Introducing Jane Gianarelli - April's Featured Creative - Episode 16

by Mari Robeson in

If you follow me, you probably have a love for Interior Design and Room Renderings. Well, I have a real treat for you today! Meet my friend, and fellow Italian, Jane Gianarelli! In today’s Episode we talk about how she combined her two passions of Interior Design and Fine Art into a thriving niche business!

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I have followed Jane for a long time on Instagram because I love a good room sketch! Jane’s work is so incredibly beautiful and well executed. We have similar backgrounds as Interior Designers. We discuss how there is just no way you can illustrate a room like this without understanding all the details that go into Interior Design. What she creates is a true ART-FORM and can not be replaced by a tech app! Like Jane, I too loved the rendering part of the Interior Design process (which I am now turning into larger fine art paintings) where as she has created a thriving business rendering for top Interior Designers all throughout the United States.

Credit to Shay Geyer & IBB Design

Credit to Shay Geyer & IBB Design

This is such a fun Episode and just another amazing example of how you can turn your art into an abundant and joyful day job!


You can follow and support Jane Gianarelli here:

April's Featured Artist - Aaron Christensen of Embellishments Studio - Episode 15

by Mari Robeson

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I’m so excited about this month’s Featured Artist for a couple of reasons. Introducing Aaron Christensen of Embellishments Studio! First of all, Aaron is a very good friend. We met years ago at the ABC KIDS EXPO in Las Vegas when we were both designing a lot of products for the children’s decor industry. It took about a minute to feel like we had been friends for a very long time. I was there with my BFF Stacy Axan and between the quick whit and banter of the two of them I was left in tears, laughing for hours. So it’s no surprise that his personal charm would translate easily into the gorgeous art he creates for Boys and Teen rooms.

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When I started this podcast I knew I had to have him on, not only because he’s such a wonderful creative soul, but because I’m fascinated by how he has created a profitable niche for his art. This is something I wanted to share with the younger artists out there, that finding a niche and mastering your craft in that niche, can be a very viable way to make a living as an artist.

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Aaron has designed for major retail companies such as Target, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Z Gallerie just to name a FEW! He’s also been featured on Apartment Therapy, HGTV, MTV Cribs….designed for celebrities etc…the list goes on and on! So how honored am I to have had the opportunity to pick his brain on this Episode AND even more honored that he is donating 20% of the sales from his New Rough Game Sports Collection (for the month of April) to the Louise Monforte Memorial Scholarship!!! WOW!

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Speaking of the Scholarship, I have received the applications and they are ALL SO GOOD!! I have already selected the recipient of the Dance Scholarship and I can not wait to share her story and that of the selected Visual Artist with you! Look for a future YouTube video on that! The Scholarships for 2019 will be awarded on June 4th and of course I’ll be posting about that here as well!! It’s going to be so fun to follow these young creatives on their amazing journey’s! Thank you so much for supporting this Mission to Support The ARTS!!

I hope you will really enjoy this Episode with Aaron and there is a pretty funny Bonus Episode at the end where we talk about ‘The Squirrel’ Soooo cute!

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March's Featured Entrepreneur - Cindy Arnet - Sienna Grace Jewelry - Episode #14

by Mari Robeson in

Happy Spring Equinox & Happy Full Moon in Libra! What a great day to share this fun Episode with the very talented Cindy Arnet of Sienna Grace Jewelry! It also happens to be her Birthday, so what better day to celebrate her!

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Cindy and I have been friends for a long time and she actually spent a weekend with me up in San Francisco with my sweet sister, Louise, before she passed away. It’s meaningful because this podcast was created in my sister’s memory to carry on her legacy of helping others so was I really happy to have her in my home studio for this interview.

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What’s even more fun, is that since our first chance meeting in my boutique, Cindy has gone on to be quite the designer! It was so great to ask her how she found her groove and the secrets to her success!

