Monday, April 14, 2014

Fashion Forecast: Sunny with a chance of Florals

spring 2014 Fashion Trends | florals, pastels and printed bags by
Spring 2014 Fashion Forecast: floral prints, pastels and printed bags
This fashion look was curated by Polyvore member emzirich and features a floral printed halter dress, printed bags and lots or spring's trendiest colors like a light sapphire and violet. 

The trends

The trends featured in this collection are floral prints in tones inspired by nature. The easy breezy silhouette is complemented by the jeweled sandals and a large brim hat conjuring up long bike rides in the country. Add a unique printed bag for the ultimate artistic fashion statement. 

Printed Fabric tote bag in Springs trendiest bright pastels
 PS Other blog posts you might like

Untold halter wedding dress
This gorgeous maxi dress is made up of a light and floaty chiffon quality, it`s covered in the most delightful floral print in cool hues of greens, purples and blues. Fully lined to provide the best coverage in such a soft palette, a strapless bra is required with such a stunning halter neckline. Tying back into a bow, it adds a delicate bohemian feel that`s perfect for any summer occasion. Take this on holiday for strolls on the beach or wear to a wedding for an elegant look.
$210 -

Tory Burch patent leather shoes
Encrusted with eye-catching rhinestones, these classically shaped patent leather sandals are like jewelry for your feet.

2b wide bracelet :
What a joyous occasion. Add a touch of glam to your outfit by styling these textured bangles.

Wide brim hat

What types of blog posts do you prefer? Color trends, fashion forecasts or just about art?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Pages from my art journal.

art journal | art journaling
Get in the habit of reflecting once a month...

Art Journal Prompt

For this art journal page I wrote all my reflections from the past month. This is a practice I started in January and I am enjoying it immensely. Another practice I have been doing is overlaying a mantra, a quote or a positive affirmation over the reflection. I found this helpful to keep my mind with a positive outlook and it also protects the privacy of my innermost thoughts.

Prayer for Spring

For this overlay I chose Robert Frost's Prayer for Spring. You may want to use it too so I have included the poem for you.

A Prayer in Spring by Robert Frost
 Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

art journal | art journaling by SchulmanArt
detail from my Art Journal
Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.

Techniques Used:

  • I bought some colorful packing tape from staples and used it to cover the inside covers of my "journal" ( which is also my Planner Pad)
  • The page is covered in gesso and I used acrylic matte medium to glue down art papers from Stampington
  • Additional acrylic pain was added at the edges of the papers to integrate the paper into the page.
  • On the top I wrote in bubble letters "March 2014 Reflections"
  • I used a white gel pen to write my reflections. I didn't worry about whether or not this was "readable" as I wanted to preserve my privacy from nosy teenage children who also live in my house.
  • I took parts of a Robert Frost poem with positive thoughts of Spring and over laid the prose in bubble letters over my text using a black uniball pen
  • I used a white Faber Castell Pitt white brush pen to fill in the "negative spaces" around the letters and then reinforced the black lines once more.
PS Blog posts you might also like are
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Girl with (one) pearl earring

Unmatched Pairs by Miriam Schulman, @schulmanArt

girl with pearl earring | a personal story about being a messy artist
Girl with Pearl Earring, Vermeer
One of the reasons I enjoy the practice of writing a daily blog post is that it gives my life as an artist structure. Moreover, writing frees words hanging over me so I can start my artistic process with my mind unencumbered. So today, I want to share a personal story that happened yesterday not directly related to the topics I normally blog about such as art, color or other inspiration.

Artists are messy creatures

Anyone who is creative or lives with someone who is knows that we are not neat and organized creatures. We much rather work on our next crafty idea and make a mess than clean them up. To help me get things done during the week, I leave the cleaning to Rosaura who has been coming to my house for over seventeen years. She comes for just a few hours a few times a week, but I trust her to do my laundry, wash the breakfast dishes and handle the heavy cleaning. There is no way I could get everything done for my creative business such as printing, packing and shipping etsy orders, writing this blog and maintaining all the marketing efforts as well as filming and editing my online classes without help. I do have a summer intern every year and hope to hire a full time studio assistant one day, but that is another story.

Behind the deadline

Normally, another way I structure my day is by working out first thing in the morning. This forces me to change my clothes, brush my hair and all the other minimal tasks required to face the world. Yesterday, behind on a deadline, I broke with my usual pattern and headed straight to the computer  still bra-less in my pajama pants and uncombed hair. When you are a middle aged woman, this is not a pretty site. {actually, that is exactly what I look like right now} I had lunch plans with a friend later in the day so I knew that I would eventually have to make myself presentable, but I was keen on finishing the graphics and presentation of my latest online ecourse. Had I gotten dressed, I might have noticed that I only had one earring in my ear.

