Embrace by Julie Tillman

So I've been doing a weekly art challenge called The Sunday Morning Project that I actually started with my good friend and fellow artist, Adri Luna.

For the week ending 02.09.14, I made this:

Embrace by Julie Tillman
Embrace by Julie Tillman
I'll be posting more of my work from The Sunday Morning Project here. But I've also started a Daily Art Challenge, and you can see what I'm doing with that at www.DailyArtChallenge.com.


Christmas in July, Portland Style!

I am on a team of talented, amazing, kind, inspiring, hard-working entrepreneurs who live in Portland and sell their work on Etsy called PDX Etsy. PDX Etsy is now celebrating Christmas in July with almost 50 sellers offering various discounts and/or free shipping.

The dates for the sale are officially July 11-21, but some are offering their sales for the whole month!

I am offering 20% off all month in my art shop (http://joyfulstudio.etsy.com

And 20% off all month in my vintage shop (http://reversechronology.etsy.com). 

You can see a full list of participants (with their discounts listed) at Holly MarshMueller's blog: here! So what are you waiting for? Start stocking up on great art, home decor, vintage goods, jewelry, fashion, and more! 


want it wednesday, 4th of July edition

Happy 4th of July, everyone! Yes, yes... I'm a day early, but I just can't wait for tomorrow! We're having a BBQ here at the house, and today we're making red, white, and blue jello shots to prepare. I am keeping today's edition of want it wednesday short, sweet, and patriotic... I hope you all have a fun and safe holiday!

I've been a fan of Tascha's art for a long time. This little patriotic girl is so sweet! 

Oh, Pabst, I love you so... and I also love this vintage PBR patch from ThisCharmingManCave.

This awesome red, white, and blue vintage thermos from WhiskeyGinger sure would come in handy today! 

And wouldn't this outfit from aiseirigh vintage be perfect for today... or all summer long?

Okay, everyone... Prepping for our BBQ, visiting friends and family, and the fireworks are calling my name. Have a joyful day, today and every day!  


New art available at Stars in Sellwood

For those of you local to Portland (and the surrounding areas), I just wanted to let you know I have a new, fairly large abstract painting in Stars Antique Mall in Sellwood/Portland.

Like A Dream, by Julie Tillman, 2013 24"x18" on a gallery wrapped canvas.

Feel free to contact me about this, or any other work, through my facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/JoyfulStudioArt


want it wednesday 6.26.13

With love, from Portland!

Today's edition of Want it Wednesdays is an eclectic mix of things I love from artists, makers, and pickers, from my adopted city that I love so much; Portland, OR.

What is there to know and love about Portland? SO much! Yes, it rains a lot. Yes, we have hipsters and hippies here. And naked bike rides. There's Portlandia and Grimm... But it's also the mircobrew capitol of the world, it's one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the world, it's super bikeable, we have awesome public transportation, amazing parks, gardens and rivers, mountains and waterfalls -- and even the coast! -- are a short drive away, food carts, coffee shops, bars that serve amazing food, and yes, a vibrant community of artists, crafters, and entrepreneurs.

What's not to love?

And, of course, we LOVE shopping local! So here are a few of my favorites...

Prunella Soap smells sooo good! And, it's vegan! 

The Cozy Project has the cutest coffee (and beer!) cozies! 

PomLove has the sweetest poms, garlands, confetti, mobiles and more!  

Michele Maule was one of the first Portland area artists whose work I first saw, and loved, on etsy. 

I don't have a baby, but if I did, I'm sure I'd spend all my money at MarshMueller

Kim at Ethanollie has the perfect eye for vintage. 

The rings from Glass Tower Jewelry are AH-mazing! 

Once again, I could go on and on... But I'll stop here. Do you have any favorite artists, makers, crafters, or pickers in Portland? What is your favorite thing about the city itself? Leave a comment below and let us know! 


“It costs nothing to dream and everything not to.” - Rodney White

Yesterday I painted. For several hours. For so long, when I was done, the muscles in my legs were stiff and my arms were sore. 

And it was wonderful. 

Sometimes the busyness of life (being a mom, business owner, and the head chef and housekeeper around here, etc.) gets in the way of my painting. And every time I get back to it, I feel better. Happier. More optimistic. 

And you would think that, being an artist, I would just naturally want to make art all the time. And as a human, that's exactly how I would want to feel all the time. But even in my post-painting euphoria, I know this: creating art is also terrifying. 

I know I'm not the only one who thinks so. I talk about it a lot with my fellow artist friends. And many others, wiser and more successful than myself (so far!) have said so, too...

“The need to be a great artist makes it hard to be an artist. The need to produce a great work of art makes it hard to produce any art at all.” -- Julia Cameron

But like A. Alvarez said, "The better the artist, the more vulnerable he seems to be." I don't know about "better", but you become a better artist (or anything, really) by consistently doing it, and you have allow yourself to be vulnerable in order to make art. 

Like I'm doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. 

There is always this fear that it won't be good enough. And therefore I'm not good enough. Luckily, it's is (usually) balanced by the love of the white canvas and the infinite possibilities it holds. Either way, it's quite the conundrum. 

But the fear also comes from worrying about showing your art. It's like standing naked in front of a crowd of people. You worry that they will notice every flaw. And not notice the overall, bigger, more beautiful picture. 

“It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else. ” -- Erma Bombeck

For me, anyway, making art sometimes feels like riding a roller coaster. Everything from waiting in line to ride (cleaning your space, mixing paints, readying the canvas, etc.), to the long uphill ride (lots of work, nervous excitement, wondering how it's all going to turn out, and if you'll survive it at all!), and then, when you're done, and satisfied with what you've made (which doesn't always happen), the first long dip in the ride, where you raise your hands above your head, and squeal with delight! Viola! A finished piece of art. A piece of your soul, on canvas. 

