Top 5 Podcasts for Creatives

I’m so thankful for podcasts. I have a pretty long commute to and from work that I used to DREAD, but since podcasts have really become a thing, I’m excited to drive now! I found a few that I find so valuable as a creative person (and as a creative person who wants to make a living doing their creative endeavor), that I want to share them with you too. I think you’ll find some benefit, no matter what creative field you’re in.

Top Five Podcasts for Creatives

Here are my top favorites, in no particular order:

Don’t Keep Your Day Job - Really fantastic podcast. I love how warm, positive, and kind Cathy is. I love that she believes that “purpose is the opposite of depression” and she strives to help people find the purpose in their lives.

Some of my favorite episodes are:

How to Avoid the Perfection Trap - James Victore

How to Choose Wonder Over Worry - Amber Rae

How to Make Creativity Your Career - Andy J. Pizza

Creative Pep Talk - The pep talks are really insightful and motivational. There are lots of practical and actionable items to pep up your creative and creative business game. And the energy of the host is contagious!

Some of my favorite episode are:

You’ll Never Make Your Best Work While Believing this Lie

The Things that’s Always Held you Back and the Scientific Way to Defeat it

You’ve Been Lied to and it’s Holding You Back

That’s What She Said - Another podcast I think is helpful for creatives and for all people, really. There’s a lot of tough love in this one. Kristen doesn’t mince words and tells it like it is. And bonus if you dig Harry Potter!

Some of my favorite episodes are:

Don’t Drink the Unicorn Blood (and put down that Horcrux) (and really, all her M-school podcasts are fantastic.)

Vulnerability 101: How to stop hiding your work and be seen by all the people who matter

Intuition Basics: Sensing the Sparkle

Do it for the Process - This is a fantastic podcast if you’re an artist. I love the practical tips and positive vibes that Emily puts out into the world.

Some of my favorite episodes are:

Can Artists Make it on Their Own? The Mindset Shifts Needed to be a Creative Entrepreneur

Do it For the Process: 14 Tried & True Ways to Remain Inspired and ALIVE in Your Creativity

Mother + Artist: Can Creativity Coexist with Parenting?

Artists Helping Artists - I find this podcast to be super valuable because the hosts discuss topics like how to sell more art on-line, social media and marketing tips, and they speak with guest artists, gallerists, and others sharing their knowledge of the business side of art.

Some of my favorite episodes are:

15 Ways to Get Inspired about Your Art

Why Every Artist Needs to Take Risks for Growth

Twenty Things to do to Change Your Art in 2019

I hope you give these a listen and let me know what you think! Do you have a favorite podcast you think I should listen to? Let me know in the comments section below!

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69/100 - The 100 Day Project

I used one of my favorite photos as a reference for today's #the100DayProject painting. I love this succulent photo. I have a 30x40 gallery wrapped canvas on my living room wall. I've painted it a number of times and I have plans to create a large painting of it when this project is over.

69/100. 3"x3" acrylic on canvas.

69/100. 3"x3" acrylic on canvas.

Speaking of the project being over, I am in the home stretch! Only a month left! If you're working on the 100 day project too, I just want to tell you that you got this!

Happy creating!



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2017 Year in Review

Happy (almost) New Year! Like I mentioned in my last post, 2017 wasn't that bad if you didn't watch the news or read twitter. For me personally, it was really quite nice. Nothing catastrophic happened and everyone here is still healthy and happy. There were a lot of really nice highlights and surprises.

Best Nine of 2017

January. The month and thus the year started out rather bleak. We just got over the first holiday season without my grandma, and it was pretty rough for mom and I. That coupled with inauguration left me feeling very helpless and hopeless. And though there were some dark days, I resolved to make more art. I continued to paintshare my photos, and have smallish adventures with mom at the  Mitchell Conservatory in Milwaukee. And that truly is how I felt I spent my year, creating and sharing my art.

February. I went on a strict news diet for a few weeks and I began painting in earnest. I tried my hand at painting something a little different for me-- abstracts.  I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either.  I also decided to combine my two greatest loves-- coffee cups and succulents-- into a series of paintings. There were many many smallish adventures too! I went to the Nicholas Conservatory for the first time to see their orchid show. It was so good, I brought my mom back the next weekend. And of course I went to the Chicago Botanic Garden's orchid show. Twice.

March. More adventures! I went back to the Orchid show for a third time. What can I say? I love orchids and was just so happy to take photos of green and growing things. I continued with creative adventures too.  I picked up a small set of gouache paints and tried them out. I really love how the gouache looks, but I definitely need more practice. I also discovered that am madly in love creating videos with the small clips I had been filming at the garden.

