March - Welcoming Growth

Hello friends!

I hope you're all having a good start to March. We've been enjoying some nice sunshine here, although it does make everything icy at night.

Last week, I started The Artist's Way for the second time in my art career. It’s a book by Julia Cameron that guides readers in uncovering where they are restricting their creative flow and offers techniques to free up any areas where they might be stuck, opening up opportunities for self-growth and self-discovery. For my first "artist date" (a weekly task from the book), I went to the Minneapolis Institute of Art and Design. I spent most of my time on the third floor, particularly in the Europe & America 1600-1900 and Europe 1200-1600 sections. I always get distracted by historic religious pieces, with their epic and vibrant colors. (I was also taken by the "Fragments of Epic Memory" exhibit and the many pieces of work by Maki Haku. I highly recommend checking it out if you're ever in the area.) I also always keep an eye out for Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet. However, on my way to see Monet’s “Grainstack, Sun in the Mist”, I came across a painting that caught my attention. The painting itself was beautiful, but the title was what really struck me: "The Artist's Daughter" by Berthe Morisot. I've always loved names for businesses like "The Baker's Wife" or "The Butcher's Son". I'm not sure if it's meant to sound this way on purpose, but I always interpret it as a bit of sarcasm. Like they're not exactly a butcher or a baker, but close enough right? Haha.

The Artist's Daughter, Julie, with her Nanny, c. 1884 Berthe Morisot

The title "The Artist's Daughter" really hit me. I was often called a "TK" (teacher's kid) growing up, since both of my parents are high school art teachers. I spent a lot of my childhood in the high school art room, where I had access to everything: pastels, video cameras, computers, a classroom projector, trinkets and treasures that were used for still-life. Art has always been a main focus in our family. My brother is also an artist, and we both married artists, we are all about art! When my brother took a college art class (as a highschool student) on the weekends in Milwaukee, my mom and I drove with him and drew at the Milwaukee Public Museum. When we went on vacation we would tour art museums or famous arcitecture. These moments are so vibrant in mind as I look back. (Skip to the end to see pictures of the classroom). 

The MIA has many amazing period rooms that are just lovely to sit and admire in. This one is Georgian drawing room. Swoon! 

My parents are also teachers of nature, exclusively to my brother and I that is. If I'm not obsessing over art in some form, then I'm probably camping, hiking, or gardening. These two things, art and nature, have made up most of my childhood and have continued into my adulthood. The love of nature and art was always expressed by the art and education my parents would share with us. For example, works by Claude Monet and Frank Lloyd Wright (both can be found at the MIA) were regularly brought up in our household. Monet especially sticks with me whenever I'm at an art museum. I grew up being wowed by his paintings of his garden, wanting to wander the garden and draw it myself. I even had a children's book called "Linnea in Monet's Garden" that I wish I still had. It's about a little girl who visits the home and garden of Claude Monet at Giverny, France. She learns about Monet's paintings, his life, and what it means to be an impressionist. The book was illustrated but also featured photos of Monet's work. I loved it so much that I made a "master copy" of the "Japanese Footbridge" painting for a school district art competition (I think I was 8?). So seeing Monet in any form always makes me feel connected right back to my childhood, where nature and art always met.

Grainstack, Sun in the Mist, 1891 Claude Monete & Linnea in Monet's Garden by Lena Anderson.

“The richness I achieve comes from nature, the source of my inspiration.“

                                         - Claude Monet

Wandering around the art museum last week brought back lots of those memories and also a sense of identity (or maybe questioning my identity?). I'm so grateful to have had such a precious childhood and to have parents who encouraged us to be creative. However,  somehow I often get trapped by imposter syndrome or feeling too scared to try something in case I might fail or be bad at it. The first week of The Artist's Way is about figuring out where your creative blockage comes from and also where you can draw creativity from. I feel like maybe I've always been stuck in the mindset of "the art teacher's daughter", and maybe that's why it's hard to see myself as an actual artist. Or maybe I should lean more into being the art teacher's daughter? Remembering the high school art room, a place where I had true artistic freedom, is very inspiring to me and brings me great joy. No one was judging me or telling me what I was doing was good art or bad art. I was just having fun all by myself (I am an introvert so alone time is super important for me as well.) I'm not sure how I'll be able to recreate that for myself in my life today. I feel the pressure to post my process to social media often, to perform, and to engage. I think this just means I may have to create something new for myself, a new process just for me. I'll keep you updated!

“Aside from painting and gardening, I am good for nothing.“

                                         - Claude Monet

Sadly the classroom is no longer around. During the pandemic they took down the old High School (it was being used as The Middle School) and built a new Middle School. My parents were able to take a tour and some pictures before the demolish though. It makes me so teary to look at these! 

If you've read this far, thank you so much! I want to explore this type of documenting more. So I think I might document all my Artist's Way process weekly here. Stay tuned!

Take care!
- Robin ♡

New Year, New Step & A Little Life Recap ︎

Hello Friends! Hope you are doing well. This is going to be a bit of a mashup of past events, current thoughts, and future plans! 

The last couple months have been filled with traveling, art, and lots of making plans for the future or just thinking about the future in general. For the past couple years I have been able to stretch out a bit creatively but this is the year I need to bring it all back in and focus on being stable with income. This brings the joy of thinking of different kinds of jobs I can perform but it also brings self doubt and lots of rejection. Either way it’s all progress right?

