States Series: 1-10

First 10 State Stories!

 

1. It seemed pretty practical to paint my home State Minnesota first. I’ve painted it twice in shape style before, city and landscape scenes in my amateur painting days... So it was really exciting to paint it again now that I’ve worked so hard on my landscapes.

I painted the North Shore for MN because it’s probably my favorite place in all of Minnesota. I’ve spent a lot of time there and in Duluth with my family and friends, watching ships coming in, walking the town and that cold beach! Seeing the lighthouses, Split Rock up the coast as well! 

Honestly, big Superior was the closest thing to the ocean I saw till I was 17. It will always be a place for new adventures in the State I call Home.

This particular scene is more off memories then off any real photos but it’s also similar to a place my best friend and I did a photo shoot.

This particular scene is more off memories then off any real photos but it’s also similar to a place my best friend and I did a photo shoot.

 
I absolutely loved trying to get that aqua harbor blue just right!

I absolutely loved trying to get that aqua harbor blue just right!

2. Naturally California was the second state I painted. I have a dear friend that lives there and I’ve taken several trips there. Though I’ve haven’t been to the east coast yet, Cali has me believing I’ll always be a west coast girl at heart. And that’s funny to me, because this state caught me by surprise. The First trip I took I had my preconceived notions of all the tourist iconic Hollywood stuff I don’t really care about. But seeing the Mountains and that beautiful West Coast, it changed my mind completely!

I had a hard time deciding what to paint for California as I’ve seen so many beautiful sights! Yosemite being one of them that has taken a piece of my heart! But with the shape of CA, Mcway falls in Big Sur I place I’ve been to with my family, seemed like a great idea! 

 

3. Arizona! The Horseshoe bend! Though I haven’t seen this scene yet... This beautiful red rock state holds memories! ❤️

I went on a trip with my family when I was about 12. We saw the Grand Canyon, Window Rock, so many cactus (which was pretty cool for this Minnesotan child!) and spent time with my mom’s dear friend and her family. I’d like to see Arizona again now that I’m older, and this time the Horseshoe bend would be on the list! I didn’t really have a clear reasoning behind painting Arizona 3rd, other then that I was thinking about the Horseshoe bend at the time.

I remember struggling to get this perspective but I’m so happy with the finished product!

I remember struggling to get this perspective but I’m so happy with the finished product!

 
I loved that there was a train track running through this scene, I think that little train became my favorite part!

I loved that there was a train track running through this scene, I think that little train became my favorite part!

4. “Travel light see the world right, you’ll never know if you never go” -“New York City” Owl City

New York! I started planning a trip here last year, there are so many amazing parks to see. I ended going back to Cali instead just due to it being easier, but I’ll make it to see Letchworth State park someday! I chose to paint NY in the fall because that’s the time of year I’d love to visit! 

 

5. Montana! I knew I wanted some snow capped mountains for Montana, so I decided to paint this scene of Mount Grinnell because it’s apart it Glacier National Park. My family took a trip there many many years ago! We have some good old camcorder footage 😂 I’d love to go back now that I’m older! Painting Montana in the top 5 was important because of the memories made there.

I was super intimated by the clear reflection I wanted to capture, I sort of had to wing it and hope for the best!

I was super intimated by the clear reflection I wanted to capture, I sort of had to wing it and hope for the best!

 
This was the first drastic sky of the states series and I almost scrapped it and started over because I was scared of all that color!

This was the first drastic sky of the states series and I almost scrapped it and started over because I was scared of all that color!

6. Oregon! The state I want see the most! (though its a pretty close tie with Washington) After my trips to California the west coast has found a home in my heart. And thanks to Instagram, I follow some pretty amazing west coast photographers that capture so many beautiful sites (like Cannon Beach) in Oregon and places in Washington as well! 💙 I’d love to road trip from the Bottom or Cali to the Top of Washington someday.

Painting Cannon beach was so fun to me and it was cool to test my refection skills again. I did struggle with my sunrise here, I try to get my skies all done before the paint has a chance to dry ( Their the loosest and most freeform part of my painting process) but this sky required a couple rewets but I was kinda glad for how moody it turn out

 

7. Maine! I’ve never been anywhere on the east coast. But with my editing job, I edit for two photographers that live and shoot weddings in Maine. I’m always blow away by the beautiful scenery there! 

