Join Me in Sequim

Art, making connections, nature, relaxing, celebrating, awakenings, soul work and experiences outside the normal realm of our everyday lives.

These are a few of my favorite things.

A retreat centered on creativity and connection is the perfect way to fuse together everything that makes my heart flutter.

I’ve been brainstorming ideas for years.

Scribbled notes that will hopefully someday turn into a polished retreat website.

I recently found the perfect place for this gathering–a beautiful renovated farmhouse in Sequim (pronounced Skwim) on the Olympic Peninsula–truly one of the most beautiful places on Earth with the Pacific Ocean, mammoth driftwood, the grand Olympic Mountains, the Hoh Rainforest and more.

I immediately knew this home was THE ONE. In the backdrop are the Olympic Mountains.

Chills swept over my body when I stepped onto the property. One day I will gather here with a group of amazing women, and magic will happen. Will you be one of those women? Do you feel it too?

Can you imagine spending time on this porch with a bunch of artsy women?

It’s just so…romantic. inspiring. soul-stirring. Every time I visit the Olympic Peninsula, I almost burst into tears by the wonder of it all.

Sequim is the lavender capital of North America.

I haven’t picked out a date yet, but I’m hoping to have my first art retreat in the next year or two.

So what will it be like?

There will be painting and art-making. Sharing and laughter. Newness and exploring. Fire pits and beach combing. And, that is just the beginning.

To start with, I’d love to share with you a little more about Sequim.

Traveling to Sequim starts with a ferry ride, which adds a sense of romance and adventure already, doesn't it?

This physical journey across the ocean makes it feel even more like an epic adventure.

The gardens on the property stunning.

The large patio is perfect for painting among the gardens and water features.

The local grocery store is a barn that sells all organic produce mostly grown on the farm itself.

Field Notes is one of many charming shops in Sequim.

Perhaps this will be the West Coast’s version of Squam. Out here, it’s Sequim not Squam! I love how the two sound similar.

Stay tuned as more plans roll out for this one 0f a kind retreat/adventure!

Wall art in one of the farmhouse bedrooms. Fitting, huh?

My Sweet Muse

Lately, Nora has been wanting to paint with me a lot which is fine with me because I feel like I always learn something from watching her. Here is one of our most recent collaborations.

Nora picked the color palette.

 

Nora literally gets lost in the swirling water for minutes at a time as she washes her brush. She always reminds me to stop and see the wonder that is everywhere around us. Even in the little things.

I also tried to follow Nora's style of curvy lines and let her lead the direction of the painting.

Still working on this one, but here is how we left it. I love having a visual object of our creative experiences together.

Tea with my Teenager

Lately, my children and I have been really into tea. Blane and Nora like mixing conconctions of sugar, milk and honey. Skylar and I like sampling new tea flavors. Maybe its the damp PNW climate. We have all rekindled a fondness for it to a point of obsession.

A cute little card from Studio Den that I bought for Skylar.

Skylar and I have also been trying to do make more intentional Mom-Daughter time together as we both realize she will be in college in 3.5 years and this special time is going too fast. We’ve created two new rituals that involve both of our interests:

*Dedicating Sunday to cooking new recipes together we find on Pinterest

*Weekly tea dates at tea houses around Seattle

Tea and some conversation with my teenager.

Our first tea date was to a tea shop in Issaquah called Experience Tea. We inhaled the hypnotic aromas of different tea blends in adorable jars and finally chose which tea to sample. Skylar picked Honeybush Chocolate Cake, and I went with Blood Orange. On our second visit, we sampled Chocolate Carmel and Berry Blast. Can you see a theme emerging? Fruit and chocolate. YUM.

Our Tea Journal

We decided to keep a tea journal to write our reviews so we remember our impressions of each flavor because there are hundreds!

Our Tea Ritual is such a special way to check in with each other, talk and keep a journal together. We are dreaming up a kitchen project that involves creating a tea center to stock all our loose tea. Our next outing is to find some cute jars to hold the tea. Tea has become a great beginning point for us to brainstorm all sorts of activities to do together.

What rituals do you enjoy with your family? What is your favorite tea? I’d love to hear them!

HUGE Holiday Sale!

So excited to announce a HUGE sale!

Get 'em now before I make it big!

Visit my Etsy shop here and enter the coupon code “SHINE” when checking out. Below are a sampling of the paintings listed and check back often for new ones, including more small paintings that will be kindly priced!

Nurture Your Soul 30x40

Autumn Splendor 24x36

My artwork is also available on a lovely set of 5 blank cards produced by Susan Entwistle, LTD. They make perfect holiday hostess and teacher gifts. You can order them here. Priced at $15 per set, these make great holiday teacher and hostess gifts.

***I DO take payment plans!***

***Please note this sale is for Originals only.***

Questions? Contact me at carrie[at]carrieschmitt[dot]com or use my contact form here.

