100 paintings in 100 days - I completed #the100dayproject!

I can’t believe I did it, but I successfully completed the #100dayproject; 100 paintings in 100 days! It seems a little unreal because I didn’t think I would even be able to get through the first two weeks. There were many (many!) days I didn't feel like painting. And there were that many more where I wanted to straight up quit, because I hated what I made. I have to give a BIG shout out to my friends and family who gave me the space and time to create, and who gave me inspirational pep talks whenever I contemplating quitting.

100 paintings in 100 days - #the100dayproject complete

Seeing them all together like this is a little impressive!

100 paintings in 100 days
#the100dayproject 2017 abstract painting

I wish I would have taken notes, or journaled during this process. Truthfully, I didn't think about it. I just painted. But looking back, there are a few lessons that this challenge has taught me.

1. You can’t wait for inspiration, the right mood, your muse, or divine intervention to create. The act of creating begets more creating. It’s so true. You have to just sit down and do it!

2. Don’t judge. Your only job is to make the work.

3. Don’t let other’s opinions (or lack of) deter you. Again, just make the work.

4. Make the time for your art/project. If it's important to you and you really want to do it, you will find a way. Even if you have to get up a little earlier before work in the morning or miss your favorite show, or order take-out a little more often; you can figure out how to make the time. Where there's a will, there's a way.

There it is! The Final Painting for my 100dayproject

And there she is! The last painting of my #the100dayproject for 2017.  I'm SUPER happy to have stuck with this project despite my doubts, insecurities, and occasional laziness.

So now that I've completed that personal challenge, I'm going to work on finishing all the little painting projects I started prior and then get my shops ready for the holidays. Also all my 100day paintings are for sale and will be slowly added to my shop. If you're interested in any of them, feel free to browse them on instagram and send me an message and we'll work out the details.

How did your 100 day project go? What did you learn? Would you do it again? What are you planning next? Are you psyched to do another right away?

I hope your experience was fantastic. And if you're not finished yet, just keep at it! You got this!





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Friday Photo Roundup - July 7

Hello and happy Friday! I hope your 4th of July holiday week was fantastic. I'm so thankful that this was a 3 day work week, it was pretty hard to get back into the swing of things after the long weekend. And now, I'm ready for another weekend! 

Since it was a short work week, I only posted a few of my favorites from my last trip to the botanic garden. I was THRILLED to see all the waterlilies blooming this year and took a ton of photos. I can't help it, I just adore them.

summer waterlily by april bern photography
summer at the chicago botanic garden
asiatic lily by april bern photography

Also, check out the incredible colors of this asiatic tiger lily! Can you believe that color?!


If you're as big of a fan of waterlilies as I am, stop by my shop to check out waterlily canvas prints, photo notecards, tote bags and other home decor pieces. Let me know which ones are your favorite in the comment section below.



I hope you have a fabulous weekend!



Friday Photo Roundup - June 23

Happy Friday! This week was pretty quiet. I spent most of it sitting outside and enjoying my patio. I also painted a lot. As of today, I think I only have 20 days left of my #the100dayproject. Crazy right?

This weeks photos were from my last visit to the Botanic Garden a few weeks ago. They have a new summer show called Brazil in the Garden, which features bright and bold plants native to Brazil and the tropics. I can't wait to check it out and share my photos with you!

succulents by april bern photography
Summer Peony by april bern photography
Ivy Leaves photography by april bern
Purple Iris
Summer Dahlia by april bern photography

I hope you have a lovely weekend and have a chance to get outside and enjoy the first weekend of Summer!



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WIP - Gnome Garden

You guys! My patio garden is now my very own gnome garden!

Mom and I spent all weekend finalizing and planting (and replanting) all of my plants. I can't tell you how many trips to the local nursery we took this week but the workers are beginning to recognize us. I think we are finally finished. Planting at least. We have two new planters that I got from work that we finally put up this year AND we created a DIY birdbath out of thrift store finds. Oh don't worry-- I'll post photos soon.

Mom thought it would be a cute idea to add my little garden gnomes I had been photographing for my shop.  I think they are here to stay!

Gnome and Fairy Garden
Welcome Gnome!
My very own gnome garden
garden gnomes hanging out
Welcome garden gnome
mischievous garden gnome
garden gnome chilling with a snail

Sitting out here is pure joy. No matter how terrible the day at work, when I come home and sit outside and take sight of my plants, the days stresses just melt away. Okay, the glasses of wine might help too. Seriously though. It's so relaxing and peaceful. And beautiful. And I love it.

How is your garden coming along so far? What fun surprises do you have planted or hanging out? Let me know in the comment section below.

Happy summer!




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WIP - Creating my Patio Oasis

Hi! I hope you're having a great week so far. It's nearly Memorial Day, do you know what that means? IT'S GARDENING TIME!!!!

I live in a townhouse, and while I appreciate not ever mowing the lawn or shovelling, I am so sad that I only have a tiny patio and a little bit of dirt alongside the house that I can use for garden space. And because I live in a townhouse, there are Rules. I can't plant vegetables. I can't plant any climbing or viney plants, or have any trellises. I'm supposed to let the association know what I want to plant so they can approve it. Ugh. So many rules.