Absentmindedly during blogging, I reached up and felt I was missing an earring. I panicked. My first thought was that I probably slept in them and one had simply fallen out during the I went to the bed and ripped apart the sheets... and then remade the bed. I checked the floor under the bed. I peeled back the edge of the rug to see if it had rolled under it or my cat had chased it there. Perhaps I only remembered to remove one earring as I went to bed and gotten distracted and had not removed the other. So I rifled through my disorganized jewelry box, filled with other single earrings mocking me, reminding me how disorganized I am. Of course, this is not the first time I have lost earrings. This particular pair of pearl earrings were a splurge I treated myself to as a consolation prize for having lost a pair of diamond studs. Those were lost when I removed them before I went swimming and forgot to put them back on... and perhaps they were stolen while I was swimming... I think... I still am not sure. I am hopeful they may turn up someday when I am not looking for them in the bottom of some paintbrush jar in my studio, or in the bottom of a forgotten pocketbook. (I have found other valuables in just the same way)

Rosaura to the Rescue

So, embarrassed, I desperately went to Rosaura clutching my one pearl earring and asked her if she had seen "el otro." She is a wonderful hard working woman, but when she finds things she often returns them to illogical places. She had not... so, once again she helped me unmake and make the bed. Then she suggested we look in the vacuum. She laid a plastic bag on the floor and we ripped apart the bag and spilled the out flotsam and dust. We both dug both with our hands, sifting through the dust bunnies and colorful scraps of floral paper she had sucked up from the floor of my studio. All the while I silently cursed myself for being disorganized thinking I don't deserve valuable jewelry and at the same time trying to rationalize the loss. Thinking that I have purchased dresses and shoes that I no longer wear of equal value and asking myself why I mourn the loss of the one earring.

Unmatched pairs

You see, when I lose something... even something trivial... it triggers feelings of other losses. When you have experienced a great loss in life-- for me it was losing a parent when I was a child, it makes other losses more traumatic. Especially, when you lose one of a pair. Like the pearl earring.

Dust of our Daily Lives

I called off the search through the dust and we washed our hands and I resumed futilely searching for the earring... all the while noticing dust under the night table and other such places. Then I thought maybe the earring was in the blankets...we shook them out. Perhaps it had fallen out when I changed into pajamas last night... not on the bathroom floor. Or, maybe it was in "la ropa" I said to Rosaura in the few words I could remember from high school Spanish class. So we we ran down to the basement. We opened the drier and pulled out the heavy wet towels, not there. I looked in the washing machine. Didn't see it. I gave up and went upstairs, thinking I need another consolation pair of earrings...but this time a cheap pair from etsy rather than another lovely set from Mikimoto.

It was then that I heard the accented cry coming from the basement. "Miriam! Miriam!" I didn't want to believe it... I ran down the stairs and she told me to look again. There at the bottom of the washing machine, where somehow I had missed it before, was the pearl earring. I pulled out the earring and in my joy of the reunion, I grabbed Rosaura's brown chubby face with both my hands and kissed her firmly on the cheek.

I had not lost the earring after all, but somehow I still had lingering feelings of loss. After all, those feelings were never about the pearl earring.

artist Miriam Schulman in her art studio
Girl in pearl earring...
PS You can read about my online ecourse on painting portraits HERE. The watercolor portrait class starts next week. Hope to see you there!
PSS You may also like another funny blog post on spring cleaning, here.

What about you? How do you feel when you lose something?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Three Ties for him You'll Both Love

pantone spring colors 2014 for men

Wednesday's Weekly Color Fix: Comfrey by Miriam Schulman, @schulmanArt

Each week on the blog I have been featuring a different hue from the rainbow of women's spring 2014 color trends vis–√†–vis Pantone's color report. Since I exhausted all the colors from the women's it was time to turn to the men's. ( want a recap? click HERE Placid Blue,  Violet Tulip,  Hemlock, Sand, PalomaCayenne red,  Freesia yellowCelosia Orange, Radiant Orchid, Dazzling Blue)

What's the same

The men's collection features a lot of the same hues such as placid blue (think of a pale blue men's dress shirt) or dazzling blue for an updated french blue dress shirt and many of the warm tones such as celosia, cayenne, and freesia ass well as neutrals such as paloma and sand. Consider the bright colors when picking out your honey's ties.

What's new

pantone comfrey | mens 2014 spring color trend
Pantone Comfrey
The shades that stand alone in the men's palette are Magenta Purple, Purple Haze, and Comfrey.

This week's color obsession is focued on "comfrey" which is similar to the hemlock in the women's palette but is a darker richer shade. According to the trend forecasters at Pantone: Comfrey, a more masculine take on the softer Hemlock green from the women's palette, to create a fresh, seasonally inspired look.

