nat + matt, engaged.

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I’ve known Natalie a loooong time. Like 15 years. She’s one of my sister’s best friends. When she got engaged to Matt and asked me to take their engagement photos, I was so excited! They are so fun and playful and sweet together. She gave me total artistic freedom, and they were so easy to work with.

Matt: “On a scale from 1 to the best models you’ve worked with, where are we?”
Me: “Well I usually work with toddlers, so you’re pretty high up there.”

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I’m so very happy for them. I can’t wait for their wedding!

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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crazy november!

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Oh my goodness, November has slipped out of my hands. It has been the busiest month I think I’ve ever had in my life, both work-wise and personally, and I know my social media has been quiet because of it!

I’ve been doing several photo sessions and editing those, prepping art for holiday shows, celebrating birthdays & a wedding, mourning the heartbreaking loss of my nearly-16-year-old puppy, babysitting a lot, and basically just operating in survival mode and trying to enjoy all the good moments.

So here’s what’s happening this weekend: local Patchwork Show + Cyber Monday! Head over to my shop to see what you have your eye on for a discount on Monday :) I’ll be adding some new prints before the sale as well.

I promise I’ll be more on top of blogging now that this busy busy month is over!

Hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving and are starting to feel the holiday magic. I know I already am!

xo, Michelle

Follow me @maryandluna on your favorite social media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.
See my art in
my Etsy shop or on maryandluna.com

Meet the artist: a Q&A with myself!

photo credit: Mariah Milan

photo credit: Mariah Milan

 

I’ve been doing some major business organization and really focusing on what I’m doing in my business, how I’m doing it, and why I’m doing it. I’m constantly reading material & taking classes about creative business. In all of these venues of learning, they ask you questions to help guide your business. So I thought I would share some of them with you so you can get to know me better!

Who are you? 

I’m a wanderer and a daydreamer. I’m an artist and a photographer and a writer. Everyone calls me a baby-whisperer, and I now call myself that too. I’m a thinker. I’m a reader. I’m a frolicker. I’m a lover of too many things to keep track of. I’m an extroverted introvert & a hermit. I’m a major family girl; I’m a daughter and a sister. I’m a night owl. I’m a music lover & a spontaneous dancer. I’m an observer.

When did you start creating?

Art always came naturally to me, since I was a little kid. I always took art classes in between sports & school stuff, but I think junior year of high school is when I really thought I may pursue it. I firmly decided on being an artist after my freshman year of college ended.

What drives you to create?

Mostly my imagination. It needs to come out. I see things in my head and I need to put it on paper. And following that creative urge is good for my emotional well-being. I just really love to draw & paint & design! But further than that, I love knowing that things I made are in other people’s rooms, making their space happy & cozy.

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Why are you compelled to do what you do?

It’s extremely important to me to do what I love and what I’m passionate about. It always has been. I’m motivated by my love for something, not by money and status. I don’t get things done when I don’t enjoy them (unless it’s for my business, then I know there’s a purpose for the boring business stuff- I have to do it in order to be an artist!). I want to live a creative life, something different and interesting to me where I create my own path and my own rules. I’ve always done things a little differently than other people, and I see now that I operate best that way- improvising. It’s never boring and I have a lot of control to change things I don’t like. I love possibilities! Being an artist in the way I’ve chosen to be works for me: I get to do what I love, put more beauty in the world, be a happy human (which always makes the world a better place), and I create a lifestyle that suits me perfectly. It’s a very powerful thing to know that you can make the life you dream become a reality.

What does the process feel like to you?

When I create art, it feels like meditation. Everything goes quiet around me, and I’m so focused, it’s almost like a trance. I focus on each line, each patch of color, one at a time. I pull back and look at it. Then I focus again. I become unaware of the fact that I’m even working. It feels like I’m allowing my thoughts to pour out of me.

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What emotions does your work evoke?

To me, it evokes a feeling of quiet, simplicity, home, happy little things, freedom, whimsy, nostalgia, and wistfulness.

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Where do you find inspiration?

It seems that it’s everywhere when you’re open to it. Ideas hit me at the weirdest times. But here’s what I can pin it down to: photography, animation concept sketches, childhood, countryside, landscapes, travelling, stories, wild animals, weather & seasons, other artists, people I love, little moments and details, and light.

One last fun one: what do you fangirl over?

Too. many. things. Harry Potter, Taylor Swift, Disney, so many singer-songwriters and actors and TV shows. I’m really easily excited by many things.

I hope you guys have enjoyed this self-conducted interview! I’ve never really seen it done before, but I thought it would be a fun thing to do! 

xo, Michelle

Follow me @maryandluna on your favorite social media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.
See my art in my Etsy shop or on maryandluna.com

 

Holiday photoshoots!

I love to take photos. Of basically anything, but especially kids & scenery.

