Meet a Minted Artist: Natalie Groves

A series where we highlight a member of our Minted artist community. Featured this month: painter Natalie Groves, who lives with her husband and daughter in Exira, Iowa. 

Self-taught artist Natalie Groves (who got her start as a chalk artist at Trader Joe’s!) began painting with watercolors after she moved from Southern California to the rolling countryside of Exira, Iowa. Here, she shares a glimpse into her life in the country and opens up about juggling art, life, and motherhood.

Meet a Minted Artist: Natalie Groves

How did you end up doing what you’re doing now?
I have loved drawing since childhood. When I was in my early 20s I worked for Trader Joe’s as their chalk artist. I received incredibly valuable on-the-job training: how to find my own personal style, how to consistently meet deadlines, how to listen, catch vision, and crank out artwork. When I moved from Santa Barbara, CA to Exira, IA with my husband, I started experimenting with watercolor. Eventually I met Meg Gleason of Moglea and started working in her letterpress studio. She encouraged me to enter a Minted art challenge! I am so glad she did.

Did you study art formally in school?
I am self taught, but I would love to study children’s book illustration someday.

Where do you currently reside? 
I live in the rolling countryside of Exira, IA. The city is an hour from us, but I love almost everything about living in the middle of nowhere. Beautiful views, lots of space, quiet, gardening, horses in the pasture, kittens on the deck, deer in the timber, simplicity. It’s quite perfect out here!

Meet a Minted Artist: Natalie Groves

Can you share the schedule of a typical day in the life?
I am a new mother—our daughter Navine (rhymes with ‘pine’) is 11 months old—so my day consists of caring for my family, home, and property. I think the only constant is that my husband and I always go to bed at the same time together, and he reads Scandinavian folk and fairytales to me until I fall asleep.

What are some of your own “rules” for living + working?
I only paint when the house is clean and my daughter is sleeping… so not very often!

What was the best recent conversation you’ve had?
Any conversation with my little sister. She is a wise and incredibly funny young lady.

Please describe your last month in a word.
Mama

Can you share an as-of-yet unrealized project with us?
I just started painting pet portraits! (Ed. note: See a recent cat portrait in the collage above.)  You can watch the process unfold on Instagram (@meadowtogrove).

What are you serious about?
Loving my husband and daughter.

How do you balance work and family time?
I am still experiencing the new struggle of self-sacrifice for my daughter. There are days when I get overwhelmed because I want to accomplish something, but we do baby stuff all day instead. When she snuggles me or I get to see her do something new I forget about my crashing art career. That is a dramatic way of saying I am so grateful to stay home with her. She tips the balancing scale.

How do you encourage creativity in your own child?
Navine already enjoys making noise on several different instruments. We read piles of books, explore outside and share new experiences. I can’t wait for her to be able to hold a crayon! Then we can make art together.

Meet a Minted Artist: Natalie Groves

What medium(s) do you most enjoy working with?
A micron pen, a brown color pencil, and watercolor on hotpress watercolor paper. I also love working with Nupastel chalk.

When did you begin drawing and painting?
As soon as I could hold a pencil.

Is there a movement in art history that speaks to you?
Golden Age illustration. The line work is remarkable!

If you could sit down with any artist past or present, who would it be and where?
Beatrix Potter, in her home.

How do you approach your art?
Very quietly with a paintbrush. I like to sneak up on it.

How would your describe your artistic style?
Illustrative, scientific.

What do you do when you encounter artist’s block?
Clean the house or weed the garden.

What are you working on now?
Drawing the Belgian draft horse that currently resides in our pasture.

What are some of your favorite Minted pieces?
“All is Quiet” by Jenni Kupelian: I love the color palette and the subject. The Icelandic pony is so sweet and the landscape is serene.

“Landscape of Triangles and Dots” by Yao Cheng: I like the texture of Yao’s painting. To me, it looks like a forest of triangles. Every person who visits our home comments on how much they like her piece.

