Watercolor Peaches and Abstract Patterns

I know this fruit is totally out of season at the moment, but who doesn't love peaches?

watercolor peaches painting by Elise Engh

I worked really hard on this collection of watercolor peach paintings and patterns and I loved it!  The colors are to die for!  I will be painting in these colors again.... guaranteed. The abstract patterns were really intuitive and fun to paint.  I felt so free painting these and so like myself.  I've always been a sucker for green.

Watercolor Fruit Patterns by Elise Engh

Watercolor Fruit Patterns by Elise Engh
watercolor peaches painting by Elise Engh

Watercolor Lemons

Original Watercolor Lemons painting by Elise Engh
Three Yellow Lemons 8x10
Lately, I've been working hard at taming my inner ADD artist and focus more on creating sets of paintings.  It's always been hard for me to stick to just one subject because I have so many ideas! But I'm learning that taking the time to explore a subject more thoroughly just increases the painting ideas I come up with.  It challenges me to figure out more ways to work with one subject. 

Fall Farm Pumpkins and Berries

So I'm jumping back from Christmas mode to show off some of my work from earlier this fall! I don't think I've ever painted so much in my life and it's good.  It feels good to get my ideas down.

Watercolor Rustic Fall Collection by Elise Engh

Christmas Watercolor Paintings

I've been working on Christmas paintings for months! Don't blame me for rushing the holidays, we artists have to stay ahead of the game.

Original Christmas Watercolor Paintings by Elise Engh; red christmas cars, wintry forests, and cheery teapots.

Painted Fall Leaves

We did it again.... we painted leaves this year!

painted fall leaves- kids art project

My son and I gathered leaves, pressed them for a few days, then painted them with all sorts of crazy colors and designs.  So fun! It's always a good thing when I can get my  kid to paint with me.

Four Fall Paintings

Introducing my new fall watercolor paintings!

I've been painting a ton this fall and I've managed to get a few of the many watercolors listed in my shop.  These four paintings are brand new and I'll be adding more soon so be sure to check back!

Watercolor Pumpkin and Ferns Painting by Elise Engh- Grow Creative Blog

Dollar Store Floral Pumpkin DIY

DIY Floral Fall Pumpkin Home Decor

This fall I've been looking for some more affordable ways to decorate.  I love pumpkins and flowers, but the real ones are costly, plus they don't last from year to year.  So what did I do?  I hit up my local dollar store to see what I could work with.

Thrifted Halloween Garland Makeover

Hello and Happy Fall! 

I've been hard at work on some possible licensing projects so the blog has taken a back seat for the past month.  I should really start painting holiday stuff in the summer so I'm prepared for the rush in the fall.

Mini Floral Halloween Garland

Photos of the Week

This week is all about the yellows! The sunflowers and rabbit-brush exploded around here so I took a little walk with my trusty camera.  I've missed doing that.  I forgot how much joy I get from noticing the beauty around me and photographing it.  It's such a gift.

Yellow Sunflower Blue Sky

Two Ways to Paint Watercolor Cactus

You may have noticed lots of cactus paintings popping up on this blog in recent weeks. It's because cactus plants are sooo fun to paint and there are so many ways to paint them!

Six Mini Watercolor Cactus Illustrations

Mini Watercolor and Ink Cactus Illustrations by Elise Engh

Sometimes painting small and fast is refreshing, especially after laboring over a detailed painting for hours and days.  It's then that I want to create something beautiful and paint it fast!

Photos of the Week

It's not every day you come across a scene from a fairy tale................................

fairy tale castle

so when you do, photograph the heck out of it and let yourself get lost in your imagination!

Watercolor Peach Flowers

Happy September! 
I really wanted to go peach picking this year, but since I'm not able to, these peach flowers will have to do.  

Soft Watercolor Peach Flowers by Elise Engh
Soft Watercolor Peach Flowers by Elise Engh

Peach Fire Flowers Paintings

Sometimes the paintings just flow from me, like a steady stream of joy and peace. Those are the best painting sessions. I come away feeling like I've done some sort of mental yoga.  I feel centered and happy.

Four original watercolor flower paintings by Elise Engh.  Fire Flowers in blue and orange.

Photo of the Week

It's been a long time since I just posted one "photo-of-the-week" here on this blog. I haven't been out taking photos as much as I would like to.

So today I feel like doing some catching up on life. Here we go!

Watercolor Blueberry Flowers

Hi there!

