Mandalas: stop. listen. breathe.




"stop. listen. breathe." A Triptych by Kaylee Hinrichs. May 2011. Inks.

This is the first Mandala triptych I've done, and I'm head over heels for it.

I made this triptych without much thought. I simply picked out the colors and started working. I ended up using only yellow, gold, ochre, light blue, dark blue, teal, purple, and indigo. (Also known as, my absolute favorite color scheme.)

Once I finished, it resembled a stoplight. I thought of how I would interpret a stoplight into mandalas and what they would symbolize. The end result is "stop. listen. breathe."
I spend a lot of time hoping that more people will stop what they're doing, listen to what their heart is saying, and simply breathe. I think people, myself included, spend way too much time on things which don't fulfill us or make us happy. We spend a lot of time on auto-pilot, doing things that we think we should be doing.

Here's a friendly reminder: We have a finite amount of time to live, spend it doing things that make you feel alive.

peace & love,


Keys To Happiness

This evening I whipped up a cute little necklace with a key that I found. It's incredibly simple, but very beautiful. I love the way it turned out. Upon realizing how adorable this necklace turned out, I scoured a box full of old, used keys and found some beauties. I took many of the small keys. (Seriously, some of the keys I photographed are tiny!) I figured they would make really cute necklaces.

I'm thinking of taking a few of these and testing a patina on them to see if I can make them look even older and more colorful.

I've been considering making up a Limited Edition line of old key necklaces to sell in my shop.
To be completely honest I don't want to sell any of these keys, just because they're all so beautiful and interesting. But there's no way I could find justification for owning so many key necklaces!

What do you think? Do old keys make beautiful necklaces? (I must say, I'm smitten.)

My First Year as an Artistprenuer (Lessons Learned)

It was one year ago that I first decided to not pursue a 9 to 5 or work in a cubicle. Well, I always knew that lifestyle wasn't for me (hence the dreadlocks), but I wasn't sure I was capable of entrepreneurship either.
I haven't made a lot of progress for the first year, but there are some things I've learned, and some truths which have come to light. I hope my realizations may inspire, help, or encourage another Artistprenuer who wants to run a business doing what they love.

1. You will never get it right the first time.

2. Just like life, it's all about the journey, not the destination.

3. You can plan too much. (Or too little.)

4. Artist first, Business Person/CEO/Accountant/Marketer second. (I refuse to budge on this one.)

5. All "rules" in making & selling art, design, and craft are really just suggestions.

6. Be yourself.

7. Nobody is perfect.

8. You cannot start a business without a start-up investment. (I'm learning this one the hard way.)

9. You need an outlet. A diary, journal, or personal project will do.

10. Listen to someone else's view of creativity and art. Whether you agree or disagree.

11. Having a "day job" is overrated. Get real about what matters to you.

12. Take a 2 week vacation from work every year, 1 day off a week, a 10 minute break every couple of hours. (Stop working & don't feel guilty about it.)

13. Capture inspiration in a variety of formats & use it.

14. There will always be someone who likes what you're doing. (And someone who won't.)

15. You're allowed to grow and change.

16. Buy handmade.

17. Reward yourself. Be your own inspirational/motivation coach.

18. There really is no limit to what you're capable of.

I hope that some of my lessons learned may inspire, re-assure, or encourage you. I've never experienced anything more challenging than trying to make a living doing what I love most. It's filled with moments of joy and happiness, but also struggle and fear.
Yet, I wouldn't trade it for the world.

There are sure to be other Atristprenuers out there who have learned a thing or two from their experiences. Impart your wisdom upon me in the comments. Also, if you know of other creative business types sharing their lessons learned, feel free to leave a link.

(You might be interested in the guest post over at Modish Biz Tips from Caroline Devoy sharing 7 things she learned from 8 years of being in the creative business.)


