making art work for you

From The Lens of Thomas Tepstad Berge

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Thomas Tepstad Berge is a photographer based in Stavanger, Norway, where he lives with his wife and 4 kids on the west coast of Southern Norway.

While he was given a disposable camera every summer when he was young to document his summer holidays, it was not until Thomas was 18 that he started filling his spare-time with capturing moments. Thomas started out making films, then gradually moved into timelapse photography before he settled down within still photography. He is a self-taught photographer who’s learned techniques and approaches to framing both the hard way and by reading books and articles, watching YouTube videos, etc. Thomas’ portfolio mainly consists of the landscape that you find along the west coast of Norway with deep fjords and steep mountains, long beaches and farmland, and surfing action in the waves. The common denominator for all his images is that he tries to capture the right light, whether it be the soft sunset light in a cloudscape, the powerful Northern lights on the night-sky, or the strong daylight illuminating the actions taking place on a surfboard. Every image brings Thomas back to that moment when he captured them, and if some of those feelings can be transferred to others who view them then he considers the image to be successful.

How would you describe your photography style?

I would describe my landscape and cloudscape photography as “dreamy”, as both the smooth style and the locations themselves are typically not your everyday view, but rather somewhere you would day-dream about visiting.

What are your typical photography subjects?

My typical photography objects would be landscapes, night sky, and surfers. What makes this interesting is the big span from well planned landscape shots to the very in-the-moment action photos in surfing, where both the equipment and approach is completely different.

Do you have a dream project that you would like to work on?

Landscape photography in Iceland or the Azores would be amazing. I would then sleep during the day so that I could capture the light during sunsets, night, and sunrise.

What’s your favorite way of generating ideas and inspiration?

While I do use planning tools to some extent, I actually prefer to go to a site and find the inspiration there and then through the camera lens. I find that the best angles and views are usually not the ones you think prior to being at the location, and often foreground elements like flowers, trees, and animals provide you with that missing ingredient for the perfect shot.

How has your photography evolved over time?

When starting out with photography, I was more centered around the classical sunset shots without many other elements playing together with the light to fulfill the image. Today I always have “something more” than a pretty sunset. I also very much enjoy the more difficult conditions (snow, rain, fog, etc.) as they often create more interesting images.

What do you like most about your work?

What I like most about my work is the joy that it gives me. I love to be outside with my camera, I love to process my images on the desktop, and I love to see the final images and share them with others.

What is your favorite time of day to shoot?

My favorite time is the sunset period (afternoon in the winter, almost midnight in the summer) as the light itself can make a dull scene become the most interesting of all.

The images featured above are available in our Print-On-Demand collection.  Some areas of our website are password-protected. If you are a member of the trade but don’t have full access to our website,, please contact us at

From The Studio of Hayley Michelle

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Hayley Michelle is a Riverina, New South Wales-born artist who has spent time living within and loving parts of South East Queensland and Victoria. With a background in fine art and portrait photography, Hayley has been creating beautiful works in multiple mediums for the past two decades. She has been gathering up details of textures and tones over that time and has spilled them onto canvas to create a selection of unique and stunningly evocative work.

Now residing within beautiful Melbourne with her son, Alex, and her rambunctious bulldog, Bruno, Hayley works from her home, creating elegant abstract artwork, brought to life with such deliberate detail. Hayley is currently studying Visual Arts at The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology where she intends to expand her knowledge and experience in the arts.

What do you first do when you get to the studio?

My first step is always find an amazing playlist to support my mood and the flow of creativity.

How many paintings do you work on at a time?

I have always worked on only one at a time. I love to be able to let the entire piece come to life, with an uninterrupted flow from beginning to end.

Do you have a dream project that you would like to work on?

I would love to create something large, a collection of floor to ceiling canvases in subtle hues with a lot of texture.

If you could paint with anyone, who would it be?

It is probably cliche, but Frida Kahlo would be my first choice. She was so unapologetically unafraid to simply create with so much passion. Her depictions of her life were so beautiful, but her courage as an artist to just paint without fear was truly so special.

What’s your favorite way of generating ideas and inspiration?

