The talented artist, Mr. Harrison Howard


A couple of months ago, I was reading one of my favorite design blogs, Peak of Chic, and came across a post on the work of artist Harrison Howard. His style, use of color and obvious talent left an indelible impression on me. I left a comment on the post and was surprised to find that Harrison himself emailed to thank me for it! Sometimes, I find that some talented people can be a bit prone to be impressed with themselves or exude an attitude of entitlement or lack of consideration for others. I sensed none of this from Mr. Howard and was so pleased that he would take the time to acknowledge my comment. He seems to be a very warm and genuine man, seemingly unaware of the talent he possesses and completely unaffected and down to earth. This is certainly one of those instances where you admire or respect the work of someone more established and developed and think, gosh, I'd love to attain to that level of professionalism! Mr. Howard was kind enough to let me "interview" him and feature the man and his work as one of my "Artist's Portraits" here on Annechovie.

Harrison's lovely wife, Lou Ann and son, Alec,
at Harrison's show opening at Thiele and Sons Gallery, La Jolla, CA

"The Greeting" from his Shell and Flower People Series

"The Letter Writer"

Harrison's resume boasts commissions from some of America's most prestigious decorating firms, such as McMillen, Irvine & Fleming and was hired by Pamela Banker (later of Parish-Hadley). His work has appeared in Architectural Digest and also graces many prestigious residences, such as those of the Vanderbilts, Firestones, DuPonts, Goodyears and stars like Kirstie Alley, as well as the Royal Saudi Embassy in Virginia.

"Beautiful IV" from his Shell Series

"Yellow Tree" from the Shell Series

Shells By The Sea

Scripps Park, La Jolla, California

Harrison says that much of his professional career has been devoted to mural work in private houses, and has included screens, panels, easel paintings, and watercolors. Primarily, his work has focused on decorative themes including architectural subjects, chinoiseries, and scenics, often with bird, animal or floral motifs. He has worked extensively with alkyd paints, oil paints, and to a lesser extent, acrylics.

His father, Wing Howard, was also an artist, and is known to many in San Diego, where Harrison now lives, through the murals he painted in the Whaling Bar of the La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla. Harrison started his career at the age of 19 with a one-man exhibit at the upstairs gallery owned by Ross Thiele & Sons Interiors, then located on Prospect Street in La Jolla. All but one of the 24 available watercolors were sold. Since that time Harrison has worked primarily as a freelance artist. Today, Harrison has returned to a focus on smaller paintings, and is now producing limited edition giclee prints of many of these paintings as well.

Harrison resides in gorgeous San Diego, California with his lovely wife, Lou Ann, and teenage son, Alec.

"The Yellow Sail" from his Chinoiserie Series

"The Departure"

Where were you born?I was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania to the west of Philadelphia a few miles.

What is your artistic background schooling?
I spent three years at the School of Fine Arts at Boston University in the early seventies studying painting, and later I received a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design at Art Center College in Pasadena, CA. That program involved a lot of drawing and industrial model building.

What are your earliest memories of being involved making art or wanting to be an artist?My father was a professional artist, although largely self taught, and I never gave any serious consideration to doing anything else. Drawing and painting were a very big preoccupation from the age of five onward, but the results really were rarely anything to suggest that I would choose to be an artist. In hindsight I think I was very close minded about considering alternatives, because there are a lot of other interesting things to do. However, at my present stage of life, I have no more regret about my choice than a parent feels about having their children. I would say my father influenced me more than any formal art training, and the interests that both my parents had in art and traveling.

What inspired you most as your subject matter? Does living near/on the Coast influence your work a lot?
I’m interested in fashion illustration, stage set design, children’s book illustration, decorative and fine art in general, and all of those subjects are sources of inspiration, but in the final analysis I think there’s nothing more dependable than your own imagination, and the things around you in every day life. We have mostly antiques in our house, and they have repeatedly served as props in my paintings. Many of those things conjure ideas that would no doubt seem a big stretch to another person. I do live very close to the Pacific Ocean, and I enjoy that very much, but I don’t really think it has influenced my frame of mind a great deal.

What are some of your favorite things that are essential to your success/well-being as a person and artist?
I think the fact that you ask that question is particularly a reflection on your own personality Anne, which strikes me as exceptionally happy and upbeat, and that shows in your paintings. My wife and seventeen year old son are without question at the core of my well being, as well as my recollections of my parents, who are no longer alive, and my friends and other family members. The fact that I make my living as an artist gives me great satisfaction, because I enjoy immensely what I do. Contrary to the stereotype of artists as tormented souls, I am convinced that artists must enjoy what they do if they want to produce worthwhile results, even if in some cases they may not be particularly happy the rest of the time. The only things that really torments me are all my bills.

Where would you live if you could live anywhere?I would move back and forth between Europe and this country.

What are the most challenging things for you about being an artist?
I think I could speak for the overwhelming majority of full time artists in saying that making a living that meets my family’s needs is the biggest challenge. There’s also always that sense that the next painting is going to be better than the one before it.

Which artists have influenced your work the most?What I find odd is that some of the artists I like the most are not necessarily the ones, who have always influenced me the most. My father, Wing Howard, who taught me to use watercolor, was the most influential, although my paintings are quite different from his. I’ve been influenced by Jean Pillement, Lisbeth Zwerger, (the Austrian illustrator), Kay Nielsen, Charles Doyle, (father of Arthur Conan Doyle), Helen Dryden, (the art deco fashion illustrator), Jean Hugo, and J. J. Grandville. There are many others, not necessarily widely known.

I want to offer my most sincere thanks to Harrison for sharing more about himself and his work with us and encourage you to visit his beautiful site where his museum-worthy works and prints are available for purchase. He also accepts commissions!


I'd like to introduce you to Manhattan based artist Kerry Irvine. I first discovered her colorful work via my exposure to decorator Eileen Kathryn Boyd. She has graciously agreed to share more about herself here.
Where were you born?
 I was born in Huntington, Long Island and at 23 years old I moved to Manhattan where I currently live.
What would you take if your house was burning down?
Logically, my Mac would be the smartest thing to grab as I made my quick escape. It contains all of my cherished pictures of family and friends  as well as  a record of all the art I have created in the last ten years or so.  It would be the easiest thing for me to carry as I maneuvered my way  down the fire escape from my second floor apartment. Additionally, I would probably receive minimal eye rolling from my local fire fighting friends  as I emerged with fairly light hands. 
I do  have a " fantasy escape" too. In it, the fire would be of very little danger, small and slow burning.  I would have enough time to toss all of my canvases, art supplies and heaps of clothing and shoes into the open arms of the fire fighters below. One might scream up to me "Don't forget the vintage leopard coat we all love so much!"  I'd put on all my good jewelry,  a brave smile and gallantly climb down into the cheering crowds who were still holding all of my belongings. Then a moving truck would whisk me off to some church basement or school gym which I would promptly re decorate for them as I waited for some gorgeous new apartment to materialize
Your favorite book?
When I am blocked or need an escape, I find solace in books of all genres.  Often I will  follow an author through every book they have ever written. Here are a  few of my favorites :
 I love the dry, sardonic humor of Davis Sedaris,the soulfulness of C.S. Lewis.and  the wit and the weirdness of  Chuck  Palahniuk . I find Tennessee Wiliams to be  deeply thought  provoking and often tragically autobiographical.  Joan Juliet Buck is someone I discovered when I was eighteen,  I was fascinated to learn she had also  been the Editor in Chief at French Vogue.  I get lost in biographies  and autobiographies  of all kinds ("Life" by Keith Richards is fantastically entertaining and irreverent all the way through) I love the  the stacks of art,music  and photography  books I have collected over the years and use them for reference constantly.  I will also admit to sitting on the beach and  escaping into the world of  "Twilight" .....Yes, I know what you're thinking, but maybe I'll call that "research" .....