Inspired: Watching Artists Make Art

I love to paint. It's my calling, the love of my life. But it's not the easiest form of art to sell and make. I spend a lot of my free time dreaming up the paintings I want to make in the future when I have more ample supplies. While I'm imagining all the paintings I want to do, I like to watch videos of other artists making their art. These videos are heavily inspirational, with lots of interesting techniques and applicable ideas. Perhaps you can find some inspiration, beauty, or technical ideas from these artists.

Jesse Reno - Like And Love

I love watching this video, it's so inspiring. (Maybe it's just because I love to paint with my hands too. I'm not sure.) Jesse Reno is from Portland, and he has thousands of  beautiful and multi-layered paintings. I dream to have such an amazing inventory of work. I read an interview with him once where he talks about his daily schedule. From what I remember, he probably spends 80% of his day painting or creating. Amazing.

Phil Hansen - A Moment

This video blew me away. Phil gave out his telephone number on the internet and asked people to call him and tell him about a moment/story that changed their life. He documents the key moment of change from each story and uses the words to create an amazing drawing. The whole drawing took 136 hours to complete. This is a must-see. Even though I watched this video, I still don't completely understand how he managed to create such a realistic portrait. It's astounding.

Unnamed Artist - Painting On Water (Paper Marbling)

Daniel shared this artist with me last week and I'm still going crazy over this technique. The artist in the video creates amazing paintings on water. He applies paint pigments with brushes, droppers, and other tools, then uses a pick to move the paint pigments around further. Daniel and I spent a lot time dissecting the video and trying to figure out how to do this technique ourselves. This video is really beautiful, if anyone knows the name of this artist, the place they are at, or how to do this technique, please let me know.

Blu - Evolution Of Man

Okay, so this isn't a video of an artist actually making art, but it is a lovely panoramic video of a graffiti piece by Blu. Many people know of Blu through his amazing stop-animation graffiti. This video is not one of those, but I think everybody should see this painting.
This work is one of my all-time favorites. It's conceptual value is enormous and heavy.
(Pay close attention the "man/human" figures and the weapons they're holding.)

Enjoy! If you know of other truly amazing time-lapse videos of artists making art, or just videos of artists and their art in general, leave a link in the comments. I'm always looking for more amazing art and artists.


The Summer Of Love: 10 Small Acts Of Kindess

(Photography by Kaylee Hinrichs)

There are dozens of ways to express kindness towards those you share the Earth with. Most acts of kindness are rather small and simple, but can have huge repercussions. From saying hello to saving energy, here are 10 things you can do to help your Earth, your community, and your fellow human beings.

1. Open A Door
This is a completely acceptable & kind thing to do for someone. Whether they are carrying nothing, or holding seven over-filled grocery bags and five screaming children, opening a door for someone is just a nice thing to do. It's the small things.

2. Say "Hello!"
I read a study years ago which focused on how people re-acted to having someone greet them in the morning. Apparently, saying "hello" to someone is not just nice, it's an acknowledgement of their existence. When you go out of you way to say "hello" or "good morning", you're letting that person know that you are aware of them and that has immense positive & uplifting effects on the psyche of a human.

3. Pick Up Trash
Yes, it's gross. No, you weren't the one who dropped that specific piece of trash. Get over it. We all share this planet, let's do our best to keep it clean and healthy. Enough said.

4. Donate
Find a local charity (not the big name organizations you see on the television, but a real charity that you can visit and see), and donate something to them. Donate your old clothing, donate your old furniture, donate food, donate blood, donate your time, become an organ donor. Give with all your heart, and the universe will thank you. It's just plain karma.

5. Plant A Tree
This one is my personal favorite. Any opportunity you get, please plant a tree.
The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now. -Chinese Proverb

6. You're Beautiful
A few years ago, I did a few anonymous projects. I would write up a bunch of notes with statements such as, "You are beautiful", "You are lovely", "You are amazing", and leave them inside books, on walls, on tables, everywhere.
Doing a project like this is easy. Write an encouraging note (on a napkin, post-it note, toliet paper, marker on a wall, anything!) and leave it someone public, yet not where it will be considered trash. (Inside of a book is a great way to start.)

