Meet Emily Artful, a watercolor artist living in Omaha, Nebraska. Emily has been living in Omaha for 6 years and has come to love the friendliness of the people who live there. Despite being a large city, she feels the community is tight-knit. One of the affirmations that drives Emily is, "Do what you love, forget the rest." She recalls thinking it was so simple yet wonderful, and it has stuck with her. Emily's personality and approach to art embody this quote perfectly. You can see more of her work on her Instagram, emilyartful and YouTube Channel, Emily Artful.
Emily's parents provided a whole assortment of child art supplies for her when she was growing up. Her grandmother on her mother's side was a painter, so her parents wanted to encourage that artistic side. Emily's mother insists that before Emily could walk or talk, she could perfectly color in the lines of a coloring book. Having art supplies and the influence of her family inspired Emily's drive to be an artist, "I just so deeply from a young age wanted to become like my grandmother…make something beautiful from a few scratches on the paper, and that's where I decided this is where I want to go."
There was a time when Emily struggled with addiction and wasn't taking care of her body. For a moment, it took over her life, and art disappeared from her life for several years. Along with her determination, she credits her family and art for pulling her out of that hole she was in. When she started to care about her mental health and body, "That is when I finally said, 'I can do this, I can make this my career.'" Emily remembers that she found her art style through respecting herself as a human being and as a woman.
Emily has described her art as macabre, "I'm very much inspired by body horror and things that sit in that uncanny valley where you look at it and go 'hm.' But when I had my son, I noticed a lot of Beatrix Potter kind of inspired colors and shapes started to appear in my art. Much softer, still a lot of macabre stuff but with those soft pinks and pastels–almost Easter colors." The combination of muted colors and the anatomy of people (and animals) that Emily paints is genuinely unique.
Being an artist has not been without its struggles, "As an artist, maybe not now, but in the '80s and '90s, they're telling you, 'you can't be an artist, you're going to be a starving artist, you'll never make enough money, you'll never be able to have a family.' Growing up hearing that and hearing you're not going to make money, you can't be a famous artist because you're a woman, assuming that that's what I want out of it, that I want fame. I just want to make art and share it with people." Despite the barriers, Emily's drive to pursue doing what she loves has persisted, and she has earned well-deserved success.
Emily uses several Arteza products for her paintings and mentions, "I feel like Arteza has really become known as the brand for everybody, that everybody can afford and it's accessible to everyone." As for her favorite Arteza products, Emily loves the Metallic Watercolors, saying, "They're so easy to re-wet, and they literally lay down like they are foil." Emily often used these watercolors in her art to add accents. Another product she loves is the Expert Watercolor Pad. Emily loves that the paper is 100% cotton and premium quality and has even said she's added 20 layers on the paper, and it still holds up!
For words of advice, Emily wisely states, "All artists know you go through a phase where you hate everything and throw everything away, and I try to tell people 'Don't do that.' That's what my grandmother did, actually. She made tons of beautiful drawings, and in a moment of despair and frustration, she threw almost all of them out. When you're young, there's a lot of trial and error. There are a lot of bad drawings before you get to anything good. But when you hit that good drawing… and you feel good about it, you want more naturally."