If you could have only 1 last meal, what would you want on the menu?
 I am not much of a foodie and I can barely make toast. My small Manhattan kitchen has become my art studio and my unused stove, a work table. Sounds  hazardous but if I were to attempt to cook for you, there would be real danger.  Obviously, I eat out a  a lot.  If possible, I would do a tasting menu made  up of all of  my favorite restaurants. I would start with The West Coast Gigi salad from The Palm. Then I would dig into their Surf   'n' Turf  where they do all the lobster cracking  for you.  Next, I would inhale the Cavatelli Pugliesi from Grano in the West Village and a few bites of  delicious turkey burger from Tavern on Jane. Hopefully an Ilegal Mezcal Margarita would  be delivered to me along the way.  Dessert would be the decadent chocolate bread pudding  from my friend Janet French's Preston Street Gourmet. My night cap would be  at another neighborhood  favorite,Highlands  in the West Village. While sipping a Jameson with friends, I would have to wonder  "Why was  that was my last meal ?"...… 

Do you prefer hot weather or cold? 

   I find inspiration for my paintings in all seasons and weather conditions. A warm summer day at the  beach would be a more preferable place to set up and paint, but a snowstorm can be just as beautiful to watch unfold. 

Favorite artists?

I am and continue to be so inspired by so many different artists. It is so important to always be looking at other peoples art and to continue to feed your eyes. Some of my favorite painters are:  De Kooning, both Willem and Elaine. Rothko, Arthur Dove, Matisse, Kahlo, Modigliani,Van Gogh Kandinsky, O'Keeffe, Botticelli,Klimt, Joan Mitchell, Lee Krasner and the list goes on.....Living artists would be Helen Frankenthaler, Emily Mason, Jennifer Bartlett, Wolf Kahn, Kara Walker, my sister Michelle Irvine Schleider and two of my mentors Stan Brodsky and Catherine P Mac Donald.

 Most importantly, my biggest influence and favorite artist is my late mother, Toni Wagner Irvine.  She lovingly  showed me how to open my eyes and use  the world around  me as my  palette.  I see her  love of  life and color in every brush stroke I make.

Pet peeve? 
I am infuriated by closed minded individuals who are unwilling to evolve emotionally, morally and intellectually. Change is hard, but necessary for growth. 
 I also get a little upset by dried up paint I forgot to store correctly.
Best childhood memory?
I have an excellent memory, often remembering moments my sisters have long forgotten. One of my favorites is the summer days  we spent painting on long sheets of  unrolled butchers paper, spread across  the backyard  lawn by my mom. My four sisters and I would spend  hours painting away and  without a care in the world.  Some of us  took it more seriously than others, who seemed to paint on everything but the paper ; i.e., the lawn, each other, the dog. 
No matter what, she would always gush over our creations and crown us "creative geniuses". 
Then she would thoroughly hose us down. 
Favorite travel destination? 
I am a big fan of long sandy beaches with warm turquoise colored water. Hawaii is a favorite place I am lucky to have visited many times. Bali, a little more difficult to get to, but equally as beautiful.

Favorite shop?
For art supplies:  Guerra Paint and Pigment in East Village, NYC,  Pearl Paint and Utrecht (available on line).I also love a good tag sale. You can sometimes find canvases that are still in amazing shape. Cover them up with a few coats of gesso and you have an "almost new" canvas to work on.  
For  clothing : For amazing and original pieces I shop at a home town favorite, Rexer Parkes in Huntington, Long Island.  When I've got some cash or they are having one of their awesome sales, Barneys on Madison Avenue in  NYC is wonderful. The windows are the most creative windows you will ever see. They are like miniature theaters and art galleries.  For a deal I love  Century 21 and  Loehmann's and Uniqlo. With so many endless possibilities behind their doors,  vintage clothing stores hold a special place in my heart. You never know what you will find until you step inside.

Most visited links?, for great articles  and updated news on everything from politics to design and  fashion. is a great way to visit museums around the world you may never get the chance to step foot in. You can zoom in so close to the  paintings that you can  actually see the  brush strokes. for her ever so  beautiful and inspiring  interior designs and style. 
www.iggyand have the coolest jewelry and one of the most creative and clever web site I have ever seen. and for cool and creative design stories, for a really good giggle.       
and of course, 
What is, to you, the best thing about being an artist?
As an artist, I have discovered the freedom to express my thoughts and feelings without having to give a direct narrative. I can divulge or keep as much of myself as I wish. I allow viewers to fill in the blanks and come up with their own stories. Surprisingly, they will sometimes put as much of themselves into my paintings as I do.

Thank you, Kerry!
Have a great weekend, everyone and don't forget to check out Kerry's site here 


I want to introduce to you the lovely and talented Australian artist and blogger, Kerri Shipp.
I met Kerri online via blogging and asked if she'd like to share with us her creative space, work and a bit about herself. She graciously obliged and took time out of her busy creative life to be featured here.

Where were you born?

I was born in Sydney, Australia, and lived there until I was 22. The day after my husband and I were married, we packed up our campervan with all our worldy possessions and moved to Brisbane, Queensland. We’ve been here for the past 21 years and absolutely love it!

What would you take if your house was burning down?

Besides my family of course, without a doubt it would be my gorgeous Labrador, Darcy, and our bird, Storm. Besides a few pieces of my grandmother’s jewellery, which mean the world to me, everything else can be replaced.

        Your favorite book?

That’s such a hard one for me, as I’ve always been an avid reader. From the age of five, my mother used to buy me Enid Blyton books, and I’d lose myself in the characters for hours. I do love ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, but choosing a favourite book would be like asking me to choose a favourite child!

If you could have only 1 last meal, what would you want on the menu?

Living in Queensland means we have access to fantastic seafood, so I’d say a banquet of fresh prawns, lobster and reef fish, followed by crème brulee for dessert. Divine.

Do you prefer hot weather or cold?

Definitely hot weather – summer can’t come soon enough for me.

Favorite artists?

Another really hard question to answer! I love Claude Monet’s use of colour, and I love Australian artist Ben Quilty’s unique style. Again, there are so many fabulous artists out there, and each one is so individual with such an array of talents. You only have to browse through Etsy to realise that the world is full of very talented people.

Pet peeve?

Injustice, and ignorance.

Best childhood memory?

Summer holidays. No school for six whole weeks, lots of trips to the beach and hanging out with friends. I went to school with the most fantastic group of girls, and we’re still friends all these years later. I’ve come to realise how lucky I am to have such wonderful friendships.

Favorite travel destination?

Whitehaven beach is in the Great Barrier Reef in North Queensland, and would have to be the most beautiful place on earth. Crystal clear water, the whitest sand imaginable, all set on an island in the middle of the reef. Stunning.

Favorite shop?

Again, such a hard one! In Queensland we have some amazing designers, and I have to say I love visiting Anna Spiro’s stunning shop, Black and Spiro. Lily-G and Magnolia Interiors are also favourites, as is Signature on Hastings in Noosa.

