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.

hugs,

-a

 

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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!

-a

#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."

whoa.

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!

-a

 

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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!

-a

 

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Friday Photo Roundup - April 21

Hello and happy Friday to you! I hope your week was fantastic. This week seemed to have gone by rather quickly. Much like last week, I feel all I did was paint and work on my #the100dayproject and I'm loving it.

I did go to the Botanic Garden last Friday. There was so much more in bloom! It's really amazing what a difference a few days make. The daffodils were out in force, some of the tulips were starting to bloom, and the magnolia trees! Oh, let's talk about how magnificent the magnolia trees are! (Don't mind me, I'm swooning over here...)

I hope you enjoy this weeks photos of what's in bloom at the Garden!

Spring by april bern photography
spring tulips and daffodils
that magnificient magnolia tree
spring tulips by april bern photography
daffodils by april bern photography

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. When you are near a magnolia tree,  stand underneath and take a deep breath and enjoy the sweet smell of spring!

See you next week!

-a

 

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#The100DayProject - Week 2

Hello! Happy Wednesday!
Woo-hoo! Two weeks completed in the #The100DayProject. I'm super excited. I really had some serious doubts during my first few days and was really stressing trying to paint "abstract" and being concerned that a painting is or is not "abstract" enough. Two weeks in, I still feel like I'm in way over my head because this is literally the only thing I have worked on. I do feel more relaxed, and I'm beginning to think of different ways to play. I am starting to realize (and accept) that not every little painting is going to be a "winner" in my eyes, and that's okay. It really truly is all about the process!

#The100DayProject - Painted hands
#100DayProject - blue galaxy
#100DayProject - Stripes
#100DayProject - Roses
#100DayProject - pastoral

These are just of few of my favorite little paintings from this past week. Follow me on Instagram to see all my paintings (and photos! I still do take and post photos!) everyday.

Hows your #The100DayProject going? Is it getting easier for you? Are you still as enthusiastic as the first few days? Let me know in the comment section below!

 

 

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Friday Photo Roundup - April 14

Hi! Happy Friday! I hope you had a wonderful week. I feel like all I did was go to work, come home, make dinner, and paint. I mean, that's not a bad way to spend the week. But that's literally all I did. On the plus side, I haven't missed a day of my #The100DayProject, and I feel like I'm finally feeling less stressed about trying to paint something abstractly. It was a good week.

I went to the Garden last Friday afternoon and had a lovely lovely time. The highlight was definitely seeing the cherry blossom tree in the Japanese Garden in full pink blooming glory. It was magnificent. Pink tree, blue sky... perfection.

I hope you enjoy this weeks photos from last weeks trip to the Garden!

Cherry Blossoms in Bloom by april bern photography
spring magnolia in bloom by april bern photography
tiny spring blooms by april bern photography
Foxgloves by april bern photography
spring blooms by april bern photography

 

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and if you celebrate Easter, a wonderful Easter! See you next week!

-a

 

 

 

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#The100DayProject - A few thoughts after the first week

Happy Wednesday! The first week of the #The100dayproject is in the bag and I have a few thoughts to share about this experience so far. To remind you, for my #The100DayProject I'm creating 100(!) small abstract oil/acrylic/mixed media paintings (some of my favorites may end up in my shop...)

#100DayProject - first few days

1. It's SO much harder than I thought it would be.

2. I've spent an average of two hours a night trying to create these abstract paintings. This is the most consistently I've ever painted.

3. The first few days were really difficult for me. I wanted to quit on day three.

4. I feel that I like the process of creating something "abstract" better when I have a plan (does that even make any sense?)

5. I'm way too hard of myself and I'm my worst critic. I'm having a difficult time letting go of perfectionism and just letting a piece be what it wants to be.

6. It's been a week and I am finally relaxing and starting to have a little bit of fun.

#100DayProject - 100 days of painting abstracts
(This is my most favorite abstract from this project so far!)

(This is my most favorite abstract from this project so far!)

I'm going into this week with more of an open mind. We'll see how it goes! Check out my Instagram, where I post my #The100dayproject everyday. I'd love to see you there.

Are you participating in the #The100dayproject this year? How's it going for you? Do you need some motivation/encouragement? Let me know in the comment section below!

Have a great day!

-a

 
 

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