My name is Erika. I'm in love with making art, collecting old things & chasing after my two kiddos. This blog is a peek into my happy accidents & plots of total world domination.


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Make Art Everyday in 2015

I want to make art everyday in 2015.  It sounds simple, right?  I don't know if I am crazy for taking on this challenge but I feel like I need a project to make some sort of art everyday.  Since having my second baby only seven weeks ago, the only thing I miss other than sleep is making art.

2015 is just starting and when a new year rolls around, it's a time or maybe an excuse to start something.  Maybe it's just a way around a new years resolution, but a new year is a fresh start and just about anything can happen.

Now...The Rules.

1. Make art everyday, no matter how big or small. Any medium counts. Even if I draw a stick person or just snap a blurry photo, the point is just to make art.
2.  I am not allowed to give up. This is very important.
3.  I am not allowed to throw away any artwork or rip out any pages in my sketch book. I am allowed to start over.  I have been known if I get fed up with a painting or mad at my work. I start painting over canvases or ripping out pages in my sketchbook.

I'll be using the #makeart2015 on instagram and twitter if you want to follow along.


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  Nora has been talking non-stop about Santa and has been practicing opening up her presents.  We finally took her to see Santa and she was not happy.  She ended up throwing her shoes and Christmas list at Santa. Poor guy. hehe.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Big 500- 6/10

I love doughnuts! I have been known to wake up at the crack of dawn just to get my hands on a warm, fresh doughnut. This shop is open 24 hours. Since I have been painting different parts of Portland for the art show, "The Big 500", I thought, why not paint Portland's most famous doughnut shop?

There are lots of amazing doughnut places around town, but VD was Portland's first unique doughnut experience. They have doughnuts with fun combinations such as bacon maple glaze or my personal favorite the Captain Crunch donut. It's one of those places where, if you are visiting Portland, then you have stop in. 

What's your favorite doughnut? 
Details about the show.
Opening Night: December 13. 2014 and opens at 2:00 pm - 9:00 pm (if you are planning on going opening night, go early!)
Dates: December 13, 2014- January 11, 2014
Address: Top Floor of Pioneer Place,  People's Gallery, 700 SW 5th Ave, Portland, OR

Want to see more artwork from the previous years? Big 500 //Big 400 // Big 300 // Big 200 // Big 100

PS. Want to buy a copy of this print? Click here.
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Friday, December 19, 2014

Big 500 - 5/10

Aren't these Sabre cameras pretty great? I don't think I could ever get tired of painting these bright old cameras. I can't put my finger on what makes them so special, the color, the font, or maybe the adorable geometric design.  It just boils down to my love for old things.

Even though the Big 500 opening has happened, they are doing an additional opening in accordance with the 3rd Saturdays art receptions.  The great thing about this opening is that there will be a lot of artists to meet and there is still a ton of art to view.  (More details about the show and times listed below)

Details about the show.
Opening Night: December 13. 2014 and opens at 2:00 pm - 9:00 pm (if you are planning on going opening night, go early!)
Second Opening: December 20th 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm.
Dates: December 13, 2014- January 11, 2014
Address: Top Floor of Pioneer Place,  People's Gallery, 700 SW 5th Ave, Portland, OR

Want to see more artwork from the previous years? Big 500 //Big 400 // Big 300 // Big 200 // Big 100

PS. Want to buy a copy of this print? Click here.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Big 500- 4/10

Here is another peak for this amazing art show, the Big 500. This also happens to be one great place for fried chicken.  I think my favorite is the color of the building and the way the sun is shinning makes me think of summer time.  

This weekend there are so many fun holidays things happening around Portland.  I need to finish up my holiday shopping and it's Tim's birthday. Juggling two kiddos and finding the perfect gifts is going to be quite the holiday adventure.

What are you up to this weekend?