Kerri is featuring a great give-away until November 10th on her blog and also 20% off sale at her Etsy shop, Driftwood Interiors until December 21st, so head over to check them both out now and let her know you read about her on Annechovie.
Thanks so much, Kerri!


Former corporate woman-turned-artist and entrepeneur, lovely Mariska Meijers has been lighting up the blog and design world lately with her colorful and bold paintings and designs. I was captivated by the brilliance and cheery spirit her work exudes. She has graciously agreed to be featured here in my "Artist's Portraits" series.

Where were you born?
Vlaardingen, a small town near Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Best childhood memory?
One of the best was when I was sitting behind the stage watching my mother perform in Maria Stuarda with Dame Joan Sutherland and getting a standing ovation. It gave me goose bumps and I was so proud of her and I still am!

What would you take if your house was burning down?
My children, Annemarth and Mauk of course. As to the content of my house the choice would be difficult as there are so many that I love. My house is my moodboard, my inspiration, filled with objects, art and furniture that I have gathered over the years.

Your favorite book?
There are plenty but Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert is the first one that comes to mind. Not only is it a great book with which I can wholehearthedtly identify, Gilbert is also an excellent motivational speaker. "I get up every single day and I do my very best with what I am and what I have.." Elizabeth Gilbert
Favorite travel destination?
I am a city girl at heart so put me in almost any big city and I have a ball, but if I really would have to make a choice today I would fly to Sydney!

If you could have only 1 last meal, what would you want on the menu?
A Steak Tartare and a glass of red on Ile St Louis in Paris

Do you prefer hot weather or cold?
Hot definitely. I lived both in Singapore and Stockholm and if I had a choice I would rush back to Singapore immediately! The only moment I can appreciate the cold is when sliding down the slopes.
Favorite shop?
You can never ask a girl just to mention one :). H&M, Hermes, Muiji, Liberty, Shanghai Tang, Didier Ludot.........

Favorite artists?
There are many but just to pick a few. Matisse is my absolute hero. I try to see as much of his work "live". Diego Giacometti (Alberto's brother) for his wonderful decorative objects and furniture. Sam Francis, his work is so energetic. 

Pet peeve?
Ironing, cleaning in general actually. I was definitely not born to do that!
What is, to you, the best thing about being an artist?
I used to be a corporate girl, as an artist I feel that I am in charge of my own destiny, chasing my own dreams not that of others. I love the challenge to create something new out of nothing, it makes me feel alive.

Be sure to check out her wonderful website here. Thank you, Mariska!
P.S. I am crazy over your pink desk lamp!


Many of you may know of her already, but if you don't, I'd like to introduce you to the very lovely and talented Canadian artist, Janet Hill.

Where were you born?
   Brampton, Ontario, Canada
What would you take if your house was burning down? 
 My family (obviously) and my Kate Spade purses.

Your favorite book?
                 I have so many, but right now I'm in love with Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
 If you could have only 1 last meal, what would you want on the menu?
Champagne and oysters.

Janet's charming "Idea Space"

 Do you prefer hot weather or cold?
Favorite artists?
That's hard to choose! Um, but at this moment I would say Karen Kilimnik, Holly Farrell, and VR Morrison. All women...that's interesting.
Pet peeve?
                         Having to pay for 'boring bills'. Like a roof repair, or a new dishwasher. Ugh.

Best childhood memory?
For some reason, playing 'Winged Monkey #3' in my elementary school's production of The Wizard Of Oz comes to mind. It seemed like a pretty exciting thing to be a part of and I liked playing a bad guy or rather, a bad monkey. We had to wear black leotards with glow in the dark paint and our only form of movement was gymnastics. I was also pretty surprised that I was chosen for the role since they were after tiny gymnasts and I stood at least a foot above everyone else. However, I could do some pretty mean handsprings back in those days so that likely helped. Oh, and I also had one line 'We have to take Dorothy back to the castle now'. Pretty exciting stuff. I wanted to be an actress for a whole five days after that performance.
Favorite travel destination?
Just one? I'm cheating here and I'm going to say Charleston, South Carolina, and Cape Cod. Oh, and I'm pretty lucky (most days) to live in Stratford, Ontario which is a big tourist town....home of the Stratford Festival of Canada, but is probably better known at the moment as Justin Bieber's hometown- yikes. The good thing is that when I'm feeling a little poor, I can always play tourist in my own town.

Favorite Shop?
I have to admit that I'm a big Anthropologie girl. In terms of online shopping, I would have to pick Etsy - of course.
What is, to you, the best thing about being an artist?

I want to thank Janet for taking the time to tell us a little more about herself and share some of her amazing work. Be sure to check out her Etsy shop and blog - you will be very glad you did!


Artist and shopowner Carlene Helble

Where were you born?
I've been a northern Virginia girl my whole life!

What would you take if your house was burning down?
If my house was burning down I would be too concerned making sure my family and animals were safe. Material items can be replaced. If I had to pick something it would be my Levenger leather agenda. Sometimes I feel like my whole life is in that little thing!

Your favorite book?
My favorite book is "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan. I am actually a junior in college studying to be a dietitian, so I related to what the author was saying very easily. I have to say though, I also love the imagery and setting of "The Great Gatsby". Classic.

If you could have only 1 last meal, what would you want on the menu?
Can it be a buffet? I would have salmon,fried pickles, macaroni and cheese, and ice cream sandwiches...Although I don't think they would taste good together unless you happen to be pregnant.

Do you prefer hot weather or cold?

I'm torn! Hot weather means you get to wear sandals and have outdoor parties but your hair gets poofy...cold means you get to layer gorgeous knits but your hair gets static-y. Temperate it is!

Favorite artists?
Absolutely Monet. I'm lucky enough to live near the National Art Gallery, so when I get the chance to go I could literally spend hours in the Monet room. No one can blend colors like he did!

Pet peeve?
My biggest pet peeve are 'one-uppers': people who aren't really listening to what you are saying but are formulating in their head how to one up your story. Play nice and listen to the person you are with!

Best childhood memory?

My Dad used to set up miniature golf courses throughout our house and we would all putt. They even cut the clubs down to little kid size for me and my two siblings (Grayson and Saige are their middle names).

Favorite travel destination?
St. Thomas, U.S.V.I is amazing. The weather is beautiful, the scenery gorgeous, and the island time hilarious. It always takes me a while to slow down and not be so schedule oriented when we go. Dinner can take several hours!

Favorite shop?

For clothes: J Crew
For home decor: Really Great Finds, which is a local antique store.
Food:Wegmans, the only place you can buy a 30 pound wheel of cheese!

Most visited links?
My google reader page for blogs, Lonny Magazine, Etsy, Twitter, and Pottery!

What is, to you, the best thing about being an artist?
You decide how things should look! I have an inspiration board over my desk where I hang anything that strikes me. I get to look at these things and decide what aspects to make into products.

This polka-dotted crayfish is my favorite piece in Carlene's shop, Grayson Saige.  The whimsical quality puts a smile on my face. I want to thank Carlene for sharing some of her work and a little bit more about herself. If you haven't already, take a few minutes and check out her shop here.


