Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Blue Cactus and Florals

Yes, I am still here! I've slowed down on posting because summer is just busy and I've got to make some time for fun! Like painting drippy blue cacti 💙💙💙

Drippy Blue Cactus Painting by Elise Engh

I bought these large square frames from the thrift store about a year ago.  They had some old photograph prints in them, but they were black and white- not my style. I need color!  So I ended up priming the backing boards that came with the frames and then painted some fun cacti and flowers with acrylic paints. 

Which cactus version do you like better? 

The instagram consensus is the more realistic one and I have to agree.  But the drippy one was sooooo much fun to paint! Watered down acrylics act a lot like watercolors.

Blue Cactus Paintings- Two different Styles by Elise Engh
Art Studio with Blue Cactus Paintings: Elise Engh

The last board I attempted some blue flowers in a sort of half watercolor/ half acrylic style.  It was an adventure to play with paint that way and I learned so much, even if I don't love the final outcome.  It's all about the process!!

Blue Floral Art: Grow Creative Blog

Monday, June 5, 2017

8 Creative Art Projects to Try With Your Kids This Summer

It's the beginning of summer and that means freedom! It also means that school-aged kids are transitioning from having a full-scheduled-day to having lots of free time.  I don't know about you, but I have to make a summer fun list to keep my son busy doing things besides watching t.v.

8 Creative Art Projects for Kids: Grow Creative Blog

Our summer fun list includes fun outings, science experiments, and of course, art projects!  I have compiled a list of eight creative art projects that you can try with your kids.  These are all kid-friendly art projects that I pulled from my own blog archives.  Most of these projects are relatively inexpensive too.  As long as you've got some paper, watercolor or acrylic craft paints, recyclables, and some tape, you are good to go!

Draw shapes on paper, cover them with cool tape and cut the shapes out! This should provide at least an hours worth of entertainment and the crazier tape patterns you have, the better.

Cool Tape Art Project for Kids: Grow Creative Blog

Garbage Bots

Make use of those cans, cardboard boxes, juice lids, and milk caps.  Assemble your own garbage bots with the help of some hot glue and googly eyes!

Make garbage bots out of recyclables: Grow Creative Blog

Printing with Flowers

If you've got a nature loving kid, you are in luck! Or if you just have a kid who likes to whack things with hammers- you'll be happy with this project.  You can make prints of flowers and leaves on paper by smashing them with your fingers or a hammer.  It's so fun to experiment with all kinds of plants.

Make flower prints by smashing flowers onto paper: Grow Creative Blog

Stamping with Watercolors

Did you know that you can use paint on your rubber stamps?  You can cover them with watercolor paints or watered-down acrylics then press them to your paper.  Let the kids have fun making patterns- they'll love it!

Stamped Watercolor Paper Patterns Art Project: Grow Creative Blog

Abstract Watercolors

This project requires some rubber cement and a little bit of patience, but your kids will be amazed at the masking effect that is revealed when they pull off the dried rubber cement.  This one is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

Abstract Watercolor Art Project with rubber cement: Grow Creative Blog

Straw Painting

Experiment with different ways to move and apply paint on paper.  Let your kids strengthen their lungs by blowing through straws to move wet paint in crazy patterns across the paper.  So fun!

Straw Blowing Watercolor Art Project: Grow Creative Blog

Hard and Fuzzy Friends

These projects falls more into the craft category, but I still count it as art.  Paint rocks and glue googly eyes to them.  Or glue pom poms to a popsicle stick to make some cute little furry friends!

Painted Rock Pet Kid Craft: Grow Creative Blog

Pom Pom Caterpillar Kid Craft: Grow Creative Blog

Drawing Game

I don't have a tutorial for this one, but I posted the rules for this fun game on my Instagram Feed last week.

Have your child start a drawing on a plain piece of paper.  Take turns adding different elements to the scene.  This can be a purely aesthetic work of art or it can turn out like ours did- like a crazy fun story!

Drawing Game for Kids: Grow Creative Blog

Do you have any fun art projects that you like to do with your kids? Please share in the comments!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Loose Watercolor Florals

I'm back with more flowers!  Once you get going, it's hard to stop :)

Two watercolor flower paintings by Elise Engh
Two watercolor flower paintings by Elise Engh

I've been working hard at painting loose and wet florals.  I just love that look! I don't like dry brush marks or hard lines.  It can be tricky because you have to learn how to paint precisely and quickly.  I've learned that it's easier to paint this way on a smaller scale and that the right paper helps a lot! 

These two 5x7 floral paintings are now in my Etsy Shop...... so check them out!

loose watercolor flowers painting by Elise Engh
Pink Watercolor Flowers

loose watercolor flowers painting by Elise Engh
Pink Watercolor Florals

Thursday, May 25, 2017

How I Got Started in Art Licensing + Tips To Get You Going

Hi guys! This post is for all you artists!

