Podcasts for Artists I’m Loving

Hello friends! So today I wanted to share something I’ve recently been diving into – listening to podcasts.  I know, I know, they’ve been around for a long time already, but I really feel like now they’re starting to come into the spotlight a bit more.

I’ve known about podcasts for quite a while, and at first I wasn’t even 100% sure what they are, exactly.  Then I learned that they’re basically radio talkshows that anyone can make and broadcast into the virtual airwaves for people to listen to for free – like a YouTube for radio.  It also took me a while to realize that even though they’re called “podcasts”, you don’t need access to iTunes or have an Apple device to listen to them.  Any smartphone can find free podcast-playing apps in their respective app stores, like Google Play for androids.

At first I didn’t think I was a good fit for podcasts – I don’t spend a lot of time commuting or sitting on subways where I have downtime to listen to one.  I’m also a visual person so the idea of just sitting and listening to an audio talkshow didn’t appeal to me too much.  Then it hit me – I can listen to one while I’m getting ready in the morning! I can have one playing on my phone while I brush my hair and do my makeup, or while I’m eating breakfast and having a coffee before X wakes up for the day.  The fact that there’s no video means I can be doing other things around the house while I’m absorbing the content – like cleaning or getting dressed.

And so I began my search for podcasts that would appeal to me, and let me tell you friends – I’m addicted.

I’m a total convert – podcasts are awesome! Now it’s something I look forward to every morning as part of my morning routine.  I always have one going as soon as I get out of the shower, and I listen to it the entire time I’m tidying up the house and having breakfast before the little one wakes up and the rest of my day begins.

Art Business Podcasts I'm Loving

So in this post today, I thought I’d share my most favorite art business-oriented podcasts.  I listen to other topics as well, but the following podcasts are aimed at artists and creative entrepreneurs, and honestly every time I see a little notification that one of them has uploaded a new episode, I do a little happy dance. So these are the current podcasts for artists that I am LOVING!

I’ve linked to their websites (which many of them are bloggers too so I now love visiting their blogs regularly!) but you can also open up your podcast app of choice and search for the titles in there. Enjoy!

Artists Helping Artists – this is a newer one for me, as I just discovered it a few weeks ago.  I’m enjoying it quite a bit already though, as it’s full of all sorts of little information nuggets when it comes to running an online business as an artist.  It usually deals with topics revolving around social media and marketing your artwork, which I’m finding very useful and informative.  These podcasts are all usually quite long (a little over an hour) and there’s a good 10-15 minutes of chatting as the host welcomes the guests of the episode and talk about their daily lives, but I like that it makes me feel like I’m part of the conversation, like I’m showing up to coffee with them and we’re chatting before getting down to business.

My only negative about this podcast is that there are no “show notes”, which is a written quick summary of the episode with links to any mentioned resources (quite a few podcasts that come from bloggers do this). There’s usually a list of things I want to check out after each episode, so I find myself making sure I have a notebook near me when listening to this one to quickly jot down the name of any app or service they mention that I want to look into more.

Being Boss – these ladies crack me up. Being Boss is a show co-hosted by two creative entrepreneurs who frequently have other guests on as well, but they also do episodes with just the two of them talking to each other.  They’re witty and very internet-savvy, making their podcast super interesting to listen to.  They cover more than just selling your art online, as their scope covers the whole female creative internet entrepreneur realm, but I find their topics to be very helpful, and many of their guests are artists or crafters who have taken the leap to owning their own business.  They also have their own facebook group for discussing the topics further, which you can find on their website.

Brilliant Business Moms – this one is a bit newer for me too, as I just discovered it shortly after Artists Helping Artists.  It’s focus is on creative entrepreneurs who are also moms, and I love their range of topics.  I haven’t listened to a whole lot of their podcasts yet, but they cover internet marketing and talk about Etsy shops and the general crafter/artist business model.

Elise Gets Crafty – this one is one of my favorites.  Elise is a mother of two little girls and a creative entrepreneur.  Her podcasts cover everything from running Etsy shops and other creative online businesses to time management to social media to avoiding burnout while trying to balance your business life with your mommy life.  Her guests are usually Etsy shop owners and range from fine artists to crafters and vintage item sellers.  I always look forward to every new podcast she posts, and find myself also visiting her blog quite often, where she shares a look into her family life as well (kind of like I do on my other blog).