Kelley MacDonald is a talented painter based in Tiverton, Rhode Island. I first caught sight of her pretty landscapes and colorful still lives as I was perusing the Daily Painters Website. As you all know, I am drawn like a magnet to COLOR and Kelley's brand of eye candy drew me in. I was soon transported to the beautiful seaside in New England and found myself leaving a comment on her blog. She responded with a great deal of warmth and seems like a very spunky and upbeat sort of person, both pluses in my book! She has a keen knack for capturing scenes and objects in a very textural and colorful way. She often paints in and around Cape Cod. I thought she would be a person I would definitely like to learn more about, and she has kindly obliged me with answering some of my questions about herself and her unique gift.
Where were you born? Falls River, MA, a tired old mill town in Southern Massachusetts.
What is your artistic background/training? I was an Art History major at Wheaton College, in Norton, MA, then I've been taking classes pretty much continuously for 30 (gasp!) years. Lately I've been taking workshops with artists who have reached a certain level of success, and are nationally known.
When did you first demonstrate artistic leanings? When I was about 4 years old my Nana and I used to sit on the front steps and wait for Papa to come home from work. She'd always bring a clean fresh pad of white paper and super sharp pencils for each of us. She taught me to draw houses (triple deckers) and birds in the air. She'd laugh hysterically if she were still alive to read that this is what got me 'juiced up' to become an artist! But once the bug bit it never let go, and despite family and school discouragement ("Artists can't make a living... choose something PRACTICAL.") in my heart I was always an artist.
For my 25th Anniversary, my husband took me to pick out a big easel. I was so thrilled. When I selected one, he said "Now the REAL present is that I figured a way to live without your income... you can quit your day job and just BE an artist!". I stood there and cried like a baby! It was better than any gift I ever received, and more validation than I ever hoped for. (sorry to go on about this, but for me it was HUGE)
What subject matter seems to inspire you most? Does living on the Coast influence you a great deal? Landscape and skyscapes are what first drew me in. The one wonderful thing about growing up in Fall River was that it is situated on a huge hill facing west, and going to see the sunset at the park was common, and pretty spectacular on a daily basis. The more I learned about painting the more I 'saw' - such as the reflected light on clouds, and the further reflection of light on the water. And for the past 5 years I've lived right on the water and have a sunset view which is spectacular - it's such a hook - every day, every hour of the day, a different view. I've always been partial, spiritually, to where the water meets the land. It seems holy, but I don't mean it in any particularly 'religious' way.
What about your family, tell us a bit about them? My husband and kids are very supportive. And my sister's support is important to me, too. They all turn out for Openings, and say really nice things about the work. Friends are super important, too, colleagues who are all pushing ahead with their art and willing to share. Fortunately for me, I have some really good ones!
Do particular locations inspire you? Location is not supposed to matter, but it does to me, and sometimes just a change of location gives me a jump start on the creative process. Like I'll go to Mexico and the colors leave me breathless, and I cannot wait to dip brush into color and translate what I see into a painting. I love both US coasts, and Europe, too, and Sedona... All these places inspire me to put 'my take' on them onto a canvas.
What do you feel is essential to your well-being and success as both a person and an artist? Well, for one thing, peace in my life. So I'm not stressing about this or that. So I try to let go of control over relationships and the people around me. It's easier to be happy that way, and people tend to live UP to your expectations, if you let them know you love them no matter what. And, this is probably revealing a shallow side, but I have to be in a place that 'moves' me visually. I used to live in Brighton in Boston right on the trolley line, with apartments and sidewalks as far as the eye could see. The trees were really struggling, I hardly consider them trees.. no grass or natural areas... I was depressed for the entire year we lived there. Since then we've been careful to live in areas where there was green...
You recently spent a while in Europe, painting. Where would you live if you were free to live anywhere? Oh, this is killing me! OK. Paris :), or Petaluma, CA. ... or Laguna. ...Sedona, or... Wellfleet, MA, on Cape Cod... maybe NYC... OR..... right here where I am, in the Tiverton, RI area. Sorry... this changes minute by minute - I have a gypsy soul!
What are the most challenging aspects of being an artists for you?
By far and away- time management. Sometimes procrastination is a huge issue, if I'm self doubting, I'll put off starting a project. Rejection comes with the territory, but when it first hits, my response is to be furious! Imagine them not wanting my work! But then, usually, I grit my teeth and go forward. Because I know in my heart that if I keep working, I'm going to get where I want with my art, and I really don't care deep deep down, if anyone else 'gets it'. :)
Thank you, Kelley, for sharing more on your life and work with us! Why don't you take this opportunity to check out one (or all!) of Kelley's sites??


Mark in his Southampton rose garden

Mark Hampton - The Art of Friendship. A collection of Mark's watercolors.

Relaxing with his family; (L-R) wife Duane, Mark, daughters Alexa and Kate

Painting on the porch with daughter Alexa

The Hampton women hanging out together

Watercolor of the Melhado family's interior

A corner of designer Albert Hadley's apartment

Chiswick House, London, England

Courtyard of Samuel Reed's home in Hobe Sound, Florida

The late Mark Hampton is a man best known for being a world class interior designer and decorator, however, he excelled as an artist as well. I first saw his work as a young girl growing up in Michigan. My grandparents had proudly displayed a Christmas card from the President and Hampton's watercolor illustration of a room in the White House graced the front. I was captivated by the detail and overall beauty of his work and have maintained an interest in Mark and his career ever since.

Mark, a Plainfield, Indiana native, was a man of many talents and a very diverse background. He attended DePauw University, with a junior year abroad at The London School of Economics. His time spent living there had a profound influence on his tastes and interests and he became a lifelong Anglophile. His keen artistic skills opened the door for a job with the very hip and legendary English decorator, David Hicks. He returned to DePauw to complete his history degree and then went on to University of Michigan Law School for a brief year until he decided to switch to Art History. From there, he went on to receive a master's degree in fine art from New York University. He was hired for a Summer job by Mrs. Henry (Sister) Parish, the legendary American decorator, and this was instrumental in feeding his already growing interest in the decorative arts. He was awarded a Ford Foundation fellowship upon graduation, which facilitated travel abroad and curatorial study at the Metropolitan Museum and Museum of Modern Art. Upon completion of his studies, he started out as an American representative for David Hicks, followed by a six year stint at the venerable American decorating firm McMillen. He finally started his own business in 1976, Mark Hampton, LLC, which continues to thrive to this day, headed by his daughter, Alexa Hampton, who has distinguished herself in her own right.

During his long and fruitful career, Mark painted countless watercolors, many of which are included in a book created by his wife, Duane, in a book titled "Mark Hampton, The Art of Friendship". On many occasions, Mark created personalized works of art, in the form of handpainted birthday cards, for family, clients and friends. Even though Mark counted presidents, politicians, celebrities and socialites as his clients and companions, he never lost his down-to-earth Midwestern values. These were most evident in his work ethic, his warmth and his devotion to his wife Duane, daughters Kate and Alexa and his scores of friends. His accomplishments, too vast to list here, are many and impressive. Perhaps he is best known for being the "First Decorator" for the senior Bushes when they moved into the White House in 1989, having already done their quarters at the residence of the Vice President. He also redecorated Blair House, the President's official guest house.

In her book, Duane Hampton quotes Adele Chatfield-Taylor, president of The American Academy in Rome, as she observed that "Mark was routinely described as a Renaissance man, because [in addition to being a decorator] he was a considerable art historian, a builder, a reader, a writer, a gardener, a painter, a musician, an avid traveler, a man of wildly high spirits and IQ and a screamingly funny, champion friend." His work is detailed, personal, witty, beautiful and is never without an aspect he highly prized - coziness. The Art of Friendship is just one of several books by or about Mark, all of which I am certain you would enjoy!