7. Love Animals
Okay, I understand that not everyone is open-minded towards vegetarianism. And that's okay. But, I do think that everyone can agree that animals should not be tested on for any of our products. The Vegetarian Site has a list of companies which test on animals. Obviously, this list is huge. I know I have some items in my home which fall into the "Tested on Animals" category. But, I'm going to do my best to stop buying & using all products from companies who test on animals, one step at a time. Will you?

8. Un-Plug
Did you know that electrical devices that are plugged into an outlet are always sucking energy out of the wall? If you un-plug devices that you rarely use, you can conserve energy and save money on your bill. What could be better? (To save more energy and money, you can also use Daylight Light-Bulbs or LED Lights (much healthier, brighter, and longer lasting.)

9. Buy Handmade & Support Small Businesses
Often times anything you buy, can be purchased hand-made by an artist. There are hundreds of websites nowadays which are selling platforms for hand-made goods. Artists and craftspeople create loads of amazing, high-quality, handmade goods. Soaps, dog treats, wallets, curtains, home decor, rugs, pretty much anything! You can also turn to small businesses to help you. A lot of small businesses offer services for a better quality and price than larger companies. There are also myriads of e-books, online classes, & freelancers who can services many of your needs as well. My point is: Buying handmade & support small businesses is good for everyone. (Except giant corporations.)

10. The Golden Rule
Treat others the way you want to be treated. I don't think that there is a better mantra to live by, honestly. I can't think of a single human being who enjoys being ridiculed, abused, teased, or having emotional and mental pain. If we could all treat each other the way we like to be treated, we could make the world a much nicer place. For everyone.

I challenge you to do one small act of kindness today. Right here, right now, pick one kind thing you can do for someone. Whether you greet a stranger, decide to plant a tree, or purchase something you need from a small business instead of a corporation, the impact of that action can bring positive, long-lasting effects.

If all else fails, just treat other people with respect and kindness, and the world will give back to you. (True story.)


Mixed Media Tutorial: Watercolors & Buttons

A couple months ago, I wrote "Watercolors, Inks, Buttons, Oh My!", a post about a mixed media artwork I made for Daniel's mother. I had so much fun making this project, I decided to write up a tutorial for this project. It can make a wonderful work of art for yourself, a gift for a friend, or just decor for your home.

"Ana's Flowers" by Kaylee Hinrichs. March 2011. Watercolors, Inks, Pencils, Buttons.

In this tutorial, I use images of flowers and sew buttons into the center of each flower. Feel free to interpret this idea however you wish. It's only limited to your imagination.
Also, I used the technique of physically hand-sewing the buttons to the paper. You can use a sewing machine, some strong glue, or anything else you can think of.

-Watercolor Paper/Card-stock/Thick Paper
-Sewing Thread, Embroidery Thread, Etc.
-Needle (Choose a strong needle, thick in diameter.)
-A Needle Threader (Extremely helpful, but optional.)
-Inks (Optional, adds to the detail of a piece.)
-Colored Pencils / Watercolor pencil (Optional, adds to the detail of a piece.)
-Water Cup
-Paintbrush (Go for a pointer brush. One that tapers to a sharp point, like a pencil.)

Once you've assembled all of your materials, try to choose a specific color scheme to follow along. Having a color scheme in mind ahead of time can help greatly when making decisions about your artwork. I tend to choose 2 - 3 colors for a piece, but sometimes more.

When you have a general idea of what colors you're using, choose the darkest color you want to use. Find a color pencil in that color and use it to begin drawing out the composition. For my painting, I draw the center circle of the flowers where the button will be, so I know how distant they will be from one and other. I begin drawing in the petals, making sure to jump around the drawing a lot. I wanted some of the flower petals to be on top of others, and some to be beneath.