So there’s my little list of art business-related podcasts! I get so excited whenever one of these channels uploads a new podcast, and I’ve really been enjoying my mornings listening to them and learning while I’m getting other things done at the same time.  I hope you check them out and end up loving them as much as I do!

Do you have a favorite art business-related podcast not on this list? Leave me a comment below and share it, I’d love to find more to add to my personal list!

Till next time, thanks for stopping by, and keep creating!

-Ashley <3

Art Business Podcasts I'm Loving

Current Inspirations: Geometric Patterns!

Hi friends! Today I wanted to start a new type of blog post, where I share a gallery of various things that are currently inspiring me in my art! This could be certain colors and color schemes, shapes, subjects, styles, anything! These inspirations can not only be art prints from other artists, but wallpaper, fabric, even three-dimensional items. I will post a new collection of inspirations whenever I find myself using them in my own sketchbook. I hope this new series inspires you as much as these things do me 🙂

Current Art Inspirations

This first inspiration round-up is focused on pattern. I’ve been playing around a lot lately with the idea of mixing both abstract and technical aspects together in the same artwork (you can read more about that here), so lately I’ve been working in my sketchbook playing with lines and shapes.

I’m really loving triangles and inter-meshing them into crystal-looking patterns, and I also like how that can lead into looking like constellations and adding circles and dots to break up the sharp lines.  Playing with this and using these deliberate shapes within abstract, organic, free-flowing painting is really making me happy! I’ll have lots to share with you soon as I finish up a couple pieces, (and if you’re on my mailing list then you got a free digital wallpaper of one of those paintings at the beginning of this month! You can sign up in the right sidebar if you’re not already getting my monthly Studio Notes, and get my free 8-week e-course as well!)

So I’ll be sharing a few finished paintings soon, along with some sketchbook pages coming up, where you can see my own interpretation of some of these inspirations (and I got a new sketchbook too! I’ll have a reveal and review of it coming soon! Happy days!)

So without further blabberings, here’s a compilation of some of my current inspirations! I hope you enjoy them, and maybe they’ll spark some creativity in you as well!

Sources: Feather-inspired lines | Stained Glass Look | Pastel Patterns | Colored Triangles | Layered Triangles | Circles | Geometric Mountains

So that’s it for now! Leave me a comment below if you’re liking this new type of blog post, and till next time, keep creating!

-Ashley <3

Current Art Inspirations

The Top 3 Art Creativity Killers & How to Fix Them


Happy Monday! …or maybe it’s not so happy? If you love creating art, then at some point you’ve probably felt blocked, out of ideas, or just not so creative.  There’s nothing worse than dedicating some time to painting, only to stand in front of the blank canvas and have no idea what you want to create.  Does this sound familiar? Well read on for my tips on what blocks creativity, and how to get past it.

art creativity killers and how to fix them!

Creativity Killer #1 – You’re Short on Time

The pressure of having to produce something creative on the spot with little time to spare is a huge creativity killer. This could mean having a deadline for when a certain creative project needs to be finished, or it could simply be the fact that your toddler is down for his nap and you’ve got exactly 2 hours to make something happen, or it’s not going to happen that day (totally NOT speaking from experience on that one, a-hem.)

A time crunch puts pressure on our creativity, which basically makes it shut down and do the opposite of what we need.  Our mind goes blank and we can’t think of anything we were intending on doing, even if we had a plan before going into the creative session.

How to fix it: Simply put, removing that time restriction is the easiest way to bring your creativity back.  Accept the fact that you might not make as much progress as you’d like to that day, and that’s ok.  You can come back to it tomorrow when you have time, or the next day.  The canvas isn’t going anywhere. It will sit there, ready for you when you come back.

If you do have a deadline for when you need to have a project done, be sure to set yourself up with enough time to get it done before you start, and leave lots of extra room for unexpected setbacks. Giving yourself space to breath is important for letting our minds rest and our creativity to come alive again.

And if you’re working in a situation where deadlines or restricted pockets of time for creativity (like baby naptimes) are a constant thing you have to deal with, just know that through time you’ll adjust and be able to be more creative when you need to.  Turning your creativity on when you need it is a skill that can be developed if you have to. Try making yourself a fresh cup of tea or coffee, turn on some inspiring music, or light a candle.  Doing some kind of little ritual like this before beginning your creative work can really help your brain determine when it’s time to let loose and relax and get creative.