Images are from the book Mark Hampton - The Art of Friendship and House Beautiful - January 1991


Anna Corba and her dog, Caylus

Anna Corba is a prolific San Franciso-based artist whose work is well-known and loved. She was awarded "Entrepreneur of the Year" in 2006 by Country Living. I was introduced to her work through my 91 year old grandfather, who gave me her web address. My grandparents are neighbors of her parents in Michigan, so I was pleased when I contacted her and she graciously agreed to share a bit about herself with us.

Do you have a motto?
"Listen to your heart....the depth of your desire will take you exactly where you need to go..."
What's your favorite color?
It's a tie...sage green and robin's egg blue.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
A teacher, a dancer, a poet.

Anna has authored 3 books, including Vintage Papercrafts with Anna Corba (above)

Are you married? Children? Pets?
I've been with my husband for 20 years. We never had children but our mixed breed dog, Caylus, was the love of our lives.
What are some of your favorite things or things that are essential to your success/well-being as a person and artist?
My studio, my collections of French ephemera, my bowls full of ribbon, artwork by friends and others who inspire me, the french china cups I drink coffee from in the morning and the magazine 'British Country Living'.
What do you love most about living in San Francisco?
The green winters filled with rosemary and lavender and blue skies, the open, liberal attitude that permeates the culture, the love of fresh earth rich food, great flea markets and a handful of colorful shops filled with just what I need to keep my work life inspired.
Where were you born?
Akron, Ohio!

What are the most challenging things for you about being an artist?
The financial roller coaster, the necessity of juggling what seems like millions of balls just to make ends meet, the explosion in the last decade of imagery and objects and how to stay fresh and original amidst an overwhelming array of options.
Pet peeve?
Being in a rush, not taking time to notice detail or simple beauty and sensation.

Favorite food?
All food related to breakfast!...pastries, french toast, scrambled eggs, great coffee with cream, fresh fruit...
3 words you'd use to describe yourself
Soft, quiet, organized, diligent, sentimental.

Thank you, Anna! Check out more of her work here at Found Cat Studio


I couldn't resist this, "Aretha's Hat". How apropos after her unforgettable headgear at the Inauguration last week?

Jamie and her cat in "Cat Hugs"

Recently, a visitor with the blogger identity "HamstrJam" kept visiting me and leaving comments, so I was intrigued and followed the link to her blog. I couldn't help but notice these charmingly simple cats she sketches. However, they really aren't as simple as they seem - they are drawn with a true wit and brilliant sense of humor in a style that is somewhat reminiscient of illustrations in "The New Yorker". I found myself quite frequently laughing out loud here in my workspace (good thing no one was around - they would've thought I'd really lost my mind for good...) I left a few comments on Small Expectations (a terrific name for a blog) and then wrote the author/artist Jamie Shelman and asked if I could feature her work here on Annechovie. She has obliged me most graciously and also favored me with some answers to a few of my nosy questions.

Where were you born?
I grew up in Tucson, Arizona and currently live on Martha's Vineyard.

What is your artistic background /schooling ?
I received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2006 yet also attended Bucknell University, University of Arizona, Sydney College of the Arts and RISD's summer abroad program in Rome.

What are your earliest memories of being involved making art or wanting to be an artist?
My earliest memory of making art or wanting to be an artist is from second grade when my drawing of flowers won a competition to be put on display at the mall! Also, when I was at Bucknell, I had an inspiring art professor and was first exposed to paintings at the Met and I was completely blown away, I could relate so well to all the abstract expressionists.


Candy Cane

What inspired you most as your subject matter? Does living near/on the Coast influence your work a lot?

Travel, landscapes, patterns, quilts all inspire my abstract paintings and my cats are inspired by all the cats I have known and loved!. They have become a voice for my own thoughts, feelings, and personal reflections.


My family is from Arizona and my husband is from Baltimore Maryland- he's also a RISD grad and artist of beautiful fashion inspired portraits!

What are some of your favorite things or things that are essential to your success/well-being as a person and artist?

Good coffee (cafe au laits and croissants in the morning!), the New York Times, good reads, good food, long walks, bike riding, freedom!

Where would you live if you could live anywhere?

Switzerland is looking pretty nice, altough I do love Martha's Vineyard and NYC!

What are the most challenging things for you about being an artist?

Income that allows me the freedom to continue to create!

Thank you Jamie, for taking the time to share more about yourself and your art. I encourage you to visit Jamie's charming blog Small Expectations - it's sure to cheer you and bring a smile to your face! She also runs an Etsy Shop - Jamie's Cats.


I am very happy to feature one of my favorite bloggers and designers, the effervescent and lovely Houstonian, Joni Webb. I know many of you are already loyal readers of her fabulous blog Cote de Texas. Joni is an open, expressive, generous, talented and utterly lovable person! She has quite a trained eye and gift for creating beautiful interiors. But it doesn't just stop there. This woman could single handedly write a series of design encyclopedias! She manages to get the "Most Productive Insomniac" award in my book. This lady takes her sleepless nights and transforms them into an opportunity to devour, discover, track down and compile all sorts of fascinating facts, photos and tantalizing tidbits on houses, decorators and all things design-related for the many scores of readers who follow her blog religiously. She isn't afraid to tell you what she really thinks and I think her frankness and candor is one of the things that is most enjoyable about reading her posts. This spunky Texan doesn't do anything halfway - her posts are notorious for being about as thorough as you can get. I sometimes wonder how she finds the time to do all she does as a wife, mom, designer, blogger and house stalker. Something tells me her numerous daily runs to Starbucks might have something to do with it. Anyway you cut it, the blogging world wouldn't be the same without Joni. Everybody knows her, everybody reads her and everybody loves her. SO, I thought it might be fun to find out a little bit more about one of the blogosphere's biggest personalities. In typical fashion, this powerhouse of a woman had sent a completed questionnaire back to me within minutes. Amazing. So, without further ado, here's more on the affable Miss Joni.......

Joni and her daughter, Elisabeth

Are you married? Children? Pets?
I've been married 20 years to Ben - We are 11 days apart and we married late - at 33, had our first and only child, Elisabeth at 37. We were definitely late bloomers. Very, very late bloomers. And we have two dogs which you graciously immortalized in your portfolio. Ben and I were looking at your portfolio yesterday and he said, "That looks like Georgie!" I said - It does - because it IS Georgie!
What are some of your favorite things or things that are essential to your success/well-being as a person and designer/business owner?
My laptop - I can not live without my laptop. I get anxious without it. If it breaks, I'll be at the store at 9am to get a new one - I can't wait to get it fixed. I travel in the car on road trips with it. I have wi-fi AND a mobile cell phone account for it for the car and out of town places. It actually calms my nerves and helps with anxiety!!! As a businesswoman - I don't know - I guess I would say the decorative center in Houston is essential to me. I always go there for fabric inspiration when I start a new job. And - the antique stores in Houston are VERY essential to my work as a designer: Tara Shaw and Joyce Horn have provided many of my client's furniture over the years.
What's your pet peeve?
Cheap, tight people. Absolutely. I hate that in a person. I like people who are generous - they tend to be generous in all aspects of their lives and much more understanding, forgiving, nonjudgmental and empathetic. My husband is like that - empathetic, generous, and kind.

