2019 Nouveau Label Finalist

I’ve made the final 15 for the third annual Beajolais Nouveau artist label contest! This is a national contest that had over 500 submissions and I was fortunate enough to make it this far.

Winning this contest became a dream of mine two years ago. I remember when I started painting with acrylics and I would go to the wine aisles just to look at the beautiful artwork on the labels. They inspired me so much that after I got home I’d immediately pick up my brush and palette and begin to create. I heard about the wine label contest the first year it ran, but I didn’t have a submission at the time that would fit the wine label’s mission.

LeahNadeauheadshot.jpg


This year I have a chance of winning, but I can’t make it happen without you. I need your votes, and if you are willing, to also share this contest with friends I would be forever grateful.


All you have to do is follow this link, scroll down to the bottom and vote for #5, which is my entry “City by the Bay.”










Inside My Artistic Process

Palette close up

Palette close up

Since discovering my passion for painting, I feel the need to create every day. Painting and drawing are my favorite ways to express myself. Both drawing and painting are a part of my process. I usually paint a layer, and then draw a layer with an acrylic marker, and then back in forth in that order until the painting is finished.

What brings me back into the studio at some point in the day, everyday, is the urge to feel the brush on the canvas again, a soothing act almost like a dance that leads me to a state of comfort and calm. Then I get into my groove and that’s when the magic happens.

Sometimes I dance along to music while I paint. Usually if I’m just painting my normal style that flows out with ease, chances are I’m listening to music and there will be some dancing and definitely singing. When I’m trying a technique that I’m unfamiliar with, chances are I’m sitting down with my entire focus on the painting.

Here I am laying down the first layer of paint in my process in a little time lapse. If you enjoy this, I have several time lapses on my Instagram feed.


Somehow each piece, in the end, radiates my personality and my somewhat wacky and weird character. The bold line work in my artwork represents my bold style in life. For the most part, I live life unapologetically, I don’t care who thinks I’m weird, I just be myself. The colors in my artwork represent my cheerful and playful spirit and demeanor. The shapes I use are inspired by my favorite famous artists of the past, Mondrian, Kandinsky, Mirò and more. These elements come together to make my signature style. 


When paintings are commissioned, I brainstorm the color palettes in advance, before starting the painting. But sometimes I’m feeling spontaneous and I just grab my go to colors and I just start by putting the paint down on the canvas, excited to see the beautiful colors blend. Other times, I’ll see a color palette “in the wild” that I decide to use and I then mix out all the colors before I begin on a palette. Sometimes color mixing can take up to 30 minutes, but its another part of the process I enjoy.

I keep my brushes in a pretty ceramic vase.

I keep my brushes in a pretty ceramic vase.


When I’m not in the studio I am always taking in inspiration.
I tell my friends and family I’ve developed “artist eyes,” which means I take in the world differently since discovering my passion for artwork. Everywhere I go I take in colors schemes, home decor, fashion, you name it. I now see the world with a knack for detail. It’s truly a gift!

Have more questions about my process? Leave a comment or email me!

Thank you for reading!

Leah

How to Use Instagram for your small business

I’m passionate about Instagram because of how much it has changed my career. In 2016 my biggest seller were hand painted greeting cards and I found the buyers on Facebook by posting on my personal page. In 2017 I turned all my focus to Instagram and reached 10K followers by the end of 2017.  It’s helped me find countless clients and opportunities.

 Today I have 19,000 followers on Instagram and counting. I got here by hard work and understanding that Instagram is the best place to find your clients. If you use Instagram correctly, your exposure will skyrocket and so will your success. I want you to thrive! This guide is mostly for other creatives, but you can apply this logic to any field.

Just a few of the opportunities from customers finding me on Instagram : A solo exhibition in Detroit showcasing 17 of my works, A permanent artist residency in Ferlito’s Grosse Pointe, a customer that commissioned me to create a 6 foot by 4 foot painting, and several customers who found me just from the magic of Instagram.

Here are some key things you need to know about using IG for your small business

 

1.     Make Instagram a haven for your business. Imagine it as a virtual storefront for your style and brand values.  When people see your feed they should automatically get an idea for who you are and what your business is all about.

2.     Make sure to post a photo of yourself once in a while. People love to see the human behind the feed! It reminds them they’re supporting a small business

3.     Tag your location in your posts, that way potential new customers can find your post according to your location.

4.     You can use up to 30 relevant hashtags per post. Make sure the hashtags aren’t too big, or your posts can get lost. Using tags will help you get seen by potential clients.

