Because Therapy's Expensive
If you are a regular follower of Shauna on Instagram, you have come to notice that weekends are times for projects. That is, unless she is waiting in line for 4 hours for tacos. (More on that later). Her DIY Dot paintings were a huge hit a couple years ago and inspired lots of us to embrace our inner artist and create art that's both simple and personal. We believe that anything can be art, and art in your home should reflect you and your passions. So, inspired by a piece of 3D photography that she bought in Guatamala, Shauna set out to recreate the technique with photos of her recent travels.
So, as it turns out, a time consuming project but not difficult. The floating frames are from Michaels and come in several sizes. Foam board is used to glue (tacky glue is the best option we've found) to the back of the photo pieces you cut out to give it the 3D effect. Also some precision scissors or an exacto knife are handy tools to have. Check out the video tutorial below.
So easy, peasy! I promise you can do it. All of our photos were taken with an iPhone and we had them printed at Walgreens. So, no fancy cameras necessary. Now, if photography is not your strongest skill, you can go to websites like Society 6 or Etsy and snag some great travel photos of places you've visited. Or, not visited. Just because the photography is beautiful. Here are some of our favorites from Society 6.
So, if you've run out of projects around the house this summer, here's a fun one for you to tackle. We'd love to see what you create! Post on Instagram with the tag #ShaunasDIYchallenge for a chance to be featured in our stories!
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When you think of a ranch in the Texas Hill Country, visions of rich leather, heavy wood, animal skulls and western art probably pop in to your mind. When one of Shauna's good friends came to her to update their family ranch, we knew that finding the perfect balance between the western ranch aesthetic and a fresh, modern look would be a challenge we were anxious to dive in to.
The first space we tackled was the family room. A wide, open space that originally held a seating area and a dining table. We had other plans for a dining room (more about that later), so there was an opportunity to create a second seating area for afternoon cocktails, card games or just good ol' conversation.
I mean....wow! Right? We switched out the heavy leather furniture for a light, bright sectional from Restoration Hardware. Their Perennials performance fabric means you CAN have white linen at the ranch and not worry about mud or red wine or marinara sauce stains.
We also added this great cocktail table, also from Restoration Hardware (similar here), but kept the homeowners rug and that amazing antler chandelier to maintain the ranch vibe. Custom pillows in cobalt blue mohair, and simple, colorful patterns and stripes provide a rich contrast to the white sofa and are still comfortable enough for an afternoon nap.
In the new cocktail area, woven rattan chairs also from Restoration Hardware surround an antique Indian chakki table that has been topped with embossed leather to create a cocktail ottoman. The rustic console table from Four Hands fits neatly between the windows with two newly upholstered stools tucked underneath for easy additional seating. Of course, it's not a ranch without a cowhide here and there, so this seemed like the perfect spot. The homeowner is an avid collector of art and objects so we were not lacking for amazing pieces to style out shelves, tables and walls.
For the kitchen, we wanted to continue the open, bright feel and also give the homeowner a place to showcase her collections. We chose white cabinets and countertops and oversized white subway tile but the wood accents in floating shelves, cabinet detail and the range vent create that warm, rustic feel. And remember the dining room that we eliminated? Well what used to be a fairly unused sunporch is now a bright and colorful dining room.
Seriously, y'all. This has to be one of my favorite before & afters. It's still obviously a ranch but modern and bright and colorful (but not too much) and homey. These chairs were ones the homeowner already had so we just reupholstered them in a yummy blue velvet and floral print from Schumacher. The stacked wood console table by Noir again keeps that wood/nature theme going. Simple jute rug from Dash & Albert is easy to maintain and allows the colorful chairs to pop. Chandelier from Suzanne Kasler has leather buckle detail.
Check out more of our Before & After renovations here.
Ready for us to tackle YOUR Before? Contact us for more info.
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Like many of the artists we work with, we discovered Carolyn on Instagram. Her whimsical, bold colors are right up our alley and the fact that she is the sweetest person ever just makes us love her even more! Carolyn is a Dallas native who has lived and worked all over the world. While it's hard to say which of her pieces we love the most; her iconic portraits of Frida, Willie and Iris, her bold abstract florals or the grafitti inspired pieces, her work shows her sense of adventure and vibrancy of living, and honestly just makes us smile!
SGD: Can you briefly walk us through your story? How did you get started and how did you get to where you are today?
CJ: It feels a bit like I’ve been painting forever, as though making art is a 25+ year long ribbon of color tying together my memories.
Like a lot of creatives, I loved art as a kid so I signed up for oil painting, pottery, sewing classes, thrilled by color in all its shapes and forms. I majored in Painting & Print-Making at Wake Forest University and minored in Art History. Late nights in-studio and early mornings working in a bakery fueled my creativity, always a sucker for coffee + cookies and the doodles they inspired. I studied at Oxford and interned in some incredible art galleries in Sydney, Australia where I worked with Aboriginal art and Asian Pacific Rim contemporary art.