Smitten

Suddenly, I’m smitten with…

* a city

* soulmate encounters

* lamps with dangly pulls

*Photoshop (we used to not get along at all)

Skylar and I took a road trip to Portland. This city has my heart, and from now on I plan to become a dual citizen of Seattle and Portlandia with lots more trips there.

How do I begin to describe Portland if you have never been there? Well, there is the food (unbelievable). And the quirkiness. Forget it, I can’t describe it. Just make a point to visit for yourself and experience it. We stayed with one of my college besties and old soulmate, Jay. When we were walking around town, I asked in awe, “Why is it like this here?” He thought that was hysterical, but I was completely serious. It is an alternate universe, folks.

Yummy Thai food with Jay and Skylar.

The purpose of the trip was not just to see Jay, but to spend the day with one of the sweetest people I have ever met on the planet (for reals), artist and pattern designer extraordinaire, Jessica Swift (and new soulmate). We spent the entire day in her studio (that feels like a cozy treehouse) and experimented with creating patterns out of paintings. She taught me how to use Photoshop, which has been a source of frustration to me for years! Being surrounded by all her beautiful art and products was dreamy.

Right before the lamp incident (notice bright lamp to the right).

When Jay and Skylar came to pick me up, we took a few photos which resulted in much laughter due to a lamp and Jay’s silliness. Here are few giggly photos thanks to Ryan Swift who appreciates a good candid moment when he sees one!

Things start to get funny...

My imitation of Jay messing with the lamp pulls to adjust the lighting.

Still laughing...

Regaining our composure for another pic.

I never knew lamps could be so funny. Or a city could be so out-of-this-world. Or Photoshop could be fun. Or that this Autumn I would find a soul sister that radiates so much beauty and has had such a profound impact on my life in such a short time.

Love these peeps.

Feeling incredibly blessed. Thanks, Jess, Ryan and Jay for everything.

Wait, I almost forgot. Do you want to see one of the patterns Jess and I made out of my painting, Good Morning, Sunshine? This is my first repeat pattern ever, and I had to name it “Jessica.” (Psst…Michelle Armas, we named one after you too!) I have been wanting to turn my paintings into patterns for years because one of my biggest dreams is to have my art on fabric and textile products.

I am forever grateful to Jess for showing me how to do this. I was overwhelmed when this image appeared on the computer screen. A BIG dream came true that day thanks to a very sweet friend.

Our first repeat pattern based on my painting, Good Morning Sunshine.

 

Advice to a Fledgling Artist

This has become a common question in my inbox from new artists so I thought I’d post my answer here for others who might be interested!

Q: I’m working toward a BFA at Oregon State, but I go back and forth all the time on formal education vs. learning in other ways. I’m curious about the types of resources you utilized when you decided to pursue art wholeheartedly. Any tips or advice for a fledgling artist? I’m so new to this journey, and I constantly feel overwhelmed and intimidated.

A: I know what you mean about feeling overwhelmed and intimidated! Just take it one step at a time. My rule is to do at least one thing every day in the direction of my dreams. Art requires us to work through our feelings of inadequacy, but it is a process with highs and lows. Instead of comparing myself to others, I’ve found several online art communities that encourage and support one another to work through our insecurities and celebrate our successes.

Flora Bowley and my painted hands at her Seattle workshop 2011.

As far as formal education vs alternative learning, my degree is in English Literature. I did not go to art school so I really cannot compare the two. I’ve heard mixed reviews from artists who have formal art educations. Some found it helpful, some did not.

I have taken online and in person art courses from artists whose work I admire. These have been extremely helpful in developing my own style and understanding color and techniques. I’ve learned the most about painting by taking what these courses offer and then logging hundreds of hours in the studio experimenting. You have to do the work, be patient and put in a lot of hours. Enjoy the process and evolution of your art.

The other benefits of these courses are the community dynamic and lasting friendships, which has been the most rewarding piece for me. One BIG piece of advice: Find a supportive creative community whether online or in person. I couldn’t do this without these incredible peeps. Seriously.

As far as recommendations, here are a few. All of these ladies do a tremendous job and pour their heart and souls into their offerings. One thing they all have in common–they have worked their tales off to get to where they are today, which is why I admire them all so much and find them inspiring. There is no substitute for that key ingredient–hard work. 

Flora Bowley. I have taken her online course and in-person workshop. Total gamechanger. Not only is she a painting master, her painting style mirrors her life philosophy that is totally zen and wicked awesome. I recommend this class to everyone. It’s not just about art–it’s about risk taking, trusting your intuition and more. I promise that you will really enjoy it!

Sharing my paintings in progress at a Flora Bowley workshop.

