Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Artist Spotlight: Contemporary Painter Patricia Derks

"I... Like you 2" by Patricia Derks, 120 x 100 cm.

Having the opportunity to peruse artwork from across the globe has introduced me to many genius artists, all with their own unique perspectives, but my recent discovery of contemporary painter Patricia Derks has certainly been one of the more impactful artists I've come across this year. I believe you will find Patricia's artwork bold and exciting, as well. 

Patricia Derks lives in the Netherlands where she paints daily and allows people and images to inspire her. In my recent interview with Patricia, I learn more about her creative aesthetic and bold use of color. Take a look at the interview below.

Artist Patricia Derks in front of her original painting "Never Dream Alone". - For sale.

"Lulu" by Patricia Derks, 100 x 120cm

Jacquin: I love your painting's rich and bold colors. How do you use color and color combinations to express yourself in your artwork?

Patricia: Color is one of my exit points in my work and is very important to me. I enjoy using strange color combinations and colors you don’t expect in a portrait, for example blue lips or green hair are frequently present, but they are still recognizable as portraits.

"Sisters" by Patricia Derks

"J'adore 3" by Patricia Derks

Jacquin: When did you realize you wanted to become a full time artists?

Patricia: Shortly after my studies at the Art Academie Arendonk in Belgium, where I learned how to paint in the classical style. I have been painting on a daily basis ever since and I have not looked back since. I worked to create my own painting aesthetic by utilizing a lot of color and most importantly to me, utilizng emotions in my artwork. It is very important to me to illustrate emotions through color.

Red" by Patricia Derks

Creative studio space of artist Partricia Derks of the Netherlands.

Jacquin: How has your artwork changed from when you first started to your current artwork now?

Patricia: I still make progress in my work even today because I am always searching for new challenges and trying to improve my paintings by using different paint and materials.

Jacquin: What is your favorite work of art you created at the moment?

Patricia: My last work "Memories 2", which is a work for a local expo Art Zaanstad taking place later this year in the Netherlands. (See below.)

Patricia's favorite work at the moment. | "Memories 2" by Patricia Derks

Jacquin: What inspires you creatively?

Patricia: Visiting museums and galleries both inland and abroad is very inspirational for me. My last visit was to the Jheronimus Bosch expo, who was a dutch artist who lived during the middle ages. The Internet is also a source for inspiration for me along with Pinterest, Artnet, Saatchi Art, and Styllink.

"Diva" by Patricia Derks, 100 x 120 cm

"Blue Dutch Girl" by Patricia Derks, 100 x 100cm

Jacquin: You're artwork is so bright and expressive. It would certainly brighten up any room. Do you enjoy decorating at home with your own artwork?

Patricia: My paintings are all over my home and the homes of my children too. They are also fans of their mother's work. It is so nice to see the younger generation appreciating my paintings, as well. Sitting on my couch and looking at my work, I can observe and see what to do differently next time, which also motivates me. That way I am constantly learning and improving daily. 

Patricia Derk's artwork in the home of the Derk's family. "Beauty" painting featured. 100 x 100cm

You can find Patricia Derk's artwork for sale on Saatchi Art Online. To learn more about Patricia and see some of her past works, visit her website here

Friday, April 22, 2016

Kate Spade's new Home Collection

Kate Spade New York has launched a beautiful new collection of home decor and furniture that I think you'll find both fun and inspirational. It's full of bright colors, polka dots, gold, and rich fabrics to match. Get ready to plan your Spring decorating refresh as you peruse Kate Spade's new line of home decor.

Drake Tufted Sofa - Kate Spade

Kate Spade has introduced a beautiful collection of brightly colored chairs with bold and feminine silhouettes. These are just a few of their amazing selections. You can see the rest of their furniture collection here. I can definitely say that Kate Spade's furniture line remains sophisticated while still having a whimsical flair. This is one of the reasons I love Kate Spade's designs so much, both their fashion accessories and home furnishings appeal to women of all generations.  

(Left) Worthington Chair (Right) Drake Slipper Chair - Kate Spade

Georgia Chest, Kate Spade

You'll also find gorgeous, dark wood furniture in this collection, which grounds a lot of the brighter shades featured in Kate Spade's upbeat, yet sophisticated home decor. The dressers (shown above and below) are absolutely stunning, not to mention Kate Spade's stunning dark wood coffee table shown toward the bottom of this post. 