Today I want to talk about art licensing, how I got my feet wet in the art licensing world, and give you a few tips on getting started with licensing your own work.  Licensing can be intimidating because it involves negotiations, legal documents, contracts, and in some artist's cases, lawyers (yikes) but you can take it one step at a time and figure things out as you go. That's what I did!

Learn how I got started licensing my own art plus get some savvy art business tips to get yourself going in the art licensing field! by Grow Creative Blog

So here's how I got started:

My first licensing opportunity came to me through Etsy- actually ALL of my art licensing opportunities have come to me through Etsy. It's the best place to get discovered- in my opinion :)

In 2014, a design company asked me about licensing my pink feathers watercolor painting for some packaging for beauty products. I didn't know a thing about licensing at that time, so I dived into the internet for some serious research. The design company was negotiating with a few other artists simultaneously, so it was a little scary! I didn't end up getting that deal because the client went with the cheapest bid and another artist underbid me... boohoo.  At least I was confident that I had not undersold my work- thanks to my research! Plus I learned a lot just from the communication back and forth with the design company. It prepped me for future negotiations. It was a valuable experience!

A year later I was contacted by a company that manufactures artwork for Hobby Lobby.  They liked my pink feathers too and this time I landed the deal! Over the past few years, I've worked with them and get paid 3% of the wholesale price of each product that they manufacture and sell to Hobby Lobby with my artwork on it.  It's not a ton of money per item, but when they manufacture a lot of prints at once, it adds up quickly.  So it's not a bad deal!

Then last fall came another big break, I was contacted by a nice lady at the Anthropologie Beauty Department! Dream come true! I drool over Anthro stuff all the time. This deal was a flat fee payment for the design of and exclusive use of three vintage car illustrations for two years.  I worked really hard on the illustrations and made a nice chunk of change on that deal, plus I get to add that to my resume!

Because of the contacts I have made, I continue to have opportunities to license my watercolor art.  It just snowballs after you get going.

Now for the good stuff, the tips!

Learn how I got started licensing my own art plus get some savvy art business tips to get yourself going in the art licensing field! by Grow Creative Blog

1: Do some market research.
Even though you might feel like you are selling out as an artist by doing this, not many of us artists can survive without following current trends and painting what people like. Get on Pinterest and follow your contemporaries on Instagram.  Check out what is selling at the stores that you want your art to be in! This will get your wheels spinning.

2: Create a good body of work.
Spend some quality time creating quality work. Create and create some more! Realize that not everything you make is going to be a masterpiece and be ok with that.  Let yourself be free to experiment because those experiments can give you your best ideas.

3: Get your stuff online.
This is one of the most critical steps. The more you get your work on the web, the more likely you are to be found! Open an Etsy shop, post your work on a blog, maintain an Instagram account, and pin your work as you create it. It took years of putting my work online consistently before I ever got a contact, so be patient too. Consistency is key here.  If you are continually creating work and showcasing it online, you will get your name out there.

4: Educate yourself.
While you're waiting for your ship to come in, learn all you can about licensing. Understand the different kinds of licenses (i.e. exclusive and non-exclusive contracts).  Determine what you would charge for your work with each type of license. Check out this art licensing article to get some savvy pricing advice.

5: Practice your business communication skills.
This is another way that Etsy prepared me for negotiating with licensors.  I often paint custom artwork for my Etsy customers so I get to practice my professional communication skills on a regular basis as we work out the details of commissions and agree on prices.  All the back-and-forth might feel like a pain, but you NEED to know how to communicate professionally. It's good for you!
So take on commissions, submit your work for shows or contests, and take every opportunity to build your communication skills.  They are so very very valuable!

So that's my two-cents on licensing. I am no expert, but I have learned a few things so far and I hope you find them helpful!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Soft Watercolor Floral Set

framed watercolor flower painting: grow creative blog

Yesterday I painted these three little beauties. I love them all lined up together in white frames!
they are for sale as a set! See them in my Etsy Shop.

three framed watercolor flower paintings: grow creative blog
pink watercolor roses painting by Elise Engh: grow creative blog
three framed watercolor flower paintings: grow creative blog

Painting loose florals like these require some speedy painting or some paper that doesn't absorb water quickly.  I think Arches paper is probably best, but I'm always too cheap to splurge on that stuff.  I was able to get some pretty decent loose, soft flowers with canson watercolor paper..... and it's much much cheaper!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Finger Painting with Oils!

 For once, it's not watercolors!  It's oils!

oil flower paintings: grow creative blog
oil flower painting: grow creative blog

My artist sister-in-law ( Emily Engh) showed me the work of an oil painter (Iris Scott)  who paints with her fingers (with gloves on of course) and we decided to try out the oil finger painting technique ourselves.  It's been for-ev-er since I've painted with oils.  These floral paintings are what came out of our experiment session!

