Smallish Adventures - Chicago Botanic Garden Orchid Show

The Orchid show at the Chicago Botanic Garden opened at the perfect time. This winter has been rather harsh. We had a mini polar vortex and lots of snow. I mean, it’s Chicago, so, nothing terribly unusual, but…. I am so over winter. I couldn’t wait for the Orchid show this year! I took my mom a week or so ago to check it out and to help chase the winter blues away. And the orchids did NOT disappoint. This years show was outstanding! The theme was “In the Tropics” and it totally captured the spirit of islands, beaches, and rainforests in places like the South Pacific and the Amazon.

Chicago Botanic Garden 2019 Orchid Show - Moth Orchid
Chicago Botanic Garden 2019 Orchid Show - Pink Orchids
Lady Slipper Orchid
Beautiful Orchids from the Chicago Botanic Garden 2019 Orchid Show

These are just a few of my favorite photos from this years Orchid Show. I’ll add more to my Flickr account in the next few days!

Check out more orchid photos from past posts:


Are you a fan of Orchids? Which are your favorites? Let me know in the comment section below!


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WIP - Lady Slipper Orchid Painting

Right now, I have three paintings that are in progress. You saw the last one, my large overly ambitious succulent garden painting. I am a little stuck with that one right now and had to put it down. I started a smaller succulent painting that is much less daunting. I’ll give you an update on that one soon. And, as if that wasn’t enough on my plate, I am working on a Lady Slipper Orchid painting for my mom!

I’m super excited about this painting for my mom though. I took her to the Chicago Botanic Garden 2019 Orchid show a few weeks ago and was totally inspired to paint this particular orchid for her because these are her most favorite orchids. I don’t know, there’s something about these that she loves so much. I decided to try and paint it in similar colors to the Yellow Rose painting I made for her last year. I imagine she’d have these hanging side by side.

Lady Slipper Orchid- almost finished!

Lady Slipper Orchid- almost finished!

lady slipper orchid painting 01.jpg

Day 1: I drew the flower and just filled in the canvas with paint. I’m not worried about the color or the shape of the orchid yet. I’ll fix it as I go along.

lady slipper orchid painting 02.jpg

Day 2: I darkened the background color and painted the leaves. I like where this is going so far!

lady slipper orchid painting 03.jpg

Day 3: Totally changed my mind about the background color (it was a dark dark blue) and I decided to make it a dark green to coordinate with the Yellow Rose painting I did for my mom last year. I added highlights to my leaves and I started painting in the white petals on the orchid.

lady slipper orchid painting almost finished.jpg

Day 4: I tackled the yellow petals and the “slipper” portion of the orchid. It’s looking good!

Now all I need to do is refine the petals, and add the finishing details. Stay turned!


Happy creating!


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NEW Art Studio Update

I feel like I haven’t painted/done anything creative in forever! We decided to get wood floors installed upstairs and to move my studio out of the second bedroom in order to create space for our upcoming adventure. So ALLLLLLLL my cherished art and painting supplies were packed up and stored in the spare bathroom while we waited for the flooring people to work their magic. 

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We waited for what seemed like months for the flooring to be delivered and installed. (Actually, it was only a few weeks, but still. When the house was in totally disarray, it certainly felt a lot longer. ) They finished installing everything about two weeks and then the daunting task of unpacking and putting everything away began. We spent DAYS unpacking, sorting through things, and moving everything back.

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new-floors-bedroom2.jpg

Once I emptied all my art supplies from the second bathroom and moved things into my new smaller studio space, I still couldn’t paint because I didn’t have any floor protection (one of the reasons we decided to finally get the flooring is because the rug in the former studio was in really poor shape thanks to me. Paint is super messy!) I ordered an area rug for our bedroom (yay! no cold feet in the morning), the new nursery, and for my new studio space and waited (im)patiently for them to be delivered. 

My studio rug arrived last week and I moved my easel and paints out to their new home on the loft. 

new studio.jpg

I’m still not 100% finished with re-arranging my new studio space. I don’t think I have my easel in just the right spot yet and I need to figure out my lighting situation. And, I’m in dire need of better storage solutions. Not pictured is the chaos on and under my work desk (you can see a tiny portion of it on the left side of the photo) and the piles and piles of canvas and paintings stacked in the corner behind my easel. I was also going to purchase the create your own desk combo from Ikea for our computer/work space (not pictured yet) but G found a great tutorial and is really excited to try and build one instead. Hopefully, in the spring we can make that happen. In the meantime, do you know where I can get file cabinets for cheap?

