artist

Summer Inspiration: Mood Boards + Pinterest

The number one question that I receive from people who look at my work is “how do you find inspiration?”. So, I thought I would break it down a bit for you today and show you a behind-the-scenes on how I think of color combos for my paintings.

Art by Megan X Pinterest

I often pin ideas in the form of photographs and textures on my Pinterest. These boards (and here and here) are really inspiring my summer palette. I am loving the colors and textures of travel photography, bright green and blue oceans (obviously!) and layers of light and darkness. Layers of all types really influence my work, hence my obsessions with old places full of peeling paint, sandy beaches and rocks with many beautiful variations in color and texture.

To help schedule my Pinterest account, I use Tailwind, which is an awesome planning app for visual content. If you are interested in trying it out, here’s a link for you to receive $30 off!

Another fun way to source inspiration for me is to create a mood board on Canva. Sometimes pairing like colors in unique textures helps me to brainstorm new ideas. It’s a fun way to explore texture, hue and color in a visual way.

Indigo and Blue mood board by Megan Elizabeth on Canva

Indigo and Blue mood board by Megan Elizabeth on Canva

Mood board by Megan Elizabeth on Canva

Mood board by Megan Elizabeth on Canva

Teal and Turquoise Mood Board by Megan Elizabeth on Canva

Teal and Turquoise Mood Board by Megan Elizabeth on Canva

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!

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 

 

Behind-the-scenes: The 5 books you MUST read if you are a creative person.

Here is a list of "must read" books for creatives and entrepreneurs!  My favorite books listed here include stories of women CEOs, one-woman operations and businesses and people following their dreams and helping to make the world a better place in the process.  Enjoy! 

1.  "In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney". I have loved reading Design*Sponge for as long as I can remember and LOVED reading this book, which highlights 100 creatives in an interview-style format.  It's breathtakingly honest and raw, beautifully written and formatted, and gorgeous to stare at all day long.  My little daughter loves it and asks me to read it to her, too, so it's basically just the best book ever written.  Just trust me, you need to own this book.  

2. "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo.  This book puts a lot of things in perspective.  You don't have to be an organizational freak to read it, either (I'm a little disorganized!).  It just helped me to realize that what I own should bring me joy and what I am holding onto may not have value.  It's a wonderful book and it's an amazing reminder.  In a crazy world, it's important to stop and take the time to put perspective back into our lives and this book does just that! 

3. "You are a Badass" by Jen Sincero. If you hate inspirational or self-help books, this one is for you.  There's ABSOLUTELY no fluff here, and its why I love this author so much.  Jen Sincero gives actionable, brave and courageous, and hilarious perspective in this book.  I love it and I appreciated how it focuses so heavily on gratitude as a key to happiness.  I also love that she says bad words and does irreverant things.  Because that's just so important, too.  

4. "The Creative Habit" by Twyla Tharp.  I have read and re-read this one countless times.  I love to read about the habits that other creatives develop to give themselves structure to be creative. Freedom, walks, naps and cocktails are featured, so it's basically the book I live by.  Read it!  And re-read it every year for good measure.  And then highlight it.  

5. "Daily Rituals: How Artists Work" by Mason Currey.  I love LOVE LOVE this book.  Again with the rituals.  Why do I have a ritual fetish?  Well, I will tell you:

  1. I work for myself.  
  2. I need someone out there to tell me to do things in order because otherwise my creative side takes over and I go wild.  
  3. I love traditions.
  4. I love drinking coffee every morning and need validation.  
  5. I love naps and I need to know that important people throughout history also appreciated the "siesta".  
  6. I am secretly (or publically?!) really nosey and love knowing what people do all day with their lives.  

The end.  Read it! 

So, my only remaining thought is, what is your favorite book?  Comment below! 

xo 

Megan 

Behind-the-Scenes: The Ocean + why I can’t stop painting it…

Part 2: The Ocean + why I can’t stop painting it…

  • “Megan, why do you paint the ocean?”
  • “Mama, you should try to paint something else like a dog or a bird.”
  • “Megan, what’s your deal with the ocean?”

I can’t really answer this question, but I will try to put this crazy obsession into words.

I think I paint the ocean because I am drawn to things and attracted to learning about things that:

1.    Scare me + I cannot understand.

2.    Are beautiful + powerful. 

  • Enter randomly selected Spanish major in college. 
  • Enter dating and marrying my best friend even though it scared the crap out of me. 
  • Enter living in Spain and getting a MA I wasn’t qualified for but fighting hard for it.
  • Enter love of travel and new adventures. 
  • Enter not minding getting lost. 
  • Enter love of oceans?  I think so. 

I love being adjacent to something that scares me a little and that I cannot understand or comprehend. 

Now, a little story…

When I was 12, I went to the beach with my best friends in 8th grade.  We were there for a weekend or something and it was great fun.  I even had a new two-piece bathing suit that I would be debuting and it felt so adult and daring of me.  Well, as we swam out to sea, we noticed that the waves were extra strong.  Like, “weird-strong”, as my 8th grade (or probably current) self would have described them.  So, like the responsible and thoughtful ladies that we were, we kept swimming out further and further.  Suddenly a wave crashed and I lost them.  And then another wave crashed before I could catch my breath.  And another and another.  And another. Then, I couldn’t breathe and I started flailing my luckily long and gangly arms around yelling for help from the rip tide that was swallowing me up.  And a handsome young, perfectly tan (as the story always goes) lifeguard had to save me and literally drag me to shore.  I lay there with my eyes closed utterly embarrassed and very grateful that I hadn’t drowned.   But also in complete awe. 

That was a day where I learned the power of the ocean.  I was scared and in love *with the ocean*, not the lifeguard.  Come on!

And, to be honest, I love that feeling.  I love to be a little bit in awe.  Not always at the time (like whilst drowning and flailing and screaming), certainly, but the rush of adrenaline afterwards is amazing and kind of addictive to me. 

I love how beautiful and powerful the ocean is. 

One more little story…

In college, I studied abroad in Spain. (I know, I don’t talk about it enough, ha-ha.)  The ocean and beaches there are ridiculously blue, colorful, powerful, amazing, and gorgeous.  One weekend, we decided to road-trip down to a town called Cadiz for Carnaval (Spain’s Mardi Gras).   It was insane.  It was one of those moments that you look back on and think, “Man, whose life was that?” 

But, one of my favorite memories from that weekend was when our group was hanging out on the beach during a really windy day and the ridiculous boys decided to run into the ocean.  It was a chilly, wet 50 degrees out and the ocean was like ice.  But, I wasn’t going to let them get all of the credit.  I was going to go in too.  (Note: I HATE cold water and being cold in general, but I also have a fierce competitive streak and an even fiercer feminist streak.)  

So, there we were, running into the Atlantic Ocean in February in our *bathing suits* (I was, I promise!) and I have never felt more alive.  Yes, of course I was freezing my ass off, but it was such a beautiful and powerful feeling to be a woman swimming out further than the boys and doing what they could do without any fear or concern.  (Note: I went home and took a bath and drank some red wine and it was all-ok.) 

I felt beautiful and powerful thanks to the ocean.

  • I loved that feeling of being BOTH that day. 
  • I liked that a combination I had always convinced myself was an impossible contrast wasn’t. 
  • I didn’t want to be beautiful OR successful someday.  
  • I didn’t want to be pretty OR limitless. 
  • I didn’t want to be in love OR free. 

I wanted to be both. 

That day at the ocean was a little awakening just like the day I almost drowned. 

I love that combination…beautiful AND powerful.  I like how it relates to being a woman.  I like how it makes me feel like that is a possible combination.  I like how scary it is.

So, I think that’s why I paint the ocean.  But, check back with me in like 3 years and my answers may be completely different. 

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.
— André Gide
Why I Paint the Ocean

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! 

Recent Commissions

I love working with clients to commission an original piece of artwork for their homes based on happy memories, favorite color schemes and fun travel experiences.  Here are a couple of photos of my recent commissioned art pieces from Manhattan, Boston, Florida and Brooklyn!  Enjoy!  M

If you are interested in talking more about commissioning a painting for your home, feel free to reach out to me at megan@artbymegan.com or on the "Commission a Painting" widget on the homepage.  

 

 

 

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