Mati McDonough. If mixed media is your thing, Mati offers a lovely e-course, Daring Adventures in Paint!, with many different painting and mixed media techniques. I love the color stories and layering in her art. She is a sweetheart,and I enjoy her joyful and kind energy also. She just makes me smile.

Alena Hennessy. I haven’t taken a class from Alena yet, but I am a big fan of her work. She is launching a new mixed media course, A Year of Painting, which sounds fabulous.

Juliette Crane. I took Juliette Crane’s How to Paint an Owl Class several years ago, and I really enjoyed how she uses a basic framework of shapes and space to create. I learned that sometimes developing, simplifying and working within parameters actually allows you to explore and unleash your creativity in new and exciting ways. She also uses a lot of mixed media techniques.

I painted this while taking Juliette Crane's How to Paint an Owl online course.

Jessica Swift. I love Jessica’s book, Jump, Trust, Repeat. I read the whole thing at one sitting and was fascinated by her creative journey. She is a great example of how hard work and determination lead to success. I actually just met her for the first time, and she is such a lovely person. She has really serene energy about her, and I love her colorful artwork and patterns.

Kelly Rae Roberts. For anything related to the business end of being a creative entrepreneur, this is your girl. Kelly Rae’s ebook Flying Lessons offers everything you need to know about running a creative business. This woman is mega-successful at what she does and generously shares everything she knows. This course helped me immensely when I started out. I cannot recommend it enough as the Creative Entrepreneur’s Bible. She also offers a course I’d love to take called “Hello Soul, Hello Business” with Beth Kempton over at www.dowhatyouloveforlife.com

One of the first paintings I created in 2009 after reading Taking Flight by Kelly Rae Roberts.

Monica Lee at Smart Creative Women is a gift that just keeps giving! Her artist video interviews are a treasure trove packed with tons of inspiration, advice, and wisdom. Their success is contagious. I love listening to these when I am in the car, doing dishes or painting in my studio. Monica is always upbeat and fun–she’s got this girl next door, everybody’s friend quality about her.

You’ll find that following these women will open you up to other artists and offerings as well. I am planning to launch an e-course and host an art retreat in the near future so hopefully my name will be added to this list soon!

And, here are a few words I live by daily…

 XO,

Carrie

 

 

Synchronicity

What is it about Autumn? And timing? Don’t you love serendipity and synchronicity? I live for those moments where unseen forces seem to be at work spinning magic.

An unfolding happens that feels predestined. Meant to be. At that exact moment in time.

I’m going to tell you a story. It’s my story. And it’s gonna be honest. And real.  I’m not telling you because I want to. I have to. I just know this in my bones–it is time.

As I get older, I feel a stronger primal connection to nature—almost as though the boundaries are thinning between my being and the Universe. This February, I actually felt the physical pull of the ocean calling me. Not the same sensation as wanting to go to the ocean. I felt my body physically needing to breathe the salty ocean air. Like the cells in my body would die if they didn’t. And, the ocean’s force pulling and beckoning me to come. Trippy.

It was time. I listened and went to the ocean like an obedient daughter called home by her mother at dusk.  I felt the long exhale my body needed. Each cell re-energized. Ahhhh.

Lately, I’ve been in Autumn’s quiet, reflective mood. I’ve noticed a strong pull to find a tribe with deep soulful friendships that I am craving, just as I was craving the salty ocean air. Like I would die if I didn’t start making heartfelt connections. It was time.

I contacted Michelle Armas and Jessica Swift. Oddly, they knew each other and Michelle just happened to be visiting Portland soon. We decided to meet up, which was a serious dream come true to spend time with two of my favorite artsy women.  They are as sweet as I imagined! (Did I mention I love synchronicity?)

Their new presence in my life started my mind spinning in all sorts of ways, which always happens in Autumn. It’s like the Autumn wind stirs up my psyche just like it swirls the leaves around in a frantic dance. These two women, unbeknownst to them, had brought reflection and change into my life.

When we emailed, I found myself sending them crazy long emails that felt like blog posts, sharing random stories that just came out of nowhere. I was like, what am I doing? When did I get so chatty?

I realized I missed having heart to heart conversations with other women.

I realized I wanted them to know me the way I knew them from their honesty, humor and lives that they share on their blogs. Their willingness to share their true selves (the good and bad, the joys and frustrations) is why they are inspiring to me and others. And, I want to inspire also.

When I told them how much it meant to me to spend time with them, I realized I wanted them to understand why and know the story behind my words.

Then, I got an email from Flora Bowley’s weekly Seeds of Inspiration. The subject in my inbox–“You Have A Story to Tell.” Bam. How does she do that? It’s like she is a spirit guide or something.

How many more signs from the Universe did I need? It was time to share my story. I know we all have one, and for some reason I feel compelled to share right now. I’m not even sure why. Perhaps it is a self-healing practice, perhaps it is so others can relate to our human imperfections and insecurities, perhaps I suddenly want people to understand the meaning behind my words, perhaps it is just time to let it all go.

