I painted over this little canvas so many times, I thought I was going to have to throw it away. I wish I had a before photo for you -- it was truly hideous at the start! (I'm not being mean to myself here -- sometimes this happens, where a painting is just plain bad in the beginning. All part of the process! I'll never forget a painting professor of mine telling me in college that you have to be willing to make the bad art in order to make way for the good art. So true.)

The canvas sat staring at me for weeks, taunting me in its ugliness, until one day I picked it up and glued some paper onto it. And then started painting some red leaves, and a white bloom.


And then a donkey showed up (inspired by my trip to Morocco and a recent visit to Apifera Farm for Pie Day!) -- can you see him?



And here's the finished piece. It's called 'Be Here Now' -- prints are newly available in the shop right here.

It's a good feeling when I can transform something ugly into something I love. :)
Hope you like it!






Good morning, loves. I have some brand new hamsas for you today! I spent all afternoon yesterday finishing these up, along with some special order hamsas (email me if you want to special order one! Commissioned hamsas are very welcome) -- I am just having so much fun making these. It feels so good to be inspired by something fun and new. 

Anyway, here are the 5 new guys for the week. All one-of-a-kind, made with tons of love.










You can also click here to see all the hamsas on one page.
Hope you love them and see one that speaks to your heart and has to be yours!
xo




The idea of teaching has always scared me. I've said no to most teaching opportunities that have come my way, never feeling very called to it or interested in being with other people in that way. Maybe I've never felt "good enough" or "successful enough" to warrant teaching other people what I know.

Until lately. Yes, it still scares me (like, a lot!). But something is opening up inside of me, and I'm finally beginning to realize that we each have unique gifts and experiences and stories that the world needs. And that includes me.

I keep being reminded of the idea that when you keep your light hidden (you don't share your story and your experiences, you don't speak up, you don't feel confident in what you have to offer), you're actually robbing the world of a little piece of what's going to elevate us all and move us forward. You never know when the words that come out of your mouth will be exactly the words that another person needs to hear. When your words will change someone's life or spark a new way of thinking. When you will help someone connect some dots that they couldn't connect before. We all have a responsibility to share what we know with one another. I've been playing small and letting scary things stop me, and I'm done with that baloney!

And so, with that in mind, I'm moving bravely forward into some in-person teaching opportunities. (Yikes! And yay!) I'd love to have you join me for either of the two workshops below. One is here in Portland, where I live, and one is in Denver, right next door to my hometown of Boulder. Let me know if you have any questions about either one!

Here are the details:

Wednesday July 12, 2014:

I'm giving a licensing lecture and Q+A right here in Portland at the ICON8 conference.  

If you'll be at the ICON8 conference, come get all your questions about licensing answered in this intimate lecture/Q+A. Register right here.


September 14-16, 2014:

I'm teaching 3 days of workshops in Denver during the first-annual Art Makers Denver event. 

Registration closes on June 30th -- you can sign up to come paint with me, and there are lots of other artists teaching as well. Check out the website for more info! I'd love to meet you there. We'll be getting our paint on! 







And of course, as I announced yesterday, I'll be launching an online pattern design course in the fall as well, and you can get on the wait list for that right here.

Hope this helps inspire you to do something brave and bold and scary and light-shining today! (Feel the fear and do it anyway, right? One of my favorite mottos...)





Good morning, loves!

Many of you have been asking me for quite a long time now when I'm going to be offering an online pattern design e-course. My answer, to you and to myself, has always been "yeah, I'd love to do that.... someday."

Well friends, that someday is finally coming. I'm excited to announce that Pattern Camp will launch in the fall. Yes! It won't be your typical e-course, though..... it's going to be structured a bit differently (but that's a secret for right now!).

If you have wanted to learn how to make repeat patterns but have been unsure of where and how to begin, this course will be for you. We will start from the beginning. The course will be based around designing patterns in Adobe Illustrator, and you will not need any prior knowledge of how to use Illustrator -- complete beginners will be absolutely welcome!

Videos, tutorials, and live Q+A's will guide you through the tools, techniques, and tricks to get you quickly on your way to proficiency in the program + creating your own beautiful patterns.

If you're interested in letting me guide you in how to create your own pattern designs, jump on the wait list below! You'll get details and have a chance to register before anyone else.

I'm really excited to create + share this with you! I hope you're excited, too. It's going to be epic and awesome. Patterns are my jam, and I can't wait to teach you how to make them!





Good morning, friends! I've been hard at work on some new one-of-a-kind hamsas, and I have 3 new ones for you this morning. 

Last week's sold pretty quickly, which made me so happy + excited! It's always a little nerve-wracking to create something new and put it out into the world.... will it resonate with people? Will they sell? So I'm thrilled that they were well-received and scooped up right away!

So, I'll just let these 3 pretties speak for themselves and trust that they'll make their way to their exact perfect homes, as last week's did. If you see one you like, snag it now! Just click on the links or images to go directly to that specific hamsa.