April. Mom adopted a puppy! Her name is Molly and she's a two year old rescue pup. She's a Boston Terrier and Chihuahua mix and she's is totally moms dog. That was definitely the highlight of the month. The rest of the month I felt like I was huddled in my studio painting. I thought it would be a good idea to join the #100dayproject and create an abstract painting every day for 100 days. I wanted to quit after two weeks, but I persevered and kept painting. I start stalking the Botanic garden, looking for smallish signs of spring.

May. Still painted. Every night I came home from work, ate dinner, and went upstairs to the studio to paint. It was totally a routine. We had an adventure in Austin, TX for the weekend and I made extra paintings so I didn't miss a day of posting. Speaking of adventures, a good friend tipped me off to the most amazing spot with lilacs and I just about died from their intoxicating scent and with how amazing they were. Talk about capturing them at their best! And, I finally started my patio garden. Mom and I had an absolute blast shopping for plants, planting, and replanting. The patio garden looked so good. 

JuneStill painted. Mom and I created our very own gnome garden and we spend every day after work (before dinner and painting) outside among the plants and gnomes.

July. I finally completed the #100dayproject! I am happy to say that I did not miss one single day posting. I made 100 small abstract paints and felt super accomplished. I learned a lot from that experience. I thought I would take a break from painting, but i jumped right back in and created two of my most favorite succulent paintings ever.

August. Still painted (real paintings, no longer for the #100dayproject) I think I created a new habit. I found a new paint color and fell head over heels in love with it and began to use it in EVERYTHING I painted. I still went to the garden at least once a week.

September. Big month, full of all sorts of adventures! We celebrated G's birthday, our anniversary, and my birthday all this month. We had our big celebratory adventure in Sedona, AZ this year. Sedona was great except that I was sick for the entire trip. There were also garden and pumpkin adventures when we returned home. Oh, the craziest thing I did was, at G's urging, sign up to sell at a craft show in December!

October. I photographed a first birthday smash cake session at my house so the first week was filled planning, prop shopping and setting up for this super fun photo session.  Two weeks later, I photographed an engagement session at the Garden for one of my best friends. In between, there were adventures with my mom at the Anderson Japanese Garden(link?) in Rockford to witness the changing leaves. I found out I was accepted to TWO crafts shows. Oh yeah, I had applied to one more since September. ;)

November. November was spent fretting... um... I mean, preparing for the craft shows. I had little ready before hand, this being my first time. I spent so much time prepping, making lists, shopping and making more lists. It was a lot of work, and I don't think I saw my husband at all. But the gals who work at the Michael’s by the house know me by name now. 

December. I did two craft shows!!! The first show was in early December and it was good. I learned a lot and then spent the two weeks before the second show painting and preparing and putting those lessons I learned to work. The second show was even better! I was so busy with these craft shows that I didn't have a chance put up my Christmas tree. Christmas came, I spent the holidays with family, and here we are. 2018 is just around the corner! 

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 coudn't have done this without you. I'm looking forward to spending 2018 with you!

Happy New Year!




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5 lessons learned from my first craft show

Last Saturday was my first time as a vendor at a craft show! It was such a great experience and I had a really great time.  It was held in a cozy indoor venue and the perfect sunny and unseasonably warm weather brought in lots of foot traffic from the small town square. And it was so nice having the opportunity to finally meet all the other crafty people I knew online and seeing their amazing work in person.

april bern art and photography 1st craft show

I sold enough to recover the cost of my table and a little bit extra. So that spells success in my book! :)

april bern art & photography craft show details

That being said however, things didn't go 100% as I would have liked. 

And therefore I learned some valuable lessons:


Craft Show Tips.png

1. I cannot and do not have to bring EVERYTHING that I have painted/printed. Seriously. I only have so much room on a table. While it was eye catching, my display was kind of overflowing with art stuffs; I had a box full of paintings that I didn't have the room to display! Plus I can always direct them to etsy and my other online shops to see more.

2. I need a better way to display my stuffs. I feel that a lot of things got lost because they weren't visible at all. Again, it was eye catching, but terribly impractical. 

3. I may need to re-think my price structure depending on the market. A couple of people visibly balked when they saw the price of some of my paintings (I really didn't think they were that pricey.)

4. I should have taken more photos. Of my table and set up, of me and my table... I just didn't have time to think about it.

5. I can't believe I forgot to have a signup book for the email list. DUH! That was totally a missed opportunity.


Good thing I have another opportunity at another arts & crafts show in two weeks! 


See you there!