5.     Edit your photos. Make them look closer to what it would look like in pristine lighting. Make them interesting, and creative!

6.     Provide good, visually pleasing content and the people will keep coming back.

7.     Only follow accounts that interest and inspire you. Don’t play the follow, unfollow game. It never works!

8. Use the stories function to show behind the scenes shots. People love seeing the process and not just the finished product. Your instagram stories are a great place for this, too.

 Taking Instagram to the next level 

If you want to take Instagram to the next level, I also do one on one creative consults where I come up with a game plan for your Instagram account. I sit down with you on video chat and I evaluate your account and give you a plan to maximize your exposure and find your clients on this app with endless possibilities.

 Ready to get started? Book your one on one consult with me today.


Self Care & Other Important Lessons from 2018

2018 was an insane roller coaster ride for me.

 My career absolutely took off. I came into my unique, one of a kind style, and I gained more customers than ever before.

 However, while my career took off, I let my personal life take a turn for the worse by working non stop to make my 2018 goals happen.

Here I am in the spring of 2018. I took on many commissions including this giant 6 feet by 4 feet masterpiece. Although I had been throwing my back out during this commission, I forced myself to dance through the pain.

Here I am in the spring of 2018. I took on many commissions including this giant 6 feet by 4 feet masterpiece. Although I had been throwing my back out during this commission, I forced myself to dance through the pain.

 After finishing this commission I then took on another commission for a family in California- 8 paintings and the largest were 4 feet by 8 feet wide. Instead of taking time to rest and heal, I took on more work and stopped taking care of myself. During this time I injured my neck and began going to physical therapy, all while also working a part time desk job.

Me and commission piece “Extraordinary Story” 3 feet by 5 feet

Me and commission piece “Extraordinary Story” 3 feet by 5 feet

The truth is, I spent most of 2018 in an unhealthy relationship- with myself.

When my body said stop, you’re in pain, Leah! I ignored it. When I was feeling down instead of trying to lift myself up, I would wallow in misery.

Although I’m still learning how to cope with chronic pain, I’m no longer treating myself poorly. When I am in pain I stop immediately. When I want to binge eat because I’m stressed I tell myself no, it’s just a distraction from the real issue at hand. Pain.

In late 2018, I started making better decisions. I started seeing a therapist again, which is truly an act of self love. I began giving myself breaks, and not beating myself up if I took the day off to rest.

Me and Life’s a Journey May 2018

Me and Life’s a Journey May 2018

 

 I vividly remember telling my Instagram followers about how poorly I’ve been treating myself, and one statement from a fan really put it into perspective for me.


This fan said “Leah, you need to treat yourself better. This isn’t a race, we want decades upon decades of more art from you.”

This statement really stopped me dead in my tracks. Not only did I feel completely loved from this fan, but it made me realize that I need to slow down and make an effort to have a healthy work-life balance.

Me and some recent works. All available for sale

Me and some recent works. All available for sale


Since 2016 I have been going full-speed “dream career mode”. Looking back, between 2017-2018 I took only 2 weeks of the 2 years off social media. That is insane!!!

With all the 2019 resolution talk going around, it made me think about what I’m going to focus on for 2019. The answer is I’m working on bettering myself as a person, getting back into shape, and listening to myself when I feel pain.

I have to put my health before my career. I need to put my friends and family before social media. No longer should I waste hours on my phone comparing myself to other people. It can only harm me.

2019 will be great because I’m on my way to being the best Leah I can be. I will continue to give 100% to my career, but will make sure to take breaks.

2018 Career highlights

Co-authored a children’s book that featured my paintings “Leah Sees The World”

Became a full-time professional artist

Sold over 63 original paintings

Hit 14,000 followers on Instagram and 17,000 on Twitter

Got a licensing deal with iCanvas

Booked my first solo exhibition (coming March 10th!!!)

Had my greeting card sets sold in stores

Did over 20 coaching calls with artists wanting to do art full time

Became the artist in residence at Ferlitos Grosse Pointe, a local Italian eatery

Had my first successful West Elm Pop-Up in Birmingham, Michigan

Made my first neutral painting collection

Sold 3 paintings the day they were made

Handmade my biggest pieces yet. 6 feet by 8 feet and 4 feet by 6 ft

My book!

My book!


How was your 2018? do you have any resolutions for 2019?

Thanks for reading!

