Simply Jessica Marie

Creative designs for a lovely life

Grapefruit | Color Cocktails Watercolor Tutorial Series

LearningJessica ClinchComment

Grapefruits always remind me of my Grandpa. When I was little, he used to eat them all the time for breakfast, and I remember being fascinated by that bright colored fruit! But, as a little kiddo - I was only used to the "normal" fruits - ya know, bananas, strawberries, grapes, etc. This one seemed a bit too odd for me.

How to paint watercolor grapefruit! Fun and free watercolor videos by Simply Jessica Marie! Learn to mix new colors each week and paint with that color! | SC Stockshop

photo by the SC Stockshop

But, he taught me that something seemingly odd or originally bitter can be sweetened and delicious by adding juuuust a bit of sugar. And while it admittedly took some getting used to, now grapefruit is one of my favorite fruits - and one of my favorite flavors to mix into a cocktail!

I think we can all learn a little lesson from this colorful fruit - even if something in life seems too "out there" for you to try, or isn't as easy as we originally hoped, there is often a way to find beauty and sweetness within it.

With that said - this week, we're learning how to mix and paint grapefruit!


Want to learn alongside over 300 sweet budding artist friends? We'd love to have you!! Each Friday, I'll be teaching a 15-20 minute watercolor video tutorial. In the lessons, I cover how to mix a unique color (no typical color wheel colors here!), a bit of the psychology behind that color and how to best use it in your paintings, and I'm even sharing a quick and sweet practice piece, so you can follow along and continue painting throughout the week!

 

GET WEEKLY WATERCOLOR VIDEO TUTORIALS

SENT DIRECTLY TO YOUR INBOX EACH FRIDAY!!

Upon signing up - you'll receive two key emails from me first, before receiving these watercolor tutorials! Because friend, I want to set you up for success before having you dive straight into painting!

The first email will include my 3 favorite tips for infusing art into your busy schedule - so you can find the perfect time to practice alongside us in our weekly practice series! I don't want to add any stress to your plate, so this guide is truly helpful for getting you started on the right foot!

The second email (which may be my fav!) includes my go-to art supplies list, with a printable shopping list! It has recommendations for my favorite paper, paint, paintbrushes, palette, etc. - along with where I love buying my supplies!

Then, you'll start receiving your weekly watercolor tutorial lessons each Friday morning! I cannot wait to dive into a unique color concoction with y'all each week, and learn alongside you!

How to paint watercolor grapefruit! Fun and free watercolor videos by Simply Jessica Marie! Learn to mix new colors each week and paint with that color! | SC Stockshop

photo by the SC Stockshop

I cannot wait to see the beautiful lavender and other paintings y'all create this week after watching our first tutorial! 

 If you practice along and share on insta, make sure to use #sjmcolorcocktails and tag @simplyjessicamarie in your post, comments, or insta stories so I can see and cheer you on!!

Here's to learning together, friends!


Please note: This blog post contains affiliate links for the SC Stockshop. I absolutely adore using Shay's amazing styled stock images to enhance my brand aesthetic, and would 100% still do so without affiliate links!

How to Overcome Artistic Perfectionism

LearningJessica ClinchComment

While many of us as creatives are solopreneurs, our businesses and artistic ventures are usually run by two people: us, and our inner perfectionist. That voice inside our heads that can at times push us to do great things, but more often than not can prevent us from attempting the truly wonderful.

How to overcome artistic perfectionism - my top tip for building creative confidence! By Simply Jessica Marie | Photo by Callie Lindsey

photo by Callie Lindsey

In my SJM Art School survey, I asked my fellow budding artists a key question: "What has been your biggest struggle in your artistic journey thus far?" And an incredible amount of the sweet artists who responded felt the same way. They lack confidence in their skills and constantly battle with perfectionism. Just listen to what a few of them had to say:

My biggest struggle has been...

"Trying to be perfect. Being afraid to fail, so I choose not to even try."
"Probably comparison/developing my own unique style and being confident about it, rather than comparing to others and wishing I was better/more like others."
"Feeling like my art isn't good enough to show. A lack of confidence in my work."

