In the spirit of reflection that comes along with the new year, I've spent the past few weeks looking back on 2018 and planning for the coming year. Last January, I opened Great Oaks Art with the hope of sharing what I love about watercolor and hometown love with more people. It was a year of trying new things, meeting new people, and growing beyond what I thought I could accomplish in a year's time!
Here are a few of my favorite highlights from 2018:
30 Lakes in 30 Days
In July 2018, I created a collection of 30 paintings celebrating Michigan summer memories. A new Michigan lake was featured in a painting each day. Each unique piece was created from original watercolor paintings, which were then layered with die cut paper showcasing the lake's outline. Add a little paper heart to a place that special to you, and what a great way that is to remember a favorite vacation spot or family memory!
If you are interested in seeing the whole collection, head on over to my Instagram page and take a look!
Holiday Craft Shows
At the start of the year, I didn't intend to participate in any arts and craft shows in 2018. But, when a friend suggested that we enter one together, I thought, why not?! Thankfully, my Mom (bless her heart), had foreseen this potential desire a few years ago and had picked up a set of display racks from a local retiring artist. What makes this special is that I remember admiring this artist's work growing up, and I feel honored to use something that served her so well.
My first show (ever!!) was with my friend here locally in the Kalamazoo area. What an amazing experience! From meeting so many friendly and helpful artisans and makers, to seeing the joy and excitement on my kid's faces as they helped me prepare and set up my booth. My husband was so helpful and supportive as well, truly a family affair! I finished up the year with one more show near my hometown in Ludington, Michigan. I'm so thankful for that gentle nudge from my friend to give craft shows a try.
I'm starting to plan for shows in 2019, so stay tuned for more info to come! If you want to be the first to know what shows I'll be at, head on over and sign up for my email list by clicking the link below.
Designing greeting cards was a favorite challenge this year. Back when I started playing with watercolor, I would hand paint and assemble greeting cards for family and friends. When I opened my shop last year, I wanted to include a stationery line of some sort, but I knew that I wouldn't be able to keep up with hand painting each one. After some research, I found a great family-owned print shop here locally. I'm so impressed with the quality of their printing. The paper is thick and sturdy, just like you'd expect from a quality card.
The Michigan themed cards were a hit at the craft shows this year. One of the things I love about them is that they aren't just a card, you can frame them too! They easily fit in a 5 x 7 inch frame (or in a 8 x 10 inch frame that has a mat as shown in the picture above). So not only can you send someone a card, they can pop it up on their wall too! These cards are blank inside too, perfect for any occasion.
I'll be expanding the shop's stationery line in 2019, with more frame-able cards and occasion cards to come!
So that's a wrap on 2018!
I can't wait to bring some new ideas and experiences to life in 2019! I hope you and yours have a happy and healthy new year too. Fill it with things that bring you joy and great memories!