Work the drawing very slowly and stop to look at the "big picture" frequently.

Tip: I try to do this step as simply as possible. I don't shade anything, or draw a lot of details. The biggest point is to just get the general image on the paper.

After putting down the drawing with the color pencil, I start the first round of painting. I work in sessions when I use watercolors. This is where I do a bit of painting, leave for 10-15 minutes, and then come back. This is just to allow the paper to dry completely before adding more water. (I leave the room just so I'm not tempted to mess with the painting until it's dry!)
For this first round, I simply fill in the flowers with the lightest color I want them to have. When working with layers of watercolors, I find it's best to go from light to dark. Removing pigment from watercolor paper is not easy and will most likely destroy the paper.

Once all the flowers have a shade of light color, I start to further define the vines, leaves, and flower buds. I use a couple green colored pencils to do this.

When going back into paint this time, I choose a shade slightly darker than the first color I used. I use this color to trim the outer edge of the flower petals to add more depth.

Once the petals have their second coat, it's very important to take a break. Although I didn't add that much pigment to the painting, the paper is wet. You'll want to make sure the petals are dry before painting anything else. After the work is dry again, paint the leaves and stems with the lightest shade of green.

At this point, I crack open a bottle of blue drawing ink, and darken the edges of the flower petals. I chose to use blue because my drawing already has a lot going on already and I want to tone down the brightness.

Tip: Be sure to wait until the ink is completely absorbed into the paper before continuing or you may ruin your piece by smudging it.

On some petals, I may add more ink than others. I like to keep in mind that flowers usually don't all blossom at the same time. They often grow at different stages, different lifespans. So having little bits of uniqueness to each petal makes it feel more "real", I think.

Now that the paper is nice and dry again, I go back in with some purple watercolors and add the pop color to center of each petal.

Picking up a few shades of colored pencils that correspond to my color scheme, I begin to further define the edges of the flowers and leaves. I use the pencils to create more depth and blend the light and dark colors together smoothly.

Now that all the painting and drawing work has been completed, it's time to sew the buttons! Which is my favorite part, but takes the longest amount of time.
Thread your needle (like I said earlier, Needle Threaders are amazing). Tie a few tight knots to secure the string to the needle. Then, tie many knots at the end of the piece of thread to keep it from slipping through the hole, which is made by the needle.

Sew the button onto the paper, as if you were sewing it to fabric. If you aren't sure how to hand-sew a button, click here to read a nice guide.

Repeat this sewing process until you've sewn all your buttons on.

Tip: Due to the large amount of patience needed to do this project, I only use about 5 or 6 buttons per project.

"May Flowers" by Kaylee Hinrichs. June 2011. Watercolors, Inks, Pencils, Buttons.

"May Flowers" by Kaylee Hinrichs. June 2011. Watercolors, Inks, Pencils, Buttons.

There are so many amazing things you can do with this simple idea. I love drawing and painting the flowers, simply because of how abstract they can be. 

If you used this tutorial to make your own artwork, please tell me about it! Leave a comment, send me an email, & show me what you're working with! Also, if you really loved this tutorial, please feel free to share it. I hope you enjoyed it!

peace & love


Where I Get Inspiration

Since I started creating art about 8 years ago (Wow!), I've come to realize that I draw inspiration for my projects, collections, and future creations from specific places, people, and things. I want to share some of my most favorite sources of inspiration. Hopefully they can inspire you too!

I've only just begun my exploration of amazing blogs, and I can't wait to see how many more I stumble upon. It seems as though every day I'm finding more and more awesome and inspiring websites. Here are some of the blogs I follow & read daily.

(Click the banners above to visit their respective websites.)

One of my favorite blogs is Studio Sweet Studio, which features tours of artists' studios. I'm also a big fan of The Selby's photographs, David Fullarton's collage and journal work, & the amazing mixed media paintings of Jesse Reno. There are so many amazing artists and creative people nowadays, it's difficult to choose my favorites.