I wanted to paint something coastal for Maine, and when I came across Portland Point I knew it was perfect! 🌊

Also shout out to my sister Elizabeth for letting me borrow some of her collection for photos! (Yes the real Crab Claws)

I remember when sketching out this state I had to re-sketch the lighthouse a couple times to get those proportions right!

This painting became one of my favorites in the whole state series!

This painting became one of my favorites in the whole state series!

 
I looked at a lot of images of MT Elbert, But the ones with this stream/river were my absolute favorite.

I looked at a lot of images of MT Elbert, But the ones with this stream/river were my absolute favorite.

8. Colorado! I’ve been to Colorado a couple times when I was younger. One of the times was when I was 6, I have a vague memory but it’s more of the story I remember. We were driving up Mount Evans in a storm and my siblings and I kept asking to turn around as my mom wanted to see the top, and my dad the one driving said there was nowhere to turn around. Apparently I was fan on the Sound of Music even then and sang “Mom doesn’t care if it’s storming she just wants to climb every mountain!”

I knew I wanted to paint mountains for Colorado because of that story, so picked this scene of Mount Elbert (tallest mountain in Colorado) because even though I haven’t seen this sight, it felt like my memory of the state!

 

9. I’ve been to Tennessee twice! Once when I was 16 and the other when I was 18, both times to attend a music camp that was a pretty incredible experience for me! Also its the place I met one of my best friends! So though I didn’t get to see much of the state, it holds great memories that I feel even helped shape me as a person. I found a confidence attending Camp Electric that was hidden from me before.

I did struggle a lot with deciding this painting. Trying to get enough scene to fit in this long skinny state. But the blue hint on the smokies in the morning and evening light really sold me!

I did struggle a lot with deciding this painting. Trying to get enough scene to fit in this long skinny state. But the blue hint on the smokies in the morning and evening light really sold me!

 
I love old looking barns so it’s a little surprising to me that Iowa and Vermont are the only states I painting them in.

I love old looking barns so it’s a little surprising to me that Iowa and Vermont are the only states I painting them in.


10. Iowa! I’ve been painting the states in pretty random order, just whatever state I can plan out the scene for! So when I thought about Iowa I knew I wanted it to be farmlands! ☺️ I have a friend that lives here that told me farmland goes so fast. I was questioning if the scene did justice because to most its not as beautiful as a national park may be, but to the farmers that live here is everything and that gave me confidence.

 

Stay Tuned for States 11-20

First10














50 States Series

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50 States Series

I’ve been telling the stories state by state over on my instagram but I thought it’d be nice to compile them into a 6 part blog this one answering some questions, and then 10 states at a time and go a little deeper into my process and their Stories! So here are some of the common questions I’ve been asked.


How I pick which state to paint next?

Though It might be smart to have some kind of order to follow to keep you on track, and I’m usually dedicated to systems and rules to follow, I just followed my heart on this and made sure I was excited about the state and scene before I painted it. Some ideas would come and I’d paint that State next, Other ideas I’d save, building up the motivation and sometimes just the courage to paint it! Sometimes I’d have an idea I liked but wait on it, and then an idea I loved would come along instead.


How did you come up with this idea? 

It’s not a new idea to paint a scene in a State but, I’ve seen very few full maps because it’s honestly quite a progress! You have to dedicate yourself to it and leave little parts of yourself all over the country. I now want to travel everywhere I’ve painted! I’ve been able to see beauty in each State, it’s a constant reminded to me that no accident could have created it.


Do you paint a State a day or how long does it take?

This one just depends on the state. I thought when I started 50 states = 50 days of painting, haha but it’s more then that. I spent a total of 3 and a half months on the whole project. I think my process had become faster as I went on. But, some states took more time then others. There is the planning, researching, and figuring out how the scene can fit in the state shape part before hand. And the Scanning, digital, and Photoshop ending process. Which brings me to the next question.


How do you get such Clean State Shape lines?

One word, Photoshop. Haha! I’d draw out a rough state shape and paint like that but then cut out in photoshop. I knew I wanted those super crisp cuts and photoshop is a great tool in our digital age!


What’s Next?