Creativity Killer #2 – You Just Don’t Know What to Paint

Feeling that need to create, but you simply have no ideas? A lack of subject matter is another huge creativity killer, and one that requires a bit of preparation in order to avoid.  Creativity happens off the canvas as much as it does (even more!) on the canvas, and having ideas of what to create is part of living an all-around creative life.

How to Fix it: Think about what inspires you, and why you want to create in the first place.  Keep a running list of ideas in a notebook, and carry a sketchbook with you wherever you go.  Inspiration strikes when you least expect it, usually when you’re not thinking about what to create at all.  It happens while we’re taking a shower, mindlessly cleaning the house, or listening to music on the bus. And if we don’t write down or quickly sketch our inspirations, they can leave our minds and never come back.  So capture them! And next time you’re unsure of what to create, open up your notebook or sketchbook and feel that inspiration all over again.

Another method is to simply begin.  Staring at a blank canvas and don’t know what to paint? Just start painting! Anything! Grab colors that are speaking to you, and just get your brush moving.  Make marks, make smears, make doodles, anything you want, just get the brush moving over the canvas.  After a little while, step back and take a look at what you have. Give yourself something to work with. Maybe that one swish you made kind of looks like a tree branch.  Maybe those little blobs over there could turn into a cool pattern, maybe the colors you’re combining remind you of that bowl of fruit sitting on your countertop, or that bouquet of flowers on your dining table. Make something happen, then go from there.  The inspiration will come when you get your mind into the creative flow.  And if it doesn’t come right away, then just keep painting! Add more layers, more colors, play with texture, keep going until you see glimmers of composition, and then head in that direction.

art creativity killers and how to fix them!

Creativity Killer #3 – You’re Unmotivated

So you’ve set some time aside for youself to get creative, and you even have a good idea. Sounds great, right? So why are you still staring at your blank paper or canvas and feeling stuck? Having the time and the idea can still not be enough sometimes.  Sometimes we’re just not feeling it. Maybe we’re tired from a busy day, thinking about other things we need to get done, or lacking confidence in our abilities to bring our idea into being.

How to Fix it: The first two issues can be solved by a similar process to the solution to the first creativity killer.  Make yourself a little ritual to clear your mind and switch into that creative space.  Markers like a cup of tea and lighting a candle give your brain the signal that it’s now time to focus on creating, and not thinking about whatever else we have going on.

The confidence issue can be a little harder to resolve.  Maybe you don’t want to start because you don’t think you can create your idea to the extent you have in your mind.  Or maybe you’re not even sure how to create the idea in your mind. The best advice I can give is once again to simply begin.  I’ve encountered countless times when I know what I want to paint but I was unsure exactly of how to get there.  I just started feeling around the paper/canvas, laying down my initial drawing or first layers of paint, working with what I knew was going in the right direction, and not worrying about the rest of it.

After a little while something magical happens. You start seeing it coming together, slowly but surely. You get inspired by the process. Then you’re motivated and you think, “hey, I can do this.”  Doubting and feeling uncomfortable are part of the creative process, and that point of feeling like it’s going nowhere or looking terrible is where a lot of beginners stop and give up.  But pushing past that point is where things start to fall in place. I’ve written about this phase in the creative process here if you haven’t read it yet. It’s a real thing, and everyone experiences it. So don’t let that inevitable feeling stop you from starting.  Just start, and work your way through. The inspiration and motivation will come after you start to see your work taking shape.

…and if it doesn’t, and it turns out terrible, so what? Did you learn something? Then take that and use it in your next attempt. You only truly fail if you stop trying.

So those are my top three art creativity killers and how to fix them.  Have you run into these artist blocks? I can’t count how many times I’ve run into them, it’s just something we have to deal with on our creative journeys. What’s your most common creativity killer, and how do you deal with it? I’d love to know! Leave me a comment below, and till next time, keep creating!

-Ashley <3

the top 3 art creativity killers for beginner artists and how to fix them fast!

