My Mother, Marita

Marita Sunefors Larsson

My mother, Marita Sunefors Larsson, is a wonderful artist and I’m so happy to introduce you to her here on the blog and in person during our 2 Generations exhibit on May 3. And when I saw she is a wonderful artist, I mean it in so many ways. 

Whether it was drawing funny chickens or monsters, or planting moss and orchids in our 200 year old silver serving dish, she made art come alive when I was growing up. Our living room looked more like an art gallery with glass statues on white painted wood pillars and silver forks on display in a glass display case compared to any “normal” livingroom. My friends asked if we had just moved in when they saw the art on the floor, leaning against the wall instead of hanging, or when they saw we didn’t have any curtains (remember this is the 80′s and 90′s when most had huge curtains). But no, it was just another interior design phase my Mother was in – something that changed often. We all enjoyed it, and for me, it was very normal and inspiring – why stay the same or do what everyone else does?

erica_marita-10b_1000

My Mother has great sense of style and enjoys fashion too; another creative outlet. I remember playing dress-up in her closet at every chance I got, and she allowed me to put on everything – even the couture items! Wearing her dresses that draped along the floor after me, and walking in her very-high heels did wonders for this little girl while lip-syncing to the latest Celine Dion album in the mirror.

We both have the artistic instincts from my Mother’s Father. He painted watercolors and was very talented with florist work. Every spring he would plant nearly 800 flower bulbs around their big garden and my Mother would help him. My grandparent’s garden was a wonderland growing up, and as children, my mother and I hid under their large rhubarb leaves when playing hide-and-seek and climbing the apple trees –  only several decades apart.

Today she focuses a lot on her paintings and her crafts. 

Marita Sunefors Larsson pink heart wreath

Marita Sunefors Larsson gold heart wreath

Marita Sunefors Larsson Spring wreath

Christmas and easter ornaments by Marita Sunefors Larsson

Nature is definitely an inspiration for both my Mother and I. Her detailed hand-crocheted metallic nets adds interesting shapes to her paintings and is the groundwork for many of her wreaths. She mixes handpicked materials, such as Spanish moss and tree bark, with faux materials, such as metal butterflies and glass balls. Her wreaths are often finished with a bullion wire from Sweden, to add a special touch and design element.

2 Generations Art Exhibit May 3, 2014

We look forward to seeing you on May 3!

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Artist Thursday with Amy Hamilton

Lion // Majesty illustration by Amy Hamilton

“Lion // Majesty” illustration by Amy Hamilton

 

Our artist for this Thursday is Amy Hamilton whom my friend Jennel introduced me to recently. I just love her fluid way of connecting with nature’s animals with her graphic design prints, and how gorgeous isn’t this lion! Oh my….

What’s your process when creating your visual designs? Like, what applications and mediums do you use and in what order? Does it vary?

I always try to keep a sketchbook on hand because I’ll often think of an idea for a project randomly or the solution to a design problem (sometimes in the middle of the night!) and need to sketch it out. That’s usually how each project starts. There’s a lot of brainstorming and problem solving involved. I start with a sketch in graphite or ink and scan it. From there, I usually add colour and texture to the image. I use applications like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign to complete my projects. I also like to work in watercolour and gouache.

What do you strive to accomplish with your art?

I want to create something that evokes emotion and interest in the audience. Overall, I want my work to make a positive impact on people’s lives.

Wolf & Horse // Boundless by Amy Hamilton

Illustrations “Wolf” & “Horse // Boundless” by Amy Hamilton

 

Illustrations "Stags//Strong" and "Red Deer//Stag" by Amy Hamilton

Illustrations “Stags//Strong” and “Red Deer//Stag” by Amy Hamilton

 

Are you original from Canada? Do you feel that the culture or any other culture influences your art?

Yes, I was born in Canada. I live in Eastern Ontario where I’m surrounded by lakes, forests, and fields. It’s beautiful scenery and love to paint or sketch out-of-doors near the water when I can. I also like to visit small towns that are filled with history and interesting architecture. The culture here has definitely influenced my art.

Are you the only artistic person in the family? Where do you think your talent comes from? Yo-Yo Man said during a genealogy show that it takes three generations to perfect an art. Do you feel the same?

I come from a family full of creatives: artists, writers, and musicians. I also believe that my faith my God is directly linked to my passion for creating. With regards to whether or not it takes three generations to perfect an art, I definitely think my interest in art is in my genes! However, I’ve never viewed my art as something I’m trying to perfect. It’s something want to improve on, but mostly, I do it because I love it. I find it completely satisfying just to learn something new with each project!