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By working with companies like The Artisan Group, Cindy has successfully had her jewelry placed in the best Swag Bags and in the hands of top Hollywood stylists. We talk about the evolution of her career as a jewelry designer and how she found this to be a great marketing tool for her beautiful designs. Her work has been seen on popular television shows like; The Vampire Diaries, Jane The Virgin, Pretty Little Liars, Mom, Law and Order: SVU, and Nickelodeon's Bella and the Bulldogs. Cindy is generously sharing her words of advice not only for jewelry designers but any creative entrepreneur. We discuss topics like selling on-line and which platforms are working as well as which ones are not. We also talk about the pressures of social media and how to navigate through it as artists.

It’s a short but super informative episode that I hope you enjoy! Happy Spring!! xo Mari

Other places you can follow and support Cindy Arnet:


PS It helps so much if you Subscribe to my YouTube Channel and please spread the word to anyone interested in pursuing a creative career! Thank you so much!

March's Featured Artist - Bridgette Thornton - Episode #13

by Mari Robeson in

Introducing the very lovely & talented Bridgette Thornton of Paint & Petals! Bridgette is my Featured Artist for the month of March! You can now Listen and Watch the Full Episode HERE! While you are there I would love it if you left a comment, gave it a thumbs up, or even better, subscribed to my YouTube Channel. All those things will help spread the word about these amazing artists who are sharing so much great advice!

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Bridgette Thornton of Paint & Petals is a very successful commercial illustrator. Have you ever wondered how artists collaborate with large retail companies like Anthropologie and Serena & Lily? Bridgette has collaborations with both and she’s sharing how she made it happen!

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In this episode we talk about her tenacity and how she was able to connect with these brands and build a successful career as an artist licensing to them.

Bridgette's joyful and colorful floral paintings translate beautifully onto her own line of stationery, greeting cards, wrapping paper and textiles. We talk about the specifics of how she creates those items as well as what it's really like to work with large home decor companies.

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She also share some incredibly helpful resources for any artist looking to make a profitable living from their craft. She is lovely and positive and her advice at the end is incredibly inspirational.

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As this month’s Featured Artist, 20% of the Proceeds from the Sale of Bridgette’s ‘Sage Print’ will go to the Louise Monforte Memorial Art Scholarship. Thank you so much Bridgette! I am also excited to share that the deadline for submissions for the 2 visual arts scholarships will also be coming up this month. I can’t wait to see the art these young artists are creating!! Stay tuned for that!

Other places you can Follow & Support Bridgette Thornton:


Introducing Interior Designer - Kerrie Kelly - February's Creative Entrepreneur

by Mari Robeson

Episode # 12 Is LIVE with the very talented Kerrie Kelly!

It’s such a small world when you meet someone through social media and become good friends only to find out later that you both went to the same college and have a love for the same things. That’s how my friendship with the beautiful Kerrie Kelly all began. I knew when I started this podcast I wanted to have her on the show because she has been so successful with her Interior Design business on many different levels.

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Have you ever wondered how designers create their own home decor product lines or how they collaborate with big brands? In this interview with Interior Designer Kerrie Kelly, she shares how she connected with home decor companies such as Feizy Rugs, Coyote Outdoor Living, Go Home, LTD. to design collections for them.

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That's just the beginning. We also talk about the many avenues an Interior Designer can branch into and the multitude of different projects she's been involved in, including being a spokesperson for Zillow, a home contributor to Style Magazine, national board member to the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and a member of the editorial board of Furniture, Lighting & Decor Magazine. Kerrie also shares a wealth of great advice for young designers and anyone interested in living out their dreams as a creative entrepreneur.

You can Listen & Watch Episode 12 HERE

Other places you can find Kerrie Kelly:

Introducing February's Featured Artist - Kristi Kohut of HapiArt

by Mari Robeson

Episode # 11 is LIVE and it is full of Inspiration!

She's been named one of "The 7 Next Big Thing Artists" by Elle Decor Magazine and once you see all her beautiful artwork, you'll know exactly why.

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If you ever wondered what it would be like to live a life as a full time mixed media artist then this is the episode for you! Kristi Kohut had a very successful career in the world of advertising but when her son was born she knew it was time to follow her passion of creating art. Through many hours of trial and error, infused with a lot of Play, her artistic creations began to take form, many of them 3 dimensionally.

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In her interview we talk about how she creates her colorful pieces of art and sculptures which is a process unlike any I've ever heard about.

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We also discuss her creative approach on how she sells her art to collectors and interior designers. This inspiring creative journey through the eyes of Kristi Kohut will make you want to surround yourself with her Colorful ART!

As this Vlogcast has evolved I’ve examined different ways to include the artist in the Give Back component. Not only is the Featured Artist sharing valuable advice to younger creatives, they are generously offering 20% of the Sale of a selected piece on their site to the Louise Monforte Memorial Scholarship. This offering is only good for the month they are featured. I’m thrilled to announce that this gorgeous piece by Kristi Kohut is our selected piece of art. You can purchase this piece HERE. Titled ‘Be Vibrant’ - so perfect for the month of LOVE!

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Introducing The Brilliant Erin Summer - January's Featured Creative Entrepreneur!

by Mari Robeson

EPISODE #10 is LIVE and you are all in for a real treat! Erin Summer is an Art Director, Content Creator, Photographer, Color Enthusiast and Crazy Dog Lady! What’s not to love about all of that?!

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Erin and I met on Instagram and I instantly fell in love with her colorful, quirky, playful graphics and gifs.

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But come to find out that is her New Account. Previously Erin created some of the most gorgeous feather accessories I have ever seen! @ErinLightFeather on Instagram Unfortunately (or fortunately) a health issue forced her to reinvent herself into her new career as the Creative Art Director of Erin Summer where she creates graphics and branding for companies big and small.

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On the EPISODE we dive into how this transformation happened for her and the amazing companies she now works with. Erin shares some really wonderful advice on how she overcame a difficult challenge to find her true purpose as an artist and creative entrepreneur.

We also talk about the different platforms where an artist can sell their work such as Red Bubble, Society 6 and ETSY. Super interesting!

Erin is a beautiful soul and it was a true pleasure to have the opportunity to interview her…there’s a pretty funny blooper at the end of the episode too! Please enjoy EPISODE 10 and make sure to follow Erin Here:


Instagram: @erinsummer_

Shop: Erin Summer Society 6

Happy New Year! Meet January's Featured Artist - Gina Julian!

by Mari Robeson

I can’t think of a better way to start the New Year but with the incredibly talented, abstraction artist, Gina Julian! You can listen, and watch, her EPISODE HERE!

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Gina and I became friends via Instagram a few years ago. I’m so drawn to beautiful, colorful art and her work does not disappoint! Before she created her latest OP Art series I was fascinated by her colorful portraits, which come to find out, are all created on her computer! Amazing!

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In her interview she shares a lot of helpful advice for artists and how to promote and sell your work. I loved her tips and plan on incorporating them into my own business.

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Gina is my First Featured Artist of the New Year and I couldn’t be more honored to share her work with you! Because Gina is the featured artist, two of her beautiful Origami Art Prints will be available in the in Give Back Category of my online Shop for the month of January, 2019. The proceeds from the sale of these monthly artist prints go to the Louise Monforte Memorial Art Scholarship. The first of these scholarships will be awarded this Spring!

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Happy New Year everyone and please enjoy this very colorful and fun interview with artist, Gina Julian!


Other places you can find & follow Gina Juilan:



Instagram: @gina_julian

December's Featured Creative Entrepreneur - Interior Designer Abbe Fenimore

by Mari Robeson

I can’t think of a better, more creative person, to end 2018 then my dear friend, the very talented Interior designer, Abbe Fenimore of Studio Ten 25! Listen & watch her Podcast Episode Here.

Abbe’s GORGEOUS home office! Just a small taste of how talented this lady is!

Abbe’s GORGEOUS home office! Just a small taste of how talented this lady is!

It was such a treat to interview Abbe for this month’s Featured Podcast Episode because I have been a huge fan of her beautiful designs for a very long time. In the episode she very generously shares what it's like to own a design business, from how she began, to what it's like on a day to day basis.

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Abbe is one of the very few designers that actually inspires me so much that I want to paint her rooms.

Abbe is one of the very few designers that actually inspires me so much that I want to paint her rooms.

I also asked Abbe about her advice for someone who is thinking about pursuing a career as an Interior Designer and she shares a wealth of helpful ideas. It’s soooo good! We discuss several of her projects, her upcoming book, and her Design Trends and Predictions for 2019! (and it’s not what you might think.)

Among a very long list of successes, which she is very humble about, Abbe has been named the Best Interior Designer in Dallas, Texas since 2012. Her bold, colorful and sophisticated style has led to her being featured in Apartment Therapy, Rue Daily, The Washington Post, The New York Times, HGTV, Better Homes and Gardens and many more shelter publications. You can view them HERE.

This was a project we collaborated on. I designed the watercolor fabric for her drapes in this beautiful home she designed. You can see more pictures of it HERE.

This was a project we collaborated on. I designed the watercolor fabric for her drapes in this beautiful home she designed. You can see more pictures of it HERE.

I hope you will find a little time, perhaps when your wrapping all your holiday gifties, to listen (and watch) her Interview. This episode is especially insightful if you are interested in Interior design; becoming one or hiring one. Happy Holidays and Thank You for supporting the ARTS!

Other Places You Can Find Abbe Fenimore - Studio Ten 25


Facebook: Studio Ten 25

Twitter & Instagram: @StudioTen25


Pinterest: Abbe Fenimore


December's Featured Artist - Mark Bryan

by Mari Robeson

Welcome to December! This month's Featured Artist is the very, VERY talented, Mark Bryan.

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Some art is pretty to look at. Some art is an optical illusion. Then there is art that makes you think. Mark's art is the latter of the three. Every painting takes the viewer deep into a story of what dreams, maybe nightmares, are made of. Add the fact that Mark is a true Master at his craft, it becomes hard to believe that some of these creatures may not actually come to life at any moment!

I first saw Mark's work at our mutual friend's printing shop. To see one of his pieces in person is quite an experience. I was so intrigued by the subject matter that I remember asking our friend, "What do you think he means with all this?" He replied, “You’ll have to ask him.”

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There is so much going in on his paintings, I just had to know more. So I asked about who he was and when I realized he lived very close to me I was hoping I could have him as a guest on my podcast. Much to my surprise, he graciously said yes!

You see, I think Mark is kind of a big deal. He is very accomplished and has exhibited his work all over the world. He has created numerous book covers and has been the featured artist in several magazines including Juxtapoz and several others. He has a MFA from the prestigious Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles and started his career working with the early founders of the Chicano Art movement (Los Four). You can read his impressive biography HERE.

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Some of Mark's work will definitely hit a nerve and make some feel uncomfortable. It actually did for me at first but after I interviewed him and I understood how all of his life's experiences would lead him to being this type of a painter, it all made complete sense. Mark's work makes you feel and question and think about things. He is, in a way, documenting current events and presenting his opinion on them in the form of art. This is something I really love. Free Speech at it's finest!

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So maybe you won't agree with what he's saying with his art or maybe you'll be like many who thank Mark for "painting the way they feel". Which ever side you're on, this is noteworthy art and I feel incredibly honored to have had the opportunity to meet and interview him.

Beyond some of his more famous political satirical paintings, there are other more surreal, whimsical ones that I like so, so much. The two below are some of my favorites!

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That’s why I’m so excited that for the month of December Mark has graciously offered these two prints for sale in the Give Back category of my shop. He is also generously waiving his commission so that 100% of the proceeds can go to The Louise Monforte Memorial Art Scholarships. Did I also mention what a kind and exceptional person Mark is?!

I sincerely hope you will have the chance to listen, and watch, this super interesting interview with the very talented Mark Bryan.

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If you're looking for a great gift you might also consider adding Mark's book to your library! You can purchase it HERE.

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Other places to follow Mark Bryan:
Instagram: @markbryanart
If you live on the Central Coast you can see Mark's current exhibit of paintings in person at Frameworks Gallery in San Luis Obispo, CA.
Love Lou Lou Podcast Episode 7 - Interview with Artist- Mark Bryan

November's Featured Creative Entrepreneur - Laurie Laizure - Founder Interior Design Community

by Mari Robeson

If I’ve ever met anyone who embodied the spirit of a Creative Entrepreneur, it would be Laurie Laizure! Talk about a power house of skill, talent and an incredible ability to connect people! Laurie is such an inspirational woman and this month she is my Featured Entrepreneur. You can listen to Laurie’s Podcast interview HERE.

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After graduating with a BA in Graphic Design, Laurie worked in the digital printing industry. This eventually led her to the brilliant idea of starting her own wallpaper company, Customized Walls, which she later sold.

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Being no stranger to social media and actually being incredibly good at it, she started a community of interior design and home decor professionals on Google+ back in 2012. She also has a pretty impressive following on Instagram and a private Facebook Group of design professionals.

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When she felt she had reached the full potential of what Google + had to offer she decided to launch her own website, Interior design Community, which is now a thriving place where those working in the interior design and home decor industry can connect to learn, share, and grow their businesses. Laurie has successfully grown Interior Design Community to over 100,000 members and she’s just getting started!

Listen to Laurie’s Full Podcast Episode HERE

Website: Interior Design Community

Instagram: @interiordesigncommunity

Twitter: @IDCDesigners

Meet November's Featured Artist - Donna Carrick

by Mari Robeson

I thought it was so interesting when Donna described herself to me as an “Accidental Artist”. The truth is there is no accident to how beautiful her paintings are! I first discovered Donna’s work while picking up my giclee prints at my printer, Palette Arts in Nipomo, Ca. He was scanning her gorgeous paintings and to see them in person, they literally took my breath away.

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Donna’s paintings are inspired by her life while living in Kauai which she still does for a couple of months every year. Her subjects include botanical wonders; orchids, banana flowers, breadfruit, matilija poppies and succulents. Donna loves the beach and strives to capture the ever changing colors of the ocean in coastal land and seascapes.

Currently on view at Marisol at  The Cliffs Hotel & Spa , Shell Beach, CA

Currently on view at Marisol at The Cliffs Hotel & Spa, Shell Beach, CA

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” -George Elliot

But here’s the thing that I LOVED most about our interview. Donna took a very long break from when she first studied Art at the prestigious Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, to not really beginning to paint until she had retired several years later. And Thank Goodness for us she didn’t just retire and never paint again. In fact, quite the opposite. She told me her new motto is to “Live Dangerously!” That as people get older they tend to be more careful about everything but not Donna. She is painting and traveling and living life to it’s fullest. Let’s just all take a moment to think about that. So if you think you’re too old to start something new, even another career, there are many people who would disagree. You are never to old to create a new dream!

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Part of being the Featured Artist on the Podcast is the artist generously offers 3 prints for sale, the month they are featured, with the proceeds going to the Louise Monforte Memorial Art Scholarship. These are the gorgeous botanicals now available in the Give Back Category of my Shop. Aren’t they stunning!!! I know you will enjoy Donna as much as I do. She is not only warm and charming but an incredibly gifted and beautiful soul.

You can listen and view Donna’s Podcast Interview HERE


Instagram: @donna.atthebeach

Her work can be seen at Marisol at The Cliff's Resort & Spa in Shell Beach as well as Pu'uwai Gallery in Hanapepe, Kauai.

October's Featured Creative Entrepreneur - Author/Artist/Explorer -Christine Mason Miller

by Mari Robeson

They say timing is everything and in this case I couldn't be more excited to share my incredibly talented friend, Christine Mason Miller in Podcast Episode #4, the day her New Book; The Meandering River of Unfathomable Joy, is officially released for Pre-Sales!

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But first, a little about this amazing woman. I met Christine years ago when she had a very successful greeting card company called, Swirly. I was just starting out with my own greeting card company and reached out to her. At the time she was living in beautiful Santa Barbara, just about an hour South of me. Almost instantaneously, we became fast friends and kindred soul sisters in the land of creativity.

Through the years Christine has had an incredible career as an artist, author and teacher. In fact, I'm sure you would recognize her work because it has been successfully licensed all over the world. She has taught on-line courses, created inspiring retreats, written and illustrated five books, to just name a few of her outstanding accomplishments. So you would think that would lead to a person with a huge ego but in fact, the opposite is true. When you visit Christine's website, the first page you will land on is one of my favorite quotes from Mother Theresa. Christine truly lives and acts by these words.

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There are very few people I have met in my life that have impacted me in such a positive way. I will share with you that when my sister passed away, I had hundreds of books that were pre-sold that I needed to pack and deliver. I was in between a state of shock, grief and feeling completely overwhelmed. Christine drove up from Santa Barbara, gave me a huge hug, then said, "How can I help you?" Those 5 words....saved me.

Then for 2 days we packed up and shipped out all the books. I can not tell you how much that meant to me and how inspired I am by her "small acts of kindness" that she delivers with "great love".

Almost two years later and a lot of personal growth, I will never be able to show her how grateful I was for her presence at one of the most difficult times of my life. I wanted to share this back story with you because this is the essence of who Christine is and it shows up in all her art, her teaching and her books. In fact, when I read this book it made me think of traveling and every day life in an entirely new way. To focus on the blessings in the most difficult situations. To show up for life fully, without regret. To grow in the most uncomfortable places of ourselves.

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In her Podcast Episode we discuss why she created the book and how she "discovers a place of deep, abiding faith that affirms her spiritual journey around every corner, teaching her what it means to embrace what is, to live in gratitude, and to surrender to the flow of each moment."

When I read her book I found myself hanging onto every word as she invited me into her enchanting and inspiring adventure. Not only is the book visually gorgeous, I found myself laughing, and at times crying, as if I was one of her girlfriends traveling with her on a soulful adventure of a lifetime.

I've already ordered mine! Pre-Sales of the book are Now Available HERE!


October's Featured Artist - Meet Tug Rice

by Mari Robeson in

I'm so excited to share with you one of my most absolute favorite illustrators, Tug Rice. Tug is this month's Spotlight Artist! It’s fitting because Tug is used to being in the spotlight for his acting work but now it’s time to shine the light on him for his wonderful art work.

You can listen to Tug's full podcast interview HERE. The video version on YouTube also allows you to see more of his gorgeous artwork.

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I met Tug on Instagram a few years ago. It was easy to fall in love with his effortless illustrations that always seem to have something cheeky about them. He mainly chooses to illustrate scenes from around New York City where he lives and perhaps it’s that or maybe it’s because his sketches leave you wanting to know more about the person on the page, either way it’s brilliant and I adore all his creations.

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Tug works digitally but his art looks like watercolor or sometimes pencil and ink.

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In this episode Tug and I talk about his journey as a self taught artist and how a last minute decision to enter an art exhibit led to his incredibly successful career as an illustrator. He recently collaborated with jewelry designer, Harry Winston for a beautiful 6 page spread in Harper's Bazaar. You will also find Tug's work in The Wall Street Journal, Vogue Poland, Travel & Leisure, and Rowing Blazers.

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Tug has so graciously allowed me three pieces of his art to be sold this month to raise funds for the Louise Monforte Art Scholarship. They are available for the month of October in my on-line Shop under the Give Back category.

Listen to the Full Episode HERE


Twitter & Instagram: @TugRice

September's Featured Creative Entrepreneur - Amie Freling-Brown Artist/Designer - MeMe Hill Studio

by Mari Robeson in

It was such a treat to Interview Amie Freling-Brown of Meme Hill Studio for Podcast Episode 2!

You can listen to the Full Episode HERE!

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Amie and I met via Instagram a couple of years ago. I was so intrigued with her creative journey because she was the first Artist turned Interior Designer that I had ever met and the similarities we had with our work and family lives were uncanny! Plus the fact that she is one of the kindest souls I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing!

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Her creative journey began around her Grandmother Hill’s beloved card table always equipped with crayons, paper, glue and glitter! Little did her grandparent's know at that time what an influential artist and designer she would become! I love this Podcast Episode because she really shares a wealth of information on how her grass-roots business and love of hand painted objects led to her landing her product in Nordstroms! And that was just the beginning…

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Now you can find Amie wearing many hats including brand ambassador and social media influencer. Her powerhouse portfolio of brands include, HomeGoods, Raymour and Flanigan, Sherwin-Williams, Delta Faucet, Laura Ashley, Progress Lighting,  Lipton, The Bon-ton, and many more. Amie is a recent winner of the Home Depot DIY think tank competition and is a 2018 Better Homes Magazine Stylemaker.

Even with a looooong list of amazing accomplishments, I think what I love the most about Amie is her warmth and genuine willingness to help other people. She paints these beautiful murals for children’s hospitals and donates many hours to community outreach projects.

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September's Artist Spotlight: Marie-Joie Hughes - Former VP of Product Development For the studios of William's Sonoma & Pottery Barn

by Mari Robeson

In my podcast interview with Marie-Joie Hughes she offers a wealth of insight into what it's like to work for the lifestyle companies we all know and respect. Her journey as an artist is incredibly interesting and she offers helpful information for those interested in pursuing a career in commercial design.

You can listen to the full Podcast Interview Here!

Here is a little more about her creative journey and what Marie-Joie Hughes is creating now.

Her story begins like most people in the arts. MJ started drawing as soon as she could hold a pencil. She always drew wild costume images. Even as a tiny child she would take out the historical fashion books from the library, and then create historically accurate paper dolls.

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Costume design has always been her true passion. She was more into the illustration aspect than sewing. 

She believes she has been very lucky to have had many people in her life, mostly women, who really encouraged her and pushed her to succeed. She came from a lower middle class background, but was determined to go to art school even though her father told her she would never make it as a designer and should study something practical like accounting.

Fortunately through a friend of her parents she got a job as a textile designer's apprentice right out of high school. She showed Betsey Lamonte, (the designer who she claims changed the course of her entire life), her wild costume illustrations.

Because she could paint with gouache, she was hired. MJ had to drop out of art school a year later, because she became extremely ill. Since Betsey Lamonte became the head of textiles at Esprit de Corp, she got a full time job designing the Esprit Kids textiles. She was only 19. Aside from doing some costume work in theatre and independent film, she has been designing textiles and doing surface design for companies ever since.

As in most businesses, the industry is small and one job always leads to another based on the reputation of your work and who you know. She felt extremely lucky to get into the Williams-Sonoma group 20 years ago. She started free-lancing for Gardener's Eden- which at that time was owned by Williams-Sonoma. All the connections she made over the year started with the woman who trained her, Betsey Lamonte.

Mary Britton-Rose who hired her for Gardener's Eden moved to Restoration Hardware, so she went to Restoration Hardware. After a few years she went back into the Williams-Sonoma brands because she was offered a job at Pottery Barn. She stayed with Williams-Sonoma Inc for 13 years. Two years ago she left her position as the Vice President of the Product Development Studios for both Williams-Sonoma brands and the Pottery Barn Main brands.

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The two design teams she lead, created the artwork for not only the textiles categories but also dinnerware, wall art, some packaging and many decorative accessories that required artwork. 

Why did she leave? In her words, "Product design is truly created in the factories by armies of craftspeople and workers. It literally takes an army to make a duvet and sham set. I love working in the factories. I started working in the factories in Hong Kong over 30 years ago.  I left my executive job to work deep in the factories and help train the young design teams in those factories. The factories are the wombs of creation. I like to be where the action is and I am passionate about teaching and guiding the next generation of designers into designing a more creative and sustainable world."

Marie-Joie has recently launched her own collection of wall art and textiles with deep spiritual meaning and symbolism. If you choose to purchase any of her art in the month of Sept 2018, in the GIVE BACK Category of my online shop, she will receive a commission and the remaining proceeds will go to the Louise Monforte Memorial Art Scholarship, an educational scholarship available to support the next generation of artists! The scholarship will be available to high school students of Arroyo Grande High School, Spring 2019.

YouTube - MJ Peony Power .jpg
YouTube - MJ Moroccan Rose.jpg
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YouTube - MJ Buddha .jpg
YouTube - MJ Taara .jpg
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