When I started accepting sponsors, it was in hopes that I could a) introduce you all and myself to some new indie shops, but also b) use it as an excuse to feature some of my old favorites, as well. En Rouge, a painting and print shop run by Karla Aron, is the first sponsor I've featured that falls into that second category.
When we moved into our house a few years ago, I loved Karla's work so much that I bought one of her paintings to be the showcase piece of art in our living room. Her little birds are so whimsical and sweet, and to this day I never tire of looking at the family of sparrows she painted for us.
Me: You have a beautiful style of painting--the sweet birds, the saturated colors--how did you develop your style? What inspired you to begin painting families of birds?
Karla: Thank you! The little birds found me really. I think of it as a quiet calling, one that I didn't fully appreciate at first. And my first attempts at birds were awful! But I quickly fell in love with the idea of a sweet little family where the baby birds are so loved and nurtured. I wish it could be that way for every child in the world. So, that's been the inspiration and driving force. I've been honing my skills at capturing the emotions and expressions of the birds for several years now. When I start a new painting, I visualize a family that is laughing together and just loving being close. It's a romantic notion, but I believe it's out there in lots of families.
Me: I imagine your studio as being this gorgeous, light-filled space, covered with bright paints and bits of beautiful fabric and what-not. Am I close?
Karla: I love your description, but it's a bit different from that! : ) I'm actually in a large space that feels almost industrial. It's in the Museum of Art in our downtown area, and the building is really old. It's a true working space where I can sling paint from floor to ceiling. And the best part is being able to crank up the music without disturbing other artists in the building. I work very intuitively and music is a big factor in my process. So if I've got my iTunes I'm a happy girl.
Me: From looking through your shop, I notice you're now painting tiny deer and a few giraffes, as well. Tell us about that.
Karla: A couple of years ago, I got an email from my sister that blew me away. She said, "Sis, I hope you're sitting down as you read this because you are about to be an aunt.". You see, the thing is that we weren't expecting her to ever have kids...EVER...it just wasn't going to happen. My family had accepted it a long time ago (with a little sadness, of course). So, it was HUGE news that inspired me in so many ways, including artwork. It also gave me a sense of hope and purpose for the future, now that we were going to have a little heir in our family. So, the giraffes and little animals were inspired by Hudson, my cuddly little nephew.
Karla has generously agreed to give away an 8x10 print of your choice! (And she will ship internationally, so don't be shy!) To enter, visit En Rouge and leave a comment below about which print you would pick. I'll randomly choose a winner Wednesday night!