What does Minted mean to you as a working artist?
I am so thankful that Minted allows me to make a small living so that I can stay at home with our daughter and take care of our home and property. I spend about four hours a week painting! Barely anything! But because Minted does all the hard work, promotion, printing, shipping, and record keeping, I am able to paint and then sit back and enjoy my family and responsibilities.

Meet a Minted Artist: Natalie Groves

Natalie’s Favorite Things
We asked Natalie’s to share her current favorite art, style, home décor inspirations.

Inspiration
Who inspires you: My husband
Favorite place in the world: Home
Favorite color: Light ochre
Fashion idol: I wish I knew how to dress!
Favorite city: Santa Barbara, CA
Last stamp on your passport: Italy
Song in your head: “White Foxes” by Susanne Sundfør

Home
Favorite pieces of art in your home: “Cetti Warbler” and “The Night Bird Sings His Lullaby,” both commissioned pieces by UK-based artist Natasha Newton.
Stationery: Moglea
Pets: Cat
Favorite flowers: Hollyhocks, dahlias, zinnias, lilacs, peonies, and ranunculus
Favorite neighborhood restaurant: Chad and Meg Gleason’s house
Favorite drink: Mulled wine
Favorite snack: Frozen banana, peanut butter, milk smoothie


More from Natalie Groves:
• Natalie’s Minted Store
• Natalie’s Blog
Natalie’s Instagram
• Recent Julep post featuring Natalie: “Has anything ever scared you so much it inspired you?”

Photos: Some Kinda Golden; cat portrait is courtesy of Natalie Groves

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6 Festive Minted Self-Launch Holiday Cards

Written by Christina Loff

The self-launch celebration continues! This week we’re putting the spotlight on six Minted artists who have created beautiful greeting cards.

Several people in my life always answer the question, “What do you want for Christmas?” with “peace and love,” and they’ll be receiving this lovely card designed by Melissa O’Connor-Arena of Gray Star Design from me this year. Melissa’s striking photos also make great gifts.

How bold and beautiful is this Hanukkah card designed by Ariel Rutland? The paper cutout effect works so well with this design, and I love how she carried the details to the back of the card.

Sharon Orgad of Stylisti has a Minted Artist Store full of beautiful custom and non-custom holiday cards. But there’s something so cozy and calm about this illustrated “Peaceful Holidays” Card that draws me in. Be sure to check out all of Sharon’s holiday designs right here.

This “Mid-Century Modern Holiday Card” designed by Melanie Biehle brings the perfect pop of color to holiday greetings. We love the retro vibe and the pink and black. And how amazing would a pile of presents look wrapped in the matching wrapping paper?

This joyful card brings holiday cheer to any mailbox. “Celebrate the Curve” is a festive and fun card designed by Margaret Williams who has filled her Store with some lovely holiday designs this season.

Sure, our focus is on holiday cards, but we couldn’t help but include Liz Conley’sNovember Chrysanthemums” birthday card in our roundup. Don’t miss Liz’s entire “Birth Flowers Series” featuring beautifully painted flowers for each month—these framed prints would make a great birthday or holiday gift.

Christina Loff is an Artist Relations Manager at Minted, focusing on outreach and onboarding. She relishes every opportunity to collaborate with creative people and bring communities together around original products and ideas. She’s been lucky enough to work with the talented and innovative teams at ReadyMade magazine (RIP), Creativebug, Hello!Lucky, and Chronicle Books, where she worked as a publicist and marketer for six years, developing and promoting their lifestyle and craft category. Christina has also written for various websites and magazines including CraftStylish and SFist. Follow Christina on Instagram and Twitter @tweetsweet.