Illustrations "Cat // Aware" and "Awake" by Amy Hamilton

Illustrations “Cat // Aware” and “Awake” by Amy Hamilton

 

You’re graduating soon, congratulations! What are your near future plans and how do you want to expand and evolve your art?

Thank you! One of the best decisions I’ve ever made was returning to school. I’ll be graduating from a 3 year graphic design program in the spring of 2014. I’ve learned so much in so little time, I can hardly contain my excitement about what the future holds. I’m now equipped with the tools and skills necessary to build a career doing something that I love. I also plan to take online courses and complete tutorials on a regular basis to increase my skill set as I dive into working on designs and illustrations full-time. I’m looking forward to learning techniques and working with new subject matter. Design is always evolving and I aim to work hard to evolve with it.

What inspires you?

Nature. Everything in nature has been beautifully designed. It’s what inspires me to create through illustration and design.

You sell your prints in various online shops, do you ever sell/exhibit your originals?

Most of my current work is digital, so I haven’t sold originals recently. I have, however, had my work on display at various conventions and festivals, which is always an honour.

Illustrations "Fox" and "Bird//Trust" by Amy Hamilton

Illustrations “Fox” and “Bird//Trust” by Amy Hamilton

 

You mention that your experience as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator has helped you “get work done,” can you elaborate?

Every project is a new challenge and I can apply the things I’ve learned to next project. I’ve become more efficient with each new experience and have the opportunity to strengthen and demonstrate my passion and creativity.

How do you celebrate a sale?

I always feel so grateful that people wish to purchase my work. Right from the start, I’ve felt welcomed and encouraged by other artists and really supported by the online community. I’m thankful for the opportunity to reach others through my work.

Thank you so much Amy for being part of the Artist Thursday series!

You can view Amy’s art and see her full portfolio at amyhamilton.ca.

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Instagram Moments

Instagram moments April 2014

// Tears interchanged with laughter! The Sting & Paul Simon concert with Cherie was a memory for life. // Long hike with Sis in Great Falls, Va. // Highly recommend Mussel Bar & Grille in Arlington // Cuddle session with the in-law’s 10 month old Sheltie // Launch ICF’s social media campaign with my #SelfiesInNature for Earth Month // Lazy day on the couch with Miss Lola // An evening full of fun with Sis and friends: private driver, dinner in Old Town, country line-dancing, karaoke bar. // Added another piece to the gallery wall – a photograph by Kenneth Lecky // A glimpse into my day job at ICF talking PR and social media with Laura Wilson. //

@StudioEriksdotter

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You’re Invited – 2 Generations of Swedish Artistry

Invitation to 2 Generations

You’re invited (this is how the actual invitation turned out after our fun photoshoot)! I’m thrilled to be able to exhibit with my darling Mom. She’s so talented. The house will be filled with arts and crafts ranging $5 to $4,500. Stop by for a glass of wine and mingle – and don’t forget to enter the raffle for some free art goodies! Can’t wait to see you!

Click here to register for free (RSVP by April 26) and I’ll send you the directions and parking info.

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Spring cleaning

Ethan Allen desk

I need some more floor space so I’m selling this delicious Ethan Allen shabby chic desk that I bought a couple of years ago for the studio. I’ve contemplated refinishing it in a high gloss white or orange (or maybe hot pink!) but never got around to it. I love it as is too… Send me an email if you’re interested. It’s up on the Washington DC Craig’s list.

spring cleaning via eBay

I took one look in my closet over the weekend and good lord do I have things I can’t fit into any longer – they just hang there reminding me I’m no longer a size small. So I’m doing some spring cleaning and hopefully they can go to better homes. Most have barely been worn, if at all. Mulberry and Coach bags

Items are up on eBay if you want to take a look. I’m adding more Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.

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In TLC mode

Pink tulips

Let’s see how long these lovely tulips last. Miss Lola loves to eat the leaves.

 

I know, it’s slow here on the blog this week and I apologies for lack of posts. I wrapped up a painting Sunday and feel I’ve gone into TLC mode where I just need to restore my creative juices before I start the next commission of a lovely lily.

How do you restore after “birthing” a large project? I’m trying to spend time with my husband in the evenings, catching up on the things he doesn’t like watching with me, like American Idol and maybe some girly movie. And even though I rather veggie out in bed, I still keep up with the work outs. It took me 34 years but I finally get how important that release is.

Stacey's Cocktails & Canvases June 3, 2013

I’m hosting another Cocktails & Canvases this Saturday! It’s between 1-4 PM and be sure to register by Thursday at midnight so I can prep accordingly. Hope to see you!