My little patio is my oasis. It brings me so much joy to plan it out, plant, and tend to it. Now that my mom is living with us, it's even more special because it's something we can enjoy together. Nothing beats coming home from work and sipping on coffee or wine while watching the birds in my little oasis.

This planter houses a gorgeous coleus and creeping jenny.

This planter houses a gorgeous coleus and creeping jenny.

garden oasis - shabby chic planter
My herb and succulent garden. This year I have cilantro, basil (not planted yet), creeping rosemary, peppermint, lemon balm and creeping thyme.

My herb and succulent garden. This year I have cilantro, basil (not planted yet), creeping rosemary, peppermint, lemon balm and creeping thyme.

garden oasis - herb collection 2
Persian shields and my new obsession- tiny petunias!

Persian shields and my new obsession- tiny petunias!

This is my newest planter/fountain filled with Caladiums and more tiny petunias.

This is my newest planter/fountain filled with Caladiums and more tiny petunias.

And this is just the beginning. I still have my 6 railing planters to fill. (Guess what I'm doing this weekend?)

I can't wait.

Have you started your garden yet? It's not too late! If you'd like to start, but have no idea how to create a beautiful and thriving container garden for your space, check out this blog post and free pdf checklist.

5 Simple Tips to Create Gorgeous Container Gardens


I hope you have a lovely rest of the week and that you get a chance to hang out in a garden space.




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Spring Lilacs

Guess what! It's now officially my favorite time of year - Lilac season! Lilacs are one of my most favorite flowers. I cannot get enough of them!

These lilacs were not at the Chicago Botanic Garden (shocking, I know!) They were in an office building parking lot. I know, right? Serendipitously, a friend notified me of their existence, remembering that I had a bit of an affinity for these fragrant lovelies. I was hesitant to go at first, worried that there was security, or someone might call the police about a strange girl with a camera going crazy over this random lilac bush in their parking lot. But my friend assured me I could fawn over them all I wanted. And boy, did I fawn (so many photos!)  They were just sitting there, being all beautiful in a drab and dreary suburban parking lot. I wish you could smell them through the photos-- heavenly!

Heart shaped lilacs by april bern photography
spring lilacs by april bern photography
gorgeous spring lilacs by april bern photography
lovely spring lilacs by april bern photography
spring lilacs 03 by april bern photography

I hope you have a lovely weekend and get a chance to find some random lilacs and enjoy their heavenly scent!


#The100DayProject - Week 4

Hello! I'm still happily painting (nearly) every day. I think I discovered a new style I love that makes my little heart sing when I work on it. It's this... "cloudy" style:

PinkSwirls - the100dayproject by april bern

I love the color and the softness, but I love the blending most of all. I was so inspired by this painting that I couldn't stop thinking about trying this style on something bigger.  So this weekend I tried it out on a 10x10 canvas. AND I LOVED IT. So much so, I did another...

I seriously cannot get enough of the turquoise color...

I seriously cannot get enough of the turquoise color...

I was so happy/in the zone/state of flow while working on these paintings that the sheer joy of putting gorgeous colors down and blending them with my hand/fingers... that feeling was just the best! I thought to myself that this was how I want to paint abstract. And everything was good and right in the universe.

Then I painting Monday night using this technique again. But nothing was working! Too much paint. Over blending. The colors looked awful. And then I began to doubt myself, thinking that maybe now I'm a one trick pony when it comes to abstract painting. And maybe I should try something else. And oh my goodness, what will people think if this is all I make now. But then a dear, wise friend said something that made me drop my brush (figurative, I've been painting with my fingers, remember?) He wrote: "Save your judgement. Just make stuff."


Deep, right?

I was fretting and stressing over what I thought, and what I thought people will think (isn't that the worst?) that I was discouraging myself getting way stressed out. But my friend's simple words really are true. Just make stuff. What other people think of you or what you make is not your business. Likes on Instagram or facebook don't matter. All that matters is that I make stuffs, and I'm happy with the stuffs I make.

Keep making your stuff and don't stop!



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#The100DayProject - Week 3

You guys. It's been non stop painting over here. Dishes are piled up in the sink, laundry from last week still hasn't been put away, and I haven't made a proper meal in days. I had plans this past weekend and felt guilty because I didn't have a chance to paint (thankfully, I had a few "extra" paintings I made for emergencies...) I don't spend time with my mom, her new pup, or even my husband anymore...

I am happy to report that I am (for the moment) loving this project. I'm now actively looking for ways to make my paintings more varied. I'm trying new (to me) techniques, such as this mixed media piece:

#The100DayProject - Abstract Mixed Media by april bern

(This is my new favorite piece.)

I definitely feel more relaxed and, dare I say it, playful.

Here are some of my favorites from this past week. I hope you enjoy!

#The100DayProject - fun abstract by april bern
#The100DayProject 6x6 acrylic art by april bern
#The100Day Project - little wave by april bern

Are you participating in the #100DayProject? I'd love to see your project and hear your thoughts about it. Let me know in the comments section below!


Have a great day!



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