RELATED ARTICLES & RESOURCES
6 of our Favorite Self-launch Gift Tags & Wrapping Paper”
Minted Self-Launch Templates
Minted Artist Stores Merchandising Tools Tutorial Video
How to Merchandise Your Minted Artist Store for the Holidays

Published November 17, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

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Design to Impress Challenge: Special Prize Winners

Just in time for the holidays, Minted pioneered a new printing technique that combines the unmistakable feel and luxury of letterpress with a digitally-printed photo card. We looked to you, our talented Minted community, to create modern designs in bold, vibrant colors that have never been seen before. We were blown away with how many imaginative and fun designs we received! They’re almost too beautiful to mail. Congratulations to all the winners and runners-up!

For the best design using bright, non-traditional colors
Chunky Type” by Aspacia Kusulas

Runner-Up: Bright & Jolly! by Oma N. Ramkhelawan


For the best design featuring bold text or 
thick lines or design elements 
Floral Joy” by Katharine Watson


For the design that best gives the impression of a full bleed photo
Pressed Pine” by Jessica Williams

Runner-Up: “Much Joy” by Paper Dahlia


For the most unconventional, unique design in the
challenge that you couldn’t find on any other site

Pressed for Joy” by Phrosne Ras

Runner-Up: Merry Graffiti by Lehan Veenker

Click through to see more special prize winners from our invitation challenge

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Meet a Minted Artist: Susie Allen

“Nothing is too pedestrian or too weird to experiment with,” says Susie Allen, the Eastman, Georgia, designer and illustrator who uses a variety of materials and a mashup approach to creating her playful, eclectic stationery and art.

A graphic designer for a small printing company by day and a freelance illustrator by night, Allen shares how watercolors, list-making, and even vegetables inspire her work.

Newspaper Sailboat” is Susie Allen’s first-place winner on Minted. “I really love combining type and illustration, and I’m happy with the way this one integrated the two,” she says.

Portraits of Susie Allen by Stephanie Shadden

When did you begin painting and drawing?
I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, and I had a creative mom who supported me from the start. As a kid, I didn’t know what graphic design was, but I often gravitated toward projects that combined visual art and lettering. I made my own illustrated books and elaborate, crayon greeting cards for family members, with my own “logo” on the back with my initials, “LSA Greetings.”

Click through to learn more about Minted artist Susie Allen

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6 of our favorite self-launch gift tags & wrapping paper

Written by Christina Loff

There’s no doubt that adding a well-designed gift tag and beautiful wrapping paper to a present elevates it to the next level. Minted has always been a destination for quality holiday cards and decor, and now that artists with Stores can self-launch products, it’s really exciting to see what they’ve been designing for the holiday season.

We wanted to take a moment to call out some of the great work we’re seeing, so we’ve rounded up some self-launched seasonal gift tags and wrapping paper.

Lisa Travis has been hard at work designing beautiful wrapping paper and gift tags. We love the range of designs she’s self-launched, from pine cones to snowflakes, all perfect for any gift-giving occasion, whether you’re religious or agnostic. Featured above is her Rustic Menorah Gift Card, and she also designed matching wrapping paper. Check out her Store for her full holiday collection.
Shannon Chen of Four Wet Feet self-launched these autumnal gift tags. How sweet would these be attached to a bottle of wine you’re taking to Thanksgiving dinner? These mini cards get us in the mood for fall in a big way.
The Antler Holiday gift tags from Swedish designer Johanna Phillips Huuva are a playful addition to any present. Want more antler art from Johanna? Check out her print Mr Dear, which makes for a great gift for a friend.
Laura Bolter has been busy designing for the holidays. We love the pops of red in her festive Flourished Berries and Pine Wrapping Paper. Check out all of Laura’s holiday designs in her Store right here.
We’re head over heels for this cheerful pattern from Sara Heilwagen of Noah & Olivia. This wrapping paper was inspired by her Shine Bright Burst holiday card, which we also adore. No need to limit this fun paper to the holidays—this is one design that works for any occasion.
We appreciate the subtle nod to the holidays Kristen Magee’s Snowball Wrapping Paper presents. If you’re feeling more festive, go for the red or green variations.