This Series has grown me so much as an artist, I never thought I’d be painting everyday when I started watercolors back in 2016! I also would never have thought I’d be painting landscapes or that they’d become my favorite thing to paint! When I finally started developing my own style. I call my Cartoon Realism I had no idea how to get that to work for landscapes, I honestly avoided them for a long time and really thought I just couldn’t paint them. But the states idea came to me and kept tugging at my heart, so I set out to find a teacher! The internet is full of great resources and the Artist Matthew Palmer was the perfect teacher for me to work on the style I already called my own but for landscapes. I spent about a month or two painting his scenes of places like Ireland and really learned how to capture different types of landscapes. I feel like that is still more to learn. And as people we’re always growing. I’m excited to see what will happen even in the next 5 years. The States adventure has come to a close but my Watercolor journey is still just beginning.


Let me know if you have questions, and check back in for the State Stories coming soon!

Head to etsy to Purchase the Map or individual states!

I created my own mockups

 
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For those of you who aren’t familiar with mockups, they’re pretty little scenes for you to put your art in or on. They are very common on selling site. There are different types, but mine of course are for my watercolors.


So why did I do this? Let’s be honest when you scroll through social media there are pictures, people that are trying to grow businesses or sell a product need to keep things next level. As a small business owner trying to show the world my art, I need it to be photographed well to help it stand out against the current and look professional.


I’ve been using mockups already on my Etsy, but when it came to instagram most of the framed mockup I own felt too stiff for a place I’m trying to share my recent work. Yes I’d love for new customers to find me via Instagram. But I’ve also still felt the need to be a relatable artist because instagram is such a community and means more to me then just a place to sell. So for awhile I’ve been just trying to take nice iPhone photos. But without any lighting tools they always seem to be inconsistent and I feel that it doesn’t reflect well upon my brand. I follow many artist that are great at photographing their art, I don’t know their process but it works! For me personally my iphone wasn’t working.

So I decided to create my own pre-staged pictures, this way I still get to be genuine, using all my own art equipment (My brushes and paint that I use every time I paint) and treasures from both my sister and I’s collection. I spent a couple hours with my Nikon shooting variations and then editing them in Lightroom so that the white balance would be consistent. Now when I finish a new painting it’s easy for me to scan it in and add it to my mockups! It no longer matter that it’s night time because the lighting doesn’t matter. I can post my art feeling proud of the pictures!

iPhone: Even though I’m proud of the actual painting, the photograph doesn’t do it the justice it should.

iPhone: Even though I’m proud of the actual painting, the photograph doesn’t do it the justice it should.

Nikon: My extra staging props aren’t necessary. What I’m looking for here is the paper white quality, It just looks so much better!

Nikon: My extra staging props aren’t necessary. What I’m looking for here is the paper white quality, It just looks so much better!

I still have room to grow, and I’m not saying all my instagram post are going to be perfect mockups now. I’m still a real person and I’m going to have real post. But heres to taking the next step toward professionalism!


If you’re an artist and what to know how to create you own mockups stay tuned and I’ll show you how easy they are to create!



-Emilie Taylor

My Watercolor Story


Some people know from a young age that they were born to be an artist, everything they touch turns beautiful and looks right. I was not one of those kids… 

My childhood art looked like most kids art, ugly stick people and suns in the corner of the sky with huge sun-rays (don’t tell me you don’t know what I mean! haha) I was still an artsy kid despite my bad art, but as I got older I left the art to my sisters, who had much more of a knack for drawing!

I found other creative outlets like music and later photography. Then for a season when my Niece was born I was a fill in Nanny for my sister while she was on maternity leave. The 3 year old I was nannying loved watercolor and we would paint together often. During that time painting with kids watercolor equipment I found that it was something I really loved to do. 

The next fall I went out on a whim and bought some real watercolor supplies. I decided it would be a great winter hobby when my photography season was slow. Even if it was something I wasn’t great at, it was something I wanted to do. So I just started, I soaked up youtube tutorials like crazy and actually started to see my art grow. I’ve learned overtime in  my life though I am creative, I need to understand, wrap my brain around things. So finally being taught art,  and learning techniques really helped me!

When I started working on original art, I got the idea to try selling it on Etsy. I had no idea if it was just my family telling me I was good because you know they’re family and they can do that. But when I made my first sale I was overjoyed, Someone liked my art enough to buy it!

So I kept painting and adding stuff to my shop. I had no idea my hobby was becoming a career and business of it’s own! 

Fast forward to today, February 2019, my Etsy shop has been open for two years this month and I’ve made over 200+ sales! I feel so blessed to have people love my art as much as I love painting it.

There are so many tools that teach everything under the sun like Youtube and Skillshare. If you have the time, quit telling yourself you can’t. Learn something new even if it’s just for fun!


-Emilie Taylor