CuSTOM PAintings

When I started to experiment with watercolors, my go-to subject was my family golden retriever, Suki. Friends and family saw these sketches and asked for paintings of their own beloved pets. This has since developed into a flourishing side gig. I get the most requests for custom pet portraits, but have painted homes, children, man-buns, and wedding gifts. 

Amelia Earhart was the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.  .  Amelia's first transatlantic flight kickstarted her career about a year after Charles Lindbergh's solo flight. This had peaked public interest for a woman pilot, but did not change perception that it was too dangerous for a woman to complete herself, and she simply accompanied two men, feeling like "a sack of potatoes."   Despite her disappointment, she became quite the celebrity with a book deal, lectures, and product endorsements. However this was not enough for her, and she was determined to be respected as an aviator. She very much wanted to be different from the rest of the world. Although her promotions and touring took up much of her flight time, she used this celebrity status to be an example of courage, intelligence and self-reliance for women.   In 1932, Amelia accomplished the 15-hour flight making her the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. Her final flight was an attempt to be the first to fly around the earth along the equator. The trip was not without it's problems from the start and during the most challenging leg of the flight, July 2, 1937, Amelia and her navigator disappeared over Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean.   Many theories exist about her disappearance; spies, Japanese capture, government cover-ups, all very fascinating. But I think the main takeaways from her story was her accomplishments, determination, and independence as a woman.   To read a full biography, click here!

BOSSLADY V: Josephine Baker

American comedic jazz dancer, singer, and activist.

Josephine was bornin St. Louis, Missouri in 1906, and experienced riots and other racial tensions at an early age. She spent her youth learning to dance,  was successful on Braodway, and in the 1920s, moved to France. This was the peak of French obsession with American jazz and she became very popular. She became one of the highest-paid performers in Europe earning admiration of many including Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway. She (obviously) preferred this to the hostility and bigotry she faced back home in America, but she returned in the 1950s to support the Civil Rights Movement. When she returned to the states, her contracts included a non-discrimination clause, and demanded that the clubs she played in had mixed audiences.

She fought hard against racism both in her own career, and by supporting the civil rights movement, speaking at the March on Washington, and even adopting children of many ethnicities. She was also an international artist and superstar before Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, or Beyonce.

Oh, and she had a pet cheetah named Chiquita! It was really hard to decide which one of her awesome stage outfits to paint her in; a ballgown, a sculptural burlesque jewled two piece, or her infamous banana skirt. I went with feathers, but I’m tempted to go back and do another. (I also visited the Van Gogh exhibit at the Art Institute this weekend, which may have inspired some of the crazy background.)


A new animal doodle every week.

My new year's resolution for 2014 was to draw more. I wasn't drawing nearly as much as I used to, and wanted a way to keep creativity flowing in my spare time. I committed to doodling at least once a week for the whole year. Animals are my favorite subjects, so I named them "zoodles."  In order to keep myself accountable, I post them on social media and Wednesday.