Above: Protection + Faith (this one has a crystal from California in it!)

And you can find all the hamsas together in my shop right here.

Hope you love them! I'll have more new ones for you next week....



jessica swift hamsa

Since returning home from Morocco last month, I've had hamsas on the brain. We saw them everywhere, made out of every type of material -- in shops, on people's doors, painted on walls, on necklaces, made of wood, clay, metal, paint....

Hamsas are said to bring protection from the Evil Eye. I'm sort-of obsessed with symbols of protection, so I've been thinking about how I can incorporate the idea and symbol of a hamsa into my own work.

And these, here, are what I came up with. And I am in LOVE, friends. I had SO MUCH fun making these hamsas! There will be more. For now, there are just these brand new 5.

They are one-of-a-kind, hand-painted, hand-made, and they are meant to bring not only protection, but each holds another unique quality as well.

These hamsas are meant to be invitations -- what do you need in your life? Hang a hamsa with that quality on your wall and invite it in. Protect it. Nurture it. Give it your time and attention, and let the hamsa be your reminder.

Here they are, in all their colorful protectiveness:

jessica swift hamsa


jessica swift hamsa


jessica swift hamsa


jessica swift hamsa


jessica swift hamsa


Each hamsa's special quality is stamped on the back, like this: 

jessica swift hamsa

I hope you love them! I'm pretty psyched about this new offering and I hope you are, too.

Remember, they're one of a kind, so if one speaks to you, snatch it up because there'll never be another one like it! Just click on the links above to go directly to each hamsa.

(Or, you can find all the hamsas on one page HERE.)

Enjoy!




{'I will never let you down' print available here}

Hummingbird. What a magical, tiny little creature. 

She's inspired a somewhat more personal post than usual this morning -- not what I was planning to blog about this morning, but hey, go where Spirit moves you, right?

So. I've had a few Hummingbird encounters this past month, which I've been enjoying and making note of, but this morning's made me sit up and really take notice.

While sitting in the basement meditating for a few minutes, eyes closed, I heard/felt a strange vibrating in the room around me. Like, the walls were actually reverberating. I silently wondered what that noise could possibly be, and why it was rattling the walls a little bit. Then I heard 2 high-pitched chirps. I opened my eyes and looked toward the window, and I spotted Hummingbird darting away. The vibrating stopped.

I felt a surge of excitement and joy rush into my heart.

This year I've been journeying with Pixie and with the Four Winds Society, and I'm learning all about animal guides, spirit guides, and totems... this morning's encounter made me feel like Hummingbird is really trying to get my attention! I've also seen her sitting motionless, high on a power line, looking down at me (strange behavior for a hummingbird, no?), and she showed up at my studio window this past Saturday, to grace me with a glimpse of her brilliant magenta head, glinting in the sunlight, before darting off to get some nectar somewhere.

Hummingbird is all about JOY and seeing the beauty in life. These past 6 months or so have been challenging for me in my work-life, as I feel like I've lost my way a bit. The things I thought I wanted to do/achieve/accomplish, I'm just not so sure anymore. I've allowed a lot of fear and doubt in. I've allowed uncertainty and worry to run the show. I've felt uninspired. I've stepped off the path of JOY in favor of a path of worry and comparison. Yuck! That's not a fun realization. But, honesty + truthfulness is what moves us forward, right?

It's been a strange time, because while I've felt sort-of lost and unsure, I've also felt happier than I have in a while in my non-work life. I've let go of some of the stress and anxiety that I normally carry around with me (it's still there, for sure, but it feels a bit lighter now), and, strangely, I've been feeling happy and uncertain at the same time.

I have this deeper than normal sense that the right steps will show up at the right time, and all I have to do is show up each day as myself, be in the present moment, be open, and listen. I've been trying to notice when I start comparing my path to others' paths (especially others who I admire and who are doing such amazing + creative things) and to turn it around for myself and remember that all I have to do is tune in to myself. It's the INNER COMPASS reminder again.

////////

The icing on this little Hummingbird cake of mine is this: see that print above? I've had that painting sitting around for about 9 months now, and every time I looked at it I thought how ugly it was. I thought about painting over it. But it just sat there. Last week I picked it up and thought it was time to paint over the whole thing. I started with that yellow color, being careful not to paint over the hummingbird. Not yet. And then the yellow...... transformed it. All of a sudden I was in love with the painting! And here's the kicker, that I just realized this morning:

On the part that I painted over with the yellow, I'd written in the paint "I will never let you down". And I painted over it with yellow, the color of joy. None of this was intentional. I was just following my gut instinct on the color, on where to start painting over the parts I didn't like, on the timing of it all.... and she showed up this morning to help me understand it all. WOW!

////////

Anyway. I'm feeling moved this morning, and like I've had a bit of a wake up call. 

Everything happens in its own right time.

There is always beauty all around if you're paying attention and if you choose to see it.

You can choose the Beauty Way. You can choose joy, no matter what.