Leah




Affordable Canvas Art Prints and Phone Cases

"Infinity and Beyond"  

3 piece canvas print

If you’re looking for a big colourful statement piece but can’t afford an original, I totally understand. I’ve now made it possible for anyone to own one of my designs.

I’ve teamed up with a company that distributes prints for me and they will be sold not only on their own website, but on mainstream décor websites and deal sites, such as Zulilly, Wayfair, Target and more. How exciting!!!

These prints are made right here in the USA and come in multiple sizes and are top notch quality at affordable prices.

"Boom" 

Canvas print

In addition to this print collection, I have an entire collection of phone cases also on Etsy. These cases are highly reviewed and are etsy best sellers. They are so very affordable in multiple colors at just $20.99, with shipping included. The perfect gift, am I right?!

"Traffic in My Mind"

phone case for iphone and Galaxy!

Thank you so much for supporting me and my journey! Have a fantastic day!

-Leah

My Early Art Journey

My Early Art Journey.png

2016 was the year I discovered acrylic paint- it was a total game changer for me. Before this I had only been using watercolors. I finally found my soulmate in terms of mediums! I remember going to Joann Fabrics in my hometown in July 2016 and buying about 20 bottles of craft paint. I took them home to my mom's backyard and I began pouring them on canvas. Her grass is very colorful now. Sorry mom!  Below is my first acrylic painting, it's a small 5 by 7 in. 

Here's the first acrylic painting I ever made. 

Here's the first acrylic painting I ever made. 

At the end of July I went back to California where I was living at the time and bought 4 blank canvases. I knew of a local art consultant/curator that was looking for new artists to manage and I wanted to submit acrylic paintings for consideration. Surprisingly, that week she called me and we sat down at a local coffee shop and after looking at my work she offered to add me to her list of artists. I was SO ecstatic! 

Here I am in September 2016 at my first art show ever with those 4 canvases! I ended up selling nothing, but I had a good time talking to other artists and meeting people. Later on I would sell 2 of these paintings and paint over the other 2. 

This is September 11, 2016, my first art show ever! 

This is September 11, 2016, my first art show ever! 

Here I am in San Mateo, California in December 2016.  You can see my style has already drastically changed in just 3 months. This was my first exhibition in California at Philz Coffee. It lasted 2 months. This would be my last exhibit in California before I moved back to Michigan permanently. 

Leah Nadeau, Art Liasons Winter Exhibit 2016

Leah Nadeau, Art Liasons Winter Exhibit 2016

After showcasing my art publicly with Art Liaisons for about 5 months, Ollie and I ended up moving back to Michigan. I had to remove all my publicly displayed artwork and we shipped it all back to Michigan inside my car. Every single piece made it back safe and sound! 

Not long after arriving in Michigan I hired someone to make me a website and I've been selling my art there and on instagram since. It's been such an amazing journey and I'm lucky to have about 100  originals out there in the world. 

More importantly, we are loving life here in Michigan where I was raised and I'm connecting with the locals that enjoy fine art.

I've also participated in a local art exhibition in my hometown of  Grosse Pointe last fall, you can see me mentioned in this article about the exhibition Small Wonders.

Have you seen my Summer Solstice collection? 3 pieces are still available! You can find them on my shop!

3 Pieces Still Available from my Summer Series

3 Pieces Still Available from my Summer Series

Thank you for taking the time to read more about my journey!

 

Leah

 

 

My Evolving Creative Process

When I first began painting, my process was completely different. I used paint and canvas, and that was about it. Although I've always worked intuitively, the addition of paint markers has been a new and fun addition to my creative process.

What made me decide to add doodles and lines to my art? Well, I started drawing late at night while watching tv and fell in love with the feeling of a pen in my hand! Something about the smooth lines comforted me and I wanted to put that element in my art.

 

Here I am in April 2018 tackling a 6 foot by 4 foot commission

Here I am in April 2018 tackling a 6 foot by 4 foot commission

Listening to upbeat music while dancing along is a must while I create. I feel it puts me in a good mood, and when I'm in a good mood I'm more likely to create beautiful paintings!

My process begins with applying a base color over the canvas.  This way I block in a color to then build layers upon. I play with brushstrokes and let the first layer completely dry. For the next layer I reinforce areas of the painting I like, and paint over the parts I don't like. I add layer after layer until I see a story I love.

Creating an abstract painting is like solving a puzzle. There are many variables that have to be perfect for the painting to come together. 

A lot of people ask me how I know if a painting is done. Usually I just know.  I feel proud and happy deep down, like I accomplished something great. 