I am a true lover of nature and being outdoors, feeling the warm sun or the crisp cool air on my skin, catching the scent of spring or salty waves in the air. I am a lover of the moon and of beautiful sunsets. I draw a lot on my time living in beautiful Phillip Island, where the sky fills with candy tones over the bay to the east, as the sun sets behind in the west, and waves in the most beautiful shades of blue crash over ancient volcanic rock. I listen to music and close my eyes, and remember the textures, the tones, and mostly the way it feels to be there, and I do my best to convey that on canvas.

How has your art evolved over time?

I was once a pencil portrait artist, drawing tight, realistic portraits from photos. I loved the skill involved, but felt that my passion for creativity wasn’t being fulfilled entirely. I craved to create loose, big painted strokes on canvas, to express emotion and truly capture what it is I love the most. When I moved in this direction, it brought me such peace and my work truly came to life.

What do you like most about your work?

That it is an authentic expression of me.

What is one word that best describes your style?


Is there an idea you would like to explore?

I would love to explore with more deliberate shapes and more texture.

What is your favorite time of day to paint?

In the morning. I feel so fresh and inspired when I first wake, the new day is like a fresh canvas. I love being up early, sipping coffee, and painting in those quiet hours of the morning.

Do you ever get “stuck” on a piece? If so, what do you do?

I do. Over time I have learned to leave it. Nothing good comes from pushing a piece, so if it isn’t flowing , its not right. I will leave it be, and may or may not come back to it later.

What is up next on your easel?

I am currently working on a small collection of earthy, neutral, more textured paintings, again inspired by the natural world with the colors and textures of elements such as clay and pumice. I am excited for what is unfolding.

The images featured above are available in our Print-On-Demand collection.  Some areas of our website are password-protected. If you are a member of the trade but don’t have full access to our website,, please contact us at

Design and Decor Trends We Can’t Get Enough Of

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As we move through 2022, the design world continues to look for new decor, color, and style trends.  In the past couple of years, our spaces have had to change alongside our lifestyles.  Homes have become a place of both work and rest for many, and the current and forecasted interior design trends reflect that.  Spaces are continually inspired by nature, bringing some of the outdoors in with shades of green, natural texture, and plant decor. People are also leaning into their own personal styles when decorating, whether it’s cozying up a space with warm modern neutrals or going bold with color and statement pieces.  Because of the shift in how we’ve been using our spaces, people are redefining their styles and transforming spaces to fit their needs and bring joy.

Natural Connection

Interiors continue to be influenced by the outdoors, leaning very heavily into natural materials, earth tones, and sustainable design.  Many companies, such as Behr, Benjamin Moore, and Sherwin Williams, have picked soothing blue and green hues for their 2022 Color of the Year choices. Designs highlighting sustainable materials and practices are becoming popular with a focus on eco-friendly living. Organic themes and natural motifs are presenting themselves in new renovations, especially as biophilic design continues to be on the rise. This is a particularly popular trend in hospitality design, where comfort, wellness, community, and sustainability are highly valued.

Even if you don’t dive head first into biophilic design, it’s easy to dip a toe in with botanical prints, hints of green, and landscape imagery. Interiors that feel connected to nature can create a calm and relaxing environment, perfect for this year.

The Key to Cozy

featuring “Simply Stated II” by Ruth Fromstein

This year, comfort is key and creating spaces that feel like being wrapped in a warm blanket is a big trend! Rooms decorated in calming neutrals, soft materials, warm woods, and curved accents & furniture can give you just the feeling. While it doesn’t have to be a minimalist space, these rooms gravitate towards clean lines and soft neutral tones. Decorating with wall art in sleek shapes, warm refined palettes, and natural elements helps to create a cozy room, but it’s easy to add your own style to find comfort in your space.

Celebrate Individuality

featuring a framed “Layers of Life III” by Lisa Ridgers

With the shift in how people have been needing to use their rooms, creating more mindful spaces has become even more essential. There is a big trend toward creating unique, one-of-a-kind interiors that celebrate individuality. People are adopting bolder design styles, finding cool vintage pieces, and painting with brighter colors. Decorating in a way that brings joy has never been so important. As people have been redefining and redecorating their spaces, putting function first and repurposing existing pieces has become top of mind. This year, people are blending and adapting different design styles to create a cohesive space that reflects their own tastes and fulfills the needs of those using the space.