So stay tuned because this blog post is too long already. The next one will be MY STORY. The one I want NEED to tell. Until then, what is pulling and calling to you right now?

 

Planting Seeds

I love how life seems to follow the natural rhythm of the seasons. This feeling of connection is vital to my spirit.

This Summer, my art biz blossomed in all sorts of exciting ways–poster contests, licensing deals, art shows, etc…

Lately, there has been less blooming and more internal focus on planting seeds that will hopefully manifest in the next few months/years. I’ve submitted my art to various companies and publications. I’ve reached out to artists I’d like to spend time with. I’ve been communicating with a woman who makes tea blends and understands flower magic. We might be dreaming up something BIG together. I’m touring a beautiful space on the Olympic Peninsula for a possible future art retreat.

Like Autumn is to Summer and Winter, I’m in an in-between phase. The waiting is hard.

As an act of faith and prayer, I’ve been planting bulbs in our garden that will hopefully manifest the beauty that they were meant to be next Spring. I’ve wrapped my wishes and dreams up with them as I’ve laid them gently in the Earth and covered them with my paint-smeared hands, my new hopes pulsing through them waiting to be born as well.

Master gardeners say that Autumn is the best time to plant because Winter allows roots to take hold before the warmth of Spring and Summer. I’m recognizing that planting seeds and having patience is an important practice in my art life also. Every day I hope that good news will come as a result of my efforts. Until then, I keep planting dreams.

What seeds are you planting right now for your future? Whatever they are, I wish you patience and unwavering faith in your journey.

Coolest Painting Ever

Nora loves to help me start new paintings. We just make random marks all over the canvas without worrying what it looks like. This is my favorite part of the process!

This was the first time we actually created a finished piece together, and I have to say it is my absolute favorite ever.

I’m a little envious of Nora. So uninhibited and free. I am constantly trying to get to a place of non-judgment when I paint. Having her to guide me was so helpful and eye-opening. She didn’t worry about anything–she just let her instincts and whim guide her. I followed her lead.

Usually when I paint, it takes me a LONG time. I get to a point in the process where I am constantly stopping, standing back and looking at the canvas. Thinking about what I should do next. We didn’t do any of that and worked FAST (about 20-30 minutes from start to finish). This was all about fun and not the end result. No expectations or preconceived ideas. The experience was so different coming from this perspective.

Watching Nora mix colors was like watching a master except she broke all the rules and made the most insane mixing choices that resulted in pure magic! Accidental brilliance.

Nora cracked me up because she would get so into the mixing paint on the palette that she would forget about the canvas and just start playing/painting on the palette. Adorable. See the brushstrokes on the palette below? You can see her excited energy in the paint.

Nora named this piece, Coolest Painting Ever. I love the energy of the piece–it is very different than my usual style. I am drawn to the wildness and playful nature and want to bring more of that feeling into my future paintings. There might be more collaborations in the future with my new painting partner. I just hope I can pull my weight!

I treasured every moment of this experience with sweet little Nora. I love that we have a tangible piece of art to remember the special time we spend together in my studio every day.

Styling Soles

When presented with the opportunity to paint for TOMS Shoes, I REALLY wanted to participate. There was just one problem…

I have SERIOUS performance anxiety. Having people watch me paint their shoes within 20 minutes sounded terrifying to me. But, I know that stepping outside your comfort zone is where the magic happens, and I didn’t want to give in to my fear.

So, I bought some TOMS and started practicing. When the big day arrived, I was a nervous wreck but prepared to paint some flowery designs. But guess what?

Nobody wanted flowers. And, I haven’t taken a drawing class in decades. I ended up painting a WSU logo (which took years off my life, people!), a bicycle, a nautical theme, mountains and more. I have never drawn a bike in my life. It seems crazy that the first time I attempt to draw a bike is on a pair of shoes somebody just bought. What was I thinking? Luckily, everybody seemed happy with their painted shoes.

My favorites were a mountain scene on these gorgeous orange shoes. I seriously might make some for myself. The night was a lot of fun and a little terrifying, but I’m definitely glad I did this. I might even do it again some time!

I love the TOMS mission. It is such a fabulous company, and I was honored to work for them. You probably know that when you buy a pair of TOMS, they give a pair of shoes to a child in need. Did you know that they give the child a new pair every 6 months? Pretty awesome.

Because I’ve had several requests, I now offer to paint TOMS Shoes. You send me the shoes, tell me what you want, and I will paint them for you! Just no WSU logos, please! Now you can walk around with one of a kind shoes–original works of art at your feet! It is a pretty cool concept–so creative, unique and functional. Visit my Etsy Shop to purchase.