Artist Feature | Whitney Schlander

W h i t n e y  S c h l a n d e r

I first came across Whitney in our Marcy Cook feature. Marcy shared a quote that Whitney shared with her and I knew I wanted to reach out to her. The quote she shared was full of so much wisdom, love, and understanding of this industry--all of which are echoed in her interview here. I love when shares that her art is a contradiction of herself. This is something I will be unpacking for days in my own head. I challenge you to read her words and not think about what you are expressing with your art. Is your art saying something you can't? Is it repeating something you've already seen or heard? Is it an extension of yourself? Whatever it is, I hope it's from you--that is more than enough and will always be beautiful.  

Captured by Jackie Wonders and Whitney Schlander

 

Tell us about yourself. 

I’m Whitney, an artist/painter who just moved to Phoenix, Arizona. Painting and using my hands has always been a part of my life. I received my bachelor’s of art and then worked as the display coordinator for Anthropologie for 5 years. I moved into full time commissioned pieces from there.  The birth of my son propelled me into painting full time, and gave me the motivation to create. It became a form of healing, an outlet, something that felt so deeply necessary. 

What is your creative process? 

 If it is a commissioned piece, I speak with the client about color palette, composition, art that inspires them and go from there. For pieces I create outside commissions, I have ongoing images that I reference for inspiration, composition, etc. It is a lot more free form and organic. This is why my art is a contradiction for me. I am a very structured, planned, organized person and when it comes to my work, I can be inspired by something and I just start with no plan really. It’s like an insatiable energy arises and I have to act on it. Music is an absolute necessity for getting in the flow. 

Where do you find inspiration?  

Nature, light and travel are imperative. The newness of travel, how light affects our emotions and experiences, and how vastly beautiful nature is affects my work. I love researching other artists and seeing what they see--reading and skimming books and checking out new exhibits at galleries. 

What advice would you give to other artists pursuing a full time career in art? 

Just start. Start somewhere. Have a support system around you that will encourage you, that you can trust, that provide accountability. Fear isn’t always negative- it shows you care, it can fuel you, it can be channeled into something fruitful. 

This is a learning process, you aren’t supposed to know how to do everything. Ask questions, be patient with the process. Trust your gut, trust your instincts, trust the process. 

Being in the creative industry can be hard and sometimes draining. How do you manage a career as a creative entrepreneur? How do you recharge?

It’s taken me a while to learn when and where to take a moment and rest my hands. Time spent away can be just as productive as when you are creating. As a mother, introvert and artist, I have to be pretty structured with time. Having almost 2 hours alone in the morning is vital for my day. It’s early but worth it to read, journal, plan, sit in the quiet. Being able to manage also comes in the form of a support system- my husband, family, close friends and other artists. These are people who really know you, who can remind you why you started and why you are creating. 

Who are your favorite artists? 

   Jean-Michel Basquiat for his gesture + emotion 

   Joaquin Boz for his scale, depth, worn layers

   Cy Twombly - don’t even need a reason!

   Joan Mitchell because Joan Mitchell

   Claude Monet for his color palette, richness, quietness

   Willem de Kooning for his life and vibrancy

What is your favorite flower? 

Way too many! Hellebore, Scabiosa, Iris, Lilac, Ranunculus, and Anemones.

Currently reading and listening to?  

I read Streams in the Desert every morning. 

Listening to just about anything…Sufjan Stevens, Fleet Foxes, First Aid Kit, U2, Bon Iver, Jose Gonzalez, Hillsong/Bethel, and Coldplay.

What would you say to encourage the creative and artist communities? 

Brene Brown talks about coming from a place of abundance rather than scarcity. I think a lot of that is centered on this fear that there isn’t enough to go around, we aren’t enough, we will miss our chance at something, etc. I would encourage others to work at your pace, let the process happen, and give yourself a break. We are so critical of ourselves and others. Your work is meaningful, it matters, let it matter.

Lastly, where can we see or purchase your work? 

 Website: whitneyschlander.com 

 Instagram: @whitschlander 

Artist Feature | Jess Blazejewski

Jess Blazejewski

I first came across Jess' work on the world wide instagram. Her flowers captivated me through the screen and they triggered a memory in me. They reminded me why I fell in love with flowers. As a florist, it can become very easy to get desensitized and immune to beauty. I sometimes feel like I'm taking the view for granted and not fully taking it in at every chance. Don't get me wrong, I know flowers are beautiful and there are moments when they still take my breath away but those moments seem to be fewer and farther between. I'm sure the people who live in the town by the grand canyon feel the same way sometimes.   

I don't feel that way when I look at Jess' paintings. I see flowers differently and I fall in love with their beauty all over again. I see how she uses color and shapes, how she follows the curves of stems and creates fullness with petals, and I'm reminded (again) that flowers are truly one of our greatest gifts. 

Captured by Ruth Eileen Photography

Tell us about yourself.

I’m an artist painting in oils. I work out of my home studio, where I live with my husband and our toddler son just outside Boston, in Natick. I actually got my degree in Fine Arts (a decade ago! eep!) but I hadn’t really considered making art into my full-time career until after the birth of my son in 2014. So in one way, I have a lot of experience and training in this, and in another, it all feels very new to me again. Previous to this I was styling photoshoots for the wedding & lifestyle blog Style Me Pretty, and I love seeing that influence my process and work today. I’m still finding my way towards my truest work- I can feel that I’m circling around the edge of it. I adore flowers, which is what my current series “Flourish” is filled with, but I can already feel a desire to expand in the next series and add in the figure. 

Where do you find inspiration?  