Joni's charming breakfast room with her signature white slipcovers

Joni's family room

Do you have a motto?
"There's no place like home" and my husband's favorite "Anyplace together beats anyplace apart." Also, "Anywhere in Texas beats any other place." He has quite a few mottos actually. Mostly about Texas and home, ha! We are both HUGE homebodies. My mom and I have another saying "We do house, we don't do clothes." That's another biggie in my life. Totally.
What's your favorite color?
I love blues - any "cool" color. I love the colors of hydrangeas.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
Either an interior designer or an architect which I quickly got over after taking a few architecture classes in college. But definitely, something to do with house and floorplans. I was obsessed with floorplans throughout my entire youth for some reason.
What inspires you most creatively and gets your creative juices flowing?
Fabric. I always start each project with a key fabric. Once I have that - the rest is easy and everything falls into place, the colors, etc. Designing a room is a process for me: I usually do a floor plan first, then together with the client we pick one inspirational fabric. I usually pick the remaining fabrics. Then I either design the furniture or buy it. Do the curtains and the rugs; and the accessories I pick up the week before the installation - so they can be easily returned. It's not so daunting if I do it step by step. I'm not one of those designers that can look at a space and visualize something immediately. It comes more slowly to me. Also, I visualize myself living there - if this was mine, what would I do, WWJD? Haha!!! That makes it really easy then.

The living room (I love it that she says," I never use this room, except for spying on the neighbors!")

What keeps you awake at night?
Me? Awake at night? hahahah!! I don't sleep. No, seriously, coffee? My father actually sent me an article that said the two worst things that cause insomnia are coffee and blogging! Bingo!!!! I swear it named blogging.
I guess, honestly - it would be worrying about when my daughter's upset about something. I think when she gets hurt, it hurts me more than her. They don't tell you that in the manual.
Where do you live and work?
I live in Houston, in West University, which is a small town inside of Houston - we have our own mayor, our police department, trash pick up, little town center - it's almost as old as Houston itself. It's like living in a country town inside of a large metropolitan area.

Favorite food?
Wendy's Caesar Salad - I eat that every night for dinner. You would think I'd be very, very thin. I really don't care for food that much and never have. My parents had to force me to eat when I was young. When we would go on family road trips, I would eat a blt for lunch and a club sandwich for dinner. Every day. Ben is actually exactly the same as I am. He ate a pbj every single day and a bowl of cereal for dinner every night of his life. He stills eats cereal for dinner every night. We are very, very compatible, to say the least.
3 words you'd use to describe yourself?
Mother, wife, daughter.

If you haven't acqainted yourself with Joni and Cote de Texas yet, check it out here. I guarantee you'll be hooked!


The lovely and talented Sunny Goode

Porch floor by Sunny

Where were you born?
Atlanta, Georgia

What was your least favorite subject in school?

When do you remember first showing an interest/affinity for art and painting?
My art class in 3rd grade, we really had freedom to create rather than be told what to do…it was my favorite part of school. I also have been very visual my whole life- photographic memory of color has helped me a lot with clients and projects.

Are you married?
Yes, to Read, 15 years. Very fun, supportive, and creative too.

Any children? Yes, Presley (girl) 11 years-Whit (boy) 9 years and Beck (boy) 6 years, they are great and make life fun and funny.

How long have you lived in your current home and what is your favorite thing about it?
We have been here 5 years, and what I like most is how it feels… very comfortable, happy and colorful. There is not one room I would freak out if 10 kids were hanging out in it…I also love our neighborhood- it feels like the 1950’s .

Foyer of Katie Ukrop's home

What's is your greatest challenge?
To educate the world how to achieve GOOD decorative painting …once you have experienced the bad stuff it is hard to get the visual out of your mind!

What do you love most about having your own business?
Really the humor! I have seen a lot of really funny situations…
Seriously, I love creating and sharing ideas. I also love customers who have gained confidence by picking a project out and doing it, and feeling successful! That makes me happy.

Living room and foyer of Katie Ukrop's home before the furniture was moved in and Domino photographed it.

What/who would be your dream commission/client?
Free creative reign, for a customer who shares my enthusiasm for pretty things.
Preferably somewhere tropical with great architectural bones…

If you could only shop at 1 place, where would it be?
Right now it would be Trina Turk- I love her fabrics!

A beautiful large-scale stencil in Sunny's Richmond, Va store

Your favorite color?

Anything Fusion -I love when chefs mix and match cultural tastes - it is always so surprising to me what can be done!

I really like a lot of different music…no rap or heavy metal though… that drives me crazy!

Your dream travel destination?
Lake Como Italy with my family for a summer

This is the second part of my feature on Sunny Goode and her decorative painting company Sunny's Goodtime Paints. Sunny is an amazingly talented decorative painter based in Richmond, Virginia. Her work has been featured in several decor magazines, including Traditional Home and, most recently, Domino. She loves color and pattern and is a pro at combining them to perfection. She has a store in Richmond, as well as online, where her uniquely tasteful stencil designs and gorgeous array of color washes are available for sale. I want to thank her for allowing us to get to know her a little better and see some more samples of her beautiul work. There is so much more to see on her website; tutorials, a gallery of her work and a selection of her products. Thanks, Sunny!


Today I am featuring a profile on my talented younger brother, Josh. He is a gifted graphic/web designer and photographer. He has a great gift for finding and capturing beauty in out of the way places.

Kona, Hawaii

Where were you born? Motor City

Rural Georgia

St. George Island, FL

What was your least favorite subject in school?
English – I could never quite grasp sentence structure.

Savannah, GA

Rosemary Beach, FL

Are you married? Any children?
I’m married to a wonderful wife, and we have no kiddies at the moment, but talk to me again in a year or two.

Watersound, Florida

What's is your greatest challenge?
Staying creative in a busy, demanding and sometimes monotonous environment.

Rosemary Beach, Fl

Kona, Hawaii

What/who would be your dream commission/client?
Anyone who knows what they are looking for and trusts me to do what they hired me to do.

Kona, Hawaii

If you could only shop at 1 place, where would it be?


Your favorite color:

Florida Panhandle

Your dream travel destination?
Bora-Bora – One of those little huts over the Ocean with the glass bottom floor.

Florida Panhandle

Josh is one of those people who has a special aptitude for anything mechanical or technical, but, amazingly, has a very artistic side as well. He has taught everyone in the family what little we know about computers and I often have to call him for technical assistance! Did I mention he's very patient? In recent years, he has increasingly developed his love and gift for photography (no pun intended!) He has had his work published, even on the cover of school textbooks! Besides his photography, he has created an amazing portfolio of digital graphics work as well. Josh and his wife, Leigh Anne, reside in suburban Atlanta, Georgia.


The lovely Maritere Casillas Rice, a gifted artist and photographer I met through Etsy.
Maritere was gracious enough to submit to a little"interview" and share some of her beautiful paintings and photographs with us.

Maritere's Etsy shop - Totart
Where were you born?
Beautiful Guadalajara, Mexico – but grew up in Monterrey, MX… went to college in Monterrey and later Washington, D.C. where I met my Husband.

One of her pieces - "Contemplating Nature"
What is your artistic background schooling (if any)?
None. I majored in International Business; however I grew up around music and art all my life… my Father was an avid and wonderful amateur photographer who taught me how to use a camera and capture special moments in life; my house was always full of music (specially The Beatles), I was enrolled in music and dance lessons from age 2, and later became part of my high school's and University's Drama Department (singing, dancing and acting). Throughout my teenage and early adulthood years I took a number of art and photography classes back in Mexico.

