February Gratitude: Artists I Adore, Week 1

Each month this year, I am getting specific with my gratitude. It’s harder than I thought! In January, I focused on hygge-based gratitude. Things that made me cozy and happy, and wouldn’t you know it, each of the 31 items were pure luxuries that I hadn’t really considered luxuries (warm socks, dinner by candlelight…because we CHOSE to, not because the power was out…).

In February, I decided to focus on women who created new paths for artists to follow. These women are a mix of all media, from painters, writers, musicians, actors, and multi-hyphenates. I’ve included some links for further reading and research. Enjoy!



Shirley is my bff, if only she were still alive, or I were around in the ’50s. Girl loved a good cocktail party and scary story, and parented the way I relate to. Works I highly recommend:

We Have Always Lived in the Castle (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)”  – told by an unreliable narrator, this novella is creepy, mysterious, and awe-inducing. I love every page.

Life Among the Savages”  a hilarious and true glimpse of motherhood that a modern Pinterest-era mother would shudder at. Not this mama, though!

Feb. 2: Kara Walker


Something I personally struggle with as an artist is creating meaningful work while balancing motherhood and a job. I once heard a podcast with Kara Walker talking about how motherhood enhances her role as an artist, and since then have tried to gain a new perspective. Every time I come across a piece of Walker’s work, I cry. It’s intense, it’s subtle, it’s in your face aggressive. As a midwestern white woman, I am so fortunate to have access to a diversity of voices opening my mind. Seek her work out! Read her statements! Find her interviews! A contemporary artist worth knowing.

Feb. 3: Queen City Blooms gals!

Alex and Stephanie unofficially launched their new modern floral design business, Queen City Blooms, and I couldn’t be more inspired or excited. Combining years of expertise in multiple fields (including fields of flowers…haha, kind of, just kidding…), these two set the new standard for what you expect of a bouquet. They put so much thought and care into their creations. Congrats!!

Feb. 4: Beci Oprin

You know that feeling when you come across a piece of art, or a well-decorated room, or a song, and think, “this is what my brain WANTS to do, but hasn’t figured it out yet!”, and it’s inspiring rather than defeating? That’s how I felt when I first came across the talented Beci Orpin‘s books and work. Her use of color and whimsy is PURE JOY. It makes me realize that I put too much pressure on myself, and need to just enjoy the process, the color that I am drawn to, and the Suess-like world I gravitate toward. Since finding her, my house now has confetti all over its walls, and my house plants are about to suffer the same fate.

Feb. 5: S.A.R.K

When I was in 7th grade, I received a new-age metaphysical catalog filled with crystals, candles, and inspiring posters. I wish I could remember the name of that catalog, and have spent countless hours trying to track it down on the vast Internet with no luck. But, I do remember the artist they heavily featured, SARK, and her wonderful wisdom on “How to be an artist.” Since that time, I have read every book of hers, and tried to follow her advice as much as possible. Seek her out! You won’t be sorry.

Feb. 6: Frida Kahlo, duh

There is so much to love about Frida, especially from a contemporary feminist’s eyes. Wear make-up and pluck eyebrow hairs for the sake of “beauty”? Not for her. Abide by tradition and rules? Nope. Sure, she was in horrific pain most of her life, and perhaps her work would be vastly different if she wasn’t, but yet the colors and joy and horror she managed is gut wrenching and awe-inducing. My 6-year-old daughter is so in love with her, and can point out a Frida painting or Frida-inspired painting a mile away. I feel like Frida is the first stop on a long journey of discovery for all female creators, and I’m so happy she’s become a patron saint of sorts in our household.

Feb. 7: Bjork


Who else can wear a swan dress, open the Olympics with an ocean-sized gown, push boundaries, speak multiple languages, and be adorable doing it? Bjork was a common denominator in musical tastes between my husband and me (aside from The Aladdin soundtrack). He wooed me with Bjork mix-tapes and when she toured in the US, we spent every penny we had to see her in NYC. She’s always been a source of inspiration to me, how she just does not care what other people think, and makes the art she feels needs to be made.

“Big Time Sensuality” is still one of my all-time favorite songs.

{Stay tuned for more inspiring creators! I’ve had a lot of fun with this month’s gratitude.}


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