year in review

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!

Related posts:

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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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!




Related posts:

Top 10 Most Popular Posts of 2017

Here we are, at the end of another year. Boy, they sure do seem to fly by. This year was pretty good, if you didn't watch the news or check twitter. My patio garden was amazing, I had my best year on etsy yet (thank you!) and even sold my paintings and photos at two craft shows. I'll post a proper year in review soon. In the meantime, these were my most popular posts on my blog this year:

2017 Top 10 Posts.jpg

Top 10 Most Popular Posts of 2016

2016 was a mixed bag sort of year. The good things that happened (I sold a ton of paintings! I went to Santa Fe! Cubs won the World Series!) were clouded over by some pretty bad things, most notably, the death of my beloved grandma. I’m pretty happy to see 2016 go, and while I know there is nothing that physically happens when the calendar flips over to 2017, it feels like a great big blank page. And that in itself is hopeful. 

Top 10 Most Popular Posts of 2016

In looking over the 10 posts of the year, I noticed a theme— You guys love my gardening posts and anything DIY. I’ll keep that in mind for next year! 😀

  1.  10 More DIY Flower Pot Painting Ideas
  2. My Distress Painting Flower Pot DIY
  3. 10 Super Easy DIY Photo Gifts You Can Totally Make  
  4. Spring is in the Air- This Week at the Garden
  5. Easy to Customize 2016 Desk Calendar Templates  
  6. Merry Christmas 
  7. Easy DIY Gifts for Mom  + FREE Printable Mother’s Day Card
  8. How to Customize the 2016 Calendar Template   
  9. WIP Wednesday - Making Time to do what You Love  
  10. My Top 12 Favorite Handmade Christmas Gifts for Photographers  


Did you have a favorite post? I'd love to know what you liked (or maybe didn't like!)  Let me know in the comment section below!


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