One of the easiest ways for me to get inspiration is to make a gift for a friend or family member. Whether I start making Christmas Presents in July, or just whip up a little special something for my best friend, it gets me creating. Sometimes when I get ready to start whipping up some gifts, I spend a some time looking at tutorials, shopping for a new material, and preparing the projects, which is fun and inspiring by itself.

My old sketchbooks are full of interesting thoughts I've had, things I've written down, aimless doodles, amazing drawings, completed artworks, and more. I'm always interested and amazed at who I was a few years ago. Sometimes while looking through old sketchbooks or photographs, I'll take something from it that really inspired me. Such as a color scheme, a texture, a word, a phrase, an idea itself, and try to make something new out of it. Or incorporate it into my newest project in someway.
In turn, whenever I get any funny idea, thought, urge, anything, I put it into my sketchbook.

This one may only apply to some people, like myself. When I feel stuck, I make lists of projects I want to create, blog posts I want to write, tutorials I want to create, supplies I want to buy, ideas I have in my head, etc. (If you don't like making lists, try doodling/drawing your list.) Once I get a visualization of all the things I'm dealing with right now, it makes it so much easier to pick something to work on.

Spending some time outside has too many benefits to jam-pack in this section. It's good for your body, mind, soul. It eases your eye muscles, it relaxes your nerves, and boosts your creativity. No matter what part of the globe you live on, you're bound to find beauty right outside your front door, if you just look hard enough.
"The artists in each of us get that mental and emotional stimulation when we spend time outdoors. It is enough to look at the greatest work of arts to see a magical effect that nature has on our senses and our creativity. Even those who doubt that they possess an artistic streak, feel more creative and inspired as soon as they step their foot outside the house and let themselves be absorbed by the beauty of nature." -Source

I often day-dream and fantasize. I imagine what my dream studio would look like, what it would feel like. I think about how it feels to be sewing for hours, and visualize the beautiful things I'm going to make. Visualizing these fantasies and imagining how they feel and appear can help them become a reality. I also day-dream to imagine what kinds of things I see myself making, then I try to make them!

I spend a lot of time alone. Sometimes I love it, and sometimes I wish it were different. But I find that spending time by myself and away from the computer or phone really gets my creative juices flowing. I may not have the ability to interact with other people too much, but in turn, I gain a deeper understanding of myself. Plus, when I take the time to be alone with myself, I feel that I am relaxed and clear-minded for the rest of the day.

I hope that some of my inspirations can inspire you! There are a plethora of other places and things I specifically look to for inspiration & I simply couldn't fit them all on this list. (I may have to do a second part...)

I want to know, what inspires you the most? Are you jazzed up by seeing other people make things? Or does the mood strike you most when you're outside? Or at a get together with friends?


Mandalas: Love

I've decided to share one of my newer Mandalas today, which I've named "Love".
I used shades of aqua, pink, purple, yellow, and gold. I'm not really sure what to say about this Mandala except that I wanted it to embody the idea of "love". I wanted to make the Mandala represent what I think love looks and feels like. I tried to stay centered with a feeling of love and joy while creating this work in order to manifest the idea within the drawing.

"Love" by Kaylee Hinrichs. May 2011. Inks. 

I tried to make the center part look very floral, like a pink Lotus flower. I also attempted to create a spiraling/spinning effect. (It's beautiful to see in person.) I've made some little touch-ups to the coloring and darkening the black lines. So far, this Mandala is one of my favorites.

If you would like to see some of my other Mandalas, click here to see my previous post which includes "Kaliedescope" & "Lotus-Eater".

peace & love,


Pale Blue Dot

The Voyager 1 completed it's primary mission after take off in 1990, and was on it's path to exit the solar system. Per the request of Carl Sagan, NASA directed the Voyager 1 to turn around and take a picture of Earth from a great distance against a vast amount of space.