 Comfrey is really the name of an organic plant, so if you go searching for this color name you will come back with a lot of organic skin care products and salves.

best green ties for men
pin this so you know what to buy for Father's Day:
1. Men's Silk Churchill Dot Necktie from Lands' End
2. Irish Linen tie in stripe by J Crew
3. Ralph Lauren Neats Archive  narrow Tie

Want a recommendation?

I can't think of anything more anxiety provoking than shopping for a new tie for my husband. (Take that back. Shopping for a new bathing suit is worse than tie shopping.) No matter what I pick out I am afraid he will complain that it is too feminine and artsy or worse, just weird or unwearable. Usually, I just head into this boutique in Scarsdale called Rothman's and let the very well dressed salesman pick out a shirt and tie combo for me so if he complains I can blame them. When left to his own devices, my husband will buy a blue shirt that reminds me of the blockbuster uniform and a boring banker's diagonal striped tie.

You do?

Well what kind of self respecting blogger would I be if I didn't recommend something? So I scoured a couple of online places and found some ties that are this newfangled shade of green. If he doesn't like it, you can blame me. (but trust me, if you don't want a shamrock green tie or one with dinosaurs on it... these really are the most chic)

Other blog posts you might like:

What would your man think of this color??? (son, husband, brother, boyfriend, other...)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Twenty Questions: How to Critique Art

How to critique art
Mind the four C's for critiquing art

Technique Time by Miriam Schulman, @schulmanArt

When teaching watercolor classes I notice that over and over again the same problems recur in my students paintings. I thought to help them I would compile a list of questions to ask yourself

The Four C's

Although there are twenty questions on the list, they basically boil down to the four C's: content, composition, colors and contrast.


For content, this is something that comes up even though I tend to bring my students reference photos. They need to ask themselves...what are you drawn to? What inspired you? If you are not inspired by the initial subject, chances are your painting will also be uninspired. Moreover, the artist must always keep in mind what is important about the subject and why they chose it. For example, if they chose a duck painting they shouldn't put endless time and detail into the grass around the ducks.

learn watercolor techniques by schulmanart on
Watercolor tubes....
  • Does it have meaning?
  • Is it interesting?
  • Why did you paint it?
  • Is it in your own style?
  • Is there an element of surprise?
  • Does this painting say something new about the topic?


Composition problems occur when artist fail to see how shapes in the painting connect. For example, instead of painting four separate flowers, a painting is better served painting overlapping flowers. Another common problem is not to use the whole paper and to paint their subject only in the center.

  • Do the shapes work well together?
  • Do the shapes connect?
  • What is the center of interest? (ie does the view know where to look?)
  • Are there competing centers of interest?
  • Are there areas of detail and interest?
  • Are all parts of the paper considered?
  • Is the subject correctly scaled to the size of the paper?

learn watercolor techniques by schulmanart on
watercolor palette...


Colors is an area where rules can most easily be broken. There needs to be a harmony of colors throughout without having large areas of uninterrupted color changes.
  • Is there harmony between foreground colors and background colors?
  • Is there enough color change in large areas?
  • Are there enough neutrals ( grays or mud) to show off colors?


Finally, but perhaps most importantly is consideration of contrast. This area is so important that I will encourage my students to create thumbnail studies to have a plan of lights and darks. Too many paintings get "ruined" when everything is painted with the same mid-toned values and you can't "see" the subject. Another problem is when there is a high contrast that is not the center of interest that draws the eyes away from the main story.
  • Are the values easy to read?
  • Can shapes be distinguished because values in adjacent shapes vary?
  • Are the light and dark patterns pleasing?
  • Is the greatest area of contrast the center of interest or does it take your eyes elsewhere?

How to Critique Your Own Painting.pdf
You can download and print out the checklist for critiquing you own painting. If you want more painting tips you can check out my tutorials on youtube and also my watercolor classes on the Inspiration Place! Other posts you might like are:

Saturday, April 5, 2014

5 Artists to Follow on Instagram

Five Inspiring Instagrammers

Best People (who are artists) to follow on instagram by @schulmanArt Miriam Schulman

Looking for inspiration on your instagram feed? I've been on instagram less than six months now but I have plenty of artists to follow that keep me inspired when I am killing time in carpool lines (you too?) Now, if you are anything like me you don't want to see endless baby pictures, your friend's cute but tiresome cat pictures or pictures of what famous people happening to be eating for lunch that day. Here are some fun artistic eye candy to add to your news feed.