(Right) Ellery Sconce - Kate Spade

Kate Spade's signature bow has popped up throughout this new collection, and I must say that it's a fun and feminine touch that I haven't seen before. This classic bow has even popped up in Kate Spade's new active wear line, for those of you who would love to sport a Kate Spade bow while working out

Afton Coffee Table, Kate Spade

(Left) Ellery Side Table (Right) Downing Desk, Kate Spade

The Elsie Lamp is my absolute favorite piece from Kate Spade's new home line. It also comes in a glamorous black & white design as well. I could see this table lamp in a chic office or glamorous master bedroom. 

Elsie table lamp in blush and turquoise, Kate Spade

Which is your favorite piece from Kate Spade New York's new home furnishing collection?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Home Tour & Interview with Producer Dru Ammons

Today's home tour segment features the charming family home of Dru Ammons, a producer for Brynn Creative production company as well as a blogger. I learned a lot about a career as a producer during our interview and I must say that it sounds like an exciting, fast-paced, and creative career. Get to know more about Dru Ammons while touring her lovely home below.

Jacquin: The production company Brynn Creative you work with sounds like a fantastic career. Can you share a a few details about your career as a producer? 

Dru: Production is such a specific field. We have all heard the word "producer" but not many know what it truly entails. I am the keeper of details, the coordinator, the problem solver and the executor of plans. I make sure all artists are confirmed for photo shoots, I handle location and/or studio details, work with the creative team on scheduling, and send out the shoot details. That is only a brief overview... since you guys don't have all day to hear me babble, HA!

Jacquin: How was your experience decorating your home?

Dru: I am still in the process… is anyone ever done?! I think with life your needs change from time to time. Before having my daughter Olivia we had a plan to re-furnish several rooms and then the nursery took precedent. ;-) I really don’t have a particular style, but I know like unique pieces. I decorate a lot like I dress, whatever I feel that day is what happens. Now that Olivia is almost walking, that will bring on a whole new set of changes. No complaints here, I love a new challenge and new direction!

Jacquin: What is your favorite space in your home?

Dru: This is a tough question, I honestly have several but would have to say my daughter’s nursery. I think her little spirit has made that space the best in the house. I decorated the nursery (with help from all my family due to being on bed rest) before she was born and now that I look at it, it fits her perfectly. Her energy is contagious and reflected in her little world. 

Production is such a specific field. We have all heard the word "producer" but not many know what it truly entails. I am the keeper of details, the coordinator, the problem solver and the executor of plans.
Jacquin: What is your favorite part about your career with Brynn Creative?

Dru: The amazing artists I work with. These people are the best in the world at their craft and I love learning and being inspired everyday. I also like that each job is a specific project There is a start and a finish to each project that I get to be a part of. 

Jacquin: What has been your favorite advertisement you produced so far?

Dru: My absolute favorite shoot was the CHANEL story we shot in my home town of Idalou, Texas. Seeing my life come full circle at that moment was insane. I never in a million years thought I would get to do what I love in the middle of a cotton field where I grew up. Another big plus was the photographer on the shoot was my dear friend Alistair Taylor Young, he's brilliant! (See below for photos from this shoot.)

My absolute favorite shoot was the CHANEL story we shot in my home town of Idalou, Texas. Seeing my life come full circle at that moment was insane. I never in a million years thought I would get to do what I love in the middle of a cotton field where I grew up!
Jacquin: Do you travel from time to time for your clients? What has been your most memorable travel experience on-location for Brynn Creative so far?

Dru: Last year I had a week of on location shoots in the Dallas area and we shot at a home that had been fully restored and was over 100 years old. It was the most amazing home! You could feel the memories walking around. This shoot was for a company that sells dog treats so we had a new dog on set every hour! Dogs really are man's best friend. It was such a wonderful experience to work with the animals while enjoying the history of the beautiful home. In addition, my brother was my Production Assistant for that week, which was fantastic. I had just found out I was pregnant and he made my job so much easier. It wasn’t the most extravagant shoot I have worked on, but it certainly had some of the most enjoyable elements! 