"I See Shades of Pink"
Have you always been creative and, if so, do you have an early memory of "making" something?
Yes; I cannot remember a time growing up when I wouldn't scribble drawings on notebooks, sketchbooks and coloring books. If we were traveling I would always carry a full set of crayons and coloring pencils together with a sketchbook. I remember taking pictures from an early age with my dad and creating collages to decorate my notebooks every school year… and of course, my room was a constant "area of opportunity", being rearranged almost every month (my mom was kind enough to let me experiment painting "techniques" on my bookcase).

"Thoughts of Winter and Fall"
What inspires you most creatively and gets your creative juices flowing?
Color! I love finding creative ideas browsing through art and home décor books, and magazines… though traveling has always inspired me the most! It's through the new experiences I live that I get most inspiration. I really enjoy translating an experience into a collage or painting, or capturing unique moments through my lens, and will constantly go back to happy memories of my life for inspiration.

"Buenos Aires Blues"
What are some of your favorite things or things that are essential to your success/well-being as a person and artist/business owner?
My family's and friend's support; their love and encouragement keep me going.

"Nature in Green and Yellow"
Where would you live if you could live anywhere?
Tough question… would love to be back in my beautiful and colorful Mexico! Though, I am constantly drawn towards the idea of living in Paris (I studied there and absolutely fell in love with the City), or moving back to Washington D.C. (sans the really cold January)… Europe perhaps! It has to be a place were I can raise a happy child ...

"Nature's Bloom"
What are the most challenging things for you about doing what you do?
Aside from being an artist, I am a mother, wife and teacher…. I would say being able to find my "creative time" it's the most difficult. I have a demanding schedule and lots of responsibilities both at home and work, so I constantly find myself staying up until the wee hours just to find time to update my Etsy Shop/blog or work on a my art… also promoting myself and acquiring new customers. Art is not a necessity but a pleasure/luxury to most buyers, which makes it challenging for artists to start a business.

"Mexican Sunset" one of Maritere's photographs

Where do you live and work?
I live in the Suburbs of Houston, TX with my wonderful husband and amazing son. Art wise, I work at home, and of course I always carry my camera with me; you never know when a creative opportunity is going to pop.

"Being a Child Again"

Favorite food?
Real Mexican Tacos, and Sushi!

Favorite music?
LOVE music! Always The Beatles, and the rest changes from time to time… I've been listening to a lot of James Blunt & Leona Lewis lately.
I would like to thank Maritere for taking the time out of her very busy schedule to share her work and life with us. Maritere is also a blogger and I know you will enjoy following her lfe and work here at:

I hope that all of my US readers have a safe and very enjoyable Independence Day weekend!


Portland, Oregon artist Carrie Cowan creates whimsical pieces that make me smile! Her Etsy shop, Swellkid, is a great resource for some cheery, vintage-inspired pieces to brighten up your space.

Carrie has a Bachelor's Degree in Visual Art from University of Northern Colorad0, and a Master's in Teaching from Willamette University in Oregon. Carrie says that, as a kid, she was always more interested in music and theater than in visual art. She loved to sing and perform, but she has always enjoyed drawing. When she was 13, all she drew were fashion designs. The year prior, all she drew were imaginary floorplans of huge houses. She didn't start taking it seriously until she went to college. Her family is very artistic, both her parents are creative and her father is an architect. Her brother is also an artist in Portland. She says,"His work is really beautiful, I consider him the artist and myself the "hobbyist". You can view his work at" I don't think Carrie gives herself enough credit!

Carrie has been married for 6 years and is a devoted mom to her 2 year old son. She is inspired by him and his interests and began painting for children's spaces because of him. She told me that, once you have kids, you find yourself exposed to a whole new set of environments (I can relate because I was a nanny for several years....sometimes I still miss watching SpongeBob Squarepants!) Carrie felt that there was a lack of interesting and affordable art for nurseries. She didn't want to buy the $75 mass-produced reproductions at Pottery Barn Kids and neither did her friends, so she began creating her own! She's quick to add that her creative juices only flow during afternoon naps, and only then if the dishes and laundry are done!

For Carrie, finding the time to work on art is a huge challenge. She teaches elementary school half of the week and the other half she stays home with her son. He is still young enough that when he is awake, she needs to be focused on him.
She loves living in Portland. Carrie enthusiastically proclaims, "We are really lucky here - we have all the good things about a big city: great food and culture, without all the bad things like terrible traffic and pollution. Portland is super-saturated with creative people. It's a great place to live." She and her husband even have 3 laying hens that they are able to keep in a chicken coop in their backyard!

Some of the things she considers essential to her success and well-being as a person and artist are: an understanding husband who lets her spend money on vintage magazines and books to cut up, a great local art supply store where the employees know what they are talking about, an hour a day on Etsy, walking to the library with her son, and gummy bears or Junior Mints. She would also love the opportunity to spend time each year in Sicily, where her father is from. She loves good food and cooking - hmmmm.....could that have something to do with her Sicilian blood?! She loves all types of pasta (another thing we have in common!) Carrie's favorite music? She goes back and forth from The Wiggles and Dan Zanes. Favorite clothes when she's "doing" her art? "Normal mom-clothes!"
I admire Carrie's adeptness at balancing motherhood, art and teaching with such an upbeat outlook. It's no small feat to be good at all three. To nurture your creativity and gift, without sacrificing your devotion to the people that mean the most to you, is truly inspiring! If you are looking for some very reasonably priced art that would be great for a gift, a child's room, or just about any space, take a look at Carrie's Etsy site - you'll be glad you did!


Andrew Daniel

Birdie Tree
Collection of Lollipops

Warmth of the Sun's Rays

Garden of Delights
Imaginary Floral Landscape

Imaginary Hybrid Flower Bush

Radiant Forest

Andrew Daniel is a painter I first discovered early this year on Etsy and was immediately drawn to all the beautiful, bold color and pattern he incorporates into his paintings. His works exudes a robust, sunny liveliness that sets it apart.

Andrew is a Los Angeles native born in 1974. In his youth, he moved to New England with his family when his father, a minister, was appointed to a church in Houlton, Maine. Andrew graduated from high school there and went on to study art at a community college in Augusta, Maine. From there, he transferred to the University of Maine and then moved back to California, graduating from Humboldt State University in Northern California. He now resides in nearby Arcata, California with his wife, Alice and 5 year old daughter, Abby. Besides being a gifted artist, Andrew is a genuinely nice guy who also has spent much time working with local children in after-school programs. He was kind to submit to an "interview" and tell us a little more about himself and his art.

What are your earliest memories of being involved making art or wanting to be an artist?
I knew a guy at the Unitarian summer camps that could draw anything. The other kids would always crowd around him and admire his talent. He was known as the go to guy for cool artsy graphics. He did a great job illustrating the Summer camp memory book. So some time around fourth grade I resolved that I wanted to be able to do that too. From what I hear, he went on to social work, because the art thing came too easy for him. He wanted more of a challenge.

What inspires you most as your subject matter?
I like to look at patterns in fabric and nature. I can get really inspired by the colors in someone’s paisley blouse or equally inspired by the way the pattern of leaves shimmers in the wind on a tree. Okay, maybe not equally, Trees inspire me quite deeply actually.

Where would you live if you could live anywhere?
Well, we really like it here, but sometimes it sounds fun to go live in Mexico. Imagine, just running a simple internet business and being able to live off of it down there! Anyway, I don’t think it would happen.

What do you find is the most challenging aspect of being an artist?
Finding time to create, having ideas ready to work on during that time and not getting distracted during that time.

Any projects you are currently working on that you are excited about?
During the last few large paintings, I have tried to base them off of other works of art. I have often collaborated with folks and for whatever reason, the end product is not completely satisfying. By working off of another artists work, I can collaborate with whatever creative genius I choose, but I get the final say on everything! HA HA!

