Monday, July 6, 2015

Happy Birthday Frida Kahlo

frida kahlo at the botanical gardens
The New York Botanical gardens have re-imagined Kahlo’s beloved Casa Azul in the Conservatory and simultaneously are displaying rare artworks in their art gallery. 

Frida Kahlo was born on this day, July 6th. 
So Happy Birthday Frida!!

This exhibition is on view through November 1, 2015.

From the website:
This blockbuster exhibition is the first to examine Frida Kahlo’s keen appreciation for the beauty and variety of the natural world, as evidenced by her home and garden as well as the complex use of plant imagery in her artwork. Featuring a rare display of more than a dozen original Kahlo paintings and works on paper, this limited six-month engagement also reimagines the iconic artist’s famed garden and studio at the Casa Azul, her lifelong home in Mexico City.

frida kahlo at the botanical gardens
As you walk around the conservatory, you see and learn about plants native to Frida's Mexico like these cacti and they also recreated her studio within the garden's walls.

frida kahlo at the botanical gardens
I am such a rebel. I picked up the paint brush to pose. My husband fretted that we would be kicked out but I assured him it was just a fake prop, not the artist's real paintbrush... I think. By the way, you would think that I wore this Mexican peasant blouse just for the exhibit, but I basically wear these lightweight tops all summer long. I have three that I rotate in different colors. I bought all of them on etsy. Like my bag? I am offering them for sale on etsy too: Custom Handbags

frida kahlo at the botanical gardens
This was a really cool part of the exhibition where they recreated Frida Kahlo's art studio set up. It seems that she ground her own pigments.

frida kahlo at the botanical gardens
Now that I study the set up, I am convinced that these are NOT her paint brushes as they look like they have never been used.

frida kahlo at the botanical gardens
The garden includes these outdoor ponds ( not shown) and the walls are surrounded by bright marigolds.

frida kahlo at the botanical gardens
There is also an indoor exhibit which includes a sculptural recreation of her "Two Fridas" painting. There is also a small gallery that includes some remarkable original work. I wasn't allowed to take photos in there, and I couldn't find postcards from the show in the gift shop.

frida kahlo at the botanical gardens
Just outside the indoor gallery is a taco stand, but I made my family go to the "grill" which was pretty fancy. It was Father's Day when we went and the staff all wished my husband a happy father's day- so they got a great tip. I loved the way they decorated the tables with succulents in terracotta pots and the cobalt glasses. There was a themed menu with Mexican flavors that included Tres Leche cake for dessert.

frida kahlo at the botanical gardens
Although I was disappointed the gift shop didn't have "show specific" postcards, there was plenty of gift shop goodies to lust after like these fiesta themed glassware.

frida kahlo at the botanical gardens
I also love the lush flower arrangement on the Frida themed table.
I couldn't help but be reminded of the Sugar Skull mixed media paintings I've done, like this one.

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Friday, July 3, 2015

Art Journal Idea: Take Action

art journal ideas | discover art journal prompts like these on
Are you stuck for an idea for your art journal? I get stuck too... lots of times.. Usually. I will just play with making a pretty background in my journal until an idea strikes me. Here is an idea I came up with for my art journal and you are free to try it out too.
art journal ideas | discover art journal prompts like these on

Take Action

For this art journal prompt I thought about my goals for the year but more specifically I thought about specific action steps that I could take before the end of the year that will help me reach my goals.

Next Actions

I actually wrote this list out a few months ago so I already too some of these action steps.. and some I have yet to take.

Secret Thoughts

Let me share with you the secrets behind these otherwise cryptic thoughts.

picture from my Spring Studio Soiree, raising funds for charity

Art For Charity

This number one item on my agenda was when I decided that I would be more charitable and use my art to help raise more funds for charities I care about. I have already hosted an open studio where half the profits went to the Friends of Music and Arts in my local public school district. You can read about that open studio here: Spring Studio Soiree. I hope to host another "art for charity" event before the year is out.

Write Plan

This is an area I struggle with...perhaps you struggle with it too... and that is actually writing out my plans for ideas I have in my head. I have invested time in a free task management software called Asana and that is really helping me get organized with my ideas so I can plan them out. I have art journal blog posts (like this one) planned out for the next few weeks so you can be treated to more. If you are subscribed to my bi-monthly newsletter (you can subscribe to that and get a free art journal ebook when you do.. click here) then you get links to featured blog posts, notices of new classes, AND inspiration not found anywhere else, but if you want to get the blog posts as soon as they are published then you can follow blog posts by email too... click here to get an email the morning after I write a new blog post..

