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My Sketchbook

Bug Life

Michelle Vinson

It's summer, we live in the woods, I have two boys. In the past 7-ish years, I have held, touched and moved more bugs than I have in my entire life. My boys always show me the beauty and excitement in things that I don't normally notice. And, so . . .I'm painting them. And . . . they are pretty beautiful. I plan on using these little creatures to create a fun fabric pattern, prints, birthday invites. I can't wait to see how they turn out. This is what I have so far . . .


Flower Mandala Love

Michelle Vinson

I am currently working on a floral mandala. My goal is to create a series of paintings that represent different seasons using different objects in nature. The first mandala that I've started represents summer and will be light and feminine, in the color and flowers/leaves (pictured below). I always like to create things that will work as a stand alone piece, but also translate well onto fabric, wrapping paper, notecards, etc.

Don't tell anyone, but I'm just kind of of winging this first one . . . adding and finding elements and measuring things out as I go. So . . . the finished result will be kind of a surprise to everyone, including me :)!

The history behind the mandala is both spiritual and ritual and you can find these symbols in Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. The geometric pattern represents the cosmos and the universe. In some traditions, the mandala can be used as a spiritual guidance tool to aid in meditation.

I think they are beautiful, I've seen them popping up in places and wanted to create my own pattern using a watercolor technique. This is what I've started so far . . .

And here are some other gorgeous samples that I've found for inspiration . . .

image c/o Design Fest

image c/o ABC Carpet and Home

Stay tuned for the finished piece!

Dear 2017 . . .

Michelle Vinson

Dear 2017,

Please help me to get all of the ideas in my head onto paper. I hope to paint every single day, of the 365 days this year. The next time I write . . . I will be presenting a masterpiece (I hope).

xo, MV

October Coloring Contest!

Michelle Vinson

*Artwork is original Brush & Inc.

*Artwork is original Brush & Inc.

Download a pdf of the coloring sheet here!

I love Halloween and I'm fascinated with the beauty in the Day of the Dead holiday. I love the colors, I love the decorating, I love that people get dressed up and gather with friends and family. This year I am holding a coloring contest to celebrate these October holidays. Decorate your own sugar skulls. Be creative! Be colorful! Have fun! I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with.

All ages may enter to win! Brush & Inc. will narrow down submissions and then post the finals for a vote. Winner will receive one Brush & Inc. print or notecard listed on (to be printed at any size up to 8 x 10 inches).

Rules: Like Brush and Inc. on Facebook (facebook: brushandinc). Follow Brush and Inc. on Instagram (instagram @brushandinc.) Message a photo or pdf of your submission to the Brush & Inc. Facebook page or email it
Contest winner will be announced Monday, October 31, 2016!

*Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico. The multi-day holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family. The three-day fiesta is filled with marigolds, sugar skulls, cardboard skeletons, tissue paper decorations, fruit and nuts, incense, and other traditional foods and decorations. A common symbol of the holiday is the skull. Sugar skulls (edible skull made out of sugar) can be given as
gifts to both the living and the dead.

Coffee & Champagne

Michelle Vinson


Sometimes I meet people that are super smart, talented and nice and I like to make things for them! I painted and designed a set of 4 cocktail napkins for the amazing NYC food blogger, Michelle Williams of Coffee and Champagne.

I'm so flattered and honored to have them featured on her recent blog post. Make sure you follow her for some great restaurant guides, recipes and some gorgeous food photography. 
Instagram: coffeeandchampagne
Facebook: coffeeandchampagne

Napkins are available for a limited time only in the shop!

Tell me what to paint Tuesday!

Michelle Vinson

It's been a month since I started a new series called "Tell me What to Paint Tuesday," throughout social media. I ask people to tell me what to paint and challenge myself to get it done (in an evening) and post the finished painting the next day. Each week, I randomly pick the winner and then give him/her a free mini print. Picking at random can be a challenge since I don't just select the easiest, most comfortable suggestion. By posting the results and having the "players" anticipate the winner the next day, this also puts pressure on me to make something that I'm not mortified to show . . . eek!

I have a list of projects that I am currently working on (and am excited about), but it's been fun to dedicate a couple of studio hours a week to do something a little spontaneous.

I am excited to see what the next few months will bring. This is what i have painted so far . . .


I like how you roll . . .

Michelle Vinson

I've been working on a new series called "I like how you roll." The series consists of a handful (8 total) of different vehicles and the things they carry along with them. All of the vehicles have a classic look to them. This old fashioned wagon with luggage, an old pickup truck with surfboards, a Volkswagon bus with a canoe. . .

This all started because I like to people watch and I started to notice that people/personalities match what they drive. So . . . I took it a step further and added some fun items to the top of the vehicles. I really feel like each person will connect to one of these prints in some way. Maybe it's the life you lived before you started a family . . .with an old Pinto and band equipment on the roof. Or, a life that you dream of having . . . a little Vespa with shopping bags behind you. Or, the life you live right now . . . a motorcycle taking your dog for a ride.

I am making each vehicle illustration into little mini 4x6 prints and then a big poster with all of them together. So fun and sweet and I am excited about it. I may even get some wallpaper made with all of them together for a little nook in our home. Making them made me smile so, I hope you like them too.

PS: I drive a Jeep Cherokee . . . soon to have a couple of kayaks on the roof. BK (before kids), I drove a Toyota Echo that I bought off of Ebay because I didn't want a car payment and drove that baby until it just wouldn't run anymore. That is how I roll . . .

Here is another sneak peek . . .

OMG . . . I'm such an . . .

Michelle Vinson

Photo courtesy of Buzzfeed

Photo courtesy of Buzzfeed

Have you ever seen, or heard of, a long-haired donkey? I never saw one until I was commissioned by a friend to paint one for her Aunt. Now, I'm in love with them and kind of want one (sorry Scott, we are getting a long-haired donkey for Christmas)!

Here's the thing . . . they are fun and I had a good time showing their little personalities in these paintings. Hope you like . . .


This Rocks!

Michelle Vinson

I try to draw or paint a little every day. If I ever take a long break, I always feel a little rusty and then it frustrates me and I extend the break a little longer. So . . . instead of always feeling the pressure to paint innovative, clever and current trendy things . . . I now just paint. Anything.

Today, I painted rocks. Just rocks. I found that something so very simple is filled with so much texture, dimension and color variation. I draw from both photos and real life. I decided to play around with a feminine color palette and I love the way it is turning out . . .


I heart Fiesta!

Michelle Vinson


It's always fun when you get to work with a client and you LOVE their product. Cover Story Communications has been working with Fiesta Dinnerware for many years now. We all love them, we have all of their dishes (in almost every color). When you love to paint and you get asked to paint something for's always a winning project! Some hot tea, popcorn, good music and a late night resulted in a fun watercolor that Fiesta used as a desktop wallpaper download for their customers/fans. Take a look at the finished product and blog post here

Relish Life!

Michelle Vinson


My good friend Erin Ruppert, certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, is launching her nutritional therapy practice this month. She's super talented and has a true love and knowledge of all things food and health related. When she came to me to design her logo, website and marketing materials, I was thrilled. It's always so fun to create a brand for someone that loves what they do. 

And . . .since she is a friend, I felt like I could convince her to let me add some watercolors to her new look!

Take a look at her website here!