Jacquin: Since you're a Texas native, I must ask what your top recommendations are for visiting the area?

Dru: I would visit my college town of Lubbock, TX in the Fall and experience a Texas Tech Football game, have a margarita at Chimy's where I lived my glory days, and eat at Cagle Steaks where I worked during college. Also, definitley shop at CHROME, which is literally the best boutique you can imagine and they ship internationally!!! A few girls I went to college with are still the buyers there and they do an incredible job! Lubbuck, TX is the best city to just mosey around in the middle of nowhere!

Photography: Stormie Blain

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Artist Spotlight: Christiana Hedlund

Shadow work, 2015, Watercolor on paper, 20" x 28"

I'm exploring the artwork of Pacific Northwest artist Christiana Hedlund today. I really enjoyed learning about Christiana's international travels in pursuit of advanced painting training. What interesting experiences! Read on to see how these travels are represented in Christiana's works.

Jacquin: How does your local art scene in the Pacific Northwest inspire you? Do you have a community of artists locally that encourage and inspire you? What are your favorite sources for creative inspiration locally?

Christiana: I’ve found the NW has a really lovely community of artists that are diverse and open to sharing and collaborating. I went to art school here so I have many artist friends and mentors that are inspiring and encouraging me right in my own backyard. Here are some of my favorite sources for creative inspiration are: 

Moon gardening, 2015, Watercolor and gauche on paper, 14" x 10"

Jacquin: What inspired you to pursue art full time?

Christiana: I think pursuing art full time is my ultimate goal. Included in that goal is to eventually live out in the country, with a pack of dogs, a garden, and an art studio with north facing sky lights and infinite time to make art. But the truth is for most artists, myself included, is that making art full time isn’t really an option when you have to make a living too. So, I do my best to create as often as I can. I’m committed to making art forever because being creative is necessary for me to stay balanced, happy, and curious.

Color Studies 1, 2015,  Acrylic gauche on paper, 14" x 10"

Jacquin: What was the best thing about studying in France at the Studio Escalier? How was this educational experience different from your training in the United States? Is the process for teaching and developing one's artistry any different in France in your opinion?

Christiana: I’ve studied intensively with my teachers in France off and on for three years. Both in Paris and at their school in the countryside of the Loire Valley. The experience of studying 7-8 hours a day, 5 days a week, from life is the most intensive way of educating myself I’ve ever experienced. The atelier (classical drawing/painting workshop) system is about diving fully into the study of life/ representational art- its intense, meditative, and reflective. Its not for everyone but I really thrive off of that kind of environment. My teachers are dedicated to their craft and exude so much knowledge and care in their presentation of concepts and techniques. The knowledge they've shared with me truly is a gift.

The contemporary art education I’ve had in the U.S. is much more of an expansive learning environment. Nothing is gone into deeply like in an atelier. It’s more akin to taking a more broad survey of art and relationship to it. You’re constantly introduced to new artists, new techniques, new trends, new teachers, and constantly have to meet deadlines and have your work critiqued. Both styles of learning have their benefits and their drawbacks. To be more symbolic- contemporary art school is looking outward and an atelier is like going deeply inward.

Untangle, 2014, Watercolor and gauche on paper, 28" x20"

Jacquin: Tell us about your process when painting. What is your average day like?

Christiana: I usually start my day rising with the sun, doing some cuddling with my dog, and then having some coffee with my partner. I’ll then spend some time at my desk writing in my journal. Beginning with writing helps me sort out my dreams from the prior evening, helps me clarify whats happening with me internally/subconsciously, and gets me inspired for new ideas to paint.

Lately, I’ve been exploring more abstract ways of working and my process is very different than if I’m working realistically. Both methods of painting require me to be as present as possible. When I work from life I’m trying to absorb the essence of my sitter and translate that into the work. So I have to remain pretty quiet but “on,” and empathetic and open to what she/he is exuding. When I work abstractly I try to not let my mind interfere too much with my decision making and instead do my best to trust my intuitive direction.

Maribou, 2014, Graphite on paper, 22.5" x 16"

Jacquin: Oaxaca sounds like a unique and colorful place to study! How was your experience doing a residency in Oaxaca, Mexico instrumental in your career? What did you work on? How did you decide to travel to Oaxaca? What was your favorite thing about this residency?