Next big project: Finishing the nursery!

 

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WIP - Succulent Garden Painting Update

Hello! How’s 2019 treating you so far? I have a small update to my latest ambitious succulent painting.

WIP - Succulent Garden Painting Update
WIP - Succulent Garden Painting Progress Shot

I added a little more color and painted in a few more leaves. That’s it. Sadly (but for good reason!) my studio is completely torn apart and empty. All my art supplies are either in our second bathroom packed away in boxes or scattered in boxes on the loft. G surprised me and painted the studio and now we’re waiting for our new hardwood floor to be installed throughout our upstairs, including our bedroom, former studio (now nursery!) hall and loft space. Needless to say, I haven’t had a chance to paint at all for the past two weeks. But that’s okay. Good things are happening!

I hope you’re having a great start to your new year. What projects are you working on? I’d love to hear about them!


Happy creating!

-a



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Happy 2019!

Happy 2019! 

Happy 2019


I don’t usually make resolutions (mostly because by the end of January, I’ve all but forgotten about them.) But I am going to make one this year. I resolve to say yes to my ideas and plans and bring them into fruition.  

Do you know how many ideas i have that i think are so awesome and fun that I start to do, or begin planning, but then i end up talking myself out of doing? I begin to think that my ideas are dumb, or that no one would care, etc. I have a long list of blog post topics and tutorials that I have never written, a ton of ideas for new listings in my shops that I have never added, ideas for paintings and sketchbooks that I think would be super fun to do that I have never started, a ton of garden projects that I haven’t done yet. All because I start to talk myself out of them. I begin tell myself that these ideas are dumb, they are a waste of time, no one will care about them, or see them, so why bother. How many people I cheated out of seeing or reading something that delighted them, or helped them in some way? How many opportunities have i missed out on because i talked myself out of putting myself and my ideas out into the world? How much joy and satisfaction have I missed out on because I didn’t do the thing? 

This year I will write the blog post, even though no one may read it. I will add new listings to my shop even though no one may buy it. I will paint and play in sketchbooks even though it may be silly and frivolous and I cant sell it. I will start my garden projects even though no one but me and mom mom will see it. I will do the things, all the things, because I will enjoy it. Because I love doing those things. Because it will make me happy. Because I will express myself.

What are your New Years Resolutions?

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2018 Year in Review

Happy New Year! 2018 was a pretty okay year (again, if you didn’t read or watch the news…) I stretched and grew as an artist, I made A LOT of art, we suffered a terrible loss and then a few months later, discovered joy again. Here are some of the highlights (and a low) of 2018.

2018 Top 9 instagram posts.jpg

January. I started off the year painting (which is always good!) two new cactus paintings. Clearly, I was still feeling the cactus and succulent love! We found out at the end of January that I was pregnant (WHA?!?!) I had lots of emotions, and it was a pretty wild ride.

February. February was tough. We went in for our 8 week ultrasound to finally hear our Little’s heartbeat and the doctor couldn’t find one. Maybe our dates were off and baby was measuring only 6 weeks old. I went back the next week only to hear that we experienced a missed miscarriage. Our little had stopped growing and was not viable. G and I were devastated.

March. Despite the funk and sadness of our loss, I started painting again and I threw myself into preparing for my first Gallery show/Art market at the Swell Gallery in West Dundee. This was my first Art Gallery! I also on a whim applied (and got in!) to the Spring Art Market and Gallery at Gallery 1070 in Chicago.

April. I decided to participate in #The100DayProject again. This time, my goal was to paint 100 tiny 3”x3” mini paintings. My Gallery show opened at Swell Gallery and we went to the opening artist reception. It was so awesome to see my paintings and photos hanging on the wall and on display throughout the gallery. And it was amazing that so many family and friends came out, despite the rain, to support me. In addition to all of this, I was painting and prepping for the upcoming opening of my gallery market and show at Gallery 1070. It was a crazy few weeks!

May. May was all about my 100 day project and planning and working on my patio garden! The weather was exceptionally nice, so mom and I had a chance to pick up a lot of our annuals and start planting. I think this was our prettiest patio garden yet!

June. We turned a non functioning water fountain into a super fun planter and finished setting up the patio garden only to be told that we had to take everything down in order for the patio to be refinished and stained.