Ordinary moments can turn into extraordinary moments in the blink of an eye, in the beat of a wingtip.

Thank you, sweet Hummingbird, for catching my attention (by literally shaking the room I was in!) and showing me how and where I've stepped away from the Beauty Way in my own life. Today, I jump back on, joy-filled!

////////

ALSO: tomorrow morning I'll be posting some brand new, verrrrry exciting things (if I do say so myself), so make sure you stop over first thing. Seriously. I'm having a hard time waiting until tomorrow to post them.

Also also: Ryan and I are heading to the Redwoods tomorrow for a few days of camping and nature-filled adventures. So, no posts on Thursday or Friday this week. But follow me on Instagram for beautiful shots of big trees! xo





Hi friends, happy Friday!

Since I'm really terrible at waiting and being patient, coupled with the fact that I'm *really* excited about some new stuff I've been working on the past couple weeks, I'm sharing a little sneak peek photo with you of some brand new one-of-a-kind creations that will be available in my shop next Wednesday. Eeeee! I get little butterflies every time I look at that photo. I don't even care that it's a little bit blurry.

Since returning from Morocco, I've been itching to work on some pieces that are a bit different from my usual (I've been feeling in a bit of a rut and slightly bored with my work lately, so I've been thinking about how to shake it up) -- these new pieces have definitely scratched that itch. I can't wait to share them! 

Check back here on Wednesday morning for full pics and details about the new goodies. I think you're going to love them.



In other news, I've been working on my little daily drawings each day this week -- these are drawings #3 and #4. I'm digging working in just one color. (Usually I use All The Colors, as you're probably aware. Limiting my palette is not my forte!)



Just some doodles. Yesterday's drawing was done while laying on the floor in the basement, while Juneau laid on top of me. #ilovecats

In non-art-related stories, and since I can't resist a good rainbow, here's a photo from my morning run this past Wednesday:



My friends and I got caught in a crazy early-morning downpour; we didn't let it ruin our run (we smiled and laughed all the way through it!) and were rewarded at the end by this beautiful rainbow. Not a bad way to start the day.

Man, I love Portland.

Tomorrow night Ryan and I are running a 5K together (his first race ever!) called the Starlight Run. It's going to be such a fun time! There's a parade at the end, and you know I love a good parade.

And I couldn't not share this, because it's too funny:



Yep, that's Fabio. At Whole Foods. Again. (What's with me and taking blurry photos? Sheesh.)

This is the second time I've happened upon him at a Whole Foods here in Portland. At 2 different stores! Ryan and I stopped in after a morning run last weekend to pick up a few things, and there he was, selling his whey protein powder in all his Fabio-ness. Haha! I can't believe I've just stumbled across him twice now; I literally don't think there is a more random celebrity for me to keep seeing. I imagine now that I'll continue to see him every couple years from now on. I should probably introduce myself next time so we can become friends, right?




A box arrived yesterday full of fabric from my newest collection with Blend Fabrics, called Harmony, and you guys, I think this is my favorite collection yet.

I am SO INTO the moth fabric! I don't know which colorway I like better, the grey or the blue....

Harmony5_lowres

I've been waiting for the fabric to arrive, because I've been itching to try a sewing project lately, and I've been picturing a shift dress like my very favorite cat dress.

I've never sewn anything from a pattern before, but I'm thinking I could probably manage a shift dress... it's sort-of just like a pillowcase with sleeves, right? I'm wondering if I could even just figure it out without a pattern by looking at the dress and tracing its shape onto the fabric. If I go that route, I should probably do a test run before making a Harmony dress -- I can envision my winging-it-nature and figuring-it-out-as-I-go-edness turning into a disaster real fast, and I don't want to waste any of my precious Harmony fabric!

Harmony2_lowres

If you were to make a dress out of one of these fabrics, which would you choose? I'm leaning toward the blue moths (below) or the black and white (above).

I also have a couple questions for you sewers out there:
  • Have you ever bought a digital pattern? If so, what are some good sites with cute patterns? How do you print them out/use them?
  • Have you made a shift dress before, and if so, do you have any tips? I want mine to have 3/4 sleeves!
Harmony8_lowres

Also:

If you're looking to purchase some of the Harmony fabric, I don't have any in my own shop yet, but the full collection is available on Hawthorne Threads.

Hope you love it as much as I do!




Just a few pics of some things I've got going on lately...


Paintings in progress, and a new project I'm working on that's feeling pretty fun and exciting so far:


That's just a sneak peek above; I had some shapes laser-cut for the first time, which I might be sort-of addicted to now. I should have some finished products to show you in the next few weeks...

And I sent out a cool freebie to my email newsletter list last week, of which this is the beginning:


Are you on my list? When you sign up, you get access to 10+ printable freebies from past emails that I've sent, plus a code to get 15% off your first order. Jump on the list here if you'd like!

You'll be able to download the final version of that black and white drawing above... it's blue, and it's pretty much my favorite drawing I've done in a while. 

Happy Monday!





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