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The Art of Motherhood

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“Fragrant Flowers” alt v 1 by Liz Jardine

It’s no secret that mothers make the world go round! With Mother’s Day upon us, it’s time to celebrate all of the mothers & mother figures and everything that they do!

We especially wanted to celebrate our artists who are mothers, and we asked them to reflect on their role as an artist and a mom. Their beautiful responses share the ways in which motherhood has shaped and inspired their art, and how their journey as a mother and an artist may not be so different.

Corrie LaVelle

“The parallels of motherhood and artist are easy to draw. Both are the complete surrender of oneself. Both roles require stepping outside of ourselves and squarely facing the world. To stand as the bronze sculpture Fearless Girl does, with both hands on hips and modeling a strong woman to our sons and daughters. To act as a gate keeper showing bravery and strength, while balancing protection and promoting independence. To be a mother and an artist requires humility, and to confront our fears of failure as parent/artist. These roles require sacrifice and vulnerability. Both mother and artist can be fulfilling beyond expectation. Now as my children have grown to teenagers, I am beginning to see the rewards. To be able to take a few steps back and look at the fruits of my labor in my children and my art is the ultimate reward. To see a creation that I can be proud of makes the journey even more rewarding.”

Leah Rei

“Motherhood has been the most challenging and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life. Now that I have a daughter, everything feels more significant. I want to show her that she can make something out of nothing as long as she puts her mind to it. Every time I paint a piece, it feels that much more important to pour my heart into it so she can see how rewarding it is to work with passion. I’ve always wanted to create pieces that were joyful. Now more than ever, I think it’s important to be a source of joy and compassion.”

BethAnn Lawson

“In my otherwise tidy house, my quiet hoarding lives in drawers. There isn’t a drawer in the house that isn’t stuffed full of my children’s art, created over the last 20+ years. I sometimes think to myself, “I literally have no more room for the art!” Then I stop to wonder how I could ever live without it all. Fortunately, growing up hasn’t put a dent in the young creatives I’ve nurtured into this world. My oldest, a 23 year old college student, has a pen and ink drawing on the refrigerator at this very moment. It’s partly my fault……. I hope, selfishly. It’s at least partly my fault that they continually think outside the box; never cease to amaze and astonish me with their ideas; delight me with their fresh young minds and their pencils and brushes and paints and photos and music and little films of road trips and backyards. How boring life would be without art. How lucky I am to be inspired by the very ones I hoped long ago to inspire.”

Laura Van Horne

“Motherhood is all I have ever wanted. Being an artist is all I have ever wanted. Having both of these things in my life feels like such a dream. When I first was pregnant with my son, I was so prolific, painting day and night with worry that once he was born , I would have to hang up my “artist” hat for a very long time. I felt devastated to tuck all my art supplies in the garage, but at the same time absolutely elated to turn my focus on my new little one. But my mind would not let go of painting. As time went on, I slowly snuck supplies back into the house and found ways to paint when he napped or at the end of the day. Eventually I had a mini easel set up next to mine and we would do our own projects next to each other. It is funny, I went through this same pattern with baby #2 and #3. I thought “who on earth can possibly paint with 3 little kids at home?”. However, if your passion is strong enough you will make it happen. I feel like motherhood has made me a better artist. I have been more productive with the time that I have, and these kids have given me so much inspiration in many ways. I have used images of my daughter in a recent series of work, and have used her poetry in my collage pieces. My son constantly collects objects or shares ideas for my mixed media pieces. These kids are just an extension of me and a little bit of them is in every painting I make. I feel so fortunate to get to live such a full life.”

Ruth Fromstein

“The ART of MOM: A new blank canvas, ready for layers upon layers of color, texture and movement, figuring it out as I go, working from my heart. Taking risks with love and passion, embarking on a journey of meaning and discoveries in the process. Learning when to take action and when to “let it be”. Making interiors come alive! I want my contributions as a mother and artist to lead to unexplored horizons and endless layers of a satisfying life.”

Julie Denise

“I didn’t begin painting until after having my children. I was 41 when I bought my first canvas and set of oil paints. I’d always drawn a lot growing up and wanted to paint, but was fearful I wouldn’t be good enough, or that I wasn’t a “true” artist, and so put it off. It was actually having my kids that unleashed my confidence and creativity. Amazed by these funny, beautiful beings that came from my body, I felt I had to continue creating!”

