have learned while building a business from scratch in a crazy new city.  
  • I am thankful for the community of creatives that I helped to build in Brooklyn and who I now consider my dearest friends. (Tuesdays Together NYC) 
  • I am thankful for this chance to push myself and learn so much.
  • I am thankful for a husband who agreed it was time to jump into a crazy new adventure together.
  • I am thankful for 3 years that have felt like both the fastest and longest years of my life!  

Thank you and cheers to celebrating the little victories!  

Megan 

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Palette Screen Savers for my friends!

I did a little thing and made some iphone backdrops for my friends!  Feel free to download these and use them on your desktop or iphone (or whatever kind of phone) and enjoy a splash of color and messy paint from your favorite artist!  

Have a great day and remember that the beauty is in the mess.  

xo 

Megan 

Behind-the-scenes: My favorite painting supplies.

As an artist, I often get asked by other creatives what my favorite painting supplies are, so today I am sharing a little list to help you get started on painting your own abstract wonders! 

"Autumn Sky", acrylic on canvas by Megan Elizabeth of Art by Megan.  (photo by  Kate Alison Photography ) 

"Autumn Sky", acrylic on canvas by Megan Elizabeth of Art by Megan.

(photo by Kate Alison Photography

Here's my list of favorite art supplies for painting in acrylics:  

1. Paint: My favorite kind of paint and the best quality out there is Golden.  The investment is WORTH IT!  If you are just painting for fun, I recommend starting with a student brand paint, like the Basics line available through Liquitex

2. Art Supply Stores: My favorite art supply stores are Artist and Craftsman and Blick online.  Both have AMAZING deals and I usually shop when there are great discounts to help save some money.  Also, I secretly love trolling the aisles of A&C and just touching and smelling all of the art supplies. :) 

3. Brushes: I paint with Acrylic paints and I love to use a variety of brushes for my work.  This choice is completely based on preference.  I prefer to use flat brushes with strong bristles, as I apply the paints in a thicker, more "impasto" manner most of the time.  I like to use both synthetic and natural haired brushes, but I can offer the suggestion that it is worth pulling on the fibers a bit at the store to see if hairs fall off.  I HATE when there are rogue hairs in my paintings after the fact.  Insider secret: Ikea's kid department has AWESOME brushes.  

4. Canvas vs. Paper vs. Birch Board: This age-old debate (Actually, I guess the oldest debate was just stone, but I digress) is really 100% based on textural preference.  Most artists are really tactile people, so we all have our crazy idiosyncrasies based on them.  I am a canvas and paper girl for no other reason than just because "I like them"! 

5. Oil vs. Watercolor vs. Acrylic: Again, this choice is totally personality-based.  I LOVE acrylics because they literally match my personality.  I am quick, cheerful, bright, and stubborn.  We work well together.  Oil painting requires a bit more technique and ventilation as well as A LOT of patience (which is not my area of expertise!).  Watercolors are free-flowing and require a bit more control, but are LOTs of fun.  So, basically, just start experimenting and see what you enjoy the most.  

6. Water Jars: This is a relatively important issue.  It seems like any cup or jar will do, but that's just not the case.  (I know, it seems like I am taking this WAY too seriously!) Talenti gelato jars are literally the best because they are broad on the bottom and balance when full of heavy brushes.  Also, Mason Jars are perfect and come in both the short and tall varieties, which help with balancing really tall brushes.  The idea here is to pick a water jar that will not fall over and spill, which happens quite often if they are full of dirty brushes.  

My Favorite Painting Supplies

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Behind-the-scenes: The apps that I swear by for running a small business.

Apps by for entrepreneurs and small business owners: 

As a mom, small business owner, volunteer leader of a group of growing creatives (TuesdaysTogether NYC) and contractor for an amazing start-up in San Francisco, streamlining, efficiency, and organization are really vital aspects of running a relatively stress-free life.  I have discovered a few apps and programs along the way that have completely saved me and I wanted to share them with you today! 

Note: I am not being paid to share any of this information with you.  I just like to share what I have tested hopefully help out another busy or stressed out small-business owner.  

photo by  Laura and Rachel Hernandez  from the Rising Tide Society Leaders' Retreat in January 2017 at Honeybook's HQ in San Francisco, CA.  

photo by Laura and Rachel Hernandez from the Rising Tide Society Leaders' Retreat in January 2017 at Honeybook's HQ in San Francisco, CA.  

For social media organization: Planoly

Planoly has completely changed the way I see and use my social media.  I have become more cohesive in my messaging to my followers, my feed is more organized, and I can think clearly about what my weekly work will look like in advance, which is so helpful as a mom.  They are a lovely company and their customer service is LEGIT.  Go check them out.  

For business workflow: Honeybook

As a contractor for Honeybook, I am continuously amazed at the high quality of service that this workflow tool for creatives offers to their incredible and growing community.  When I began using Honeybook, it seemed too good to be true to have invoicing, contracts, billing, taxes and financial tools all integrated into one software that was attractive, customizable and easy to use.  And when I say user-friendly, I mean it.  It's intuitive and so streamlined and simplified.  I love it! 

For my website: Squarespace

I can honestly tell you that what I love most about my website is removing the guess-work in building my site.  I have such a limited time as a one-woman-business-owner and I want to be able to capitalize on my work as an artist when I can.  So, using the clean, well-designed templates that Squarespace has to offer has saved me time, frustration, and has given me the freedom to focus on other parts of my business as it grows.  

For finances and taxes: Quickbooks

I have learned so much about finances and managing money from running my business and it's all thanks to Stephanie at Steadfast Bookkeeping and Quickbooks.  I was originally very hesitant to master the money management aspect of my business, but I am thankful for this intuitive and user-friendly tool that syncs with my Workflow Tool to simplify my finances and help me to budget for future years of Art by Megan.  

For time management and scheduling: Calendly 

I have recently implemented using calendar appointments into my business in order to streamline my Admin days and allow for complete days of creativity in my studio.  If I can schedule 5-10 calls on a Monday, I know that the rest of the week I can remove the distraction of admin tasks and to-do lists and create, paint and experiment.  Freeing up my mental space for creative moments has been a HUGE lifesaver, and I am thankful for the email integration that Calendly offers.  

Let me know in the comments below what tools you use to help streamline your life and business! I am always on the hunt for something to give me more free-time with my loved ones or to paint, paint, paint.  Really, I just want a clone of myself so that I can paint all-day and she can run the business.  Is there an app for that?  

xoxo 

M

My favorite Apps for Small Business