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Holiday Art & Craft Show Update

Remember back in my last post where I mentioned that I will be participating in a couple of holiday craft shows? I'm here to give you the details! I'm am so incredibly excited to be able to show/sell my work at the following venues:

December 2, 2017 Honey Craft Indie Craft Market

  • Saturday, December 2, 2017
  • 10:00 AM 4:00 PM
  • Mixin Mingle - Woodstock. 124 Cass Street Woodstock, IL, 60098 United States (map)



December 17, 2017 Revolution Craft Show

  • Sunday, December 17, 2017
  • 12:00 PM 6:00 PM
  • Revolution Tap Room 3340 North Kedzie Avenue Chicago, IL, 60618 United States (map)

I'm super excited, and truthfully, a little nervous (total introvert here!) I hope that you're able to stop by either (or both!) of the shows and say hi and pick up some excellent gifts for the holidays form me and other talented artists. I have a ton of matted photos for sale, a few photo acrylic blocks (these are so cool!) canvas tote bags, and paintings. I will also be showing off my moms fantastic handmade greeting cards.  

Hope to see you soon!


If you are unable to attend, or are not local, don't worry. You can still shop my etsy store:



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Friday Photo Roundup - July 7

Hello and happy Friday! I hope your 4th of July holiday week was fantastic. I'm so thankful that this was a 3 day work week, it was pretty hard to get back into the swing of things after the long weekend. And now, I'm ready for another weekend! 

Since it was a short work week, I only posted a few of my favorites from my last trip to the botanic garden. I was THRILLED to see all the waterlilies blooming this year and took a ton of photos. I can't help it, I just adore them.

summer waterlily by april bern photography
summer at the chicago botanic garden
asiatic lily by april bern photography

Also, check out the incredible colors of this asiatic tiger lily! Can you believe that color?!


If you're as big of a fan of waterlilies as I am, stop by my shop to check out waterlily canvas prints, photo notecards, tote bags and other home decor pieces. Let me know which ones are your favorite in the comment section below.


I hope you have a fabulous weekend!



Spring Lilacs

Guess what! It's now officially my favorite time of year - Lilac season! Lilacs are one of my most favorite flowers. I cannot get enough of them!

These lilacs were not at the Chicago Botanic Garden (shocking, I know!) They were in an office building parking lot. I know, right? Serendipitously, a friend notified me of their existence, remembering that I had a bit of an affinity for these fragrant lovelies. I was hesitant to go at first, worried that there was security, or someone might call the police about a strange girl with a camera going crazy over this random lilac bush in their parking lot. But my friend assured me I could fawn over them all I wanted. And boy, did I fawn (so many photos!)  They were just sitting there, being all beautiful in a drab and dreary suburban parking lot. I wish you could smell them through the photos-- heavenly!

Heart shaped lilacs by april bern photography
spring lilacs by april bern photography
gorgeous spring lilacs by april bern photography
lovely spring lilacs by april bern photography
spring lilacs 03 by april bern photography

I hope you have a lovely weekend and get a chance to find some random lilacs and enjoy their heavenly scent!



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#The100DayProject - Week 4

Hello! I'm still happily painting (nearly) every day. I think I discovered a new style I love that makes my little heart sing when I work on it. It's this... "cloudy" style:

PinkSwirls - the100dayproject by april bern

I love the color and the softness, but I love the blending most of all. I was so inspired by this painting that I couldn't stop thinking about trying this style on something bigger.  So this weekend I tried it out on a 10x10 canvas. AND I LOVED IT. So much so, I did another...

I seriously cannot get enough of the turquoise color...

I seriously cannot get enough of the turquoise color...

I was so happy/in the zone/state of flow while working on these paintings that the sheer joy of putting gorgeous colors down and blending them with my hand/fingers... that feeling was just the best! I thought to myself that this was how I want to paint abstract. And everything was good and right in the universe.

Then I painted Monday night using this technique again. But nothing was working! Too much paint. Over blending. The colors looked awful. And then I began to doubt myself, thinking now I'm a one trick pony when it comes to abstract painting. And maybe I should try something else. And oh my goodness, what will people think if this is all I make now. But then a dear, wise friend said something that made me drop my brush (figurative, I've been painting with my fingers, remember?) He wrote: "Save your judgement. Just make stuff."


Deep, right?

I was fretting and stressing over what I thought, and what I thought people will think (isn't that the worst?) that I was discouraging myself getting way stressed out. But my friend's simple words really are true. Just make stuff. What other people think of you or what you make is not your business. Likes on Instagram or facebook don't matter. All that matters is that I make stuffs, and I'm happy with the stuffs I make.

Keep making your stuff and don't stop!



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