Christy Tomlinson @christytomlinson

I discovered Christy Tomlinson about a year and a half ago-- long before I got my own instagram account -- when someone contacted me through my etsy shop asking if I teach online classes, "like Christy Tomlinson." At that time, I was not teaching online classes, but now I do thanks to that one conversation. Teaching online has grown to be one of my most profitable, creative and fun parts of my art making business. So you could say I owe a lot to this fierce artist, but that is not why I follow her on instagram. She posts lots of selfies captioned with self-deprecating humour. Although she has six kids ( that is not a typo) and runs an art business, you will not see endless pictures of her cute kiddies. Just enough to let you know they exist, and that being a mom is important to her. In addition to her funny personal posts, you will love the sneak peaks of her wrapping etsy sales, experimenting with art materials, and snapshots from her workshops and other art adventures.

Jenny Doh of STUDIO CRESCENDOh @jennydoh

Jenny Doh is another artist to follow. She knits.  She works out. She plays cello. She owns an art studio. She is a tiger mother... actually, I don't know that for sure.. I just assume that someone as amazing is she must be a fantastic mom too. You will be inspired by all the little creative tidbits she shares.

Danita Art @danitaart

Danita is a top seller in the art category on etsy.  She makes dolls, original paintings and jewelry. She has this wonderfully equipped studio and works like an elf into the wee hours of the night. You will love seeing her strong work ethic and work in progress pictures which makes owning a piece of this creativity irresistible. ( I know, because I bought one of her little creations) Here is one of her darling Easter bunnies sitting on a paint jar. Want one? Hurry, cause although she made a dozen they are nearly sold out.

Katie Daisy of the Wheatfield @katieisadaisy

You may not have heard of this rising superstar artist, but you have certainly seen her art. Her art is licensed by Pottery Barn. You will see her art on the covers of journals at Barnes and Noble and she is one of the top sellers on etsy. Her instagram feed includes new pictures of her art both alone and on products and charming peeks into her everyday life. She embraces her image as the country girl turned artist and in this post she declares she will be using the Oregon river for added magic in her paintings. How charming!

Flora Bowly @florabowley

Flora Bowly is a one of a kind original. She is an "artist's artist" and leads inspiring retreats to exotic locations from Mexico to Bali. Her instagram feed is just as inspiring as she shares beautiful photography from retreat locations and snippets of wonderful artists who follow her. (In this Bali retreat you might recognize Tamara Laporte or Lynzee Lynx). Currently, I am devouring Bowly's book, Brave Intuitive Painting.

Like these posts on instagram? Sequels on the way are "Why I follow you on instagram" and "Why I stopped following you on instagram" and a review on Bowly's book.

Subscribe by email feed so you never miss a post!

(PS you can follow me on instagram too! @schulmanArt)

Who do you follow on instagram and who do you think should have made this list?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Three ways to style a sling bag!

union jack sling bag
Collect this one of a kind sling bag!

Fashion Fridays Feature a Union Jack Sling Bag by Miriam Schulman, @schulmanArt

This Union Jack sling bag can be young and sporty or grungy and sophisticated. It all depends on the styling. Check out three ways to style this Union Jack sling bag!

Movie Themed Outfit

You're on your way to the The Fault in Our Stars movie premier wearing this stunning outfit! 

About the movie, Fault in our Stars

Have you heard about this movie? Until xofaith03 pulled together this outfit using my bag, I hadn't heard of it either. Right now I still have a lump in my throat after reading the synopsis of the book by John Green which narrates a teenage love story from the point of view of a young girl living with cancer. The title of the book is inspired by a famous line from Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar (Act 1, scene 2). The nobleman Cassius says to Brutus, 'The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings. I don't want to include any spoilers but the novel (and presumably the movie) ends with the boyfriend’s words. He says getting hurt in this world is inevitable, but we do get to choose who we allow to hurt us, and that he is happy with his choice. He hopes she likes her choice too. The final words of the novel come from the heroine, who says "I do." The author made a deliberate choice to end the tragic story with words normally associated with marriage.

Casual and Sporty! 

(and now back to our regularly scheduled program!)

British Style
Brit Mix curated by rialrees featuring stamped jewelry





Grunge Style!

A grunge-style outfit based aroung the colours of the union jack, which in the background, gives and edgy,dark feeling to the outfit.

Shopping Guide

  1.  Union Jack sling bag by SchulmanArts
  2. Stamped jewelry by
  3. Lacy shoes $17 -
  4.  Alice Olivia long sleeve top
  5. Floral print scarve $8.33 -
  6. 2b long jean shorts
  7.  Paul frank tee $30 -
  8. Jane Norman crop tee $17 -
  9.  Chanel vintage jewelry
  10. iPhone case by
  11.  Rare London navy shirt $17 -
  12.  Alex and Isabelle Bow Hair Tie - Dark Red
  13.  Betsey johnson bracelet
  14.  Hair bow LittleCornerCreation
  15. Dr. Martens red ankle booties  
  16.  MuuBaa pleated mini skirt 

    Which style do you like best: Grunge, Sporty or Movie themed?

    PS Other blog posts you might like: