United states 50 States

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

usframe.jpg

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!