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Artist Thursday with Michelle Armas

Michelle Armas

Grab a cup of tea because you’re going to enjoy today’s featured artist. Michelle Armas not only creates art that fills you with happiness, but she also has the dreamiest studio. When you think of that perfect studio with lots of space and light, packed with paintings leaning against each other everywhere, works in progress on several easels and a lovely sofa to rest a tired back – yup she has it. It’s gorgeous. And of course, she deserves it as she’s wildly popular and works hard for her success.

Based in Decatur, Atlanta, Michelle was another Instagram found! Now, we give each other support and encouragement which is so important for artist. As she wrote in an email “I always fall into an easy pace with fellow artists, we are all in the same club,” which is so refreshing to me. I long for that community and friendship of other creative souls.

Michelle tried her hands at the corporate big league in the New York branding world before quickly realizing it was not for her. She kicked her fast-paced graphic design job to the curb and headed back to Atlanta to make it as a painter. Fast forward X years and her life is now filled with deadlines, but the kind that fulfills you: deliveries to galleries, filling and shipping orders, photo shoots etc. And she shares her painting life with her husband and two dogs. (oh and if you want a reality check on how you go from being a non-artist to selling plenty of paintings through galleries and even anthropology, check out her very honest post here).

Michelle Armas studio via {extra}ordinary wonders

Let’s talk about your studio. Girl, it’s money. How important has it been to have a studio outside of your home? What is the difference? I have a studio in my own home which serves me well at the moment since I have a day-job, and studio space is hard to come by in the gray landscape of Washington DC.

Ha! I love my studio so much, it feels like a huge blessing. I loved working from home, but having a studio has let me buy more things in bulk, and be messier and also segment my time better. Some weeks I hardly go to the studio, others I basically live there. Every time I walk in the door I can’t help but smile and breath it in, I am very aware of how special it is, how precious this time in my life is and I am making sure to enjoy the hizzle out of it!

Pamela 36x48. Acrylic on canvas

Pamela- 36×48 inches. Acrylic on canvas by Michelle Armas.

Snart - 24x24 inches. Acrylic and graphite on canvas. $500

Snart – 24×24 inches. Acrylic and graphite on canvas. $500

I’m all about details, so I deeply admire your abstract ways of forming such beautiful pieces. How do you start your pieces? Does the composition come first? Colors? What else do you use in your pieces than  acrylic and oil? Those lovely scribbles, what are those made with?

You are all about details! I often wonder how you can keep your focus to do such intricate, life like paintings! I would just roll over asleep. I start with a huge swath of color, just laying it on and being free and loose with it. First comes color, always. Composition evolves as I keep having a conversation with my brain about colors. I use oil pastels, chalk pastels, charcoal, graphite and colored pencils. I love layering and I love the different textures that each medium offers.

How do you view/see/feel your art?

Hmm. I don’t have to try to not take myself seriously. I really don’t take anything very seriously so I tend to be casual with my relationship to meaning with my work. I see each piece as a little product of my hard work, and study it and try to improve on the next one. I guess because I studied branding, and graphic design I have a kind of business like, technical attitude. I try to look at the work as if I didn’t paint it. When I have deep feelings about a painting its because, usually some technical achievement. Like if I actually am able to create the painting I envision, or if I associate a particular painting with overcoming a block, or negative thinking (which is a constant struggle for me!). When I look at one of my paintings, say in my home, I see the energy of it staying inside of the constraints of the canvas. My eye moves around and around and around, and that for me means that the energy bounces around in there and I can feel it all the time.

Nameless - 48x48 inches. acrylic, chalk pastel, oil pastel, graphite on Canvas. $1,800

Nameless – 48×48 inches. acrylic, chalk pastel, oil pastel, graphite on Canvas. $1,800

Pop Rocks Print - available in several sizes. $35 - $625

Pop Rocks Print – available in several sizes. $35 – $625

What’s your goal with your art?

I have had so many goals! When I started my goal was to create something good enough to get me online, and noticed by people I admired. Then my goals became about creating work that I personally am proud of. This has been a constant goal: for me to feel good that my paintings are something that I would want. Once I had a design professor tell me that he met his idol one day, and the Idol asked him for a sample of his work, but the professor didn’t want to show him any of his work, because he didn’t think it was good enough. He told us this story to bring home the fact that you wear your work on your body like a tattoo! And you have to be ready to show it around, all the time, so you better be proud of it, and ready to let it represent you. That is my goal, to have that kind of integrity with my work.

What do you need to paint and while you’re painting? Music, tv, coffee, wine? Silence?

No silence. I like books on tape (for a while there it was only Harry Potter, all the time, it was like my safe place to paint). Now any book, music (I like Metronomy station on Pandora), or I even play movies or shows in the background sometimes if I don’t have to think too hard that day.