Make More Art

You would think that as a professional artist, I wouldn't have to put this on my list! Unfortunately, marketing art and writing these blog posts ( which I love to do) also takes time. I was smart enough to hire an assistant last fall and she has been amazing. I have been training her to do all sorts of things so that I can spend more time making art, making videos to teach you how to make art and getting my messages and ideas out in the world.  Whenever she comes, I am forced to leave my desk and let her take over and get down to the work of making art.

Brain Dump

I like to exercise in the mornings and whenever I do I usually get my best ideas. In order to make sure I don't lose those ideas. ( ideas are like things) I have to put them away as soon as I find them. So I have been using another free tool called Evernote. That, along with the voice recognition recorder on my iphone I will dictate my ideas into Evernote to look at later.

Sometimes, I do "brain dump" the old fashioned way with pen and paper. I just try to make it a habit to "brain dump" my ideas at the end of working out. Now if only I can start dumping out the debris in my purse at the end of the day... hmm... that should be on my action list too.

Healing Service

Years ago, I used to attend uplifting "healing" services. I don;t want to say too much about this one right now...basically I want to get more in touch with my spirituality.


This should be obvious.. but what this means is that I want to travel. If you want to know how I invest my earnings, this is going to be it. I have saved enough from my art sales and art classes to book a trip to Amsterdam this summer. Hee-haw. I can't wait to share that with you!

"Cape Cod Summer" watercolor portrait by Miriam Schulman ©SchulmanArt
"Cape Cod Summer" portrait of my children ©SchulmanArt

Call Sibs

I don't talk to my brother and sister nearly as much as I would like. So, I know it is up to me to reach out to them and to not complain about it.





Do you want more ideas for your art journal? 

Here are some other blog posts you might like:
art journal ideas | art journal pages | get art journal inspiration →
Glad you stopped by! I'm Miriam Schulman 
and I love sharing my inspiration with you!


You can also download this FREE ART JOURNAL ebook 


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claim your FREE art journal ebook! →download now

for loads of prompts and techniques to keep you happy and busy this summer!

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Apron Avant Garde

cute aprons for women
As a working artist, I spend most of my day in an apron which is why I am thrilled to find out that they are back in fashion! Now, in case the word "apron" conjures up a middle aged frumpy housewife baking cookies in her kitchen, these aprons recently spotted on the catwalks will surely change your mind.

cute aprons for women

The Apron Hot List:

  1. From Fendi's 2015 fall ready-to-wear collection
  2. Fendi (front view)
  3. Fendi (back view)
  4. Fendi
  5. Hedley & Bennett
  6.  Miu Miu Pinafore
  7. leather lap apron from Stanley & Sons

The Apron as Fashion Statement

Here are aprons made to be worn as a fashion statement. I would love to wear them... but these are not the ones I can get paint on, so for now I will be sticking to my peacock apron!

What do you think of these aprons?

Would you wear one?

aprons for women

Aprons for Women- silky machine washable with pockets for your smart phone!
  1. Dancing Peacock
  2.  Fig Tree Apron
  3. Radiant Peacock Apron
  4. Piano Peonies Apron
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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

what's blooming @metmuseum? (van gogh, that's who)

Van gogh is blooming in #nyc #metVanGogh @metmuseum via @schulmanArt
I am greedily speeding through my summer museum bucket list- and I can't wait to tell you about the Van Gogh exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Van Gogh Garden

This exhibition, "Van Gogh: Irises and Roses" reunites four paintings that Van Gogh conceived together as a series. They are all the same size and framed with identical gold frames but have lived in different places for the last 125 year. The Museum organized this exhibit to have the art displayed at the same time that the flowers are blooming outside in the gardens.

 Van gogh is blooming in #nyc #metVanGogh @metmuseum via @schulmanArt

"Paintings Fade Like Flowers"~ van Gogh ( tweet this)

The paintings no longer look the way they did a century ago because the artist used a fading pink pigment. What I found absolutely fascinating was that he had done this on purpose as documented by letters to his brother Theo. He wanted his "paintings to fade like flowers."

Watch this video from the museum to learn more:


I wanted to share with you some of my watercolor garden including irises and roses. 
→ Discover more watercolor floral paintings and prints Other blog posts you might like:

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Friday, June 26, 2015

the blooming art journal

art journal |  art journaling | art journal ideas | art journal pages | inspiration →
Looking for art journal inspiration? I love making lists in my art journal This is a great art journal idea that you can use as a prompt for your art journaling.

art journal inspiration →

Favorite Flowers

For this art journal spread, I decided to take inspiration from the all the colorful flowers in the garden and I made a list of my favorite flowers.

Meditate on Flowers

This may sound like a mundane idea rather than a soul-searching idea but I have to tell you that meditating on flowers gave me tremendous happiness.

