a loving and wild family session

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oh my goodness, I loved my time with this family. They are adorable and lovely and so real. Jenna is a  girl boss and a wonderful mama. Her kids are so sweet and wild. I love that combo. We went for a more Christmas-y vibe with this session and I love it.

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Don’t you just want to snuggle that little baby?! She stole my heart.

xo, Michelle

Follow me @maryandluna on your favorite social media: InstagramTwitterFacebook.
See my art in 
my Etsy shop or on maryandluna.com

if you’re interested in a session with me for you and/or your kids in Orange County, CA, visit my website or email me! maryandluna@gmail.com

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lifestyle session: cousins as best friends

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I loved getting to document the wild and crazy love that the boys I babysit share with their cousins. They’re super close and the boys’ mom wanted to remember this phase of life with photos. 3 sets of siblings… 10 kids. Lots of running around and giggles. So much cuteness.

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Childhood is my favorite thing. So much life in those little bodies.

xo, Michelle

Follow me @maryandluna on your favorite social media: InstagramTwitterFacebook.
See my art in 
my Etsy shop or on maryandluna.com

if you’re interested in a session with me for you and/or your kids in Orange County, CA, visit my website or email me! maryandluna@gmail.com

little jonah, one year old.

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Finally sharing this adorable family session I shot back in May! Little Jonah turned 1 year old, and toddlers are MY JAM. It’s so obvious how much his parents love him. He is so fun and expressive! And he loved when planes flew over us :)

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Such a pretty place & family to shoot! 

I hope everyone is having a nice summer so far :)

xo, Michelle

Follow me @maryandluna on your favorite social media: InstagramTwitterFacebook.
See my art in 
my Etsy shop or on maryandluna.com

if you’re interested in a session with me for you and/or your kids in Orange County, CA, visit my website or email me! maryandluna@gmail.com

new print: “forever yours, faithfully.”

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A new love-inspired print is in my shop, just barely in time for Valentine’s Day! (Sometimes I’m more on top of my release timings than others…)

A print of my original watercolor & gouache painting, this stardust silhouetted couple surrounded by the swirling atmosphere is inspired by the lyric written in calligraphy beneath it: “I’m forever yours, faithfully,” from a song by Journey (one of my favorites).  *Print will not include the watermark (© Mary & Luna).

You can get it in my Etsy shop!

Hope you like this little daydream of mine :)

xo, Michelle

Follow me @maryandluna on your favorite social media: InstagramTwitterFacebook.
See my art in 
my Etsy shop or on maryandluna.com

“Grace, not perfection.”

A few years ago, I read this quote and it stuck with me. This week, I felt the need to handwrite it and paint.

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I am trying the best I can to be the best I can be. Sometimes my own head and body get in the way. I can’t churn out artwork as frequently as some artists I follow. I’m still new to learning business and I’m constantly trying to absorb more information about it. I’m still learning how to balance art and business. I’m still trying to set up a lifestyle that works for me, day-to-day. I have days where I just need to zone out and do nothing. I’m constantly afraid of my past anxiety taking over with full force again if I push myself too hard. I’m still figuring out how I want my business and my internet presence to be, because I’m in introvert and I simply cannot post something everyday; I have a need to reflect and be deliberate with what I share. I juggle my art business and life and my part-time babysitting jobs. I know that’s how my life will continue to be, so I’m doing the absolute best I can sanely do to establish habits and a workflow that work for me.

I find myself often feeling like I’m not doing enough, despite constantly checking things off my to-do list. I guess I have high standards and hopes for myself. I’ve always been a little overly ambitious but a little bit lazy. I know I’m capable, so I strive for perfection. I always have. And sometimes that’s good- it’s motivating. But sometimes it’s horrible for my emotional well-being. Nothing is perfect. Perfection is something people perceive from the outside, and the person who created it or the person living in it never believes it’s perfect.

So I’m always making an effort to focus on the gracefulness of what I’m doing. Am I creating pieces I love? Am I doing the best I can? Am I presenting a message and a presence I want to present to the world? Am I being deliberate and cohesive and consistent? Am I presenting my work gently and gracefully, not abrasively and desperately? I am working within myself to do things with grace (not in a religious way, but in a refined, gentle, smooth way). I will strive to create work & a life that I’m proud of, and I will strive to be graceful in my actions in all areas of my life. I will always do the best I can, and try to accept that it will rarely be perfect in my eyes.

Whomever is reading this, please never hesitate to share any thoughts with me. I’d love to know what you’re thinking :)

xo, Michelle

P.S. Forgot to announce that I re-designed my website quite a bit. Go see the new layout and some new content: www.maryandluna.com

Comfort zones & creating.