Christiana: Oaxaca is a very, very special place to me. I first heard of Oaxaca when I was in middle school Spanish class. I still remember what the page of my textbook looked like introducing the region to us. I remember it saying that Oaxaca was the cultural epicenter of Mexico. I knew that I needed to go there and the word “Oaxaca” kind of haunted me for years until I finally went.

A couple years back I made my first visit to Oaxaca for a month. Then my next visit I stayed for four months. And I’m guessing on my next visit I’ll never come back ;). While I was there I worked on large scale water color portraits of the women of Oaxaca. It began with a portrait of a pregnant woman who later became my friend named Fatima. Then, it was Juanita an elderly Zapotec woman who sold beans and other dried goods at the local farmers markets outside of the city. And finally, of my friend Gloria a young woman who worked at the casa I stayed at.

I think my favorite thing about the residency was the experience of being so engaged and committed to the paintings I was making. I worked on those paintings for months and sometimes from dawn till dusk every day. Each of those paintings were real labors of love in an attempt to honor the women who sat for me.

Juanita, 2014, Watercolor on paper, 40" x 34"

It began with a portrait of a pregnant woman who later became my friend named Fatima. Then, it was Juanita an elderly Zapotec woman who sold beans and other dried goods at the local farmers markets outside of the city. And finally, of my friend Gloria a young woman who worked at the casa I stayed at.

Jacquin: What are you most looking forward to as you continue to grow as a professional artist? What goals do you have for yourself as you continue?

Christiana: I’m looking forward to the paintings that haven’t been made yet. I’m looking forward to the next painting I make that leaves me with endless questions. I’m looking forward to being an old lady and passing on the knowledge that making art has taught me. I think making that full circle from student to teacher would be really gratifying/ rewarding. I’m looking forward to connecting with new people aesthetically. My goals right now are to keep being open to experimentation and to be okay with the not knowing.

Artist Christiana Hedlund

You can find Christian Hedlund's latest works of art at her website here

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Creative Program for Artists!

**ONLY 3 SPOTS LEFT!** I'm excited to announce the launch of a new program for creative artists! If you're currently a developing artist, an aspiring artist, or an artist who hasn't created any artwork in a while, then this is the program for you! I've been painting at home and getting back into the swing of working with oil paints and it has been so inspiring and rewarding! I want to inspire other aspiring artists (and individuals who need to dust off their paints) to get busy creating and what better way to do this, than with the encouragement and support of other creative artists. 

Creating artwork daily is one of the best ways to grow as an artists, but this can be difficult to commit to. Through this FREE 8-week program you will work along side a partner who is also working to develop their artistry, and they will encourage you to keep creating! This program is also open to any artist interested in a fun artwork-exchange.

Over the course of this program, participants will create 4 original works of art (half page sized) to mail to their assigned partner. You will be creating and exchanging a work of art with your assigned partner every two weeks during the course of this 8 week program. This will be just the practice you need to help develop you as an artist! You will have the opportunity to discuss your works and encourage one another through guided questions over email. 

You will be surprised by the inspiration you will receive from exchanging artwork with other developing artists. Join the challenge and start creating!

Application deadline: Friday, May 6th (2016)

Materials required: The only materials required for this program are art supplies, postage for mailing your artwork, and 9"x12" specialty art paper (e.g. canvas paper, watercolor paper, drawing paper - computer paper NOT allowed)

APPLY HERE! - Program will admit 16 participants, first come first serve. (U.S. participants only at this time.)
If you live internationally and you'd like to participate in the future, please email me and let me know. I am putting together an international wait list.

Monday, April 4, 2016

10 Ways to Achieve Scandinavian Style at Home

A very popular look on the global interior design scene, Scandinavian and Nordic décor is characterized by minimal use of decorations, abundance of white and neutral tones, balance and stability, harmony with nature, and a strong emphasis on functional over aesthetic. This beautiful yet simple design style achieves a bright and minimalist look for those seeking more simplicity in life. 

The embodiment of sophistication, simplicity, and Nordic charm, Scandinavian interiors are furnished with neutral-colored furniture with clean, straight lines, and the decorative details are deployed in a pared-down way, usually have a purpose beyond sheer visual interest. To add a touch of minimalism to your life, try decorating with Scandinavian style. Here are 10 simple ways to add a Scandinavian feel to your home.