Wishing mothers of all kind a very happy Mother’s Day!

From The Studio of Ben Schneider

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Meet our new artist, Ben Schneider! He is truly showing the world that his art inspires hope. Ben was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3.  Art has been a part of Ben’s life from a very early age, providing him with an essential outlet with which to calm and express himself. Art has become Ben’s passion, and continues to provide him opportunities to enjoy meaningful and fulfilling work. Ben loves using acrylic and mixed media to create his dynamic paintings.  He is always searching for new techniques to experiment with in his studio, and loves using bright colors and interesting combinations.

What do you do when you first get in the studio?

The first thing I do is set up supplies and canvases.  While I’m setting up my materials, I start thinking about the style of the painting and the colors I want to use.  I then pick out my paints and prepare them for the painting I will be completing.

How many paintings do you work on at a time?

I usually work on two paintings at a time, though that number can vary.  It takes close to a week for the paints to dry, and to add finishing coats to it.  Sometimes I will do multiple canvases that go together in a set, so that can be up to 4 canvases at once.

Do you have a dream project that you would like to work on?

My dream project would be to combine patterns using painters tape, and the technique of pouring acrylics.  I think the combo of the materials would create a good painting. 

If you could paint with anyone, who would it be?

I enjoy painting with my mentor Nicole.  She helps me keep my materials organized and assists me when needed.  She also helps me keep notes on the paintings, like what colors I used, and any special equipment I choose.  

What is your favorite way of generating ideas and inspiration?

The main way I generate ideas is in my head through visions and pictures I see.  That helps me decide what I want to try.  I also will research new ideas and techniques online.  I am very inspired by colors.  I love to combine unexpected colors and see the outcome.

How has your art evolved over time?

The main way I have evolved with my art is that my skills have improved.  I now understand the routine I need to do to be successful in the art studio.  I also think I have evolved the techniques I use.  I started with just pouring paint on canvases, and now I have many techniques and materials that I use in projects.  I also now have preferences on paint brands I use as well.  Each brand can be different, but I know which ones I like.

What do you like most about your work?

What I like most about my work is when I complete a painting. It makes me feel accomplished.  I like to look at the finished art and see the final project.  I also really like my use of colors.  I pair things together that may be unexpected sometimes, but it always looks good in the end.

What is one word that best describes your style?

I think one word that describes my art is “movement”.  Throughout all of my art pieces, you can see the unique movements of the paint, and the movement of the colors combining. As for my personal style, I would say I am precise and mellow.  I am very precise with measuring paint ratios and completing projects, yet manage to keep a mellow attitude while I’m in the art studio.  

I think one word that describes my art is “movement”.  Throughout all of my art pieces, you can see the unique movements of the paint, and the movement of the colors combining.

Is there an idea you would like to explore?

I really would like to explore the use of tape in my paintings.  I like that I can tape away parts of the canvas from the paint I am pouring, and when I remove the tape, a unique outcome of patterns and paint appear.  I am also looking into adding more texture to my artwork through the use of gels and other thickening materials.

What is your favorite time of day to paint?

My favorite time of day to paint is in the evenings.  I feel like I am most alert and focused in the evenings, and I tend to be most efficient then as well. 

Do you ever get “stuck” on a piece? If so, what do you do?

I don’t really ever get stuck on any art pieces.  I am very decisive when it comes to the colors I choose and the techniques I use.  I do, however, learn and gain knowledge with each piece I complete.  I am able to use that knowledge I gained to make adjustments as I move forward into new art pieces. 

What is up next on your easel?

When I think about what’s next, I think about trying new techniques and seeing how it goes.  I like to evolve as an artist and I’m pretty open to new ideas.  I do like to research new ideas, and I tend to plan out new projects to try in the future.

In 2012 Ben’s parents started a non-profit called Ben’s Fund to help children and young adults with autism reach their full potential through financial aid, awareness, and hope! Ben’s Fund has raised over $2,329,166, and portions of the sales of Ben’s artwork go to support the non-profit! Check out their website for more information.

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The images featured above are available in our Print-On-Demand collection.  Some areas of our website are password-protected. If you are a member of the trade but don’t have full access to our website,, please contact us at