And then these two responses stood out to me as incredibly intriguing:

"I feel like I have a lack of talent to begin with - I was never good at art class in school, and I lack patience in honing new skills I feel I'm bad at. But the desire is there!"
"I just get in my own way, I'm a perfectionist! I spend too much time trying to make my art "just so" and "perfect" but I find when I let loose and just paint/design from the heart, my art is ALWAYS better!"

Y'all. I feel you. I've been painting my whole life, and professionally for the past four years. And I would be lying if my inner perfectionist didn't start whispering in my ear each time I pick up a paintbrush to begin a new piece. 

BUT, over the years, I have learned a handful of truly helpful techniques to overcome artistic perfectionism and build creative confidence. And I'm excited to share my top tip with y'all today!

 

WANT EVEN MORE ADVICE?

want to hear my 5 top tips for overcoming artistic perfectionism?
i'm sharing my secrets at the creative hub conference this friday!
the online conference starts tonight, sign up below to hear my talk,
and hear from 14 other amaaazing speakers!

ps - use code CHC for $15 off now through 5/23!

We've likely all heard the phrase, "don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle" - right? I firmly believe that, because doing so allows your inner perfectionist to take the reins and say - "See! That artist just created a stunning new line of prints that are selling like hotcakes! And THAT artist just did a live painting event with Kate Spade - your favorite brand! And THAT artist just came out with a How to Paint Watercolors book, which I know yoooou've wanted to do for years! You're not that good, you'll never get there and be as amazing as they are!

Those words are not made up. Those are real examples of what my inner perfectionist tells me each time I see my favorite watercolor "idols" post something new on Instagram. Not very community over competition-y now is it? I think my perfectionist needs to join a local Rising Tide Society group!

So, my top tip for overcoming these thoughts?

 

DON'T COMPARE YOUR BEGINNING
TO SOMEONE ELSE'S MIDDLE.

BUT...

DO COMPARE YOUR BEGINNING
TO YOUR OWN MIDDLE.

 

What I encourage you to do is first find an accountability buddy - an artist/creative who is at your same "level" (aka, y'all started your businesses or artistic journeys around the same time). Someone you feel comfortable confiding in, and who you consider a friend or potential friend!

 

don't know where to find an accountability buddy?
this upcoming monday, i'm going to be starting a new facebook group
just for budding artists - which will be the perfect place for you
to connect with others throughout your artistic journey!!

want to be the first to know how to get in the group?
sign up below, and i'll also send you my fav downloadable guide

about how to infuse just 15 minutes of artistic practice into your weekly routine!

YOUR FIRST ART CRITIQUE

Each quarter, set aside time one morning or afternoon to have mini art critiques with one another. For your first critique, pull both your favorite pieces you worked on during those past few months, as well as your not-so-favorite pieces. Have an open conversation with your buddy about what you loved from your favorite paintings (try to point out the technical elements rather than general fluffy terms), as well as what you didn't like from your least favorite pieces. What bothers you about them? What can you learn from that, and how can you grow?

YOUR SECOND ART CRITIQUE

The second time you meet, bring those same pieces back, along with your new set of favorite and not-so-favorite pieces from the current quarter. Go through the same critique process, but this time compare your pieces from this quarter to the pieces from the last quarter - to evaluate your growth!

Because I bet you you're picking up new knowledge each time you create a new painting, but your growth won't be visible to you while you're in that piece or season of life. We don't have parents proudly hanging our work on the fridge anymore, or teachers critiquing our work and assigning us grades - so it's now our job to keep up with our own progress, successes, and failures to see how we can grow!

TALK BACK TO YOUR INNER PERFECTIONIST!

Taking the time to do this for yourself, and for your accountability buddy (because you'll both want to grow together!) will help you get sassy and talk back to that inner perfectionist of yours. The next time they creep into your mind and say, "Ha! You're attempting to paint that intricate floral piece? Good luck! Hope it doesn't look like a kindergartner painted it!" You can respond with, "Oh yeah? Look how far I've come in the past few months - I know this piece may not be Monet-level, but it is sure going to be beautiful!!"

Because there truly is beauty in the process and progress - and you should get excited about your potential and the progress you'll continue to make in the upcoming months!

CUSTOM WATERCOLOR MAP FROM 2014

Cedarwood Watercolor Map

CUSTOM WATERCOLOR MAP FROM 2017

Custom watercolor wedding map of Boca Grande, Florida by Simply Jessica Marie | Photo by SC Stockshop

photo by the SC Stockshop

And because I love teaching by example, I wanted to do a mini art critique of my own work here with y'all today! I was torn about what pieces to compare, but thought comparing a couple of my watercolor wedding maps would be a fun example!

The photo on the top is the very first watercolor map I ever painted. It was of the beautiful Cedarwood Estate in Nashville, and it was for an editorial shoot with Southern Weddings Magazine. Y'all, I'm fairly embarrassed that this piece is immortalized in print in my favorite wedding magazine, because looking back on it there are so many flaws I would change. But, I have to always remind myself of the beauty of growth! 

2014 MAP CRITIQUE

Here is what I would say as my critique:

  • I didn't use enough water mixed with my paint to create a soft, delicate aesthetic for the piece. There are a lot of dry marks and areas that would look much better if smoothed and blended with more water.
  • The scale and orientation of a lot of the details are off. For example, the main estate is facing forward, but the area behind it is tilting upward, which isn't natural. The layout should all be the same, to create a cohesive piece.
  • When digitizing this piece, I did not edit the colors properly. They are too dark and muddy, especially in comparison to the bright white area in the top left corner (which was filled in with a font when sent to print).
  • The calligraphy is really chunky, and a bit hard to read. It should have more contrast between the upstrokes and downstrokes (but, I was still learning brush calligraphy at the time!).

2017 MAP CRITIQUE

In comparison, how have I grown over the past few years in painting watercolor maps? The second map photo is my most recent watercolor map for a sweet SJM Bride!

  • I have definitely gained a better grasp about the amount of water to paint ratio I need when painting! I still love having a more defined clean look, rather than a more abstract flowing watercolor aesthetic - but everything is blended really nicely!
  • The orientation and scale of all of the icons is appropriate. Everything is in the same forward-facing direction, which allows your eye to easily move throughout the piece. 
  • It has taken a LOT of trial and error to learn how to digitize watercolors - but I have finally found a process I love to achieve bright and colorful edited watercolor designs, without losing the quality or over-exposing them. So much so, that I'm even teaching a course about it in the SJM Art School
  • I have since learned how to vectorize my brush calligraphy, which provides a much cleaner look.

How can I still improve, based on this piece?

  • Some of the light areas in the piece could still be a bit more defined. For instance, the pink lines leading from the island to the icons aren't consistent in color, and some could be a tad darker to pop more. Some of the light peach areas of the island itself could also be darker, to provide more contrast and depth so they don't blend into the water. And, certain icons (like the pink elephant), could use a bit more paint to really define them.
  • I love the level of detail I included in most of the icons, but "The Temptation" (a local restaurant) icon could use a bit more definition, to really show that it was a booth at the restaurant. That icon is a tad vague.
  • I love how the calligraphy pops, but it could be a tad more delicate to make the words even more legible!

NOW, GO CRITIQUE YOUR OWN ARTWORK!

I hope reading through my own critique helps guide you in how to critique your own pieces! I would recommend first critiquing the piece on your own as I just did - saying these things aloud to your accountability buddy so she/he knows what you are thinking. Then, have them critique the pieces too, so you can gain insight from an outside perspective! Sometimes we're too hard on ourselves and need extra support, and other times someone else might spot an area to improve that we wouldn't have even noticed! 

And one final tip - always write down the details from your critique, so you can go back and read them throughout the year!

WANT EVEN MORE ADVICE?

want to hear my 5 top tips for overcoming artistic perfectionism?
i'm sharing my secrets at the creative hub conference this friday!
the online conference starts tonight, sign up below to hear my talk,
and hear from 14 other amaaazing speakers!

ps - use code CHC for $15 off now through 5/23!

I hope this tip helps you tackle your inner perfectionist and build your creative confidence! If you've found any other tips helpful that you'd love to share, I would love to start a conversation in the comments below! And if you get an accountability partner and try this technique, I would love love love to hear from y'all as well!!


Please note: This blog post contains affiliate links for the SC Stockshop. I absolutely adore using Shay's amazing styled stock images to enhance my brand aesthetic, and would 100% still do so without affiliate links!

Lavender | Color Cocktails Watercolor Tutorial Series

LearningJessica ClinchComment

I don't know how y'all are feeling at the end of this week, but I could sure use some rest and relaxation as we head into this weekend! Luckily, our painting subject and color of the week will help provide us with a dose of calming beauty!

How to paint watercolor lavender! Fun and free watercolor videos by Simply Jessica Marie! Learn to mix new colors each week and paint with that color! | SC Stockshop

photo by the SC Stockshop

To me, both the scent and sight of lavender whisks me away to a French countryside - where birds are chirping and the only care in the world is which aged cheese would pair best with the white wine I'm sipping. As we get into the color psychology portion of this video you'll learn why, and determine how to best use this color throughout your paintings!

And because I love lessons that build upon one another, we're also implementing our lime green color from last week into our practice piece this week!

Want to learn alongside over 150 sweet budding artist friends? We'd love to have you!! Each Friday, I'll be teaching a 15 minute watercolor video tutorial. In the lessons, I cover how to mix a unique color (no typical color wheel colors here!), a bit of the psychology behind that color and how to best use it in your paintings, and I'm even sharing a quick and sweet practice piece, so you can follow along and continue painting throughout the week!

GET WEEKLY WATERCOLOR VIDEO TUTORIALS

SENT DIRECTLY TO YOUR INBOX EACH FRIDAY!!

Upon signing up - you'll receive two key emails from me first, before receiving these watercolor tutorials! Because friend, I want to set you up for success before having you dive straight into painting!

The first email will include my 3 favorite tips for infusing art into your busy schedule - so you can find the perfect time to practice alongside us in our weekly practice series! I don't want to add any stress to your plate, so this guide is truly helpful for getting you started on the right foot!

The second email (which may be my fav!) includes my go-to art supplies list, with a printable shopping list! It has recommendations for my favorite paper, paint, paintbrushes, palette, etc. - along with where I love buying my supplies!

Then, you'll start receiving your weekly watercolor tutorial lessons each Friday morning! I cannot wait to dive into a unique color concoction with y'all each week, and learn alongside you!

photo by the SC Stockshop

I cannot wait to see the beautiful lavender and other paintings y'all create this week after watching our first tutorial! 

 If you practice along and share on insta, make sure to use #sjmcolorcocktails and tag @simplyjessicamarie in your post, comments, or insta stories so I can see and cheer you on!!

Here's to learning together, friends!


Please note: This blog post contains affiliate links for the SC Stockshop. I absolutely adore using Shay's amazing styled stock images to enhance my brand aesthetic, and would 100% still do so without affiliate links!

Custom Watercolor Crests are now in the Shop!

SJM Shop, WeddingsJessica ClinchComment

Custom watercolor crests are one of my favorite ways to showcase personality and honor family. While I have traditionally painted watercolor crests for custom wedding invitations and day-of details, I am SO excited to offer this boutique service to y'all, so that you can have an heirloom crest of your own - whether you have an upcoming wedding, have been married for years, or want to give the gift of heraldry to a loved one!

Custom Watercolor Wedding Crest by Simply Jessica Marie | Peach, Pink and Blue Georgia Wedding Crest | Custom Watercolor Crest

 

The intricate icons we'll use will represent your personalities, as well as your love story and/or family story!

The beautiful thing about custom crests is that, while most commonly used in wedding designs, they can and will last throughout the years as family heraldry. You can proudly hang your crest painting in your home, and can get creative with the other ways to use your design! 

I'll be blogging about my absolute favorite ways to use custom watercolor crests soon - but for now click the button below to take a look at some of my go-to ideas and how to commission a crest of your own!

The amazing thing about these custom watercolor crests is that by commissioning one, you will receive both the digital file for unlimited use of your crest as you desire, plus a fine art printed piece in the size of your choice!

YEP. YOU READ THAT RIGHT.

UNLIMITED USE OF YOUR CUSTOM CREST DESIGN!!

 

While I adore fully designing, printing, and assembling the custom stationery for my sweet clients, I know that not everyone is in need of full-service design! This is my fun way of still getting to create custom art for you, and I cannot wait to see how you choose to use your custom design!

Curious about what icons to include in your crest, which monogram to use, and even what information to put in the banner at the base of your crest? Don't even fret for one second, I've got all of those details in the listing in my shop! Simply click the button below to read more!

That sweet little shop listing also has all of the information about our design process, timeline, and pricing options. Of course, if you have any questions after reading through the listing, feel free to email me and we can chat!

Custom Wedding Stationery Guide by Simply Jessica Marie | 3 top tips for ordering custom wedding stationery | Printable worksheets to help organize your custom stationery design process! | SC Stockshop

photo by the SC Stockshop

Want to be the first to know about fun new wedding announcements like these custom crests, so you can be the first in my commissions list and design calendar? I'd love for you to sign up below, and as a treat I'll send you my Custom Wedding Stationery Guide with 3 of my top tips for ordering custom wedding stationery plus printable worksheets to help organize your custom design process!


Please note: This blog post contains affiliate links for the SC Stockshop. I absolutely adore using Shay's amazing styled stock images to enhance my brand aesthetic, and would 100% still do so without affiliate links!

The Best of the South Wedding Awards!

WeddingsJessica ClinchComment

Y'all know how much I adore Southern Weddings. I interned for them in college, was their blogger bride last year when Zack and I were engaged, had our wedding featured on their blog, had a sweet SJM Bride's wedding featured on their blog, have collaborated with them on a fun calligraphy vows anniversary gift shoot, and am a Blue Ribbon Vendor with them!

I LOVE supporting them and cheering them on in any way I can, and they are going above and beyond to love on sweet Southern wedding vendors! And, I could truly use your help!!

The Best of the South Wedding Awards by Southern Weddings

The Southern Weddings ladies are hosting The Best of the South Wedding Awards, AKA "The Pineys" - because the awards are gold pineapples! How cute is that?

Over the past few years, I have truly adored getting to know and design for so many sweet couples across the South. Nothing makes me happier than chatting about their relationship history, what they love doing together as a couple, what they are most looking forward to about their wedding and (most importantly!) their marriage, and what they are most nervous about that I can help them with both as a vendor and a former bride. Taking all of those details, and visually infusing them into the intricate painted pieces in their custom wedding stationery to create truly unique heirlooms!

Pineapple Wedding Invitations | Southern preppy Charleston wedding invitations | Custom watercolor wedding crest with pineapple | Custom wedding invitations by Simply Jessica Marie | Photo by Jose Villa for The Mrs. Box

photo by Jose Villa for The Mrs. Box

I have also loved getting the chance to work with so many amazing fellow vendors - collaborating with them on both real weddings and fun styled shoots! It's safe to say that the majority of my friends are fellow wedding vendors, and life would not be as interesting and fulfilling without them!

So y'all, if we have worked together in the past, are currently working together now, or if you simply love following along on my blog or social media, I would LOVE your help!! It would mean the absolute world to me if you took just a moment to nominate me for The Pineys under the "Best Paper Goods Vendor" and/or the "Best Calligrapher" vendor category!

For easy reference, my website is simplyjessicamarie.com and my email is simplyjessicamarie@gmail.com :) 

Nominations last until May 14, and then the top voted vendors go into the finals category!

Since I love love love my vendor friends, I would also truly appreciate it if you'd vote for your favorite vendors in all of the other categories, too! Let's share the love, y'all!