I am actually inspired by such a wide of variety of things that I can get easily distracted! I have to pay close attention to catch that subtle gut clench for the things that are endlessly, timelessly inspiring to me (and not just trendy, or more someone else’s thing than my own), so now I have a running pinterest board to collect just my “core” inspiration for art. My inspiration tends towards the natural world mixed with an old world european aesthetic, with a pinch of dreamy romance. Period dramas always seem to get me in a painting mood :)

What advice would you give to other artists pursuing a full time career in art?

Just start. It’s going to be just as hard to take a leap later as it is now. Start where you are, with the materials available to you and the methods that feel easy and accessible. Know that fear is always part of it (at every stage!), and that feeling fear doesn’t mean that you’re not moving in the right direction- it usually means quite the opposite. Make the work that feels like a little bit like magic to you when you think about it, the ideas that feel very personal, that you’re scared you won’t be able to do justice. Work like you’re on a deadline, but with the knowledge that you’re probably going to be blindly feeling your way around for months-to-years. When you have a body of work you’re truly proud of, there are so many ways to go from there, whether you want to learn the business of selling directly to consumers or learn to navigate the gallery world.

My all-time favorite quote on getting started is from Ira Glass: “Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.” 

How are you inspired by flowers and nature?  

I love all the feminine curves of flowers and greens- no straight, masculine, geometric shapes for me! Natural stems make beautiful, organic compositions with an effortless sense of movement. One of my favorite things is when blooms overflow with petals and spill forth with this sort of luscious, layered beauty.

What is your favorite flower?  

Ooh, that’s a tough one! I think I have to go with peonies, because they’re just so plush and fragrant, followed by lilacs (that smell is heavenly!) and almost any kind of garden rose. 

Currently reading and listening to?   

“Start” by Jon Acuff- it’s the most motivating book ever, I swear! If you have anything in your heart you’ve been wanting to start on, you need to read this book yesterday. 

Lastly, where can we see or purchase your work?

You can find me on Instagram (@jessblazejewski) and purchase original paintings or prints on my website, jessblazejewski.com!

A Maine Vow Renewal

This past winter in a quiet town in Maine, Sharon and and her husband Jake renewed their vows. The intimate ceremony, captured by Elizabeth LaDuca, is featured on Cottage Hill Magazine and I felt so lucky to be apart of it.  

I think Beth said it best when she wrote, "We would love to tell their story to remind couples to reflect in quiet moments and cherish the slow growing trust that comes from a nourished marriage with a focus beyond the wedding day."  So good, Beth. :) 

Thank you to the amazing vendors who are committed to telling beautiful and honest stories through your art and businesses. It was an honor to work alongside you. 

Photography by Elizabeth LaDuca Photography | Planning/Design by Elizabeth LaDuca  | Bride, Sharon Luecke | Bride Wardrobe, Hackwith Design House and Elizabeth Suzann |Groom Wardrobe from Frank + Oak and Everlane | Paper by Chaz Cole of BRYLO Wed | Florals by True VineStudio | Rentals from Kadeema | Hair and Makeup by Stacia Makeup Artistry | Ceramics by Lara Cecilia | Napkins by The Everyday Co. | Jewelry from E. Scott Originals | Film Lab, PhotoVision Prints 

True Vine Studio
True Vine Studio
True Vine Studio
True Vine Studio
True Vine Studio
True Vine Studio
True Vine Studio
True Vine Studio
True Vine Studio
True Vine Studio
True Vine Studio
True Vine Studio
True Vine Studio
True Vine Studio
True Vine Studio
True Vine Studio
True Vine Studio

Tend Your Gardens

Happy Friday 

This week is brought to you by rain.

I may be wrong, but I don't think we've had a day in Boston since Memorial Day where it didn't rain at least once during the day. I'm thankful for rain, truly, but I like the sunshine more. I've done a lot of candle burning, tea making, and window gazing this week.  In between the rainy days, flowers were delivered to encourage a friend, the tech community in Boston is still the real MVP of True Vine Studios, and the June workshop is today! I'm looking forward to celebrating a sunnier weekend with everyone at the workshop.   

Do you journal? I never have but it's a habit I'm trying to form in the next few months. Everyone sings praises of how life giving it is, so I'm giving it a try! I like these journals. 

This new documentary series on Netflix. "Meet eight of the most creative thinkers and imaginative minds working in the world of art and design today..."  

These super cute stacking bowls. Florist friends, these would make fun vessels for smaller arrangements.

A new podcast, Masters of Scale. A lot of what I listen to has to do with how to army crawl through entrepreneurship. But! If you're a developer, a dreamer, a do-er, or just want to be better, I think you'll like this one too.   

These vintage flower prints.    

These gift boxes that give back. 

This artist from the southwest. She paints in the most extraordinary color palettes. Note: I am biased. She quite literally paints with all of my favorite colors. 

Photo via Lief Shop

 

Foodie Asylum Terrarium Workshop

On May 24th I taught a terrarium workshop at Foodie Asylum, a new shop right in Brookline, MA. They have the most amazing curated selection of specialty foods and gift boxes for those with an adventurous palette. On their shelves are things like charcoal jams, a spice rub that took ten years to make, and a favorite of mine, the thai curry nut butter. It was un. real. 

Guest were welcomed with a s p r e a d of appetizers all highlighting foods found in the store. Sella, the owner, made them herself and I am convinced she is the next Food Network Star. After appetizers we started our class and it was such a great time. Thank you to everyone that came and thank you Sella and Foodie Asylum for hosting!  

IMG_8046.JPG