Check out my latest shop additions!

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Leah

 

2018 Instagram Guide Part II- How to Grow Your Instagram Following

2018 Instagram guide (2).png

Earlier this month I released a free 2018 Instagram guide.  In this guide, I laid out the basics of having a cohesive feed that tells a story to your viewers. The feedback I got from the free guide was so positive! Everyone encouraged me to continue helping you with your Instagram strategies!  If you haven't downloaded my free guide, find it here:

 

 After receiving overwhelmingly positive reviews for my free guide, I decided to sit down and really think about the most important, vital things I do on Instagram that have made me so successful. So I sat down, made a list of the 10 things- my recipe for success, and put it into a document.

I shared this document with a couple friends before putting it up for sale. I am charging less than $2 per vital secret- a terrific deal. I've done mountains of research on Instagram, so you don't have to!

These vital tips will help you not only become more visible on Instagram, connecting you to millions of potential customers, but it also helps your feed become a cohesive story.

Ready to take your Instagram to the next level? Here are your keys to success! Scroll down for reviews and testimonials from real people!

Testimonials:

Sillie M - "This was sooo informative and such great info, easy to understand and I will continuously reference it to keep growing my engagement!! If you’re needing to get to the next level with your insta game, you NEED this in your life! Leah, you did it again!😎😎 "

Molly W-  "I’ve been using Instagram as a business tool for over a year now, I’ve downloaded or bought dozens of how-to guides and thought that I knew almost all of the tricks. Turns out I didn’t! Leah’s guide is not only informative, but its easy to follow and most importantly, it turns a daunting task into an achievable one! "

Heather M - I have the guide & it was fantastic! I’ve downloaded at least a dozen, free & paid but I learned a lot of things not one of the other guides offered. It’s altered my entire outlook on Instagram! Thanks Leah!!

Jolie D-  "You have helped me with my insta game so much!"

 


What are you waiting for? Instagram is the #1 social media platform for art. It's time for you to shine!

 

Smiling because it's worth it,

Leah

Empowering Creatives Collective: A Community for Artists

Empowering Creatives Collective

It didn't take me long to realize that artists have special souls. After connecting with countless artists across the various social media platforms, I realized I needed a creative hangout of my own. A place where artists can come and talk about things only they understand, a place to get advice but most importantly, a place to grow and help others grow as well. 

ECC's mission statement is as follows: to provide a supportive community for artists to fulfill their dreams and squash their fears.

I also noticed that I have a natural talent for mentoring. This past Fall I began mentoring several artists by sharing information that I've learned during my career as an artist and the feedback I've received has been extremely positive. My friend Heather told me that just by following me on Instagram, it gave her the confidence to take a leap and record a DIY video for YouTube. I realized I was onto something!

After successfully helping 15 other women grow their Instagram for free and mentoring them on their businesses, I've taken the plunge into offering creative one-on-one consults for artists.  The way it works is simple, I give you 30 minutes of my time and you can ask me anything. I share all of my resources and advice with you and together we create a plan for your career as a creative.

Anyone who has a dream of becoming a professional artist is welcome to join my group! My only rule is that all creatives must act first in kindness and acceptance. We are a kind community of special souls. 

Join ECC now! 

Art: My Great Escape

The way I understand it, my OCD is the way my brain distracts itself from the anxiety I feel. I do rituals over and over again to make myself feel safe, by doing these repetitive things I think are important, I forget that I'm anxious.  I've been struggling with both ADD and OCD for most of my life.

 

When I was in Second Grade (7 years old) I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. I had a learning disability that made it harder for me to retain information than my peers. Before my teachers knew I had this disability, they assumed I just didn't care about school. I was unable to pay attention and would ignore my teachers to talk to other students. I was often called to the principal's office for being too out of control in class, I remember three separate occasions where I was called to the principal's office for laughing so hard that I disrupted the entire class. My punishment was to sit quietly in a tiny room in the office for 30 minutes. After seeing a psychologist, I was given my formal diagnoses. The principal, my teacher, my parents, and myself sat down to formulate a plan as to how I would move forward by learning how to manage my outbursts. With ADD came many obstacles; for example sometimes it took me 3 hours to do my homework, I would have screaming tantrums because I was frustrated but didn't know how to communicate it to my family. A few years later, at around 9, OCD really started to creep into my life. I would only wear clothes with the tags removed, I would wash my hands until they were raw and bleeding, and the clothes I wore had to be cotton only because every other fabric was itchy.