July. We were finally allowed to put our patio garden back together in time for the 4th of July holiday. I also successfully complete my second #The100DayProject! Just before finishing that project, I started a new, quite large painting of one of my favorite photos that I had been dreaming about for a while. We also went on a long weekend vacation to Seattle and despite the out of character 90+ degree days, had a fantastic time! When we got home from Seattle, we discovered I was pregnant again! (WHAT?!!!)

August. I spent a lot of time resting during the month of August. While I didn’t suffer from morning sickness, I felt extraordinarily tired all the time. We kept things pretty quiet until our 8-week ultrasound. I was so worried that I would have another missed miscarriage. We did hear a heartbeat at 8 weeks, and I finally let go of (some of) the anxiety and worry and started to get excited.

September. The beginning half of September was spent preparing for an art/craft show in McHenry. We revamped my table design, whittled down my selection to mostly little paintings from my 100 day project and my best matted prints. Unfortunately, this show wasn’t very successful for us, but mom and I still had a great time.

October. I worked on creating my 2019 digital calendars and finishing up the cutest gnome photo calendar (in addition to a few other designs.) I also started one of my most favorite paintings I’ve created to date— my large peony painting

November. We had our second art show of the season and it was way better! We also made our pregnancy announcement “facebook” official over Thanksgiving and told all of our family and friends we were expecting.

December. We had our last art show during the first weekend of December. It was really successful and fun. I really do enjoy participating and exhibiting in these shows. I also found enough energy to start a new, very ambitious painting that I hope I can complete before our Little arrive in early April!

Whew! What a year!

Thank you so much for all of your love and support. Thank you for the comments, the emails, the encouragement. I could not have done this without you. I'm looking forward to spending 2019 with you!

Happy New Year!

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Top 10 Most Popular Posts of 2018


It’s that time of year again! Time to get all nostalgic and reflective and look back at what happened over the past year. This year was really good (again, as long as you didn’t read or watch the news.) In fact, it was really REALLY good. More on why later. In the meantime, here are my 10 most popular posts on the blog this year:

Spring Lilacs by april bern photography

  1. 10 more DIY Flower Pot Painting Ideas

  2. 10 More Super Cute Ways to DIY Your Flower Pots

  3. 10 Super Cute Ways to DIY Succulent Planters

  4. My Distressed Painted Flower Pot DIY

  5. 10 DIY Flower Pot Painting Ideas

  6. DIY - Turn a Water Fountain into a Planter

  7. Mermaid Theme Smash Cake Session - Baby Ellie

  8. 40 Spectacular Botanic Gardens, Arboretums, and Conservatories in and around Chicagoland for Photography

  9. WIP - New Pilea Plant and Succulent Paintings

  10. Patio Garden Tour - Part One

Seems to me that you like my DIY and garden posts! Perhaps I should rebrand as a garden blog! Just kidding. I love the DIYs and gardening stuffs too. Creating my patio garden oasis is always one of the highlights of my year. I’m glad that you seem to enjoy it as well.

Thank you so much for stopping by and the the emails and comments. I totally appreciate every one of you. And I look forward to spending 2019 with you.

Thank you!



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WIP - New Succulent Garden Painting

Hi! I hope you had a fantastic Christmas holiday! Mine was quite lovely. We got to spend a ton of time with family and ate soooo much. I did find a few quiet moments to start a new painting that’s been rolling around in my head. I feel like this one will be one of my most ambitious paintings yet. There is so much going on here. Usually, I stick to a larger, single flower/succulent type of image. This one is PACKED with succulents!

WIP - Succulent Garden Painting

First, I loosely sketch out my drawing to make sure I can fit everything on my large 24”x24” canvas. I just want to get the basic shapes down. The next step is a more detailed drawing, where I start to draw in the actual leafs and petals.

Work in progress - succulent garden painting on easel. First step: Drawing it out.

Just a note: I love my new neutral grey glass palette. It’s fantastic! It’s easy to clean and the colors appear more true than the white plastic palette I was using. This cost a little more than the plastic palettes, but it’s really worth it.

WIP - Succulent Garden Painting. Starting to paint!

Finally, it’s time to paint! I didn’t finish drawing all the details on the right side. I was too eager to start painting. I will continue to make slight adjustments as I go along.

Work in progress - Succulent Garden Painting. Starting to paint.

I am so excited to paint again! Hopefully I’ll be able to finish this one before April of 2019…


What projects are you working on? What are you going to start next year? Let me know in the comments section below!


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