I came home to Dallas to work for Neiman Marcus, then 9/11 happened and changed our world forever. Some soul-searching and a continued love for painting led me to teach children’s art & art history… to my great joy. I began meeting and painting for interior designers during these early days.
A few years later I moved to Austin to pursue art of a different kind, culinary arts – culinary school was a childhood dream of mine, as my extended family had Chinese restaurants and the noisy kitchen fascinated me with its sizzling sounds and fiery flavors. During culinary school, I continued to paint and sell my paintings in coffee shops, happy to share my color-filled travel-inspired pieces. Austin was vibrant and always-encouraging and I’ll forever be grateful for such an inclusive community.
Fast forward a million years, babies + a whole lot of living, and I realize painting has been this life-giving faithful friend, no matter the city, no matter the season.
Today I paint from my home studio with my studio pup + a couple of bearded dragons and I can’t wait to see what the future holds. I’m represented in Dallas by Maestri Gallery and feel lucky to work with designers creating custom pieces for residential & commercial spaces. My art has been adapted a dozen ways in new media, and I’m grateful for all the collaborations along the way.
SGD: Has it been a smooth road? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
CJ: Well maybe the adventure’s in the twists & turns; smooth roads are boring, right? I do believe whole-heartedly that “creativity” is an infinite thing, that it can’t be used up, so even when I find myself discouraged or out of ideas, I try to remember that it’ll be fresh again tomorrow. No matter how crazy life can be, it’ll be there for us, ready for our return. This brings me comfort in the dry seasons and helps me go to bed late-night when I’m afraid I’ve over-worked a piece.
I love collaborating with designers and collectors and I’m a people-pleaser, perhaps to a fault, so it’s been a valuable life lesson to learn to speak up for my ideas and find my worth in the joy creating brings me personally, even if a piece doesn’t always please someone else.
And then all the back-end office stuff, maybe the typical administrative struggles many artists face… taxes, licensing agreements, legal docs, ha! I’m so thankful for my husband and his finance-savvy ways!
SGD: What are you most proud of and what sets you apart from other artists?
CJ: I’m humbled by and most grateful that I’ve been asked to collaborate with some amazing brands. We’ve adapted my art by changing the scale & medium to giant wallcovering installations in hotels by LookWalls, and to Roma Boots rain boots that give back to children in need all over the world.
My art was part of a bespoke line of dresses by Dallas’ Rosie + Belle, and it’s on athleisure yoga pants. I’m on insulated sports bottles by Austin’s clean & green ThinkSport, and I’m in Home Goods via Wexel Art’s innovative acrylic shadow box line. My “Y’all Means All” Pride painting was adapted to street banners for Deep Ellum’s neighborhood initiative, and I was asked to design brand assets for the international olive oil brand, Carapelli.
I’m so thankful these companies thought of me for their ideas, and saw possibility in my artwork… I know I could never create this kind of impact on my own. Art keeps bringing us together and we’re better together.
SGD: What advice would you give to someone at the start of his or her career?
CJ: Just keep at it, little by little, give it your 10,000+ hours, as Malcom Gladwell suggests, and you’ll hone your craft and more importantly, become an expert at being YOU. Make time early in the morning or late at night and do it a little bit every day… keep showing up for creativity. Also, be curious, stay playful, stretch yourself and give yourself so much grace… you can always paint over it. Take classes. If you’re traditionally a 2D artist, sign up for a new medium, try a 3D glass-blowing or metal-working class. Try new things, go back to what you love.
I look back at works from 15-20 years ago and smile seeing similarities in my form and use of color, calling cards all my own, poured out by the unique length of my two clumsy arms, splattered and drizzled in a way that only I splatter (messy).
Imagine and render what genuinely interests you and makes you smile and chances are you’ll feel & share joy. Resist the temptation to ask an Instagram audience what they want to see, just be you and keep creating mini versions of you. We need more you.
SGD: What artists do YOU admire and why?
CJ: I love so many! Chagall for his use of childlike figures and dreamlike color, his whimsical story-telling. I love Matisse for his scissor-cut shapes that have influenced the blobby-shapes in my portraits’ faces. Christo + Jeanne Claude, for the ways they disrupted the landscape by colorfully wrapping objects we might have otherwise overlooked. And then for living artists, I love and admire my friends at ALG Collective (@algcollective) they have created this incredible co-op in the Dallas Design District, using their space to bring together and inspire all kinds of artists. They’re amazing.
All of these artists make me feel a sense of wonder and bring me joy, and in the end joy is what I pursue, my work’s highest goal – to bring a little joy. Even if you forget what my art looks like, perhaps you’ll remember how it made you feel.
SGD: If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
CJ: I’d for sure be a zookeeper. My Instagram feed is equal parts paintings, cacti, and quokkas/otters/whales/puppies. I just think animals are amazing living works of art.
We are always looking for new artists to collaborate with and to feature in our Artist Spotlight. Send us your info or suggestions here!