Me, age 5! I'm so stylish!

Me, age 5! I'm so stylish!

 

Throughout my life, I've used different ways to cope with my OCD and anxiety, but the 2 game changers were art and horseback riding. From ages 7-21 I rode horses on a regular basis, my parents bought me Chip and then Sailor, a horse I had until my senior year of high school. I can’t recall a time in my life I haven't struggled with anxiety, but riding and taking care of horses occupied my mind enough to allow me to forget about my anxiety momentarily.

Me and my beloved horse Sailor , 2007

Me and my beloved horse Sailor , 2007

 

As you may already know, I started painting on a regular basis about three years ago, while I was in grad school. For a year I did watercolor paintings every single day. Painting let me forget, for an hour or two, just how much my dissertation was stressing me out. Although I struggled with a learning disability throughout my education, by the time I got to college, I knew how to manage my ADD so well that I was able to stop taking medication for it. I was able to finish all of my higher education without prescriptions drugs aiding my concentration.

 

I still struggle daily with my ADD, anxiety, and the depression that comes with mental illness, but I've learned how to live in harmony with them. I take Zoloft daily to help with my anxiety and depression as well as consulting with my friends and partner about my feelings on a regular basis.

 

For me, creating comes from a happy place, so it's important that I only paint when I'm feeling myself. If i'm sad or upset, my art suffers. Painting is a celebration of my life, a personal diary, and I don't like to dwell on the negative, so why write a dark story that will only continue to keep me feeling sad.

 

Every day I use different ways to cope with my OCD.  However, when I paint it's just me and the story I'm painting. I don't think about wanting to wash my hands, or the germs that may or may not be in my bathroom. I'm thinking about the color, the brush strokes, the motions of my creative process, and nothing else.

In North Carolina this past August at Donna Downey Studio, happy to be creating with lovely peers

In North Carolina this past August at Donna Downey Studio, happy to be creating with lovely peers

 

 

Painting is my zen, and I'm so fortunate to have found my calling.  Thanks for reading and learning more about me!

 

 

Smiling because it's worth it

Leah

How Art Helped Me Lose Weight

  If you’ve been following along with my story so far, you know that I haven’t been painting all that long. In 2015 I first started painting during the grueling summer that I was working on my dissertation for graduate school.   

2016 is really when I came into being an artist. I began creating because it’s all I could think about doing, the serenity achieved from painting layer after layer couldn’t be matched. It was during this time that I realized that I had an addiction to food.  

 I wasn’t eating when I was hungry, I was eating because I was bored. Now that I was painting all the time and keeping myself occupied with creating, I no longer felt the need to feed myself when I wasn’t hungry. In fact, I could feel my body changing.  

Suddenly, I started to listen to my body. I’m hungry, but I don’t want a hamburger, or something that sounded appealing before- greasy French fries, or even a sandwich. I started craving fruits and vegetables and I felt as I changed my diet my body was changing, too. I no longer felt extreme discomfort after every single meal from overeating.   

 It also helped that I cut out lactose and dairy completely from my diet. From trial and error, I’ve realized that my body is much happier when I don’t try and have it digest dairy.    Armed with a newfound knowledge of my body, a new passion for creating, and well, the rest of my life ahead of me, I decided to make a change….  

  I was sick and tired of being overweight and all of the negatives that come with it (like being out of breath from walking) and I wanted to make a change. I knew that this change couldn’t just be temporary because so would my results. I talked to a few friends before deciding which “diet” I was going to try to lose all the weight. I was going to do carb free, but it didn’t make sense when there was no reason to go carb free for the rest of my life. Instead, what lead me down this healthier path was simply portion sizes and moderation.  

The simple truth is, America is known for its giant portion sizes. Whether you’re at a restaurant, or you buy a frozen meal for two you heat up on a skillet, you’re going to have too much for one or two people. The suggestions for portion sizes on the container are the key to success. Oh, that and of course, My Fitness Pal, for tracking my calories.      In August 2016 I weighed 45 pounds heavier than I do today. By this time next August, I aim to be 75 pounds lighter in total, which will be so much better for my health.    

You may ask, why did you lose weight now? You’ve been overweight for the last 8 years. What finally made you do this? Well, it was a combination between my passion for art and my realization that heart disease and diabetes run in my family, and I don’t want to die young. I have a lot to offer the world with my new found talent of painting and I want to be around for years to come.  

 Thanks, art. You saved me.

 

Thanks for reading! -Leah