How did it make you feel?

Try it and tell me if it has the same affect on you. Other blog posts you might like: 
art journal |  art journaling | art journal ideas | art journal pages | get inspiration →
artist Miriam Schulman playing in her art journal

Next week I am going to talk about how I am taking action to reach my goals. Are you following the blog posts? by Email / RSSBlogLovin / 
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Do you like to garden? What's blooming in your garden this year?

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

bring happiness into your decorating

bedroom decorating ideas
One of the pleasures of being an artist is imagining how you might enjoy the painting in your home. In order to get ideas, I love reading decorating magazines like House Beautiful. Looking at these fabulous homes all over the world, I never fail to get inspired by artfully displayed treasures. 

Tweet: Art is an Essential Source of Joy #arts via @schulmanArtArt is an Essential Source of Joy (tweet this!)

Now those who are clutter adverse, I want to point out that even in Marie Kondo's best selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, she points out that the purpose of getting rid of extra stuff is to enjoy art. In other words, art is not clutter. Art is not the enemy. Art is the source of joy that we need in our homes.
bedroom decorating ideas

Create Harmony in your Bedroom


For this room view, I took inspiration from Pottery Barn. I love the perfume tray on the dresser, the neat stack of books, the fresh flowers and the jewelry organizer. I chose this display to highlight the art of a butterfly that reads "harmony." I imagine you getting dressed each morning with a reminder of thoughts of harmony for your day.
bedroom decorating ideas
Again, using Pottery Barn as a source of  inspiration, the Harmony Butterfly is an integral part of this table scape. I imagine you have a collection of ceramics that you either collected from flea markets or inherited from your grandmother. I imagine this artwork being equally home in a girls' room or in a young woman's first apartment... where do you imagine this art?
Harmony Butterfly, 12x12" Mixed Media 
on Wood Canvas by Miriam Schulman

Other blog posts you might like:



Questions for Discussion:
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Where would you display this painting in your home?

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Mixed Media Metamorphosis

Mixed Media art | butterfly art |
At last week's art retreat ( see blog post Let's go on an Art Retreat) I created a grungy multi-layered mixed media original artwork. Today, I want to share with you a behind the scene's view how the art emerged step-by-step.
Mixed Media art | butterfly art |

The roller coaster ride

The interesting, scary and thrilling part of taking an art class such as this is that you have no idea where you are going. It is kind of like riding a roller coaster for the first time.. you don't know where the falls and dips will come.

Don't over think it... 

What I mean is a step will be explained and you may second guess why you are doing it and make choices based on those assumptions, only to find out that your guesses were completely off base. As a result, you end up with some unexpected yet pleasing results.

 Surrender Dorothy

As you learn to relax with the process, the best way is to surrender and not think about what your art looks like at any stage as the next stage will completely upend your assumptions. Kind of like life. This is why I love art-- it is such good therapy. You can plan and plan but then life will take you on an unexpected turn.

Mixed Media art  |
This step is thoroughly my own. Since I knew we were at the end of the art adventure, I could add my own style to the art. This scallop effect is a technique I add often to my art journal pages and sometimes also to my original mixed media pieces. I love using Faber-Castel pens to fill in the negative spaces. The India ink in these pens are permanent yet transparent allowing the glorious layers to peek through from underneath..

Mixed Media art | butterfly art |
At this stage, I was not happy with the butterfly. I didn't like the way he wasn't integrated with the piece. So I began layering over the butterfly with gesso and paint just as I did on the background. I was doing this while the rest of the class was trying to self-organize for a group photo and they were yelling at me to hurry up. It wasn't that I wanted to have a "perfect" butterfly for the photo, I just wanted to get my ideas on canvas while the inspiration was still fresh so the canvas wouldn't join my pile of "half-finished changelings."

Happy Accidents

My table-mate commented that she liked the way I chose the placement of the patterns on the wings but I actually hadn't paid any attention to that at all. I had a line behind me of other students waiting to use the popular butterfly stencil and I was just rushed to get on with it. ( I also wasn't convinced I'd be happy with the butterfly)

 If you want to be a better teacher, become a student

When I am working at home, I like to use a piece of my own watercolor art for the main imagery on top of the mixed media background, but I can see how allowing students to use stencils simplifies the learning process. I definitely will start offering stencils to my students for use in their own artwork. See, being a student makes you a better teacher!

Mixed Media art | butterfly art |
If you want to learn more about my adventure 
at the art retreat, then check out this blog post!
Here is the finished painting, Harmony Butterfly, 12x12" on wood cradled canvas frame. 

Would you like to bring this design home with you?
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