Details about the show.
Opening Night: December 13. 2014 and opens at 2:00 pm - 9:00 pm (if you are planning on going opening night, go early!)
Dates: December 13, 2014- January 11, 2014
Address: Top Floor of Pioneer Place,  People's Gallery, 700 SW 5th Ave, Portland, OR

Want to see more artwork from the previous years? Big 500 //Big 400 // Big 300 // Big 200 // Big 100

PS. Want to buy a copy of this print? Click here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Big 500 - 3/10

This is my 3rd piece for the Big 500! (more details below). I have been meaning to share more work for this awesome show, that opens this very Saturday.  I was able to finish all the paintings before having baby Everett, but have been slow to share on the blog. 

I just love painting these little slated roof buildings because there is just something so cozy and adorable about them.  I have been doing some painting in my studio since Everett has been born, but not every day and I miss it.  Just looking through my paintings for the show, makes me want to get back in the swing of things.

Details about the show.
Opening Night: December 13. 2014 and opens at 2:00 pm - 9:00 pm (if you are planning on going opening night, go early!)
Dates: December 13, 2014- January 11, 2014
Address: Top Floor of Pioneer Place,  People's Gallery, 700 SW 5th Ave, Portland, OR

Want to see more artwork from the previous years? Big 500 //Big 400 // Big 300 // Big 200 // Big 100

PS. Want to buy a copy of this print? Click here.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Baby Everett's Birth Story

Wow! I still can't believe I made it through childbirth again! Childbirth is one of the most difficult things that I have ever done in my life. It's one of those things, that you don't know you if have it in you until it happens.  Even though it was so incredibly hard and awful, it made me feel so proud, strong and even fearless.

Everett's birth was a million times easier than Nora's birth, but they say the second time around is easier than the first.  I was scheduled for an induction on that Tuesday 11/11 at 6:00 pm, but the baby had other plans. I started having really heavy contractions on 11/10 at around 10:00 pm.

I was kind of in denial that I was going into labor because the contractions came on really fast.  I was completely convinced that I was having Braxton Hicks (false labor), and it was one big false alarm. I was pacing around the house and Tim started timing my contractions.  He ended up calling the hospital and they told us to come in.  The contractions started to get extremely painful and they were very close together.

Once we got to the hospital it was about midnight. I was in a lot of pain and started pacing around the hallways. The nurses were cracking jokes about how I couldn't just wait for my induction later that day.  We finally got checked-in and I couldn't sit down for very long.  I was in so much pain, that I started asking for the epidural and I could feel the baby dropping.

I started begging for the drugs, any drug.  They started fluids in my IV and some pain medication, while they tracked down the the anesthesiologist. I told the doctor, that I really needed to start pushing. I was secretly afraid that if I started pushing, that I wouldn't be able to get the epidural. I could feel that my water was ready to break.  I had been holding back from pushing and finally pushed so hard that my water shot out across the bed.

The anesthesiologist looked at the doctor and said I was cutting it extremely close to not being able to have an epidural. Tim and I held hands while they administered the epidural and I immediately felt relief once the epidural was in place.

The doctor asked if I wanted to take a break or start to pushing because I could start pushing.  I said I needed at least 10 minutes to get my head together.  This was such a different experience then it was with Nora.  I felt once I had the contractions under control, I could really focus on doing what I needed to do.

I pushed for about 30 minutes, and I tried really hard to relax and focus on what the doctor was saying and getting the baby out.  The baby was out in a few pushes and I could feel the baby literally pop right out.  He was placed on my chest and cuddled my warm skin.  His eyes stayed closed but he did give me a few big sniffs and then pooped all over me!  The whole experience happened so fast and I'm so grateful that he came out healthy.

Want to read Nora's Birth Story? click here. The video is Nora meeting her baby brother for the first time, major heart melt.

PS This was just my personal and genuine birth story. I made decisions and choices, that were best for me. I have a ton of admiration for women who can make it through childbirth with or with out drugs because childbirth is not easy.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Everett Kai Sears is here!

It has been completely quiet around here, but guess what?  I had my sweet baby boy.  Welcome to the world Everett Kai Sears.  He came into the world with a very short labor and delivery. (More to come on my birth story). I am so great-full that he came out healthy and big pile of cuddles.    

He has been such a sweet and mellow baby (thank god) but just by the look in his eyes, he has a twinkle of mischief.  Baby Everett loves to be held and sniffs around like a little puppy, which of course is my favorite!  His dislikes are burping, farting, and pooping, and I am sure he will change his mind in the future.

I still can't believe I'm a mommy to two little humans and I am going to have my hands full. I hope that I can keep up with documenting the time because I don't want to forget the little moments.  I love that I am entering this new chapter in my life of having a family of four.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Big 500 - 2/10

Here is the next painting for the upcoming show The Big 500, and it is one of my favorites. I decided to paint a few landscapes for this show because this show has turned into one of Portland holiday staples.  This is George's Tavern- just a regular bar in Portland but some how the with the light and power lines, made it extra special.  The best part about painting landscapes, especially the common every day scenes are finding the unique details about them.

Details about the show.
Opening Night: December 13. 2014 and opens at 2:00 pm - 9:00 pm (if you are planning on going opening night, go early!)
Dates: December 13, 2014- January 11, 2014
Address: Top Floor of Pioneer Place,  People's Gallery, 700 SW 5th Ave, Portland, OR

Want to see more artwork from the previous years? Big 500 //Big 400 // Big 300 // Big 200 // Big 100

PS. Want to buy a copy of this print? Click here.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pumpkin Patch 2014

The pumpkin patch holds such a special place with me, because we've been going to the same farm since before Nora was born. Visiting the pumpkin patch is the mark of fall and it just reminds me, that the holidays are right around the corner.  I love stepping out and hearing the leaves crunch under my feet and smelling that cool crisp Oregon air (nothing beats it).

When visiting, I always end up thinking about what I was doing last year and the previous years past, and it always feels like my life has changed so much. Being 9 months pregnant and pretty much ready for baby #2 to come any day now.  This visit, I was wobbling around the farm and chasing a toddler.  I'm starting to feel a lot slower but the pumpkin patch had fresh apple fritters, elephant ears, and corn on the cob, which of course I had to try everything.  I can't really deny the baby, right?

After stuffing ourselves to the brim, we took the hay ride out onto the pumpkin patch.  Nora was very serious about finding her perfect pumpkin.  It was pretty adorable watching her line up the pumpkins and count them.  Pumpkins are a pretty big deal to a 2 year old,  and she was very adamant about not leaving any of her pumpkins behind.  Poor Tim had to carry about 4 pumpkins back to the car, but at least they were on the smaller side.

The pumpkins now sit on our front porch and Nora says hello and good bye to pumpkins everyday. I wonder if she is going to do the same thing when we get the Christmas tree. :)

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Big 500! is here! 1/10

It's the time of year again and I've started painting for the Big 500.  The Big 500 is a holiday art show that showcases 500 artists! Each artist is given 10 wood panels (8 inch by 8 inch) and all the same price, which means there will be about 5000 pieces of affordable art-work.

This show gets crazier and crazier every year, and the line to get in for opening night is pretty insane. People camp out and wait in line hours before. When the doors open, it's a mad house to get in and there will be art collectors ripping art off the wall.

The best part about the show is that there is art from established artists to emerging artists. All of the art work is the same price and it's hung saloon style (all mixed up). There is also a huge diversity of art from portrait artists to abstract to mixed media, pretty much there are no rules! One year someone did crochet male parts, on their panels (true story).

I have been participating in the show since it first opened years ago and The Big 500 is pretty much the best art show ever! It is a cash and carry art show, which means once you pay for the artwork, then you take it home with you.  I love this show so much every year and I can't believe it's gone from about 20 artists to 500.

Even though I am about 9 months pregnant, I have been working hard to finish my pieces before the baby comes.  I also decided that I am going to make prints available in my etsy shop, if you are not able to attend the show or want something special for the holidays.

Details about the show.
Opening Night: December 13. 2014 and opens at 2:00 pm - 9:00 pm (if you are planning on going opening night, so go early!)
Dates: December 13, 2014- January 11, 2014
Address: Top Floor of Pioneer Place,  People's Gallery, 700 SW 5th Ave, Portland, OR

Want to see more artwork from the previous years? Big 400 // Big 300 // Big 200 // Big 100

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Apple Pie Bread Recipe

I had a friend of mine, tell me about this amazing little apple stand, and it so happens to be pretty close to my house. One of my favorite things about living on the edge of the city, is having access to local farms. It's an apple stand that sits in front of an orchard and you pay based on the honor system.  So you pick out what you want and leave it in a home-made wooden box.  It's pretty great.

The apples from this stand are so crisp and fresh, that I could eat them all plain. It's one of those stands you could smell that apple fall smell before you walked up to it.   Since it's  fall, why not bake?  I decided to make some apple pie bread and the crunch of the crumble on the top, with the fresh apples.  It's that good.  I have been eating this bread nearly every morning dunked into my morning tea or hot coco.

If you want to be really naughty, toast a slice in the oven and then add a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Serious business. Yum.

1/4 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup of butter (room temp)
1/2 milk
2 eggs
1 1/2  tsp vanilla
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp of salt
Pie Spice - 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp of ginger, and 1/2 tsp of nutmeg
4 medium apples. Peeled and cut into small chunks. (I used a combo of Janagold and Galas but you can use whatever you like.  Just make sure they are firm apples)

3 tablespoons of melted butter
1/3 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 tsp of cinnamon

1.  Preheat Oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9X5 inch loaf pan.
2. In your stand mixer, combine the sugars, butter, milk, vanilla, and eggs (one at a time).  Beat on medium while combining the ingredients.  Beat until a creamy whipped texture.
3.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, pie spice.  Turn on your mixer to medium and slowly add to the wet ingredients.  Turn off mixer and fold in apples.  Pour into loaf pan.
4.  For the topping, combine all the ingredients with a fork and it should be a crumbly texture.  Pour on top batter.  Place into preheated oven and it takes 50-65 minutes.  At 50 minutes check on it, by inserting a toothpick and if it comes out clean, it's done! Yay!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Room 702

8x10 oil on board

Do you ever feel like you are running out of time? I'm about 6 weeks away from having my second baby, and feel like that time is slipping through my fingers. I know what to expect with the whole baby process this time around, but my major concern is time.  I love being a mother, a wife, and an artist but it feels like by growing a family, that the other roles are getting larger and the part that's just me is getting smaller.
I think I'm just in this juxtapose position that I want to have all my work done and have the whole birthing process over with. So with losing time, I just want time to go faster.  I know, now, it's just a waiting game for basically life to happen.

It's official, I have started working on holiday and client work, before I go on maternity leave.  After Nora was born, I think I only lasted a couple weeks before I was back in my art studio working.  Making art was the best sort of healing after birth because it was a little patch of time that I was doing something for myself and it's just what I needed. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

My favorites from Portland Feast 2014

If you love to eat as much as I do, you will want to go to Feast Portland.  I am still so full from eating, all weekend long, that I would go back for more, in a heart beat.  It was that good.

 I love seeing people passionate about what they do and everyone talked about what they made with so much joy and zest.  This event was so special because it highlighted local Pacific Northwest chefs, restaurants, and the best of the local food industry.  If you watch Top Chef or the Food-Network, there were a ton of celebrity chefs around every corner, and they were demoing, feeding the crowd and talking to everyone. I talked with the likes of Hugh Achenson (whose unibrow wasn't as noticeable in person) and Ruth Reichel (so much more eccentric and rad in person) and I have to admit I was a little star struck.

Feast is so unique, that there is the traditional open tastings with lots of food and booze during the day.  Then at nigh,t there were these magical parties with beautiful food, from some of my favorite Portland restaurants and in amazing transformed spaces.

The main event I went to was the Sandwich Invitational, that was tucked in Directors Park in down town Portland.  I have been craving sammiches the whole time, I've been pregnant.  So this was the perfect place!  This was a competition of creating the perfect or the most inventive sandwich.   There were every sort of sandwich, one could dream of! Everything from traditional fancy sandwiches to the twist of the ice cream sandwich.

Here are a peak at some of my favorite photos and vendors from the entire experience.

I can not say enough good things about Portland Feast 2014 because everything was so darn good.  Now the count down begins until next year.

My favorite yummy links from the event.

Olympic Provisions- one of the best salamis and restaurants in town
Pacific Pie Company- um hello pie.
Cacao Chocolate - a chocolate drink in a cup or I should say pure heaven in a cup.
Batch PDX - chocolates. serious business.
Salt and Straw - the darling ice cream shop of Portland and they just opened up a new location in LA!
Bent Brick - one of my favorite restaurants in Portland and the food is always delicious.
Oregon Berry - they supplied many of the vendors, for this event.  Oregon Berries are the jam.
USA Pears - 85% of the pears in the United are grown in Oregon and Washington.  Pears so happens to be Nora's favorite fruit.
Whole Foods-  grocery store loves supporting local businesses, no matter what state they are in.
Little Green Pickle- the people who make Feast Portland happen!

Want to read more about Feast and meet some other snazzy bloggers?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Icon a Show of Portraits @ People's Gallery

I'm participating in a group show at People's Gallery, opening next week. The title for the show is Icon a Show of Portraits and I couldn't be more thrilled to participate.   The curators for this gallery work so hard to bring art into the community and they continue to inspire me with their dedication and creativity.

One of my favorite icons of all time is Alice Neel. She was a true trail blazer for women in art and in life. She was someone, that just had to make art.  There is something so admirable about someone's spirit, and is willing to do whatever it takes for the passion of their craft. Her art was something that ran so deep with in her, that it came through in her paintings.

If you have a chance to see her work in person, her energy leaps off the canvas. When her paintings are on display at the Portland Art Museum, I go visit them. When I'm in New York City, there is one that is close to the elevator on the 3rd floor at MOMA, that I visit. There is something magical about her work and her long, beautiful, brush strokes.

One of my favorite art documentaries of all time is Neel. (and it's on Netflix)  Even if you aren't an artist, you can appreciate this film. Alice's drive and spirit will inspire you to do whatever it takes to make your life the best life ever.  It chronologies her life, and her art, and how she made it.  Her sons still own her old apartment in New York City, and they use it as an office and a place to remember their mother.  

"The minute I sat in front of a canvas I was happy. Because it was a world and I could do what I liked in it."- Alice Neel

Details about the show: 
Opening Night: Sept 20th, 5-9 
Show Runs from: September 20th- October 12th.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Get Into the Groove Together & Target Giveaway

Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Target.  All the opinions are my own.
Weddings are really the best! One of the best perks about getting married is doing the wedding registry. A wedding is one of the few events, that a couple can ask for exactly what they want, because they are building and designing a life together.

Since September is just the start of fall, it's definitely a time for those home projects. The best thing about Target registry is that you can get everything you need to design and inspire your newlywed home.  After a wedding, doing fun home projects is a great way to create memorable experiences that will last a life time and get into the groove together!

I made a fun registry board around the kitchen. What brings the new family together? The kitchen, of course. I started out with these fun Dudes Cork Board Tiles to hang recipes, coupons, or photos.  Then of course I needed some organizational supplies like a Pyrex 10 piece tupperware set and a Dyson DC65 Animal Upright Vacuum.  The great thing about Target is that there things that will make the couple both extremely happy and help them groove their style.

So if you or a friend are getting married, let them know about Target registry because it is so easy to create the perfect registry.

OH and Target is giving away a $25 gift card. Yay! Enter Below!

#targetwedding #sponsered

Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Target. All opinions are my own.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, September 13, 2014

2014 Feast Portland

Feast Portland is less than a week away. I have to say, I can't wait to eat my way through the weekend. Since I am always heavily motivated by food, this is the perfect place to get nibbles and bites from yummy local places and internationally acclaimed chefs.  What more could a girl ask for?  I have my fork ready.  

Details and Links:
Dates: September 18th-21st
All of the Latest Feast News: Facebook // Instagram //Twitter

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Portland Rhododendron Gardens

Portland Rhododendron Gardens is easily one of my favorite little parks in Portland because Tim and I got married here. It's a special place, not only because we had our special day here but we used to come here for dates too.  We would just walk around the park for hours, holding hands and talking. It's truly one of my favorite hidden gems in the city because it's never really crowded, and it's like a secret garden.

We spent the morning walking around all the different lakes and streams.  The whole garden is extremely toddler and pregnant lady friendly which earns extra bonus points. There are lots of nice big wide paths and not to many hills.

There are tons of big fat ducks and bossy geese around the lakes, and they love visitors or I should say snacks.  I didn't realize this but I gave Nora a graham cracker and a goose chased us around for nearly 20 minutes.  and just for a crumb! It actually felt pretty creepy, like I was in some movie (Attack of the Birds, ring a bell?).  It really freaked me out, but once we put away our snack, we were safe.

This was such a special way to spend a morning, even if we did get chased by a naughty goose.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Painting Portland

I have really enjoyed sharing my sketchbook on this blog and in Instagram. There is something that makes me feel so much more braver as an artist, when I just put it out there. In making just 1 piece of art, there are so many different layers and ugly phases.  The best part of keeping a sketchbook is seeing and revisiting those past phases and layers.

For a long time, I was extremely self conscious about sharing my studies and sketches because the work was just not done yet. It's hard showing your work, that is half finished or just show your imperfections as a maker.  I guess I am realizing, there is something beautiful in seeing the beginnings, the in-betweens, and thoughts of something.

I have been taking a little bit of a break from painting landscapes and to be honest, I was a burnt out by them.  I have been painting them for so long, that it felt like I was struggling to find inspiration. Inspiration is everywhere but I was blocked. When I do a gallery show or get a request from a curator, the most requested paintings are doing some sort of landscape or city-scape.

 I think all I needed was a break because I'm slowly seeing some buildings pop up into my sketchbook again. I have been rediscovering bursts of city inspiration around town and it feels good.  It's the best feeling to rediscover something you love to make or do.

Friday, September 5, 2014

30 Week Bump-Date!

30 weeks! I'm getting closer to the end and I am officially into my 3rd trimester. Yay! I'm starting to need more naps again and can feel my body slowing down.  My feet are starting to feel puffy, which I think it's some sort of sign of getting ready to hatch a new baby.

This pregnancy is a lot different than Nora's and feel all around a bit healthier and have more energy, which is good! Even though, I've had morning sickness a lot this pregnancy and pregnancy is pretty awful, I don't have much to complain about.  I just feel pretty grateful, that I'm able to have another baby. There are so many women, that are not able to get pregnant or have complicated pregnancies.  I think maybe, I'm just done complaining and pregnancy is just really hard.  

The best thing about this picture is that, when Tim was taking it, he was more worried that a rattle snake would jump out of the bushes and get him.  I'm not sure if rattle snakes can jump but he seemed to think so.  (He is also afraid of house spiders) hehe.  He then later looked up, and there are no rattle snakes in Arizona but only king snakes.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Phoenix Botanical Gardens

Hello from Arizona! Tim surprised me for the long weekend and scooped me up for a baby-moon. I think we both needed a little get away, with out the pugs and the kiddo. I love them all to pieces, but it was really nice to have a break. He thought it would be a good idea because who knows when we will be able to even get a date in, once the new baby comes in November.  So, we hopped a plane to Arizona.

I am actually pretty impressed, that he even suggested the idea and do something just us because he doesn't really do surprises. We mostly swam in the hotel pool, got fruity drinks with umbrellas and even went to the movies (Have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy, yet?), but it was the best.  Our lives are so full with so many things, that it really makes me appreciate when we can steal a moment away.

One of the days, we decided to go to the Phoenix Botanical Gardens and it was pretty beautiful, but it was freaking hot.  The gardens were just lovely, and there were so many different types of cacti and little desert animals.  There were lots of different water features, since it is smack dab in the middle of the desert and anytime I saw water, it felt like an oasis. I dunked my pregnant puffy feet in several of the fountains and loved how quiet the park was.

This vacation was just what I needed and probably Tim too! I feel so much more relaxed after this quick trip. It's funny because I realized how much more energy I have, when I don't have to chase around a toddler, but I missed her so very much.
© Erika Lee Sears