What are you busy designing for the season? We know from our Minted Merchandising experts that red is king around the holidays, but what other color palettes are inspiring you? Share with us in Comments below.

Christina Loff is an Artist Relations Manager at Minted, focusing on outreach and onboarding. She relishes every opportunity to collaborate with creative people and bring communities together around original products and ideas. She’s been lucky enough to work with the talented and innovative teams at ReadyMade magazine (RIP), Creativebug, Hello!Lucky, and Chronicle Books, where she worked as a publicist and marketer for six years, developing and promoting their lifestyle and craft category. Christina has also written for various websites and magazines including CraftStylish and SFist. Follow Christina on Instagram and Twitter @tweetsweet.


RELATED RESOURCES & ARTICLES
Minted Self-Launch Templates
Minted Artist Stores Merchandising Tools Tutorial Video
How to Merchandise Your Minted Artist Store for the Holidays

Published November 10, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

 

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Does routine inspire or stifle your creativity?

When it comes to cultivating creative inspiration, it seems like there are two schools of thought: One, freeing the mind to let creativity happen when it happens, and two, scheduling yourself “creative thinking time” in order to make it happen.

Of course, there’s no “right” way to inspire creativity—it’s different for everyone—but there may be a best route for you. For this edition of #WhatInspiresMe, busy Minted artists Alexandra Nazari and Sarah Curry share how scheduling works for them.

Alexandra Nazari
Los Angeles
Minted Artist Store • alexnazari.xyz • Instagram: @AlexandraNazari

I think it’s a very romantic idea to think that artists don’t need some sort of routine. In practice, however, I’ve found that scheduling blocks of time is the best way for me to develop my work. I try to spend at least a few hours every other day at my studio. If I can’t make it there because I’m tired or unmotivated after a long day at my day job, I try to at least tackle some retouching or printing tasks. It’s sort of like working out—even if you can’t make it to the gym every day, there are still ample little ways to maintain your fitness.

If I’m on deadline and creatively stuck, I like to go for a long drive to clear my head. Also, turning off my cell phone is another great way to stay on task.

California Dreams” by Alexandra Nazari

Upside” by Alexandra Naziri


Sarah Curry
Santa Cruz, California
Minted Artist Store • Instagram: @sarahcurrydesign • Twitter: @pinksuitcase
Portraits of Sarah Curry by Blue Lace Photography 

I work full time as an art director, so I have to block out chunks of time during evenings and weekends to design stationery and work on other creative projects. My routine really depends on my available time and deadlines I have to meet.

On weekday evenings, after spending a good part of the day working on a computer, it really helps me to get outside to refocus and refuel my creative energy. On weekends when I have a little more time, I love experimenting with painting and photography, or grabbing my sketchbook and heading to the beach or a coffee shop. I feel like I get more ideas when I work on art that is tactile and exercises different parts of the brain. My Stamped Seashells fabric was the result of an experiment with seashells, sumi ink and kraft paper. Other experiments haven’t turned out as well but I always learn something in the process.

When time is limited or I’m trying to meet a deadline, it’s not uncommon for me to go straight to the computer to start designing or to work late into the night. These times can make for long days and lost sleep, but in the end I think it’s all worth it to do something I love.

Gilded Brush” Foil-Pressed Holiday Card by Sarah Curry

Stamped Seashell” Table Runner by Sarah Curry


How about you—does a scheduled routine inspire or stifle your creativity? Share your answer in Comments below and on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter with the hashtag #WhatInspiresMe. We feature some of our favorite social shares in our Minted Fine Arts newsletter.

READ MORE #WHATINSPIRESME
Has anything ever scared you so much it’s inspired you?
Who’s your biggest creative influence?
When you need a quick creative pick-me-up, what do you do?