That's where I am right now. 

I know there will always be more dips and climbs, but right now, I feel good. 

So I'm off to paint again!

I hope you're doing what you love, what makes you happiest, and what fulfills your soul. It's the only way to live. 

"like a dream" by julie tillman, 2013
"like a dream" by julie tillman, 2013


want it wednesday 6.19.13

This week's edition of Want It Wednesday is all about art. As an artist myself, I am constantly in awe of the work of others; whether it is a painting, photography, all forms of printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, illustrations, etc. 

I've always said that judging art is like falling in love. Something that makes you feel swirly and happy inside, another person may walk on by. You have to find the art that speaks to you. All of the below speak to me. I hope you enjoy them, too....

I can't seem to stop looking at the art of Kai Samuels-Davis

I adore the pantings and illustrations by Valerie Galloway

I am crushing hard of the photography of Katherine and Fred of Beauty In Decay. If I were a photographer, these are the kinds of pictures I would aspire to make. 

The sculptural installations from Sarah West have long been a favorite of mine.

I can't stop looking at Paula Mattson's watercolor paintings! I love them all so much. 

The paintings from Lauren Gray definitely move me. 

One of these days I really want to buy one of these soft sculpture whales from 

It was truly hard to stop here, so you can be sure I will be re-visiting more of my favorite Etsy artists, soon! 


this summer, let's explore!

This spring we've had some of the best weather I've experienced since moving to Portland four years ago. The seemingly endless grey days have transformed in the last couple of months into a sun-shiny, vitamin-D soaked euphoria! I am equally grateful for each day of sunshine and each day of rain, but when the sun is shining, this, is my motto...


want it wednesdays...

When I tell people I sell my art and vintage on Etsy, so many tell me they have heard of it, but either have never been to the site, or they went, searched, and felt overwhelmed. I remember feeling the same way, years ago when my friend Ann Flowers introduced me to Etsy via her lovely shop, A Beautiful Party

But since then, I have fallen in love with Etsy. Not just as a platform to sell my own goods, but as a place where I can go to buy gifts (for others and myself!), DIY projects, find inspiration, and even form true and lasting friendships. 

So I've decided that every Wednesday, I'll be featuring a handful of my favorite items from Etsy sellers. I have to admit, I feel like it will be hard to limit it to just a few, but I am trying to share what I think of as the 'best of the best.' I hope you agree. 

This week's theme: think pink! I'm don't think of myself as much of a "pink person" but the color keeps drawing my eye, and these pretty little pictures all made me swirly and put a spring in my step!

That's all for this week... but I'll have more for you next Wednesday! 



Francis Bacon said he was optimistic about nothing. I, on the other hand, am optimistic about everything.

be optimistic. by julie tillman 2013


I've recently fallen in love embroidery. It's something I've been fascinated with for a long time, but always afraid to try for some reason. But I just started thinking of it as painting or drawing with string, and started simple with this abstract, ombre piece...

abstract ombre embroidery art by julie tillman

Then I decided to make a few like some of the drawings I've done on vintage ephemera...

And then I started venturing into making embroidered portraits on vintage hankies with hints of watercolor... 
read my mind by julie tillman, 2013

I've got more in my etsy shop, and more on the way. My hands just want to embroider!



I just had a few thoughts this morning that I believe are worth sharing. I think most women grow up disliking their bodies, or being insecure about them ('I'm too fat / too thin / too tall / too short / boobs/butt too big or too small,' etc.) We've recently begun a conversation about this, and it's call "body acceptance" -- a plea to remind all (women and men) that we all come in different shapes and sizes, and you should love what you have.

But I also think we need more self-acceptance, self-love. We need to start truly loving who WE are. Our spirit, or soul, our personality -- whatever you want to call it. Who and where you are in life right now: Love that person!

I don't mean that you shouldn't try to better yourself, you absolutely should -- on a daily basis. But I also feel like we can be too hard on ourselves. I've had a business (in one shape or another) for 10 years, on and off. I used to say that I was the best boss I've ever had, but also the toughest boss I've ever had. I think, at times, I am that way just with myself: I can be so critical and harsh. Even mean! To my own self! So today, I'm reminding myself: MORE LOVE. That's what I need.

If I had baby or child that wasn't perfect, I would never talk to them or treat them like I sometimes treat myself. I would love them and encourage them to be their very best self, as often as possible. I'm watching the TV series "Parenthood" for the first time (on Netflix), and the other day, I believe it was the character Adam who said to Amber "...life will knock you down more times than you can possibly imagine. Don't knock yourself down, too." My sentiments exactly.

So my little (but important!) reminder for today: Love yourself. Accept that we may have flaws in who we are, but we can always choose to do better next time. Celebrate what you like about yourself. As for me, I will acknowledge that I am a really great mom. I am a loving person. I am sensitive in some very good ways. I am kind. I am optimistic.

Am I all of these things, all of the time? No. But today I'm grateful that they are true.

What do you love about yourself? What are you grateful for? I'd love to hear your answers in the comments, but even if you keep your answers to yourself, I think they are some pretty important questions.


3 things to remember this holiday season...

Yesterday I was thinking... what exactly do I want to give this holiday season? 

I'm not talking about monetary gifts, but things I could give not only to my family, friends, and loved ones, but also myself, and the rest of the world. This simple list was what immediately came to mind...

Be mindful.
Be grateful.
Be kind.

There it is. Three simple things we can do for the rest of the year (if not the rest of our lives!) 


christmas is coming!

I'm so excited that one of my newest creations made it to Etsy's front page over the weekend:

This little guy has had over 1000 views, but still hasn't found his forever home... Could it be yours?