1. Clean and crisp white
Nordics paint their homes white from the walls to the ceilings, even utilizing white furnishings and white-washed floorboards to bring warmth to their homes, especially since they are in a location with long winters and limited hours of natural light. In addition to maximizing light reflection, white and neutral colors produce a sense of unity with the environment and reflect the Northerners’ no-nonsense attitude to life. This spring season, crisp white furniture and decorative accents will allow colorful fresh flowers to pop in your home. 

2. Ground it with wood 
Floors in Northern homes are usually made from hardwood such as oak, cherry, poplar, and other lighter woods. (Despite long winters, carpeting never really gained much popularity in this part of the world.) To achieve a well-grounded Scandinavian ambiance, pull back carpets and let your floorboards shine: this will also provide a subtle contrast with all-white walls and furnishings.

3. Let there be light 
To maximize natural light, Northerners often leave their windows bare or outfit them with plantation shutters to let in the sunshine. Blackout blinds are commonly found in Nordic homes as they provide an additional layer of insulation in the window area where heat leaks are typically greater than elsewhere on the premises.

4. Charming Nordic lighting 
Indoor lighting a la style Scandinavian can be achieved by the introduction of innovative lamps and modernist pendant fixtures. A designer table lamp or suspended fixture in a cozy reading nook will add a nice aesthetic touch, while seamlessly merging with functionality.

5. Faux fur throw for a touch of warmth & glamour 
For a snug Scandinavian reading spot, grab an elegant faux fur throw and fold it over your favorite armchair. These faux fur throws will look great in your home year round, even in the warmer spring and summer months. You'll never know when you need a throw blanket to warm up from the air conditioning. Faux fur throws are also evocative of forbidding Nordic winters and long nights by the fireplace, making a sheepskin, shaggy blanket, or a faux fur throw the perfect addition for a Scandinavian styled space.

6. Nature gracefully sneaking inside 
Potted plants and similar organic elements can also be incorporated into a Scandinavian inspired space to liven up the down-to-earth ambiance, without compromising on function and minimalism. Large succulents can be placed in a corner or next to the writing desk. Cacti will also look at home against a Scandinavian backdrop.

7. A chic wooden element 
Wooden stools will coordinate well with hardwood flooring, exposed beams, and the rest of the Nordic décor. Low coffee tables in dark tones topped by a bunch of flowers can be deployed in the living room to create a focal point without the need for other aesthetic details.

8. Go for modular designs 
Practicality and minimalism are the main features of Scandinavian homes, and multifunctional furnishings and modular pieces are often used to mimic the straightforward yet stylish Nordic vibe. Danish interior decorators are very fond of adjustable, stackable, or convertible furniture, as it allows them to minimize the spatial footprint and achieve an airy, clutter-free Scandi feel.

9. Low beds are in 
In the bedroom, Scandinavian homeowners usually opt for lower platform or floor bedding, and sleeping areas are often outfitted with linens in neutral hues such as muted blue, pink, or beige. You can even leave your Nordic bed unmade or gently crumpled, as neat and polished Northerners love a lived-in feel in their homes.

10. Armchair for comfort 
A white or light yellow armchair can be placed in the living room to spruce up the mood and add a cute cozy touch to Nordic elegance. A perfect place to curl up with a good book and your favorite refreshing drink, a comfy armchair will pair well with the neat décor and add a bit of visual interest to the muted Scandinavian backdrop.


1. Giesen leather chair - this handsome armchair will add style to any space!
2. LEAF floor lamp or table lamp - designed by Broberg & Ridderstrale
3. Faux fur "Shadow Fox" Dark Grey throw blanket

Simple, sleek, and above all functional, Scandinavian design does away with needless ornaments and ungainly clutter, focusing on the necessary and practical elements rather than multitude of colors and textures. That is what we all need in our lives now and again, after all: a return to the basics and a fresh outlook on décor, free of distractions and artificial charm.

Author bio: Zoe Clark is a journalist, freelance stylist and blogger. She is a visual storyteller and aesthetician by heart who often writes about decorating and DIY ideas. She loves sparking creativity in people and giving them ideas for their own space.