Friday, June 24, 2016

Getting to Know A Little About Me


Hi there!  I am not sure if I have ever really introduced myself in this space, so here is an abridged version:

My name is Holly, and I was born and raised in the Midwest, but now live in the Northeast.  You can also read a little bit on my About page.

I have always loved drawing, making things, exploring.  When I was in elementary school, I remember making small pieces of furniture out of paper.  I'm sure it was nothing fancy, but it was fun!  I remember carrying a sketchbook and pencil with me to my brother's basketball games and just doodling.  In high school I took some art classes, and while I wasn't the best in the class, I enjoyed the process.  I ended up studying art at a small liberal arts school, but by the time I finished, I was ready to stop creating.  It took me close to two years to find that inner drive to get back to painting, to actually enjoy working on creative projects again.

I worked on some watercolor paintings, and enjoyed the process as well as the final outcome.  I still have those paintings.  
Fast forward a few years to when our two girls were quite small, and I was a stay-at-home mom, I painted a couple of ornaments as gifts for family members.  Money was tight, and I am not one to give a gift just because.

Why Ornaments?

I decided on ornaments, so that they wouldn't have extra "trinkets' to have to deal with.  An ornament can be hung on the tree, and then packed away for a time.  When it is taken out the next Christmas, it can be like opening the gift all over again, with memories of the giver, and the gift itself!  I also like there to be some meaning behind it.  The gifts were for two of my brothers-in-law, so I painted the house where they grew up. "The Estate at 1088" is what they call it, so I put that underneath the picture. (Sorry I don't have a photo of those...)

I know one of them has the ornament on display in a china cabinet.  I don't think it ever made it to the tree, and I'm okay with that.  I'm glad they feel it is special enough to warrant such a spot in their home.

This Business

When my youngest was in preschool, I had an opportunity to participate in a "Mom's Night Out" the school was having.  I painted the school on some ornaments, and as people purchased them, I would put their child's name on.  I also started taking orders for custom ornaments, and that is where this small business began.
It has grown mainly by word of mouth.  Someone receives an ornament, and wants to pass the same meaningful thought on to someone else.  Or someone gives an ornament, and it is received with such joy, they want to continue giving that joy to more of their friends and family.  

I love the heartfelt stories I get to be part of, as people see their childhood home, or the smiles as they see their furry family member portrayed on the ornament, and are moved by their own memories and thoughtfulness of the giver.

There is something about the connection to home, or a pet, or a special place that draws emotion and memories to the surface.  That is a gift. 

To Be Continued. . .

I paint on canvas, I continue to experiment with watercolors, I bake, I take photographs.  I try to look at the world through a curious perspective.  I try to ask questions and keep learning.  I encourage you to do the same. 

The effect art can have on us is pretty amazing. 

What do you create?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A Confession, and Learning to Take My Own Advice

There is a painting that my mom said I should do, based on a photograph of my girls that was taken back at my parents' house when the girls were much younger. 

I started it quite a while ago, and it sits, only partially finished, tucked on a stack of blank canvases behind the door in the room where my painting supplies sit.  I would like to pull it out and finish it.

The truth is, I'm afraid.  There I said it.

I like the way it looks, and the way it is (was) progressing.  I know it isn't finished yet, but I'm afraid of messing it up, which in my head sounds something like "irreparable damage."  Dramatic, no? 

So even though I talk a good talk encouraging others to try to overcome their fear in creating, my self talk isn't quite as strong, or as confident.  I do have moments where I can step up and jump in and keep moving, but there are also times where I pause just long enough for the fear to creep in and throw down those nails that deflate any confidence I had. 

I need to take one step at a time to keep moving forward.  Practice makes perfect, or at least practice makes better, right? 

So I am putting it out there:  I will continue working to finish this piece.  I will post my progress on Instagram @plainhollyjane and Facebook:  if you want to check in and help keep me accountable!  :)

And if it doesn't turn out the way I like, then I can try again, and again, and get the idea. 

So here is to taking my own advice! 

Do you have advice for overcoming fear of creating, or continuing a project?   

Friday, June 17, 2016

Remember When...

You know those commercials where a younger version of a person shows up to remind them of their childhood, and how great the snacks were?  (Here is an example, in case you need a reminder.)

Well, I was wondering if many of us adults have the same issue with creativity.

You know, as kids we probably all had some sort of art class in elementary school.  Maybe in middle school there were options or a general art class that everyone would take, just a semester maybe?  And high school...if you needed an elective, perhaps you took art, thinking it would be an easy fill-in class, and maybe you even enjoyed it when you were there.  But if you weren't planning on going into an art-related field you may have moved on to more social science, math, or literature classes.

Or maybe as adults we think we just don't have time for creating.  We get so busy making a living, caring for our families, looking after the needs of others, that we forget to care for ourselves.

I would like to remind you that we all have creativity.

Sometimes our fear keeps us from allowing it to come forward. We might have an idea, but a voice tells us, "not today."  Or maybe you hear, "you can't do THAT, you don't have those skills!"

I encourage you to start.  Maybe you pick up a pencil and a piece of paper from your printer, and try to sketch that tree in the back yard, or the coffee cup on the counter, or the window with the curtains catching the breeze.  Make it as simple or detailed as you like.  There is no wrong way.  As long as you try. I will be working to create the habit for myself.  To make an appointment with my creativity, to take time to doodle, sketch, or paint.

Fight off the fear with a swish of a pencil stroke.
Stop time for just a moment as you gaze out the window.
What detail captures your attention?
What holds your gaze?
Write it down,
Either in words or shapes.
Describe it with marks or letters.
Capture the moment.

Creativity is not just demonstrated in drawing. It has many ways to show itself...  Remember your creativity.

In what area of your life do you feel  most creative? Where do you feel least creative?  Please share with us, so we can encourage each other!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Choosing and Paring Down

I'm all for trying new things.

And I have tried a few.

Now I have to make some decisions.  Well, actually I am in the process of making some, and some have been made.  But anyway...

Back story

It was maybe a couple of years ago now, I was talking with a friend about the possibility of  a ladies' paint event at her church, and so I began researching materials, cost, etc.  A very short time later, I received a call from another friend saying that the artist she had booked for her daughter's bridal shower surprise paint party had cancelled last minute (about a week before the date), and would I be willing to step in?

Well, I had already researched prices, and though I hadn't ordered any supplies, I said yes I would, and placed a couple of orders for brushes, easels, and canvases.

That is how I happened into the paint event "business."
I have since done four other events, two ladies' events, a family paint afternoon, and a birthday party. 

And Now...

And while they were all great fun, I feel like it is an area I don't need to be focused on right now.  There are many businesses and instructors who fill this niche, and I am feeling the need to pull back and reassess where my focus should be.

With that being said,  I am looking to sell some of the materials I purchased for those events.  You can check out  my Facebook page for the details, and if you are interested in any or all - I will sell separately if you only want a couple - leave a comment here, on Facebook, or message/email me!  :)  (I also have quite a few used, but clean paintbrushes that I am looking to sell too)

I have 12 wooden table top easels

 12 aluminum table top easels
And a variety of aprons - many handmade, some with a couple of paint spots on

Friday, May 13, 2016

Star Wars - Imperial Assault Game Pieces

So there is this game out there, called Star Wars - Imperial Assault

It has game pieces that are different characters, and they come with no coloring, except for the plastic they are cast in - which for this particular set was either grey or tan. (You can see the base of each piece for the original color.)  The majority of pieces are about two inches tall, so I wasn't able to capture some of the smaller details on the figures.

These belong to a friend, who asked me to paint the characters for his game.  So here are some pictures of the progress, and a quick fly-by video at the end.   Here is a link to a series of tutorials for painting these figures, which I referenced often because, sorry Star Wars fans, I didn't know all of the characters so I had to do some research.:…