Who are some of your favorite artists? Pierre Bonnard, Francis McCormack, Richard Diebenkorn, Sol Lewitt, Laura Fayer, Brett Bigbee, Fairfield Porter, Eduard Manet, John Singer Sargent, Max Beckman, Robert Colescott, Edouard Vuillard, Hundertwasser, Joan Mitchell, Leslie Price, Terry Winters, Elmer Bischoff, Beatriz Milhazes, Laura Owens, Fred Tomaselli, Neil Welliver, Gustav Klimt, Claude Monet………… Ask me another day and I could provide another twenty!
Thanks for the interview, Andrew! Keep us updated on your latest! Wishing you continued growth and success and a wonderful Holiday Season for you and your family!

Andrew has a website, an Etsy store and a blog. Check them out here!


The amazing Graham Rust!

An exquisite watercolor of antique vases

Graham's latest book
Trompe l'oeil fireplace with dog

Watercolor study of English Country residence, Chewton Glen .
Graham's designs for Halcyon Days Enamels Battersea boxes

His masterpiece 10 years in the making - a mural at Ragley Hall, Warwickshire, England

Eggplant (or as the British call it, Aubergine) This is available as one in a series of 4 vegetable lithographs available for purchase on Graham's website. There is a botanical series as well.

Graham Rust is an amazing artist who hails from Great Britain. From the first moment I saw his work over a decade ago, I have been inspired. A close friend gave me one of his books, and it, along with another I acquired, are two of the most valuable volumes in my library. His flawless composition, deft execution, and eye for detail are unparalleled. He has distinguished himself as a master of trompe l'oeil, large scale murals, and seemingly everything he chooses to capture with his brush.

He was born Graham Redgrave-Rust in Hertfordshire, England in 1942. He later was schooled at the Polytechnic School of Art, Regent Street, as well as the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London and the National Academy of Art in New York. Afterward, he worked as an artist on "Architectural Forum" for Time Inc. His first exhibition was at the Royal Academy in 1965. Hardly a shabby beginning!
He has painted in Europe, North and South America, India, Greece, North Africa and the Far East. He also spent a year at the Woodberry Forest School, Virginia, USA, as artist-in-residence in the late 60's.

He is know the world over for his residential commissions in homes of distinction in all corners of the globe. Perhaps he is best known for the phenomenal "Temptation", a mural of gigantic proportions that he worked on for 10(!) years at Ragley Hall in Warwickshire, England. His first book was published in 1988. This book, "The Painted House" comprised his mural designs and continues to be a favorite that has been published in 4 languages. It's a timeless and beautiful book, which was followed 10 years later by "Decorative Designs", and "Needlepoint Designs", both in 1998, and "The Painted Ceiling", in 2001. Graham is also an illustrator for several books other than his own, including the 1986 version of "The Secret Garden"by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Altogether, he has had 24 exhibitons since 1965. He makes his home in Suffolk, England and continues his illustrious career. His latest book is"Revisiting the Painted House" and is sure to be a beloved and treasured addition to any library. Graham also makes a few of his works available as photolithograph sets on his website:
(Photos courtesy of, and his books, "Decorative Designs" and "The Painted House".)


Patricia at work (can you believe she's a mother of 3?)

A beautifully colorful pattern designed by Patricia

One of Patricia's sketches for J. McLaughlin

A charming interior sketch by Patricia

Devoted mother Patricia pictured here with her 3 children.

Today I want to feature a profile on a friend and fellow artist, Patricia van Essche. Patricia is not only a very talented artist, in several mediums, but also a fascinating personality as well. She was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky in a very nurturing family of 7 children. She attended the highly touted University of Cincinnati's School of Design, Art and Architecture, where she was the recipient of "The Golden Brush Award". Following her education, she worked for 15 years in NYC as a designer and design director for Calvin Klein, Liz Claiborne and Ralph Lauren. She now runs her own business, PVE Design, based in Westchester County, NY. She is married and has 3 wonderful children of her own now. She somehow manages to keep many plates spinning successfully at once. She balances her first priority as a dedicated wife and mother, with a successful career in illustration, design and decorative painting. She also sneaks in time for volunteer work, tennis, school activities and teaching at her church. Something tells me that growing up in a large family somehow helped prepare her for a life that is very full, if not challenging, at times. Patricia is a warm and giving lady who exudes class, style, talent and, most importantly, a very giving spirit. She was kind enough to take some time out of her crazy busy schedule to answer a few questions for me.

What is your earliest memory of being involved with the artistic process?
My earliest memory is what you might call "bittersweet". I entered a contest in elementary school and had to sketch a still life, which I did of a vase holding "bittersweet". I remember the intensity of trying to make it look very life-like. Well, the judges said that "it looked like a copy"! I was heartbroken, yet soon realized the importance of realizing one's "own" style. Perhaps my quest for making something real taught me a valuable lesson: that we really have to see something from our own eyes and then interpret it into our own unique style.
I also think that artists are truly born with the gift to create, and finding the medium of your choice to master is a life-long quest. Listening to that "inner voice" and following its' guidance is also very important.
Which artists have inspired and influenced you the most?
That's a difficult question, because there are so many artists that I admire! They are somewhat of a mixed bag because I have always been fascinated with art and fashion. I love the work of John Singer Sargent and admire his famous painting, "Madame X" - love his use of light. Another is Coco Chanel for her brilliant design and style for fashion that still inspires artists and designers today. I also adore ultra modern art and would love a "Stella!" One day one of my twin sons came home from school and asked,"Mom, are we related to van Gogh?"
What do you find is your greatest challenge as an artist?
One of the greatest challenges is to dedicate yourself as an artist to art; by working at it, pursuing it with gusto as an athlete masters his sport or game. As an artist, one of the most difficult things to realize is that you are going to have hard days getting to know your style and also mastering it. I am taking an oil painting class and it is hard - sometimes I feel frustrated and then it all just starts to make sense. Painting in oil and doing the illustrations that I sell are related and yet completely different. The biggest challenge is that, as a working artist, art and ideas are not free. People think that just because you have "talent" that you can share it for free. Free has an audience for worthwhile causes, yet I work very hard to make a living at what I do. With that said, I have been extremely fortunate to do what I love and that is priceless!
Do you have a nickname?
I do. My sisters called me "Treeba" when I started to sprout long, tree legs. Also, when I was growing up in Kentucky, I was called "Trish". When I came to New York, I listed my name as "Patricia" in all of my interviews. This is my real name, the one I love and prefer, given me because I was born on St. Patrick's Day! I am one of 7 children and we all have long or double names. Imagine calling ALL of us for supper!
If you could go anywhere in the world on an all-expenses-paid trip, where would it be and what would you do?
I would go around the world on my own private jet, accompanied by my family. I would stop at every museum, feeding my passion for Art History! (I would also love to have a camera crew in tow, filming it all LIVE!)
If you could host a dinner for any 3 people from the past OR present, who would they be?
I guess I can't say" my 3 children", even though I really would! So, the people I would love to "break bread with" (I can't narrow it down to 3 !) are Mary Cassatt, Coco Chanel, Anna Wintour, Ghandi and Mother Theresa. How's that for a "power lunch"? Can I invite you, too? I promise to use my good stuff!! Linens, crystal, china and silver! I had better go plan "le menu"!!

You can read more about Patricia on her website: