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.

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Marie-Joie Hughes Podcast Interview
Marie-Joie Hughes Website
Marie-Joie Hughes On-Line Shop
Marie-Joie Hughes Instagram
Marie-Joie Hughes Facebook
Marie-Joie Hughes Spoonflower
Marie-Joie Hughes LinkedIn

Making Some Changes & A Huge Summer Sale!

by Mari Robeson

Yes, it's true. It has been a long time since I've posted anything. Honestly, there has been a lot of things going on in life some happy, some very sad. It's just been one of those years that has made me pause and take a step back to really think about the direction I want to go with my life and my business. Which is a good thing but now I'm ready to get back into the game.

When I asked myself what it is that I really, really Love to do I have found I love to illustrate and create product for the home decor industry. I also love to write and to teach all things about the home.

So when I was recently approached buy a couple of companies to license my designs, the timing couldn't have been more perfect. The good news is next year you'll be seeing my product pop up in many fun places and with that new adventure underway I've also decided to give my on-line shop a big remodel! I will be discontinuing most of my pillows and focusing more on paper goods, prints, books and workshops! (I'm super excited about the workshops and I will share more on those soon but the first one will be at the San Luis Obispo Home Expo this September!!) 


Through the holiday weekend if the pillow isn't already sold out it will be only $10!! 75%OFF!! Woohoo!! Have a safe and Happy 4th of July Weekend!! xo Mari

My New Book Trailer!! Woohoo! & Book Update!

by Mari Robeson

I never imagined how many pieces of the puzzle there are when putting together a book! First of all writing it and illustrating it now seems as if that was the easy part. I had no idea how long the editing process would take. Even with four of us looking at it, I know there there must be typos hiding in there! Then there was uploading all the images in Photoshop and into the final program called InDesign. I spent a few hours watching online tutorials for sure! So now it is off to the printer and I was so excited when they told me the shipping date (to my studio) would be 11/11, which are lucky numbers to me. Yay! The next part of the process is to spread the word. Self publishing and printing requires a certain amount of that good old green stuff - money, so all of you who have pre-ordered already or are thinking of pre-ordering, I can't thank you enough! (Although I do include some fun goodies to show my gratitude!)

Then there are wonderful people who come into your life and help you with your dreams. Enter, Justin Stoner - photographer, videographer, story teller, hand holder, who has the gift of sharing the stories of others through his art. He gained some serious gold stars in heaven for how patient he was with me in creating this video! Thank you Simply Clear Marketing and Media !!!!! Justin, you and Lani are the best!

Check out the trailer & let me know what you think!!! xoxo Mari