Published November 9, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

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Announcing the Winner of our First Outside Art Challenge!

For the very first time, Minted is taking your art to the streets—our street! We hosted our first Outside Art Challenge in October 2015, and we were blown away with the number of fresh and modern submissions we received. Out of 342 submissions, we have one winner, 10 runners-up, and one Special Editors’ Prize.

We’re thrilled to announce that the winner, as voted by California voters, is “Wind in the City” by Yuke Li! “This is an image of wind passing by,” Yuke says. “When the wind blows, the dandelions fly.”

windinthecity.jpg

We just finished painting “Wind in the City” on Minted’s headquarters building this week. We are so excited to share it with all of you and our neighbors in San Francisco’s Jackson Square neighborhood, where indeed it can get windy! Check out the video below to see our blank wall turn into a beautiful canvas.

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The Essential Checklist for Minted Artist Stores

We’ve boiled down the easiest and most important steps to get your Store ready for the November rush.

Log into Minted.com, and navigate to your Artist Merchandising Tools by visiting the Artist Dashboard and clicking the My Store link.

1. ADD YOUR COVER IMAGE AND ARTIST SIGNATURE

Read these instructions for preparing your Artist Signature file.

The cover image in Bethania Lima’s Minted Artist Store

2. ADD UP TO 5 IMAGES TO YOUR ABOUT YOURSELF CAROUSEL 

Read advice in “7 Tips for Creating a Unique Artist Brand” and “10 Tips for Taking Great Photos for Your Artist Store.”

Miranda Mol’s About Yourself carousel in her Minted Artist Store

3. SPOTLIGHT YOUR HOLIDAY SECTION

If you have Holiday products, use your Merchandising Tools to position your Holiday section after your Store Home section, so that it appears as the second category tab on your Store. For technical advice, read these FAQs, and watch this instructional video.

4. MERCHANDISE YOUR FEATURED PRODUCTS

Featured Products are the first row of four products, within a carousel of up to 12 products. Read insights from the Minted Merchandising Team in “How to Merchandise Your Store for the Holidays.”

5. CREATE CUSTOM SECTIONS AND REARRANGE YOUR PRODUCTS

To position your best products at the top of each section, use Merchandising Tools to change the order in which they’re displayed. For help, read the “How can I curate my Store?” FAQ and watch this instructional video. Read more insights in “Top 10 Tips for Curating Your Minted Artist Store.”

6. ROUND OUT YOUR ASSORTMENT WITH SELF-LAUNCH PRODUCTS

Self-launch non-customizable products without going through the Design Challenge process. Minted offers self-launch non-customizable art, fabric, notebooks, wrapping paper, mini cards, and A2 and A7 stationery. Read more about self-launch in FAQs.

Pandercraft’s Holiday Headliner Gift Tag, a self-launched minicard

7. ADD YOUR STORE URL TO YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILES 

Stacy Kron’s Instagram includes a link to her Artist Store

8. PROMOTE YOUR MINTED PRODUCTS AND STORE ON SOCIAL MEDIA 

Read our advice in the Holiday Playbook for Artist Stores:

What are the Best Social Media Platforms For You?
6 Tips for Creating Engaging Social Media Content
9 Ways to Build a Social Media Following

9. SHARE MINTED PROMOTION CODES WITH YOUR NETWORK 

Stay tuned—we’ll email you codes and more information in November.


This is the eighth article in our 2015 Minted Holiday Playbook for Artist Stores, a one-month program designed to teach artists how to better merchandise, market, and sell their work. 