Back in college I fell in love with oil painting because of the richness of the paints and the amazing textures you can create.  I thought I would be an oil painter forever.... haha! 

Now that I'm primarily a watercolor artist, I don't use oils very often, but I still have a thing for oils. There were my first love, after all.  

Check out these textures!

oil floral textures: grow creative blog
oil flower paintings: grow creative blog
oil flower painting: grow creative blog

Monday, May 15, 2017

Photos of the Week

I've always thought of it as a special gift for women that flowers come out just in time for Mother's Day.  My front-yard poppies gave me a little present this year and popped out just in time!

coral poppy flower: grow creative blog

The wildflowers came out too, so I went on a little excursion to collect them :)

orange globemallow wildflowers: grow creative blog

Monday, May 8, 2017

Photos of the Week

It finally feels like spring here in Utah! We took advantage of it with two mountain hikes and a lunch-date walk by the Lindon Marina at Utah Lake.  I need to meet Eric for lunch walks more often :)

If you can brave the gnats, the lake has some beautiful views to offer........ but ya........ bugs! We couldn't get too close to the shore without getting eaten.  So it's best to view from a distance!

My life feels like a whirlwind right now, constantly moving with little time to stop.  The custom painting orders keep coming- which is awesome! And we are in the process of landscaping our big back yard. It's time consuming, but we are working toward our dream and we are loving it.

I thought I would be dreading Mother's Day once again this year.  No leads on the adoption front, so we are still a one-child-family.  But I've felt such peace in my life.  It's a great blessing to feel content even if life isn't perfect.  I am so happy these days and my life is full of good things!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Fruits of Spring Cleaning

It's Spring! Time for some upheaval and cleaning.  I'm of the opinion that a little upheaval now and then is healthy for you.

Spring cleaning for me means going through old paintings in my art cupboard.  I collect so many experiments that most of them end up getting recycled into tags or cards. Here are some of the fun cut-outs my latest studio spring cleaning produced.  My favorite pieces are the pineapples!

Pineapple Watercolor Cut-outs: Grow Creative Blog
Watercolor Fruit Cut-outs and cards: Grow Creative Blog
Watercolor Cut-out Cards: Grow Creative Blog

After much cutting, paper punching and gluing, I created quite the stack of cards. I'm all set for this year now!

Watercolor Cut-out Cards: Grow Creative Blog
Watercolor Cut-out Cards: Grow Creative Blog

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Farmhouse Style Watercolor Cows

A friend of mine got me thinking about painting cows.......... not such a bad idea! 

With farmhouse style making a big scene, I think cows are a good thing to get into right now.  They can be cute, especially if you paint them with flowers and put them in a distressed frame.

Brown Watercolor Cow with Flowers by Elise Engh: Grow Creative Blog
Brown Watercolor Cow with Flowers by Elise Engh: Grow Creative Blog
Farmhouse Style Watercolor Cows with Flowers by Elise Engh: Grow Creative Blog

I think watercolor cows can be cute even without flowers.  I'm getting into painting with browns and grays, which is unusual for me. I'm all about bright colors, but sometimes I find so much satisfaction from painting with purple or blue tinted browns.  I've been discovering just how many shades of brown and gray there are......... infinite! 

Isn't color miraculous? I rediscover that miracle every time I paint.

watercolor cow painting by Elise Engh: Grow Creative Blog

Friday, April 21, 2017

Vintage Car Soap Illustrations

I have exciting news!!!

Vintage Car Soap Illustrations designed for Anthropologie by Elise Engh

I've partnered with Anthropologie to design some fun summer soaps!!! I just got my samples in the mail today! 

Last fall, a nice lady from the Anthropologie Beauty Department contacted me about creating some illustrations for their soap program.  At first I thought it was a joke-- I love that store--- how did they find me?! I replied and said yes, I'd love to work with you guys! Then the ball got rolling and I got to work sketching, painting, scanning, emailing, etc.

It was a ton of work, but oh so worth it!! 

yellow VW van illustration by Elise Engh: Grow Creative Blog

After a couple of months and many many revisions later, I handed over three large watercolor and ink vintage car illustrations in digital form to Anthropologie!  They put them on their soap packaging and now they are being sold in their online store and some of their brick-and-mortar stores too.  These little babies will be in all 215+ Anthropologie stores this summer!  I can't wait to see them at the City Creek store in Salt Lake City!!

Ok, enough exclamations, time for some photos....

Mint Wagoneer illustration by Elise Engh: Grow Creative Blog

Vintage Car Soap Illustrations designed for Anthropologie by Elise Engh
Pink convertible watercolor illustrations by Elise Engh
Vintage Car Soap Illustrations designed for Anthropologie by Elise Engh


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