I've been busy with some travels and getting my kid back to school.  It was a crazy, busy summer!  I've also been working on a new collection of floral/ blueberry paintings. 

on my desk: watercolor blueberry flowers

These blueberry-type paintings started out as trying to be blue flowers, but ended up looking more like blueberries, so I'm calling them blueberry flowers :)  What would you name them?

Sea-Inspired Watercolor Flower Paintings

Original Sea-Inspired Watercolor Flower Paintings by Elise Engh

I am forever painting flowers and experimenting with new ways to paint them.  My latest paintings seem to have something of sea life in them. It's a combination of flowers and something like a sea anemone.  I love it and I will be painting lots more of these!

For now, these two are up for sale in my Shop.

Watercolor Seascape Sketching

I had a little time to paint at the beach last week!The two things that relieve my stress the best are the ocean and painting, so combining those two is incredibly relaxing.  

watercolor beach landscape sketches

Kid's Sharpie Canvas Art Project

Kids Art Project: sharpies on canvas

I've made a goal this summer to spend some quality art time with my son.  He's eight and growing up fast! And even though art is not his favorite thing to do, I've found that if I can frame an art project as an "experiment" (which it really is), he is much more willing to try it.  

This sharpie canvas art project is my favorite one we've tried! And I love being able to connect with my son this way.  We made it more about the process than about the final product.  We just wanted to see what happened when we drew crazy patterns with different types of markers and sprayed them with rubbing alcohol.  We discovered a few fun things along the way!  

So keep reading below to see how we made this fun collaborative piece of art!

Photos of the Week

golden thistles

I finally got myself down to the lake this summer. No swimming though- the algae bloom is back at Utah Lake- ugggh! 

It's such a shame that this beautiful place gets used as a dumping ground in Utah. It could be such a wonderful resource! At least I get to enjoy the plants and birds that live near the shore and I get to see the lake with the mountains rising above it from my own front porch.  

Photos of the Week

Have you ever seen green and pink leaves?  I was lucky enough to see my first in Logan Utah!  I may have taken a few too many photos of them, but hey, it's not every day you see leaves this beautiful.

pink and green leaves in logan utah: grow creative blog

Flower Girl Series

I have some exciting news! I have four paintings available in my SHOP as part of my Flower Girl Series!

Watercolor Flower Girl Paintings Series by Elise Engh

Blue Cactus and Florals

Yes, I am still here! I've slowed down on posting because summer is just busy and I've got to make some time for fun! Like painting drippy blue cacti 💙💙💙

Drippy Blue Cactus Painting by Elise Engh

8 Creative Art Projects to Try With Your Kids This Summer

It's the beginning of summer and that means freedom! It also means that school-aged kids are transitioning from having a full-scheduled-day to having lots of free time.  I don't know about you, but I have to make a summer fun list to keep my son busy doing things besides watching t.v.

8 Creative Art Projects for Kids: Grow Creative Blog

How I Got Started in Art Licensing + Tips To Get You Going

Hi guys! This post is for all you artists!

Today I want to talk about art licensing, how I got my feet wet in the art licensing world, and give you a few tips on getting started with licensing your own work.  Licensing can be intimidating because it involves negotiations, legal documents, contracts, and in some artist's cases, lawyers (yikes) but you can take it one step at a time and figure things out as you go. That's what I did!

Learn how I got started licensing my own art plus get some savvy art business tips to get yourself going in the art licensing field! by Grow Creative Blog

So here's how I got started:

My first licensing opportunity came to me through Etsy- actually ALL of my art licensing opportunities have come to me through Etsy. It's the best place to get discovered- in my opinion :)

In 2014, a design company asked me about licensing my pink feathers watercolor painting for some packaging for beauty products. I didn't know a thing about licensing at that time, so I dived into the internet for some serious research. The design company was negotiating with a few other artists simultaneously, so it was a little scary! I didn't end up getting that deal because the client went with the cheapest bid and another artist underbid me... boohoo.  At least I was confident that I had not undersold my work- thanks to my research! Plus I learned a lot just from the communication back and forth with the design company. It prepped me for future negotiations. It was a valuable experience!

A year later I was contacted by a company that manufactures artwork for Hobby Lobby.  They liked my pink feathers too and this time I landed the deal! Over the past few years, I've worked with them and get paid 3% of the wholesale price of each product that they manufacture and sell to Hobby Lobby with my artwork on it.  It's not a ton of money per item, but when they manufacture a lot of prints at once, it adds up quickly.  So it's not a bad deal!

Then last fall came another big break, I was contacted by a nice lady at the Anthropologie Beauty Department! Dream come true! I drool over Anthro stuff all the time. This deal was a flat fee payment for the design of and exclusive use of three vintage car illustrations for two years.  I worked really hard on the illustrations and made a nice chunk of change on that deal, plus I get to add that to my resume!