RELATED ARTICLES & RESOURCES
5 Tips for Getting Press From Local Media and Blogs
How to Promote Your Artist Store Beyond Social Media
What Are the Best Social Media Platforms for You?
9 Ways to Build a Social Media Following
Minted’s 7 Tips for Creating a Unique Artist Brand
How To Merchandise Your Artist Store for the Holidays
10 Tips for Taking Great Photos for Your Artist Store

Published October 29, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

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Save the Date Challenge: Special Prize Winners

Newly-engaged couples will soon be coming to Minted to search for unique and personal ways to announce their upcoming nuptials. We asked you, our talented Minted design community, to completely refresh our Save the Date assortment with a large number of truly exceptional new designs. We were blown away with the number of eye-catching and design-forward submissions in this challenge. Congratulations to all the winners and runners-up!

Collection Award: For the first time ever, we are awarding the ability to launch a full end-to-end wedding collection based on a winning Save the Date design. Each design below will receive a guaranteed full wedding suite collection, including a coordinating Wedding Website,Wedding Invitation, and Day Of pieces.

Click through to see more special prize winners from our invitation challenge

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Meet a Minted Artist: Kamala Nahas

A series where we highlight a member of our Minted artist community. Featured this month: photographer Kamala Nahas, who lives with her family in lives in Camarillo, California.

Kamala Nahas has always loved snapping photos, but it wasn’t until a trip to Arizona’s Antelope Canyon in 2011 that something clicked. She came home inspired and enrolled in classes to hone her technique; two years later, Kamala started her own photography business. Here, the Southern California-based shutterbug shares a glimpse into her life, process, and inspiration.

How did you end up doing what you’re doing now?
I’ve loved snapping pictures for as long as I can remember, but I never took it seriously. About four years ago we took a family road trip to Lake Powell in Page, Arizona. I had just gotten a new camera and literally ditched my family to go on a six-hour photography tour in Antelope Canyon. This was the first time I completely immersed myself into photography and was smitten with the whole process. Looking back, that was the beginning for me. For years I’d taken pictures at holiday gatherings, on vacations, and at my kids’ school events. Even though people told me I “had an eye,” I think part of me was afraid of making a serious try at something I’d never really been trained to do. Brooks Institute is close to my home and they offer workshops for budding photographers. It’s nothing like attending the school itself, but participating in a few of the workshops in the years that followed the Antelope Canyon shoot allowed me to gain some technical knowledge and see how I stacked up. About two years ago I started a small portrait and event photography business: Tall Poppy Photography. I love it. Even though it’s been so much fun capturing special moments and connections between people, my heart has always been in nature and landscape photography. Last year, I finally got the courage to submit some photos to Minted and explore the more creative side of my work. I feel fortunate to be a part of this community and can’t wait to see what lies ahead.

Did you study photography formally in school?
Aside from six weeks of photography in community college and a workshop here and there, I’m self taught.

What are some of your own “rules” for living + working?
In all things:
Be Authentic
Stand Up For Yourself and Others
There’s Always More Than One Way
Take A Chance
Wing It
Get Lost, Get Messy, Sing Loudly, Dance

Please describe your last month in a word.
BIG

What are you serious about?
I’m super passionate about education and volunteer a good portion of my time in schools. I’m very serious about finding ways of reinventing our educational system to ensure our next generation is made up of thinkers, innovators, and makers with a global conscience. I’m also very serious about preparing grilled cheese sandwiches properly—crunchy on the outside, creamy in the middle, with a side of homemade tomato soup to dip the corners into.

What things will you never take seriously?
Road trips, chocolate, and mashed potatoes are all things that should never be taken seriously—even when they are bad, they are still good.

Please tell us about your family.
I’ve been married for twenty years to my first and only true love. We have three children. My oldest is my daughter Asha who is almost fifteen. She is my partner in crime and assists me in my business—I’m going to be pretty lost when she goes off to college in a couple years. My oldest son, Sassin, is twelve. He has a generous spirit and can generally be found playing soccer in real life or on the XBox. My youngest son is almost ten. His name is Samir and he is the character in the family. He is constantly building something or making something or experimenting with something or getting away with something. Our house is loud and messy, but we love each other a bunch and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Click through to read more from Minted artist Kamala Nahas

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