Are you a lover of routines or do you prefer to go with the flow?

FLOW!! I can’t ever, and I mean ever stick to a routine. One of the hardest, most important reasons that I had to be successful working for myself is that I can’t have any one else’s routine on me. I feel like its a too tight jacket and I kinda can’t breath just thinking about it. I have always been this way, in grade school, when I was a small child, always. Of course I have always been told to change this about myself, I was called, even by my own family, a scatter brain, a loopy loo, and warned against my inability to follow a plan that isn’t mine. One of my greatest joys in life is maturing and for me maturing, and evolving as a person means accepting those things that are integral to yourself and instead of fighting them, diving in and letting them help propel you upwards and much higher than you could have ever gone without your unique perspective. I try to set up some rules in my life to help me meet other’s expectations. I ask everyone to email me anything they want me to remember, and if they don’t email me (this took a while for some to embrace, they seemed to think that telling me should be enough but I would just say “did you email me? No? Well then it didn’t get in my brain, its your own fault for not respecting my system.”) I do keep a schedule for galleries or commissions, but I just can’t fulfill everyone’s needs, so I do my best and thats that.

Prints by Michelle Armas

Prints by Michelle Armas. Photo by thehandmadehome.net

Art by Michelle Armas

Art by Michelle Armas

I know you have one or two assistants, and have mentioned you can’t with people around. Can you paint with your assistants being around?

So sweet, a question only a fellow artist would think of! I have been blessed with three amazing assistants in my time, and they have all been lovely women who I truly enjoyed being around. For my first time, it took a few weeks, but I just loved her, and still miss her. My second it was easy because she was a free spirit and a goof off like me (and she loved Harry Potter as much as I do, so we would listen together and dork out big time). Now, my assistant is just as wonderful, she is smart and efficient and sweet and funny. I like having her around so thats how I can paint around her. Sometimes, if my mood is off or something, I will just take stuff home to paint alone, but mostly its not an issue once I kinda break it in.

Why do people think you can’t be an artist and a business woman at the same time? It takes SO MUCH to run your own art business.

Well, its basically because most think art is totally emotional, an unharnessed talent that rules the artist and hijacks their brains and souls and lives and dominates the way they see the world. For a lot of torchured geniuses thats exactly the case I suspect. And there are artists out there who are so talented they could change the way the world understands art, and emotion. But maybe they don’t have the ability to share their genius. Its like that saying about singers that you hear only the very few who happen to sing ok, and look amazing. Imagine all of the mind blowing singers who will never be successful because they don’t have the “look” that a record label can sell. Or imagine all of the incredible art women have been making in the western world for centuries but because our culture has been so sexist, pretty much only men are in museums now. So some artists are able to run a business and sell a lot of work because they happen to excel in that area as well as interpreting a desire for something in the market, and filling that hole. If you sell a lot of art its because of that, not because you are a better artist that someone who has never sold a thing.

What motto do you follow? Spread your art as much as possible? Let everyone feel your amazing energy and get happy from your art?

I love business, and marketing and that stuff. I make money by selling prints but more importantly I offer an affordable item for someone who can’t buy a large piece. Remember when I said I don’t take my work too seriously? Well I think prints are great, and so do my customers. If I can support myself by selling prints so that I can keep evolving and creating work that makes other people happy then I am happy. For me prints are this moment: A young woman is home alone, maybe studying for her law exams and she takes a moment to look up and see my print pinned to her wall and it makes her smile for a moment and he brain can shift gears and relax for a little bit and be soothed by color and form that is totally open to interpretation. That small connection and that small joy she has felt is just as beautiful and meaningful as it is for someone who sees a huge, expensive painting and buys it in a gallery and puts it in pride of place in their lives. I was that girl for a long time, and I want to still connect to that part of everyone’s life.

All Your Might - 30x40 inches. Acrylic on Canvas. $900

All Your Might – 30×40 inches. Acrylic on Canvas. $900

“It’s none of your business what other people think of you” was life changing for me in my life and as an artist in terms of daring to showcase my work. Those, somewhat harsh words, has helped me, and of course the “practice makes perfect”- show your art to thousands and thousands of strangers and eventually what people say to you and about your art won’t feel like they are taking your heart and wringing it out like a wet rag. What do those words mean to you? 