Because of the contacts I have made, I continue to have opportunities to license my watercolor art.  It just snowballs after you get going.

Now for the good stuff, the tips!

Learn how I got started licensing my own art plus get some savvy art business tips to get yourself going in the art licensing field! by Grow Creative Blog

1: Do some market research.
Even though you might feel like you are selling out as an artist by doing this, not many of us artists can survive without following current trends and painting what people like. Get on Pinterest and follow your contemporaries on Instagram.  Check out what is selling at the stores that you want your art to be in! This will get your wheels spinning.

2: Create a good body of work.
Spend some quality time creating quality work. Create and create some more! Realize that not everything you make is going to be a masterpiece and be ok with that.  Let yourself be free to experiment because those experiments can give you your best ideas.

3: Get your stuff online.
This is one of the most critical steps. The more you get your work on the web, the more likely you are to be found! Open an Etsy shop, post your work on a blog, maintain an Instagram account, and pin your work as you create it. It took years of putting my work online consistently before I ever got a contact, so be patient too. Consistency is key here.  If you are continually creating work and showcasing it online, you will get your name out there.

4: Educate yourself.
While you're waiting for your ship to come in, learn all you can about licensing. Understand the different kinds of licenses (i.e. exclusive and non-exclusive contracts).  Determine what you would charge for your work with each type of license. Check out this art licensing article to get some savvy pricing advice.

5: Practice your business communication skills.
This is another way that Etsy prepared me for negotiating with licensors.  I often paint custom artwork for my Etsy customers so I get to practice my professional communication skills on a regular basis as we work out the details of commissions and agree on prices.  All the back-and-forth might feel like a pain, but you NEED to know how to communicate professionally. It's good for you!
So take on commissions, submit your work for shows or contests, and take every opportunity to build your communication skills.  They are so very very valuable!

So that's my two-cents on licensing. I am no expert, but I have learned a few things so far and I hope you find them helpful!

Soft Watercolor Floral Set

framed watercolor flower painting: grow creative blog

Yesterday I painted these three little beauties. I love them all lined up together in white frames!
they are for sale as a set! See them in my Etsy Shop.

three framed watercolor flower paintings: grow creative blog
pink watercolor roses painting by Elise Engh: grow creative blog
three framed watercolor flower paintings: grow creative blog

Painting loose florals like these require some speedy painting or some paper that doesn't absorb water quickly.  I think Arches paper is probably best, but I'm always too cheap to splurge on that stuff.  I was able to get some pretty decent loose, soft flowers with canson watercolor paper..... and it's much much cheaper!

Finger Painting with Oils!

 For once, it's not watercolors!  It's oils!

oil flower paintings: grow creative blog
oil flower painting: grow creative blog

My artist sister-in-law ( Emily Engh) showed me the work of an oil painter (Iris Scott)  who paints with her fingers (with gloves on of course) and we decided to try out the oil finger painting technique ourselves.  It's been for-ev-er since I've painted with oils.  These floral paintings are what came out of our experiment session!

Back in college I fell in love with oil painting because of the richness of the paints and the amazing textures you can create.  I thought I would be an oil painter forever.... haha! 

Now that I'm primarily a watercolor artist, I don't use oils very often, but I still have a thing for oils. There were my first love, after all.  

Check out these textures!

oil floral textures: grow creative blog
oil flower paintings: grow creative blog
oil flower painting: grow creative blog

Photos of the Week

I've always thought of it as a special gift for women that flowers come out just in time for Mother's Day.  My front-yard poppies gave me a little present this year and popped out just in time!

coral poppy flower: grow creative blog

The wildflowers came out too, so I went on a little excursion to collect them :)

orange globemallow wildflowers: grow creative blog

The Fruits of Spring Cleaning

It's Spring! Time for some upheaval and cleaning.  I'm of the opinion that a little upheaval now and then is healthy for you.

Spring cleaning for me means going through old paintings in my art cupboard.  I collect so many experiments that most of them end up getting recycled into tags or cards. Here are some of the fun cut-outs my latest studio spring cleaning produced.  My favorite pieces are the pineapples!

Pineapple Watercolor Cut-outs
Watercolor Fruit Cut-outs and cards
Watercolor Cut-out Cards

After much cutting, paper punching and gluing, I created quite the stack of cards. I'm all set for this year now!

Watercolor Cut-out Cards: Elise Engh Studios
Watercolor Cut-out Cards