Sketchbook Pages: Finding my Style

Hey friends, Happy Monday! Today I wanted to share a bit of experimenting I’ve been doing recently.  If you watched last Saturday’s video, you saw the creation of this little abstract experimental study I did:

abstract experimental painting

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about my own painting style, and it’s something I’m really going to focus on developing throughout the rest of the year. I’ve done a few paintings in the past where I feel that there was a shift in the way I painted, specifically in this one and this one. and this one.  I really enjoyed incorporating abstract elements to those portrait-type works, and I especially loved adding some doodles and designs in among the acrylic paint.

So I’ve been playing around in my sketchbook and thinking about the imagery and symbols that I seem to always refer back to when I’m doodling, and thinking about how I can incorporate more of them into painting.

doodles in my sketchbook

These symbols and doodles are always popping up for me when I’m not thinking about what I’m drawing.

There’s always some combination of organic, nature-inspired shapes mixed with geometrics like triangles and straight lines.  I like the balance between the two.  I think this is why I’m drawn to do more of the kinds of things I did in those three paintings, because they mix the rigid with the organic.  Portraiture with abstract painting.  The control of the brush needed for making deliberate lines and shapes of the face juxtaposed with the freedom of letting the brush glide and wash over the canvas loosely in abstract painting.

I’ve been working on some more experimental pieces, and I’m starting to see where this might be going. I like painting abstractly, but I also like drawing on my canvas and adding little deliberate marks here and there. So I think I’m going to attempt to start doing both at the same time, and seeing what happens.

a current abstract WIP

A current experimental work in progress

I can see my acrylic paintings on canvas being abstract, but with deliberate focused details added in.  This can also be a portrait, but I want to keep it open to more simple images as well. I think going in this direction will really start to define my style, which is something I’ve really been struggling with lately.

Of course, I still enjoy doing watercolor illustrations, and those will remain part of my style as well, but I’d like to start incorporating a touch of the abstract and doodle works into that too, to make everything a bit more cohesive. I feel like right now if someone looked at a watercolor illustration of mine, and then looked at a recent painting like one of the ones I liked to above, they wouldn’t think they were done by the same person.  So I’m going to really focus inwards on myself and how I feel when I paint to start letting my natural tendencies emerge, and start to bring my two favorite ways to create art (acrylic on canvas and drawing/watercolors on paper) together a bit more, so they can be different but still contain threads that show they’re related to each other through me.

I hope that makes sense and I’m not just rambling in this post. Defining your style is the biggest thing I think people struggle with when it’s time to move their art from the learning and experimenting phase into the “this is me” phase. Learning various art techniques like the ones I share on this site is super important, but finding ways to combine the various techniques and painting styles you enjoy into something that is truly yours is also super important.

Of course, I’ll still continue to share the types of tutorials I have been on here, that won’t change, because my goal for this site is to help anyone who’s new to painting.  And when you’re new to painting, you don’t have to worry about finding your style, just focus on learning the techniques behind the painting, so in the future you can make art whichever way you want. But I do hope that you’re also looking forward to my journey finding my own style, and maybe it will inspire you to do the same whenever you feel you’re also at that point.

So that’s enough of my rambling for now.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, leave me a comment if you did, and till next time, keep creating!

-Ashley <3

Free Doodle Border References

free doodle border references for your art journal or sketchbook

Hello artsy friends! Happy Monday! Today I wanted to share a bit of a follow up to my free doodle reference sheet.  It’s full of doodle designs and patterns to use in your art journal, bullet journal, planner, sketchbook, or wherever else you like to doodle, so I thought sharing some great resources for doodle borders would be fitting!

These borders come in handy whenever you want to section something off, but still in an artistic way. So let’s get into it! Draw them yourself in your sketchbook or visit their sources by clicking the images to download the full resolution images to print!

doodle border ideas

This sheet is full of a variety of doodle border styles. From L’oiseau noir.

doodle arrow references

Arrows are simple but virtually endless in the variety you can get by changing the way you draw them! From Twenty Something Meltdown (visit her blog for more free doodle downloads!)

doodle border art journal ideas

Feathers, arrows, and nature-inspired vines all provide limitless variety. From Passion Themed Life (check out her blog for more doodle ideas too!)

So I hope you’ve enjoyed this little roundup of doodle border ideas! Thanks for stopping by, and till next time, keep creating!

-Ashley <3