This photo is shown in the video above. The small little blue dot suspended in a sunbeam... That's us.

This photograph inspired Sagan to write Pale Blue Dot: A Vision Of The Human Future In Space. The audio accompanying the video is Sagan reading an excerpt from his book.

Carl Sagan is my greatest hero & inspiration. I eagerly devour anything written by him or about him. After spending a lot of time reading his literature or watching Cosmos, I often feel small. But in a humble, and satisfying way. And it's a beautiful feeling.

I'll leave you with another bit of wisdom & beauty from Carl:
"For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love." -Carl Sagan

peace & love,


Summertime Projects

I thought it was about time I get this blog looking as nifty and sweet as all my other blogs. I'm smitten with this design, and I have a lot of confidence that I can love it for months to come. Although, I made myself promise that I wouldn't completely change the design of this blog anymore.

I've got some new projects up my sleeve for the summer-time:

-My Handmade Belt Project
-Creating & Stocking Inventory for Shop Opening in Fall
-Textiles/Fashion Inspiration Journal
-Beeswax/Crayon Paintings
-A Possible Studio Re-Location
-Getting everything ready for opening up shop (marketing, supplies, organizers, etc)
-Learning how to make fruit shakes & milk shakes
-Making a couple fun, colorful garlands
-Taking an indie Business Class online
-Hopefully, shopping for a brand new sewing machine

My summer is going to be all about large ice coffees, reggae music, tie-dying fabrics, feathers in my hair, barefoot, new sun-dresses, shopping on Etsy, & falling in love with art (again).

Have a beautiful, summery week!

As Of Lately

  • I've been craving summer. I miss summers in Arizona, as weird as that sounds. (I'm not kidding when I say it reaches 120 degrees. It really does!) But, the nights are balmy and nice. It the kind of weather where you sleep on top of the covers with the windows cracked open, and a gentle breeze lulls you to sleep.
  • I'm looking forward to September, as my birthday will be occurring and I'm planning on making it a special, special day. My greatest luxury while living in Costa Rica is buying American products when I want to spoil myself. 
  • I'm feeling all of my creativity bubbling up again. For the past few weeks, I've been so miserable and unhappy. Not feeling like I want to make anything, and feeling guilty for my nonproductive attitude. Luckily, Daniel inspires me like he always does and I feel refreshed with ideas. I'm returning to beeswax, matchbooks, and small artworks to keep my busy while I'm waiting for my sewing machine.

  • Speaking, of sewing machines. I'm dying for one. It's always at the back of my mind. It seems as though everywhere I go, everything I do, I find myself wishing I had a machine already. There are so many things I want to make with it, I don't know which project I'll tackle first.
  • Recently, I realized that I haven't spent money on anything besides food, miscellaneous art supplies, and things for my dogs. This revelation shocked me. Coming from a girl who used to participate in retail therapy shamelessly, I'm honestly surprised. I have not spent a single dollar on clothing, accessories, jewelry, shoes, or anything that isn't completely necessary. (...I want to go shopping. Badly.)

  • Things I very much desire: patience, a sewing machine, a giant iced coffee, a shopping binge at thrift stores and garage sales, a brand new dress, to slow down, a fancy camera to take amazing pictures, for my scanner to connect to my computer without error, a desktop computer that is all my own, to create more paintings, and to open up my shop.
  • Although I miss the sweltering summer days and balmy nights of Arizona. The Costa Rican summer of rain, rain, rain is nothing to complain about. It's beautiful. I never imagined I would really be able to live in a rain-forest. But I do, and it's amazing. Minus torrential rainstorms that go on for hours and hours, and the swarms of mosquitoes... It's heaven.
I'm off to create some beautiful things to share with you. & I'm contemplating changing the design of this blog again. I can just never seem to be happy with it...

peace & love,