This isn’t directly related to art, but it spills over into “one of those life things” that is applicable to creating. And I think that’s important.

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This weekend I took on a challenge: dog-sitting. Here’s what you should know: I’m not a dog person, despite the fact that I have a little dog (he’s not just mine- he’s a family dog, and I do love him). I’ve actually been terrified of dogs my entire life. I have a childhood history of climbing on high surfaces to get away from them. I was chased through a park by one when I was little. I hid in trees one time when a dog was loose and I refused to come out because I was so scared. I am easily reduced to tears when I’m around big ones, even now. So over the years, I have had to get more used to dogs. But I’ve never felt comfortable. A friend (whom I know) of one of my babysitting moms is pregnant and we talked about me being her nanny. She wanted to know if I’d be interested in dog sitting this weekend. A big black lab. My instinct said no, but then I thought about how much I would love to be the nanny to her on-the-way baby boy, and I knew the dog would be around while I was watching the baby. So I met the dog, and I said yes to this challenge. I’m a very nurturing person, so I had no doubt I could meet his needs for a weekend.

The dog is very sweet and still playful like a puppy, but very well-trained, so I felt okay with the idea of watching him. I was really nervous though. But I know it’s important to face fears and take on new challenges and step outside your comfort zone. It took about 2 full days with him to develop a nice rhythm and not feel a little on edge when he came running up to me. I like him. He’s more familiar to me now, and familiarity always makes things less scary. I can relax now when I’m with him. I feel so much more comfortable. I’m sitting here writing this now with him laying next to me.

So here’s the lesson: Leaving your comfort zone is so hard. But I force myself to do it all the time because I know that I always grow from it. I pushed myself. I worked through the discomfort. And that awkward adjustment is so hard, but it leads to create a new comfort zone. And you feel yourself amazed at your capability to adapt to something you would have thought impossible.

As I grow my art and my business, I have to remember this. It’s all so new and scary, especially in the first year of business. But the more I meet a challenge head-on (like a true Aries), the more capable I feel. I’m starting to love that word- capable. It goes right along with confidence. When you know you’re capable of accepting challenges and overcoming them, the fear and the nervousness goes away. And then you meet a new challenge. This is a pattern, and I know that I grow the most when I tackle something I’m (usually irrationally) scared of. I’m usually scared because it’s unfamiliar territory. But you brave it anyway (I don’t know how I summon that courage- I just take a deep breath and it comes from somewhere deep inside me). And the uncharted territory becomes familiar and comfortable and you can breathe without reminding yourself to breathe. (as I write this, I’m thinking “wow, I really am SUCH an Aries. All about pioneering and diving headfirst”).

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been thinking about the past few days and I thought it verbalized a lot of what you deal with as an artist: doing something differently than anyone else, even other artists.

So much upcoming art to share with you!

-In a few days you’ll see my Valentine’s Day cards! I really love how they turned out. They’re simple and sweet, and I think there’s something for everyone.

-As soon as I release those, I’m starting work on a design for a longtime friend of mine who is releasing an EP of her music! She wants a design that can go on a t-shirt for her release party, and I’m so excited to design it! Not only is it flattering to be asked, I actually love music-inspired design. Before I imagined up Mary & Luna, I wanted to do album artwork for musicians. So this will be fun!

-In early February I’ll have a new print for sale too! I’ve had the outline of the design for a while, but I’m going to turn it into something else than I originally intended :)

xo, Michelle

Fall is about letting go.

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I cut out these words from the leaves I collected and pressed. It was a simple truth that flowed from my hands.

I watch how effortlessly trees let go of their leaves, and I wish I could do that so gracefully. Letting go is so hard. Letting go of unrealistic expectations, perfectionism, the way things used to be. It’s all a constant work in progress. But I’m realizing how much lighter I feel when I decide to let go of heavy things. Life gets a little bit easier that way.

I’ve been thinking about this lately, but this post came from my decision to cut about 6 inches of my hair today. It’s a small and silly thing to be so influenced by, but I’ve had my hair really long for 5 years: the 5 most turbulent years of my life so far, the first 5 years of my adulthood. I needed a change, and it’s amazing how much lighter I feel. I grew very attached to my long, wavy hair, but I need something different for a while now. It’s like a new start. So I’m letting it go, and I’m letting go of some of the deeper things that are heavy. The things that make me hesitate to keep going and keep creating. I need to let those things go.

I hope you can let go too.

xo, Michelle