studio happenings

Marian ParsonsArtistic Endeavors, Watercolors25 Comments

With freelance design work and a book deadline looming, I have been pinned down in my new workspace to get things done and turned in on time.  I feel like I’m learning and growing each day and I’m really proud of what I’ve been creating, but I am ready to hit an antique store, work on some furniture and just get away from my desk!

Just a few days more…

While I’ve been working on those projects, Kriste started painting the chairs I picked up on my trip to New York.  I’ve been debating whether I wanted to paint them or not, but I decided they would benefit from paint.

I also debated about the color, because I thought they would look good in many of my colors, but I finally decided on MMS Milk Paint Grain Sack.


I also decided I wanted to leave the rushing unpainted.  It will be covered with a cushion, but I think it will look neater unpainted.


As soon as I saw the first coat, I knew painting them was the right choice.  They are looking really great!


I haven’t done anymore work on the “deconstructed chair”, but I did select an antique blue check duvet cover to use as fabric for the back and as trim for the cushion.


I got it at a big discount, because there is a burn hole in it, but since I’m going to cut it all up, it doesn’t bother me.


I’m planning to make a mini-ruffled trim out of it for the cushion instead of regular piping.  It’ll be a playful detail that I think will work well on the chair.  I’ll make a tutorial when I get around to sewing it!

In other studio news, I got in a dog bed for Sebastian.  He was laying on a piece of foam I pulled out of my upholstery stash, but I wanted to get him a real dog bed that looked a little nicer for me and comfier for him, since we spend a lot of time there.


It’s made out of antique grain sacks, so it’s durable and it fits with my aesthetic. I ordered a second one to sell (with a neutral beige stripe), so I’ll list that in my online shop when I launch my next sale.

Before I go, I thought I would share a peek at a few things I’ve been working on…




Once I get through these deadlines I will figure out the best way to sell some of my work.  I’m starting to amass quite a collection (although my mom has called dibs on a couple of them!)

Thanks to all of your for your encouragement through this season of my business.  I feel like I’m finding my legs a bit as an artist…trying to embrace the artist I am, not what I wish I was (if that makes sense.)  I’ll expand on that at some point.  Anyway, it really has meant a lot!

studio happenings

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25 Comments on “studio happenings”

  1. Marian,
    The words – “trying to embrace the artist I am, not what I wish I was (if that makes sense.)” makes perfect sense to me. I am in a group right now where we talk about our “fantasy selves” – how they can get us into trouble both financially (buying things that fit our idea of who we “should” be) and really getting down to our “real selves” – the person we really are, not who we wish we could be or think we are or the image we want to project. Finding and accepting your real self is life-changing, IMO.

    Love the fabric for the chair and I love seeing Sebastian 🙂

  2. Dear Marian,
    I am one of those “secret followers for about 5 years” i have never responded to any blog I just like to watch and enjoy in secret. BUT as Thanksgiving is approaching I wanted to reach out for the first time and tell you how thankful I am for your blog. When my husband transfered to a new town 3 yrs ago and my kids started middle school I was a former artist, graphic designer, manager who walked away from my 20 yr job to follow my husband. I found a town where I knew no one, and kids dealing with middle school drama (and let me tell you that is one tough road) I left behind my identity but at Thanksgiving each year I would begin to be “alittle” bit creative again….and then the holidays were over a new year would begin and somewhere in all that I was lost again running carpool to 4 different sports, listening to my kids problems, cooking dinner doing laundry…all those motherly things that you don’t get thanked for until your kids are grown with their families. My parents have long since been deceased and my in laws passed away shortly after our move so other than my wonderful husband who is an incredible support and listener there is no one. But every morning when I get the kids to school, I come home start yet another load of laundry load up all the practice gear for the afternoon/night practices I grab my second cup of coffee and (tune in!!) to your blog. I have been so thankful for the peek into your watch you being creative and exploring made me think that maybe this was the time to start something again, a passion that I loved. So (don’t laugh) I went to a slavage store and purchased a wing back chair and for 3 months have been reupholstering it (really don’t need the chair but it is serving a greater purpose) and when you started watercoloring…I signed up for instagram (my 15 yr old son had to show me how!!!) to watch what you were doing….and I took an old cheap set of watercolors I had in the “kid drawer” and started painting again (haven’t done that in 15 years) My 13 year old daughter came home and said “i hate that you paint so good” (i think that is a compliment….jury still out) and I laughed and told her and showed her a few watercolors I had painted with my great grandmother when I was her age. My great grandmother was an unbelievable painter who started painted when she was 60 when her only son had been killed during World War 2 her world fell apart and she turned to painting to keep from being swallowed up by sadness, she told me she painted her way back to her heart.
    In all of this I have enjoyed every morning cup of coffee with you and a dose of inspiration. I wanted to thank you, you have opened yourself up for the world to see and for you to know that sometimes when “regular responders” tell you you have a following and you are bigger than you know ….that you probably have ALOT of people like me. So thank you for every word, picture, video and laugh…you have made me feel inspired again, worthy again, and blessed again!

