What drew you to watercolors?
Ever since I was young, I’ve been creating art. I can remember drawing all over my notebooks and page upon page in middle school. It didn’t really matter if I would draw with a pen or a marker, I just had to be drawing. I spent many years painting with acrylic paints and I still love working in that medium. What prompted me to first pick up watercolors is a pretty funny story. At the age of 34 I decided to move from a suburb in New York across the country to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. My family had spent many summers camping in the Tetons and I always wanted to try living out West. When I first moved to Jackson Hole, I did a lot of hiking on my own in the Tetons and often found myself hiking to Phelps Lake and Taggart Lake with my trusty backpack full of snacks and art supplies. On one of my hikes I started thinking about how fun it would be to try watercolors. I went looking all over downtown Jackson to buy watercolors and all I could find was a small starter kit with ten colors that was likely made for kids ages 3-6.
From that point on I brought my small watercolor kit and some paper into the park with me on all of my adventures. Eventually I upgraded to a beautiful set of Winsor Newton Watercolors that I actually still use. I have the original set from over 4 years ago and it’s still my go to for creating all of the Holly Sage Art paintings.
What keeps you driven to keep creating?
The thing that keeps me driven to keep creating is my brain’s constant flow of ideas. I don’t think I’ve ever known what it’s like to not have a plethora of ideas. I will literally wake up in the morning and start the day painting. I typically end the day doing something creative as well. I need to always have a place to channel my ideas and art is an amazing outlet. Growing up I played the piano daily for several hours a day and then when I started creating art, I would let that consume my days. I tend to put my whole self into all things that I do.
My husband has a much more stable approach to how he creates his watercolor paintings. I’m inspired by his ability to sketch out ideas beforehand and really think about the colors he wants to use ahead of time. His process is so thoughtful and less spontaneous. My process of creating is very different from his but that’s part of the magic of Holly Sage Art. When people hold up our stickers and say, “who paints these?” I love answering that it’s both of us. I’ve even asked close friends to choose which stickers I’ve created versus the one’s that Mike has, and nobody has been right yet.
Why not? Actually, I’ll tell you why. When I was twenty, I started my own business – Rainy Day Creations. I created handmade greeting cards and sold many of them. The problem was I didn’t sell enough to be successful. I always had entrepreneurial blood and wanted to start my own business. Before we developed Holly Sage Art, I wrote out several business plans for different types of businesses that we could potentially develop. Stickers was the one idea that really stood out to me and seemed like a viable long-term idea that we could grow. I was scared to create a business based on stickers because it’s not a high markup item, but I thought it could be successful down the road. When I first met Mike and we began dating I actually had only created one sticker. Eventually I told him my idea and he was so supportive and excited to join me in the business that it just seemed right. He’s actually the one who has made it successful, so he was truly the missing piece.
Where did the name Holly Sage come from?
My middle name is Holly and I have always loved the sage out West. To me the smell of sage in the summer gives you such an amazing feeling. We decided the name flowed enough to use it and we left it open ended instead of calling it Holly Sage Stickers so we can create new products in the future. We are cooking up a few fun new projects as we speak, and we can’t wait to share them with you down the road!