#creativeUNblock no.1


I have been wanting to do this for so long, but the timing never seemed right. Well how about the start of a new year… perfect! Yep, it’s time to earn that “unblocking” badge.

There are 50 amazing “unblocking” projects, given by the 50 very clever artists that I interviewed for my book, Creative Block, and I want to try all of them… and I will… but I’m going to do this in baby steps. Instead of doing 1 per week {my original, Type-A plan}, I’m going to do 1 per month for the next 12 months. Are you in? Yes! {If you all do it too, that will keep me motivated!}

The first Saturday of each month I’ll post the new project. I’m going to jump around the book a bit, picking 12 totally random projects. Some of them are actually 30 day projects unto themselves, while others only take an afternoon {feel free to spend the month doing those quicker projects multiple times in different ways!}. A few of them can be done in the studio, but others will take us outside on mini-adventures… oh, it’s gonna be good! Don’t feel like you have to share what you’ve made, but if you want to {I’ll share my progress from time to time}, just pop it up on instagram and/or twitter, and include #creativeunblock. And if you don’t mind, I might share a few of my favorites on the site! Ok, ready? Here we go:


#creativeunblock // January // by NYC based artist Trey Speegle p.79


A SEASON FOR NO REASON : Make a drawing in black and white {or use a found image} and then photocopy the drawing onto card stock 50 times – or enough copies so that you won’t “worry” about how many you’ve used. {Take your time and draw or find an image that you really love, and will like working with over and over} Then, alter the image in as many different ways as you can think of with colored pencils, paint, cutting, whatever. You can modify this idea and change it in whatever way you like but the important thing is to turn off your brain and just play with a repeated form and let your mind see where no ideas or thought process takes you. 

Create your own tight parameters… then give yourself a LOT of room to play. Have fun. ~ Trey Speegle  

Let’s do this… see ya on instagram! { ps. you can tag Trey when you post your pieces if you’d like: @treynyc }

marianne nielsen

Whimsical, wonderful, and a tiny bit weird… ceramic hair. Um, I love this so much! These pieces are the work of Copenhagen based ceramics artist Marianne Nielsen, and clearly, they’re all part of her series titled “Variationer over Hår”… or “Variations of Hair” if you ask Google Translate.

geoffrey johnson

New Year’s Resolution No.1 … spend more time in New York! When I saw these gorgeous oil on wood panel pieces by New York based painter Geoffrey Johnson I kept flipping back and forth between wanting to pack my bags for New York, or Paris, or New York, or Paris… and then I read his bio and it all made sense:

“Johnson draws much of his inspiration from his travel experiences and first-hand observations. Using a monochromatic palette of sepia hues, the artist says he strives to reproduce the places that inspire him. Johnson’s work is strongly evocative of the French Impressionists’ depictions of city life, interior spaces, and equestrian scenes. From Gustave Caillebotte’s steely, atmospheric renderings of foggy Paris streets and dusky rooftops to Degas’ spindly-legged racehorses, the influence of these artists upon Johnson’s painting is readily visible.

Well there you have it… maybe I’ll pack for both, and then see where 2015 takes me! Happy New Year, everyone!

{Thanks to GregoryWest for pointing me to Geoffrey’s work}

dear 2014…


Dear 2014,

If I could make out with you, I totally would. You were really, really good. In fact, you were very close to the most exciting year of my entire life, second only to the year that my son was born.

You were filled with art that was awe-inspiring, delicate, intriguing, funbeautifully bizarre, joyous, and oh, so meticulous.

You were there when my first book hit shelves in February, and when my second book was released in September {and you just saw me sign the deal to write my third book!? Gah!}

You took me to all sorts of amazing places like San Francisco, LA, Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto, Vancouver again, Dublin… and New York for the very first time in my life! {What? Yep, true story.}  There were camping trips, road trips, and small town adventures with my amazing husband and ridiculously sweet son. I met so many new friends, and spent time with dear old friends – all of whom I plan on seeing again as soon as I possibly can!

You gave me the chance to : guest write “Real Art for a Fictitious World” on sfgirlbybay; to open my own online gallery; to speak at PIXAR; to be interviewed by the lovely folks at oprah.com {yep, that was insane}, and to curate the biggest art exhibition of my career so far!

I tried realllllly hard to slow down and enjoy every milestone along the way, although I’m not sure if I did a very good job – it seems like a bit of a blur to be honest – a wonderful, exciting, pinch-me because I feel beyond blessed, kind of a blur. 

So, with that I’ll say thanks for everything, 2014. You were truly mind-blowing. 

~ danielle xo

Happy New Year, everyone. Thank you so much for being part of this craziness! I cannot believe how lucky I am to have all of you in my world. Ok… now go make more art so I have something to write about in 2015!

{Fabulous, kissy, sparkly collages by California based artist Eugenia Loli}

pippa young

Oh. Yes. You know how I feel about portraits, right? I LOVE them. You know what else I love? Perfect, detailed painting mixed with “unfinished” lines. Oh, and I also have a thing for antlers… so needless to say, all of this adds up to the fact that I really, really love the work of UK based artist Pippa Young. A lot.

{via Saatchi Art}

leah reena goren

Brooklyn based artist/illustrator Leah Reena Goren makes all sorts of things, but it’s her ceramics that are calling my name! Loudly. I need these girls & tigers for my walls, shelves, cupboards… everywhere!!! ps. I wonder if she’s knows Monica Ramos? By looking at their subject matter, I’m quite sure they’d become fast friends, if they’re not already!

happy holidays!

I hope all of you have a lovely, restful holiday… I’m going to take the week off to snuggle in & get cozy with my boys, but I’ll be back next Monday with lots of amazing art! Merry merry to you and yours {This perfect painting by New York based artist Will Cotton}

emily winfield martin

Ah, the sweet, yet slightly strange, work of Portland based artist/illustrator Emily Winfield Martin {they have a bit of a Wes Anderson vibe, no?} I absolutely love these new additions to her portfolio, and thought they’d be perfect images to leave you with this week… I’m going to take a little break to spend some cozy, snowy time with my boys. May your holidays be filled with warm sweaters, blue-eyed kittens, and children in animal masks. Hm, or maybe just good friends & family!

I’ll be back bright and early next Monday morning with a whole bunch of new art to share with you… until then, merry merry to you and yours xo

amy bennett

Miniature dioramas that have been meticulously set up, and then photographed… yeah, that’s what I thought too! Nope, they’re miniature dioramas that have been meticulously set up, and then painted! They’re oil paintings. Gasp! All of these pieces are from a series titled “At the Lake” by American artist Amy Bennett. I wrote about her waaaaay back in 2009, but clearly, I shouldn’t have waited five years to write again! {Thanks to Jenni for reminding me about Amy’s work}

ps. here’s a peek into the magic that is her studio:


andrea castro

Oh. My. Those beautiful blue eyes are piercing my soul… and I like his sorbet-hued “beard” too! These are the gorgeous oil paintings of Spanish artist Andrea Castro. Loose, messy brush strokes and perfectly painted portraits living in blissful harmony. I always admire artists that take the time, and possess the skills, to create “perfect” pieces… but I have to admit, I admire them even more when they have the courage to just let loose and go wild all over those “perfect” pieces. Andrea clearly fits into that category! #trustyourself #tooscaryforme