    1. Mary, I love your clear understanding of yourself! It made me a little teary and happy to know that you have started taking care of yourself. Continue your journey. I have followed Mustard seed for years as well and I love it.

    2. Mary, thank you for your lovely comment! What an encouragement to me and I am so glad to hear that you’re taking those steps to nurture your creativity! I was in those same shoes (different stage of life) a few years ago when I started my business. I found that I was a better mom when I stole away that time to be creative. I hope you can keep it up!

      Please send me your address, Mary. I’d love to send you something to encourage you even further.

    3. I’m a little teary eyed reading your post, Mary. So happy you have found your way back to something that you love and makes you happy!

      Marian, your work is beautiful!

    4. What a lovely post Mary! I am so happy you are starting to create a new life for yourself. Don’t stop even if you only take baby steps. It will get you there.

      Marian, you are an inspiration to us all!

  3. I would LOVE for you to create and sell a calendar that features (a print) of one of your watercolors each month. I buy a similar one for myself, my mom and my sister each year from Susan Wallace Barnes (you can google her to get an idea of what I am talking about). Each month is printed on 5×7 card stock, and fits into a small acrylic easel. It would be a way for us to have you in our home 12 months a year. I can picture a cow, some of your beautiful landscapes, maybe a quote, etc. I love your blog and am so inspired by you! xoxo

  4. Marian, I love this post! Love the chairs painted and the new dog bed for Sebastian. Glad that you are embracing the artist that you are. Your watercolor paintings are looking wonderful! Your journey is inspiring!

  5. Is your new model working by the shoot or just for dog food and hugs?? By the way, he looks like YOUR dog. Lol

  6. Hi Marian,
    I had a little chuckle to myself when I saw the blue and white duvet cover! My daughter’s school (in Wollongong, NSW, Australia), uses that fabric for the girls’ Summer, school uniforms! It looks very nice!
    Cheers, Liz.

  7. Marian, just love your posts! They are always an inspiration. Sebastian just loves his new bed! Such a nice dog! So glad you have him in your family as he will bring you lots of joy. I know he already has by seeing him in his lovely new “country” bed!

    God Bless you, Marian! Have a nice weekend.

  8. I second, third, fourth, etc., the idea of a calendar in any style by you! I would purchase for myself and as gifts for family and friends.

    To reader Mary McKinnon, thank you for sharing today.

  9. I don’t know what I love the most…. your creativity, your energy, your style… or your Sebastian…. he always has that wistful yet regal look about him. I just want to love on him every time you post a photo.

    Inspiring as always, Marian!

  10. Every time I see the Sweetie-Pie Sebastian, I want to brush him! He would love it, long good strokes, it’s like a massage. Ronan likes Petco for his bath (we are unable), nail trim, teeth brush, and a good long brushing. Otherwise, all the hair that comes off would end up on my floors and dander in my sinuses! HA. We take him about once a month.

    This was a wonderful post, and something I’m going thru myself. It really touched my heart. Done for everyone else all my life, time for me when I am able. Go us!!!!!

  11. The huge mirror behind the deconstucted chair? What’s the story on it? Is it for sale? Or will you be “doing”something with it? So beautiful!!

    1. Yes, it is for sale. It’s not an antique, but a frame I bought at Hobby Lobby years ago and then I applied gold leaf to it for an HGTV tutorial. I used it as a chalkboard for a few years and then put a mirror inside to use it in my guest room. It’s now been displaced, because the room belongs to Calvin. It’s listed in my online shop!

  12. Marian, you watercolors are so beautiful! You struck a nerve with me when you said you’re “trying to embrace the artist I am, not what I wish I was.” The trap of comparison!! I also started the 30-day watercolor challenge but made the mistake of looking at everyone else’s paintings (especially yours) and comparing my baby-step beginnings to those of more seasoned artists. After day 10, I put them away feeling “not good enough.” I think I’ll get them back out and just avoid comparisons for a while. Maybe I’ll start to see my own style emerge and learn to embrace the artist I am!!

    You slipped in a comment about another book – when can you tell us about it? I can’t wait!! 🙂 Thanks for all the inspiration you share everyday.

    1. There were some amazing artists joining that challenge and I felt so intimidated, too!! I was watching a painting tutorial last night and the instructor stressed that art is a learned skill and a discipline. It’s something you can learn and become better in with practice. I have said that when I teach photography classes, but it’s such a nice reminder! I can get better with practice and that is the entire point of doing a challenge. 🙂 Keep it up!

      And yes, I am working on two books. They are a different kind of project for me, but have been a ton of fun to work on. I’ll share about them soon.

  13. Wondered when you would make a bed for Sebastian out of grain sacks! It’s superb and he’s so handsome lying there, comfy, basking in the light coming int he window.

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