Since before I developed Mary & Luna, I had the goal of finding a way for me to do art + photography, in one simple extension of myself. Mary & Luna has become a place for me to put everything I imagine & see & create. I often am overcome with the feeling that it’s going to become something much more than an art shop. I’m still learning how to make it a little world in itself. That’s what I want it to be.

A thought I had recently: I realized that I don’t want to give up. That’s huge for me. I have the classic Aries problem of starting things I don’t finish and generating ideas that don’t come to fruition. I’ve found the business side of Mary & Luna incredibly challenging. But I had something click a couple weeks ago: I want this to bloom. I don’t want to be doing anything else. This is what I’m supposed to be doing. Even when it’s hard and unnatural and I feel stuck. I am meant to create, and I know this is the right way for me to do it. It suits me. I just have to work really hard to bring Mary & Luna to life. I’ve already made progress (it’s always easy to forget that), and I have to be patient. But I’m in this. I love to create and dream, and I guess the challenge of business is good for me.

So anyway! I took some family photos for the holidays with the kids I babysit & my best friend/her little family. I thought I’d share the cute. I LOVED doing these shoots.

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xo, Michelle

the details that are worth it.

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I came across this ^ little piece of writing on tumblr (my favorite source of inspiration) years ago, and it now hangs on a little bulletin board above my desk. It serves as a reminder of why I’m trying so hard to be an artist. I guess I should share why.

I do art because I have to. I don’t know how NOT to. It just pours out of me. I absolutely crave taking photos, sketching out ideas, putting the world onto paper, making things and figuring out how to put it together in a visually interesting way, writing out my thoughts until my hand starts to cramp and I start to fall asleep. In my life, I’ve had countless other hobbies, but I always came back to art. Almost everything I love is connected to some form of art. And I see life more clearly though the lens of my camera. I’m drawn to anything that makes you feel something. I’m constantly seeking the things that matter, whatever they might be. I’m always in a little dream world in my head, just wandering. My life made a lot more sense the moment that I realized the things that made me the happiest and the most alive were the moments that felt fleeting, the moments that I wanted to capture in a photo or put into a piece of visual art, so I can remember how beautiful life can be. That’s the feeling I’m always striving for when I make anything; I want to make something that, when I look at it, I simply feel happy and peaceful. Life can be hard. Relationships (of any kind) can be hard. I want to make things that ease that stress, even if it’s just for a second. Looking at something beautiful can break that cycle of negativity in your mind, because it slows you down. It gives you perspective. It allows you to drift off for a minute and then re-focus on positivity. More than anything, I just like how art and making art can transport me to a place where I feel such a sense of wonder. I like to feel like I’m floating.

The reason I’m talking about this is because I struggle so much with the realistic details of starting an art business. I’ve been working on building all of this for over a year now, and in some ways, I’m great with it. I have a clear vision for what I want to do, and I see the big picture of how all the business parts fit together. It’s just those details that make me feel absolutely insane. I’m not a salesperson- I didn’t inherit that gene from my dad. Despite my history of excelling in math, I am not a numbers person. I’m basically obsessed with social media, but marketing does not come naturally to me at all. All these little things that go into setting up and running a small business give me a headache (literally) and make me wonder why I’m doing this at all. I get so wrapped up in these details that I can’t even figure out what the point of it all is. So I force myself to pull back from it all, and re-focus on the big picture (that comes so easily to me, it’s ridiculous). I’m doing this because I want to create things that that are beautiful and things that matter. I want my work to be my passion, and I want to be able to create as much and as often as I can. I want the thing that comes the most naturally to me in the world to be the thing I get to do everyday.  And I want to be me. Creating things makes me feel like myself, and I just love how serene I am when I’m in the process of designing, and then the intense pride and excitement I feel when I finish a piece and I like how it looks. That’s the reason I’m doing this. That’s what makes all these petty details (the ones I don’t like at all) worth it. Someday when I look back on all this frustration I’m feeling, I hope that it will have been worth it.

I have to constantly remind myself of these things:

  • There is a learning curve in all this; I have to cut myself some slack because I cannot build a business overnight. Especially when I’m 23 and have no prior business experience. (I think I just get so ambitious, thinking I can take on the world, that I don’t have enough patience for things that take time).
  • I have already done so much. I have to say, “Seriously, Michelle, look at what you’ve done.” Ambition is good, but I have to constantly remember that I’m proud of what I’ve already been able to do.

I felt like I needed to write about this, because I really struggle with this every day, even in the midst of creating something new and feeling happy about it. My mind is always my biggest battle. I never know if anyone knows what I’m talking about, because I realize that I’m a bit of an eccentric and, for the most part, a hippie and a daydreamer. But I’m sure there are other people who enjoy art the way I do. If there weren’t, art wouldn’t be as big of a part of human culture as it is. And this need for art goes back to the beginning of human existence. So if you’re out there and you’re just as much of a dreamer and a wanderer as I am, let’s be friends.

xo, Michelle

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