Still Life Revived

When I was in art class in college, "still life drawing" was categorized as the "boring stuff". The teacher would lay out some plastic fruit, some strange cow skulls, a mannequin arm, some glass bottles and a wrinkled piece of fabric and then tell us how long we had to draw the items from our point of view in the room. It's a great exercise, but the end result was nothing I wanted to hang on the wall... :). 

The reason I didn't like still life drawing in college was that I had to relationship with the items I was drawing and to me they didn't tell a story. (and if they did.. it was a boring one!) So, now I love a beautiful well done still life drawing or painting when I see real emotion and energy in the work. Check out these beautiful still life paintings.... they are anything but boring!

James Paterson  

Janet Hill

Erin Fitzhugh Gregory

Jennifer Fairbanks

Robert Joyner

Angela Moulton

Please click through the artist names under each painting to see more of their work and stories! Each one is amazing!
As I go back to the studio, still life is still my starting place. I started a painting of one of my succulents over the weekend and I'll be sharing my experience and some photos of the painting in process later this week! What do you think about still life? Did these paintings change your perspective? Share your thoughts with us!

Happy day!


Happy Friday!

.... hope you have a really fun weekend! :)

(*Photos by Helen Byrd Photography at our sweet friend's wedding a few weekends ago)


The Great Studio Clean-Out

So I've started a big clean out in the studio to get ready for what's next with Specs & Wings! I want to make the space simpler, and make it easier to work and find any supplies I need for a particular project. Seems easy enough right? Mostly it's just a matter of making myself get in there and work on it! :) Anyone have any tips for staying focused on cleaning instead of finding 50-jillion other things to do? Ha! Maybe I'll make better progress this weekend... let's hope!

Big ideas for the space?! I'll let you in on a few of my favorites!!!
- A photo set up for easy blogging photos!
- A big supplies clean-out (should I maybe do a giveaway of cool art supplies I find?!)
- An art print wall to fill with art that reminds me to be brave... or just really cool art that features glasses!!!
- A great soft rug so I can work on projects in the floor (anyone seen anything awesome?!)
- A "Specs" banner (I already made one, I'll show you soon!)

Thanks for being such amazing readers, ya'll! I'd seriously welcome any ides or advice!
Happy day!


New F.A.Q.'s!

I recently updated my "about" section called (My Story in the toolbar) to include F.A.Q.'s! I tried to compile a little list, but I'm not great at this sort of thing and I really need your help! Have a question for me? Please leave it in the comments on this post, ask on twitter (@specsandwings) or email me (specsandwings@gmail.com) and I'll update my My Story page with answers!  Thanks friends!


What does Specs & Wings mean? 
It's my story. As an art student in college, I felt so much pressure to create paintings that would please my professors and peers that I was frozen in fear. I didn't feel like I could paint freely from my heart or be free to be myself. Then one special painting professor changed everything when she encouraged me to paint based on the sketches in my art journal...starting with a simple self portrait complete with bold "specs" and a funky pair of "wings". I realized that God had created me to be who I am for a purpose. I began to live an create for Him instead of worrying about what other people think. My heart and my art grew wings and now they soar!

What do you paint?
I am often asked this question and I have a hard time answering! I love to create symbolic paintings full of meaning. I typically paint words or everyday items in a new light. I love to include personal words or images that tell a story.

What kind of paint do you use?
For most canvas paintings and Toms I use acrylic paint. My favorite brand is Liquitex, but I also use Master's Touch and other craft brands. I also use watercolor and guache.

What kind of camera do you use?
Canon Rebel t3i

Do you still have an Etsy shop?
I am currently working on building up stock to re-open and I can't wait! I'll let you guys know as soon as it's ready.

Are you still taking custom painting orders? 
I am currently not taking custom orders so I can focus on new projects!

How do you do it all?!
You guys have been asking me this for awhile, and I haven't been sure how to answer. (I often think this about other people and wish I could be more like them! ha!)  Really, I just love what I do. It's a lot of work to keep up a blog, social media, photography, painting, keeping a shop and custom orders... while still having a life! I don't always juggle it well, and I'm learning all the time. Thanks for your patience with me.

Do you have a day job?
Yes, I work a full time job as a receptionist at a cpa firm. (Not what you expected, huh?) I would love to blog and create full time, but I'm so thankful for a job that allows me the freedom to create with joy in the evenings and on weekends.

What are planning to do next?
I'm not sure yet, but I'm seriously thinking about creating a new painting series for my shop, writing an ebook, and offering online art classes!

If you have a question for me, feel free to email me at specsandwings@gmail.com
*Photos above by Alison Holcomb Photography


Vintage Specs

How beautiful are these vintage frames?! These are all from the beautifully curated Vintage 50's Eyewear Etsy Shop. I know not everyone is as nuts for glasses as I am, but you gotta admit, these are amazing. Can't you just image the stories behind these specs?! Weren't women brave to make these fashion statements?! Personally, I love them! They are little works of art.

What do you think about these vintage frames? Would you wear a pair? If you had choose, which are your favorite?


Failure and Being Brave Again

Most recently I have discovered a love of house plants. My awesome friend Danielle can grow anything and I've always admired her green thumb. I decided to be brave and start adding a few new plants around our home. What happened to my last set of herbs? (aka: victims) Well, to be honest,  2 out of the 5 have survived. (I know... eek... sorry poor herbs!) But that's part of the journey right? Sometimes I'll set out to #bebravecreate and end up with a failure. It's okay though! I will press on and try another hardier plant. :)

I've heard that succulents are very easy to grow so I picked up a couple for my window sill. They make me super happy and so far so good on growth (keep your fingers crossed for me!) There's so much beauty in these little wonders. I'm amazed at our great Artist Creator God! What beautiful reminders these little plants are of what a Great Creative God we serve!

What about you? Discouraged because of a failure recently? I hope you'll take courage and try again! Share your stories in the comments or your photos on Instagram #bebravecreate ! I think this little community could be a cozy place of encouragement and a sweet place to push each on to be brave and try again. :)

Hope you have an awesome Monday!


Summer Reading Wish List!

My husband noticed the other day that I'm just eating up books! Remember when I said I'm "not a reader"? Well, I've decided it's time for that to change! I want to be brave and keep learning. The summer seems like the perfect time for a good read. Even in school they'd offer a summer reading list... now as adults, why don't we spend the summer reading?! Here are a few books I have on my wish list right now...

1. The Nesting Place: It Doesn't Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful
Blogger Myquillyn Smith from The Nest shares her heart about home...
"There is beauty in the lived-in and loved-on and just-about-used-up, Myquillyn says, and welcoming that imperfection wholeheartedly just might be the most freeing thing you’ll ever do."- as seen on Amazon

2. A Beautiful Mess Happy Handmade Home
Due out Aug. 26th, I can't wait to see this beautiful book from my favorite bloggers- Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman of A Beautiful Mess! I think creating a home is one of the most wonderful things a family can do together. :)

3. The Fault in Our Stars*
Yes, the major movie currently playing... if you haven't seen it yet, check out the book first! Let's cry our eyes out together!

4. Save with Jamie: Shop Smart, Cook Clever, Waste Less
Last week I watched this TED talk with Jamie Oliver and I was so impressed and impassioned by what he had to say. I hope you'll watch and check out his books with me!

I love the The Forest Feast Blog so I discovered she wrote a cookbook, I was elated! The author is a lover of all things natural, has creative recipes, plus she's a watercolor artist... amazing.

6. Season to Taste: How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way*
22-year old, Molly Burnbaum was right on track for her dream job of being a chef when a terrible accident left her without her sense of smell. This is the story of how one determined woman fights against all odds to reach her dreams!

What about you? What's on your list? Any of these seem interesting to you? Share what you're bravely reading in the comments or on Instagram and Twitter, #specsandwings

Please note that I have not read any of these books so I cannot truly recommend them, I am just sharing the books that have most peaked my interest right now. :)

Books with an (*) are available at Midland County Library and all are available through Amazon.com by clicking the links. Please know if you purchase after clicking, I will receive a bit of commission. ;) Thanks for supporting the brands that support me!