Here in MN we are still looking out for those rare sunny days and taking advantage of the quiet early nights.

I feel like the picture above encapsulates how winter has been so far. Embracing the sunny days when we have them and settling in for the cozy early nights. One thing I did for myself during December was paint my front porch/guest room (it’s where you see my cat lounging above and where my plants are glowing above). It was lots of work and was very frustrating but I love the end result. I take so much delight watching the sun shine in on the days it decides to shows up.

Some sketches in my sketchbook so far in the new year.

Time for Soup! Digital sketch.
I am trying to get back into daily sketching again. I feel like I see progress in my work most when I sketch daily. Although I am not always in the mood to do so. I also let myself get away with sketching digitally as well. The soup to the left came from both my sketchbook and then digitally sketching. I decided I would make it into a poster of sorts. I have never made a poster before so this should be fun!

Other art goals for the year ahead include me tightening it up a bit. I am planning on taking some skill-share classes in graphic design and creating some work with influences of that.

One big goal I have for 2023 is to make a screen-printing studio in our basement. I have the perfect area for it and already grabbed some supplies in November.

Some snaps from my recent trip to Texas. 

We have been busy almost every weekend for the past 3 months. We have been hopping back and forth to Wisconsin and then for New Years we were in Texas. Visiting Texas is always a time of rest for me. We stay with friends and they take good care of us. We visit stores that have art, books, fun snacks, and toys. We also always eat and drink well. Always very inspirational. 

Settling into being back home for a while. 

Now we are back in Minnesota for a while and we are trying to break back into routines. I am finding it equally comforting and difficult. It is always nice to be home with your things and your routines, but also the mundanity of it all combined with freezing temps makes it very hard to ever leave bed in the morning. To cure this we have made plenty of plans with friends and also making sure we explore our city more. One new discovery was a Coffee Shop + Record Shop + Photo Lab. I am in love with it and we bought lots of good records and good drinks.

I am now on Creative Market! 

I have officially thrown my hat in the ring of Creative Market, visit my shop here. I make lots of cute item illustrations already, why not make it into clipart? I am excited to see how it goes and to see what kind of new path it brings for me creatively and my career.

I hope you all had a decent new year and had a restful January. I hope February treats you well! 

Take care!

- Robin ♡

Quick Reset - Moving through it

Hello! ✿ Some things from last week:

I have been playing around with acrylic gouache and it's been very calming and fun. I think I am starting to figure out my style with them which is pretty neat.
Our friend dog-sat for us Saturday so for a creative flow session I made a cute Gravy Guide. 

Taking it easy. Waking up slow and going for short walks even if it's freezing.

Take care!

- Robin ♡

Staying Consistent

Last week was a very inspiring. I reconnected with a few friends for the first time in months, I talked art and life, and set some new goals for myself. I decided on my personal instagram I would start a 365 project with photography. I want to have a better eye for it in general and figured daily practice would be a good start. I also started keeping a "Tiny Thoughts" journal with me (the field notes book in the title). This is just for anything that sticks out to me in my brain or said around me. It has been super helpful already. Nick and I grabbed some good food over the weekend  and I played around with gouache mixed with digital. In addition to client work, overall I feel pretty happy with my productivity. Starting to feel a little more balanced.

Visited my lovely friend Kim's home and studio last week. She showed me her set up and her brand new tests! They were all so beautiful.

My gouache painting on the left and my final sketch on right after messing around in photoshop. Thinking maybe one day investing in a scanner, I did this just with a photo from my phone! 

A sandwich pop up we finally got to try! And a lazy Gravy relaxing while the rest of the world works.

Take care!

- Robin ♡


    I started an online course in the spring and I am still working through the tail end of it. With all the life events 2020 has brought I got pulled in different directions during the course so finishing the class on time was not an option. But that’s okay because the class is forever accessible to me and I hope to be finished within the next few weeks. The course is Illustration for Motion and it is taught by Sarah Beth Morgan. It has been so amazing and the refresher I desperately needed. Also I know so much more about working with animators now. 

(Above is a style-guide I created to help keep me consistent as I illustrate the style frames.
All of the above illustrations have been created by me.)

    The assignment I am currently on is about making style frames for a ‘60s themed ad for playing cards and I am having so much fun. In the lesson she goes over where to find inspiration, but since the pandemic going out and collecting inspiration isn’t is as easy. So I decided to go through my books and some photos I took during my “artist’s dates” I had taken earlier this year. I went to a few vintage stores and lucky for me took some photos on my phone. Great inspiration for font styles, art styles, and patterns.

(Above are some shots from my vintage store visits here in Minneapolis.)

    I found this gem (photo above) on my bookshelf, given to me by my mother in-law many years ago. Once again lucky for me this book was published in the ‘60s. It is mainly about crafting but had some wonderful full color photos in some of the spreads. These colors inspired me a lot for this assignment. Also since I plan on illustrating some scenes this was the perfect reference.

(Above are pages from the book that really inspired me.)

    Even though I could not go out and immerse myself in the world, it was nice to see what I had in my own house that could help inspire me. This will be helpful when winter comes! I took some time and just sketched out shapes and icons I kept seeing in my references and then eventually made the style-guide that you saw at the top of the page. Next step is to make some thumbnails and final sketches.

Speak to you soon!   ~ Robin

(Above is a spread from my sketchbook inspired by the reference I collected.)