WIP - New pilea plant and succulent paintings

Happy.... March? Really? Well then. I have a lot to share with you. Today though, I would like to share two of my latest works in progress. First is my new Pilea Peperomioides painting. I love this little plant and I can't wait to get my grubby little paws on a real one. In the meantime, painting them will have to suffice. 

This pilea painting is painted in oils on a 6x6 by 1.5 inch canvas.


Next up is, maybe a little unsurprisingly, a succulent. This painting is still very much a work in progress. I just sketched it out and started laying down some colors. The colors aren't right at all and I need to do a little bit of work refining them. But, it's a good start.


I really love that the image is carried over onto all fours sides. It will look fantastic when it's finished and hanging on the wall.


What projects have you been working on? Let me know in the comment section below!

Have a great day!




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WIP - Two brand new cacti paintings

Happy New Year! I hope your 2018 is off to a wonderful start. Mine is going pretty well so far despite already breaking most of my resolutions. There's always next year, right? :)  The one resolution I am keeping, however, is painting. I've been playing with abstract acrylics (you can find a few examples here) and continuing painting my cactus and succulent obsession. Here's my latest project:

Almost finished Cacti paintings

I love how they are coming along! I created a fun little video if you wanted to watch the progress:

WIP - Cactus Painting
cacti painting work in progress
cacti WIP.jpg
Cactus on Yellow Background
Cacti WIP - Cacti on Orange Wall
cacti on orange wall - WIP

This one is almost finished. I have a few more details to add and I need to paint the bottom side of the painting. I'm undecided if I should carry the cacti design onto it, or if I should paint it the orangey-pink wall color. What do you think? The cactus on the yellow background needs a bit more work too, but I love how it turned out so far. I can't wait to work on them some more tonight!

Have a great day!



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2017 Year in Review

Happy (almost) New Year! Like I mentioned in my last post, 2017 wasn't that bad if you didn't watch the news or read twitter. For me personally, it was really quite nice. Nothing catastrophic happened and everyone here is still healthy and happy. There were a lot of really nice highlights and surprises.

Best Nine of 2017

January. The month and thus the year started out rather bleak. We just got over the first holiday season without my grandma, and it was pretty rough for mom and I. That coupled with inauguration left me feeling very helpless and hopeless. And though there were some dark days, I resolved to make more art. I continued to paintshare my photos, and have smallish adventures with mom at the  Mitchell Conservatory in Milwaukee. And that truly is how I felt I spent my year, creating and sharing my art.

February. I went on a strict news diet for a few weeks and I began painting in earnest. I tried my hand at painting something a little different for me-- abstracts.  I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either.  I also decided to combine my two greatest loves-- coffee cups and succulents-- into a series of paintings. There were many many smallish adventures too! I went to the Nicholas Conservatory for the first time to see their orchid show. It was so good, I brought my mom back the next weekend. And of course I went to the Chicago Botanic Garden's orchid show. Twice.

March. More adventures! I went back to the Orchid show for a third time. What can I say? I love orchids and was just so happy to take photos of green and growing things. I continued with creative adventures too.  I picked up a small set of gouache paints and tried them out. I really love how the gouache looks, but I definitely need more practice. I also discovered that am madly in love creating videos with the small clips I had been filming at the garden.

April. Mom adopted a puppy! Her name is Molly and she's a two year old rescue pup. She's a Boston Terrier and Chihuahua mix and she's is totally moms dog. That was definitely the highlight of the month. The rest of the month I felt like I was huddled in my studio painting. I thought it would be a good idea to join the #100dayproject and create an abstract painting every day for 100 days. I wanted to quit after two weeks, but I persevered and kept painting. I start stalking the Botanic garden, looking for smallish signs of spring.

May. Still painted. Every night I came home from work, ate dinner, and went upstairs to the studio to paint. It was totally a routine. We had an adventure in Austin, TX for the weekend and I made extra paintings so I didn't miss a day of posting. Speaking of adventures, a good friend tipped me off to the most amazing spot with lilacs and I just about died from their intoxicating scent and with how amazing they were. Talk about capturing them at their best! And, I finally started my patio garden. Mom and I had an absolute blast shopping for plants, planting, and replanting. The patio garden looked so good. 

JuneStill painted. Mom and I created our very own gnome garden and we spend every day after work (before dinner and painting) outside among the plants and gnomes.

July. I finally completed the #100dayproject! I am happy to say that I did not miss one single day posting. I made 100 small abstract paints and felt super accomplished. I learned a lot from that experience. I thought I would take a break from painting, but i jumped right back in and created two of my most favorite succulent paintings ever.

August. Still painted (real paintings, no longer for the #100dayproject) I think I created a new habit. I found a new paint color and fell head over heels in love with it and began to use it in EVERYTHING I painted. I still went to the garden at least once a week.

September. Big month, full of all sorts of adventures! We celebrated G's birthday, our anniversary, and my birthday all this month. We had our big celebratory adventure in Sedona, AZ this year. Sedona was great except that I was sick for the entire trip. There were also garden and pumpkin adventures when we returned home. Oh, the craziest thing I did was, at G's urging, sign up to sell at a craft show in December!

October. I photographed a first birthday smash cake session at my house so the first week was filled planning, prop shopping and setting up for this super fun photo session.  Two weeks later, I photographed an engagement session at the Garden for one of my best friends. In between, there were adventures with my mom at the Anderson Japanese Garden(link?) in Rockford to witness the changing leaves. I found out I was accepted to TWO crafts shows. Oh yeah, I had applied to one more since September. ;)

November. November was spent fretting... um... I mean, preparing for the craft shows. I had little ready before hand, this being my first time. I spent so much time prepping, making lists, shopping and making more lists. It was a lot of work, and I don't think I saw my husband at all. But the gals who work at the Michael’s by the house know me by name now. 

December. I did two craft shows!!! The first show was in early December and it was good. I learned a lot and then spent the two weeks before the second show painting and preparing and putting those lessons I learned to work. The second show was even better! I was so busy with these craft shows that I didn't have a chance put up my Christmas tree. Christmas came, I spent the holidays with family, and here we are. 2018 is just around the corner! 

Whew! What a year!!


Thank you so much for all of your love and support. Thank you for the comments, the emails, the encouragement. I coudn't have done this without you. I'm looking forward to spending 2018 with you!

Happy New Year!




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Top 10 Most Popular Posts of 2017

Here we are, at the end of another year. Boy, they sure do seem to fly by. This year was pretty good, if you didn't watch the news or check twitter. My patio garden was amazing, I had my best year on etsy yet (thank you!) and even sold my paintings and photos at two craft shows. I'll post a proper year in review soon. In the meantime, these were my most popular posts on my blog this year:

2017 Top 10 Posts.jpg

Revolution Craft Show this weekend!

I am excited to be a part of the Revolution Craft show at the Revolution Brewery in Chicago this Sunday. If you're in the area, I'd love to meet you! Stop by and say hi, grab a beer, and finish your holiday shopping. Or maybe pick up a little something for yourself (I won't tell anyone!) I will have matted photo prints in popular sizes for sale as well as some of my most favorite paintings, super handy photo tote bags and 2018 calendars. My moms fantastic handmade greeting cards, which are so pretty and unlike any cards you've seen, will be there too.


December 17, 2017 Revolution Craft Show

  • Sunday, December 17, 2017
  • 12:00 PM 6:00 PM
  • Revolution Tap Room 3340 North Kedzie Avenue Chicago, IL, 60618 United States (map)


I hope to see you Sunday!


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Friday Photo Roundup - December 8

Happy Friday!

Did you know that Christmas is in 17 days? WHAT?! I am so not ready. We haven't even put our tree up yet. I've been so consumed with craft show preparations these last few weeks, I even skipped out on uploading photos to flickr and instagram. This week, I got back on track. At least with uploading my photos. I'm still not sure about putting up the Christmas tree...


This weeks photos are from the last time I went to the Garden in mid-October. (I know, the fact I haven't been there in months makes me sad too.)

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and get out and do fun stuffs!


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5 lessons learned from my first craft show

Last Saturday was my first time as a vendor at a craft show! It was such a great experience and I had a really great time.  It was held in a cozy indoor venue and the perfect sunny and unseasonably warm weather brought in lots of foot traffic from the small town square. And it was so nice having the opportunity to finally meet all the other crafty people I knew online and seeing their amazing work in person.

april bern art and photography 1st craft show

I sold enough to recover the cost of my table and a little bit extra. So that spells success in my book! :)

april bern art & photography craft show details

That being said however, things didn't go 100% as I would have liked. 

And therefore I learned some valuable lessons:


Craft Show Tips.png

1. I cannot and do not have to bring EVERYTHING that I have painted/printed. Seriously. I only have so much room on a table. While it was eye catching, my display was kind of overflowing with art stuffs; I had a box full of paintings that I didn't have the room to display! Plus I can always direct them to etsy and my other online shops to see more.

2. I need a better way to display my stuffs. I feel that a lot of things got lost because they weren't visible at all. Again, it was eye catching, but terribly impractical. 

3. I may need to re-think my price structure depending on the market. A couple of people visibly balked when they saw the price of some of my paintings (I really didn't think they were that pricey.)

4. I should have taken more photos. Of my table and set up, of me and my table... I just didn't have time to think about it.

5. I can't believe I forgot to have a signup book for the email list. DUH! That was totally a missed opportunity.


Good thing I have another opportunity at another arts & crafts show in two weeks! 


See you there!



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Holiday Art & Craft Show Update

Remember back in my last post where I mentioned that I will be participating in a couple of holiday craft shows? I'm here to give you the details! I'm am so incredibly excited to be able to show/sell my work at the following venues:

December 2, 2017 Honey Craft Indie Craft Market

  • Saturday, December 2, 2017
  • 10:00 AM 4:00 PM
  • Mixin Mingle - Woodstock. 124 Cass Street Woodstock, IL, 60098 United States (map)



December 17, 2017 Revolution Craft Show

  • Sunday, December 17, 2017
  • 12:00 PM 6:00 PM
  • Revolution Tap Room 3340 North Kedzie Avenue Chicago, IL, 60618 United States (map)

I'm super excited, and truthfully, a little nervous (total introvert here!) I hope that you're able to stop by either (or both!) of the shows and say hi and pick up some excellent gifts for the holidays form me and other talented artists. I have a ton of matted photos for sale, a few photo acrylic blocks (these are so cool!) canvas tote bags, and paintings. I will also be showing off my moms fantastic handmade greeting cards.  

Hope to see you soon!


If you are unable to attend, or are not local, don't worry. You can still shop my etsy store:




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