Once I told someone at a party that I was an artist (he is a film maker ok) and he said. You earn a living? Yes I said. You just paint? Yes. You can afford a studio? Yes…He said. Fuck you. It was hilarious! I really liked that answer, it was so honest. So I either get that answer, or an uncomfortable nod b/c they assume I make hideous scrawlings of sunflowers in my garage and tape them to the fridge call myself an artist. I think everyone shares their heart in life, in small ways or big ways. Its hard for everyone and a seminal struggle for us as humans. I can imagine Earth from space, and it makes me feel small. I can imagine people who lived hundreds of years ago who are exactly like people are living now but who’s embarrassing problems, or struggles are lost forever and it makes me more fearless. When your pride is offended by something another person says about you, its your ego puffing itself up. The best way to be strong is to not let your ego do that. I have said it before, and I will say it again. Almost every single effing time that someone, including my own family members, have criticized something of mine when I look at where they are coming from I can clearly see that I fundamentally disagree with their point of view. Everyone I know who is very judgmental of others, are very hard on themselves, and not very happy with themselves. Soooo, sucks to be them don’t ya think?

Art by Michelle Armas

Art by Michelle Armas

Art by Michelle Armas

Art by Michelle Armas

When I paint, I feel completely connected to the universe/god/higher being/where I came from, and totally in the now. I’m working on always being connected and in the now. What about you? Do you feel the same?

What a beautiful way to see your time in the studio Erica! I love that. I agree that its a time to be present but mostly I let my mind wander and I think about all kinds of things and just sort of escape. My painting time is sacred and I treasure it. I am always working on my spirituality, and I think letting my personal creative time feed that part of my life would be a big-ass breakthrough for me. I tend to be very in my head and when I consider where I come from its always humbling to imagine the stars and the infinite space and energy around me and inside of me. For me, the stars, time, space, energy and love is god.

Painting is just what I do, and I would be doing it if I had another job, and I have been doing it with all of my spare time since I was a small child. I don’t know how to be without it. Well, there were times when I wasn’t painting, but I was always creating. I am not sure what you mean though I think?

What has been your smartest business move?

My smartest moves were: Blogging. Making Prints. Using Social Media to engage the public with the creative process, and gain insight into my life and personality. Collaborating with third party licensors to generate passive income.

How do you celebrate a sold painting? A finished commission? A call for a request of a pop up shop?

My friend Jessica Durrant has been so good about reminding me to do these little rituals where I stop to think about how much success I have had, or when I reach a goal. I tend to just keep going and then I sort of tire myself out. She always encourages me to spend a day out having lunch, chatting and shopping and eating chocolate of course! Now when I look in my closet I can say what earrings were for what achievement, or what amazing designer shoes or what special dress. Its so wonderful to have friends who help remind you that you are awesome. My husband is also a business owner, so if either of us has a huge victory we like to go have a superlative dinner and get nice and swooshy on martinis!

pink line bar

Michelle is represented at the following galleries: GreggIrbyFineArt.com (Atlanta, Ga.), Stellers Gallery (Ponte Vedra, Fla.), Cos Cob (Conn.) and Serena and Lily. Visit her website to see her full body of work, and catch glimpses from her life via her instagram feed.

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Instagram Moments

Instagram Moments March 13, 2014

// New shows for Mama, new box for Lola. // Another snowstorm and another lovely walk to the grocery store and to grab lunch with the Mr. // Lola and I did the Oscar’s right. // A fitting birthday present to my 4-year old niece if I say so myself. // Worked with another color palette a weekend ago when my friends and their adorable boy Finley, 8 month old, came to stay. // Tried the old swing again. // My nephew, Blake, had lots of energy during his big sister’s gymnastic-themed birthday party. // Cocktails and dreams for everyone, except Rasmus who likes to watch us watching the TV. // A new fun cardigan. //

@studioeriksdotter

 

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What’s Going on in the Studio?

Rasmus in the studio March 2014

Besides the eBay auction (listings ends around Noon eastern time), I just wrapped up a pet portrait as a birthday present from a client for a wife and have started working on a couple of more pet portraits that are also gifts. Casey and I are also in the process of making some new limited editions that will be available at the 2 Generation show on May 3.

Anyways, since I really can’t show you any glimpses of the paintings (being gifts and all), I figured a photo of Rasmus in the studio would make do. He’s started a new habit of taking naps on my chair while I work.

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Tulips for His Sweetheart

Tulip Landscape by Erica Eriksdotter, customer photo

Last year for my anniversary Michael purchased my favorite painting. During all of this gloomy weather “Tulips” reminds of the beauty that will come with warmer weather. It brightens my living room and my life daily! – W.W. of Virginia

She had been eyeing those tulips for a long time, and now they are hers. What a sweet husband.

Do you have an “Eriksdotter” print or painting at home? Feel free to pin it to this board. I would love to see it!

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