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. Here’s a podcast all about the article, too!

But, the essential question is…can 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, “I am going to prove people who think that way wrong.” That’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, “yep, I am flying to CA". The caveat was that I had been VERY sick while pregnant and wasn’t at all myself. And my ankles were HUGE…like 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 all…listen 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

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 

 

Art by Megan X Mixbook

Recently, I was lucky enough to meet the awesome people at Mixbook at the Brit and Co. #CreateGood event in Manhattan.  I loved their product and the quality of their paper, but more importantly, I loved meeting people who are doing good in the world and working to help small businesses succeed.

So, a month ago, I began working on an awesome collaboration with Mixbook to create unique holiday cards for our family and for my business as well.  I am so in love with how they turned out and wanted to share them with you today! 

photo of me in my studio by  Amy Frances Photo , printed on cards by  Mixbook .  

photo of me in my studio by Amy Frances Photo, printed on cards by Mixbook.  

For Art by Megan, I was able to create beautiful "thank you" notes for my clients and holiday orders with a beautiful white hand-lettering overlay and photos to create a fun year-in-review look.  I chose to print on their 5x5 Cotton Texture Flat Card and I am so impressed by the quality and texture.  Fellow paper snobs, rejoice!  

Happy Holidays, from the Art by Megan crew!  

Happy Holidays, from the Art by Megan crew!  

For our family's holiday card, I was able to create a beautiful glitter frame in rose gold with some of our favorite family travel photos from this year!  I chose the 5x7 Landscape Signature Matte Flat Card and I love the matching white envelopes for a clean, crisp and elegant look! 

Check out Mixbook and their awesome product!  Tell them your favorite artist sent you :).  

Mixbook Thank You Card by Megan Elizabeth of Art by Megan

 

** A little bit about sponsored posts on Art by Megan.  As my brand continues to grow, I promise to always support companies who I believe in, who do good work in the world by making a positive impact, and who create products that I both use and believe in.  Thank you to Mixbook for your support of Art by 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

 

 

 

 

Behind-the-scenes: My Favorite Art and Business Books

A little round-up of my favorite Art and Business Books! 

"Think Like an Artist" by Will Gompertz, is my new favorite book!  

It breaks down the qualities of artists and is delightfully refreshing if you are encountering a little summer slump or total burnout.  The author focuses a great deal on the personality traits that set entrepreneurs and artists apart, which is really interesting to read about if you are currently pursuing an art-related passion or dream.  One of my favorite parts about his writing are all of the annecdotes about artists throughout history and the tales of their funny personalities.  It's awesome, check it out! 

"Creative Block" by Danielle Krysa.

Anyone who knows me knows what a HUGE (Crazy?) fan I am of The Jealous Curator.  I find her voice (podcast, too!) to be so honest, refreshing, and kind in a world of competitive and crazy.  Her books is nothing short of magical and I love it.  I have re-read it a couple of times now and every time I want to put it down, I cannot.  She profiles many artists and their stories and the writing is fresh and real.  I LOVE THIS BOOK.  

"Chasing Slow" by Erin Loechner.  

In a time of MORE, MORE, MORE, this book is amazing.  It reminded me to slow down even though I want to fight really hard to achieve my dreams.  Erin Loechner is one of my favorite bloggers and has always written from such an interesting perspective that makes you really think about what matters in life.  I highly recommend this book for not just art or business, but for a reality check on life, too.  

"The Promise of a Pencil" by Adam Braun. 


If you know me, you know I love the organization Pencils of Promise.  We partnered with them for the Rise Summit and have raised money to build a school soon!  I love the mission of this organization and the slow, thoughtful approach they take to building community.  In his book, the Founder Adam Braun tells his life story in relation to the forming of PoP and it's so compelling.  It makes me want to pack a bag and go build schools immediately!  But more importantly, Braun celebrates those people who are forging their own paths to build a life and career that they are proud of.  Go check this book out. 

Ok, what are your favorite books for inspiration and business ideas?  Be sure to share in the comments below! 

xoxo

M

 

Behind-the-Scenes with Art by Megan

STUDIO SERIES: A new little blog feature offering a sneak peek into the wacky, colorful, nutty, and funny world of "Art by Megan".

photos above: left (my parents), right (Amy Frances Photo).

Part 1: Why I paint + a tiny biography + the time I colored the walls pink

A question that comes up a lot when I meet new people or talk to other creative is “When did you start painting?”.   I can honestly answer, never.  I never “started” painting.  It wasn’t a decision that I made one day to become artistic or creative, just like I can imagine that people who are really good at dancing (not me) or math (also not me) never consciously made a decision to start.  It was always just there.

I have mentioned in previous blog posts that my husband affectionately refers to me as “the exchange student”.  Meaning, that while most 80s/90s kids have memories of movies like “The Goonies” and “Babysitters Club”, I have vivid memories of Crayola’s new color collection release dates (anyone remember when Robins egg blue launched?  I do!) and worrying about it my built in crayon box sharpener was clogged again.  My family would watch “The Cosby Show” and I would color and sing to myself.  My brother and his friends would play pirate games and I would draw our treasure maps in crazy detail.  I would read (for fun) the atlas because I loved the shapes of maps and the colors blue and green.  Then I would draw real countries and fake countries and weird symbols and stuff that I dreamed up and hang them on my closet door. 

10 other weird things I used to do as a kid:

  1. I used to collect rocks and color them cool colors and then place them around my house and garden.
  2. I made maps of my neighborhood like everyday for a while.  It was intense.
  3. I obsessively cut out pieces of paper from the Washington post, magazines, and other books when my parents weren’t looking.
  4. I wore a lot of tie-dye from the year 1986-1996.
  5. I enjoyed sitting on our deck and “painting it” with a bucket of water on a hot sunny day.
  6. I loved the smell of a fresh pack of construction paper.
  7. I ate some of the pasta from the summer camp class on making necklaces because it just seemed like such a cool idea.
  8. I would draw little pictures on the walls with pencils and then act like I had no idea how they got there.  Cave paintings, maybe?  Magic?  I had no idea.
  9. I loved ironing leaves between wax paper and probably ruined the iron doing it approximately 8 times.
  10. I organized by Crayola box by ombre effect and got really annoyed at friends or my brother if they weren’t placed back into their designated spot. 

Now, a little story…

My uniform socks were red one year and I was so excited about the bright new color that I celebrated by laying in my bed with my crayons and notebook and put my feet on the wall. Well, much to my amazement the dye from the socks was actually like a faint pink marker when rubbed on my bedroom wall vigorously.  So, I lay there and listened to my record player and rubbed the wall dreamily turning it from bright white to “catholic-school-knee-sock” pink.  It was amazing.  My parent’s disagreed.

So, in answer to your question, I never started loving color, shape, making art, doodling, making a mess, or, yes, painting.  It was always there, just wishing and hoping to become a real-life job someday. 

In summary, thank you for supporting Art by Megan.  It’s my little dream come true. 

Sign up for my newsletter here, if you want access to more fun stuff! 

A year in review...2017 in NYC

We just recently celebrated our 2-year-anniversary as New Yorkers and I can't fathom how time has passed so quickly but also feel kind of like we have lived here forever.  Our kid officially sounds like a total Brooklyn kid and says the following phrases with confidence, "I'm wahhhhlking here", "Whattyatalkkkinngbout", "Get online (instead of in-line)", "Ma, I'm taking out the Gaahhhhhbage", among other hilarious Brooklyn phrases.  Also, we have a serious laugh developing here.  Just trust me that it's a tiny bit like Fran Drescher on "The Nanny".  

a little subway notebook / sketchbook entry by @artbyipa 

a little subway notebook / sketchbook entry by @artbyipa 

A 2017 interview with my favorite little lady (LL):

(Read last year's interview here.) 

Me: What's your favorite thing about NYC?
LL: The playgrounds, the food, and the museums.  

Me: Where's your favorite place in NYC?
LL: "Gino's (Pizzeria in Bay Ridge)."

Me: What's better, Brooklyn or Manhattan?
LL: "Manhattan because there are lots of parks there.  Brooklyn because there's stores nearby."

Me: What's the best food in NYC?
LL: "The pizza."

Me: What's the coolest part of riding the train?
LL: "That man who plays music on his guitar or any instrument" 

Me: Do you miss Maryland?
LL: "Kind of."

Me: Where should we go next in NYC?
LL: "To all of the parks and the playgrounds and some new museums" 

Me: What's the best part of living here?
LL: "That we can scoot around and can ride bicycles instead of driving in the car. New York City has lots of good museums and lots of questions to answer."

Me: Do you remember the day we moved here?
LL: "Yes. Hard.  We didn't find any of our plates or silverware or forks or anything!"

Me: Who are your best friends in NYC?
LL: "June, Amina, Lukas, Jude, Teddy, Nicholas, Violin Nicholas, Miss Sotiria, Ivo, Nessa, Louise, Vesper, Alessia, Eli, Esteban, Cody, and Adam."

Me: Do you like New York?
LL: "Yes!"

A list of things that will never, ever get old about NYC: 

  • When the nice Mariachi guys come on the train and serenade us on our ride home.  
  • Ordering any cuisine or wine online and having a nice guy on a bicycle bring it to you like a genie.
  • Hearing 25 different languages at the park and wondering what everyone's unique story is. 
  • Being asked if I speak English.  Do I look like I am from somewhere else?  I am still confused. 
  • The food: OMG. 
  • Coffee Shops: The hidden, secret good ones. 
  • Family adventures all over the city: Picking a spot on the map (or subway map) and just going! 
  • Central Park & Prospect Park.  Every single time we walk through them, we find something new and awesome to explore. 
  • Christmas in NYC.
  • Springtime in NYC.
  • ok, fine, I am completely in love and there's literally no day I hate in NYC.  Except the days where the snow has melted just enough to create ENORMOUS puddles of slush.  Those days are gross.  Oh and the days where we catch mice in the mousetraps and I have to call neighbors and ask them to come rescue me like Rapunzel in her tower. But otherwise, yea, it's amazing here! 

But the biggest lesson learned in 2017 is as long as we are all together, anywhere feels like home!

photo by Chi-Chi Agbim of  Two Twenty  

photo by Chi-Chi Agbim of Two Twenty 

Home is wherever I’m with you.
— Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes

 

 


 

 

 

Behind the scenes: a lifestyle shoot + a day at the beach

As many of you know, a vast majority of the inspiration for my artwork comes from the beach. The light, the layers of textures and colors, and the overall mood of the beach has always inspired me.  I just cannot get enough of it.  

Last month, my friend Laura, of Laura Lee Photography, and I headed out to do a lifestyle photo shoot at the beach in Coney Island, Brooklyn.  It was windy and a little chilly, but the sun was shining and we were ready to talk art, following dreams, business strategy and even do a little painting on the beach.  Her photos are AMAZING and I wanted to share a couple with you today. Be sure to check her out on social media too, at @lauraleecreative.  

Laura and I met at Creative at Heart Conference Round 2 in Charleston, South Carolina in November of 2015.  We hit it off right away because we are both seriously passionate about what we do, totally wacky + silly, and very adventurous ladies with major wanderlust + travel goals. Laura has recently started a new venture, in addition to her photography business, to document and profile creatives who are following their dreams as makers and artists.  

Enjoy the beautiful photos and happy Tuesday! 

M

Also, during our shoot, a little over-excited puppy came over to me with boundless energy and Laura captured what might be the best / funniest photo blooper ever!  hehe.

beach blooper

Behind-the-scenes: Art + a playlist

There is a bit of mystery behind the schedules and lifestyles of artists because they are traditionally and historically (or maybe just stereotypically) such private // secluded people.  But, I don't follow the rules or fit the mold, so I will be sharing some "behind-the-scenes" stories in the next couple of weeks with you guys to give a little glimpse into the life of Megan Elizabeth!  

Studio_ArtbyMegan

On the days I work in my studio, one of the most important parts of being productive for me is forming a little routine.  For me, it's sort of a ritual that gets me thinking and prepared to make a painting.  I light my favorite vanilla candle (it has to be vanilla!), turn on my Spotify playlist and take some deep breaths before I make a giant mess and go crazy.  My husband often describes the process as a dance, because I move so quickly and work almost frantically to beat the paint before it dries.  

Signature

Since I paint in acrylic, the drying time is really fast (minutes, if placed in a thin layer), so it helps me to stay focused on the work and paint my little heart out.  

Enjoy the Art by Megan playlist and stay tuned for more updates on the life of an artist!  Feel free to follow along on instagram @artbymegan and on Snapchat : artbymegan1.  

New work: "Coastal" 30x40, listed in my shop

Coastal

 

 

A Central Park Photo shoot!

Today I am sharing some fun photos of a recent Mother's Day Artist's photo shoot with photographer Hannah Lane Giddings.  We had such a fun time working together on a very (!!) glamorous-feeling shoot in Central Park just as spring had sprung in the city!

All photos are courtesy of Hannah Lane Photography.  Thanks again, Hannah!

Check out her work here.