You know how a mother is supposed to love all her children equally and not pick favorites? Well, as an iDEA COACH, while I do love all my clients equally, I have decided that once a month I shall pick a favorite! Last month we featured Jason Di Tullio.
Every month I will highlight one project/iDEA that has been deemed a success by my client – for after all if they are happy, then mam
a is happy too!
And so the iDEA LEADER of February 2012 (drum roll) is Elyse Brandau.
Janelle Ballack one of the team members of BE AN iDEA LEADER conducted an interview with our February iDEA LEADER! Thanks Janelle for the fantastic work.
Here is an interview!
JB. How did you get started painting portraits for pets?
EB. I actually always utilized my creativity using crayons or whatever it was growing up my whole life. It was always cathartic. I did train; I did have a private lesson for a year when I was in high school; did a bit of studying of arts through high school. I went to an art show somewhere in southwest Virginia area and we stopped at a coffee shop and they had all of these pics, not shows or paintings I do but these vibrant colors and crazy pictures of dogs. They we all cartoony, they were all crazy but they were just gorgeous. I have a chocolate lab myself so I was like wow, you know I’ll try it. That’ll be my next project for my advance class. I did it, I loved it!
I had people over one day, friends of my parents, some friends, they were like, oh my god we love your dog, would you paint our dog. So it just happened to be word of mouth and I would randomly do just on an occasion. Maybe every 6 months. Like something would come up, I would paint a horse for someone, I paint someone’s dog, and oh they were like paint my dog. It was all in between, there was a lot of time in between projects. I paint for gifts for people for family friends or my mother or close family members kind of like a gift thing I would do around the holidays or if it was their birthday. And then I just, it just gave me so much happiness to do it. If I can actually do it for real, like let’s see what would happen if we actually try to really focus it and do I love painting dogs? I do! I do love painting dogs. It wasn’t my first love but it’s definitely something that I can continue to do now, I can continue to paint but I don’t look at it as wasting time or money, I’m actually gaining money and still really enjoying myself. And people have been incredibly happy with the results. It’s a learning thing right now how to do framework, how to get orders done, when I need to get orders done by, when I need info, it’s a learning process. So enjoying it.
JB. Do you only paint pets or people as well?
EB. I used to just sketch and do water colors, now my main thing is probably a water based oil that I used which is a bit more safe to paint and for me it’s still an oil painting so it still has that rich texture and rich colors that I paint on canvas. I’m not a landscape person or still life, I’d love to try those things but it’s mostly something with a full face. I would like to paint also I like to paint icons, I would say celebrities kind of but more icons I like painting. What I would like to do one day I don’t know if it will make me any money but hopefully the dogs go well I would like to start painting, kind of like capturing moments in film where actors are in character or a cult classic film. I have a picture of Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka I have painted; I’ve painted my brother, the notorious B.I.G. rapper his album cover. People or kind of like actors in the moment I would say I would like to maybe one day have a gallery or something and try to experiment with that picturing people in points of passion or acting when it’s captured on film and I would like to paint it in my own style. That’s something further down but it’s been on my mind.
JB. How does it feel doing what you’re passionate about?
EB. Good, to do it and I’m not feeling guilty or feeling like I should be doing something else, it’s really nice. There’s some pressure sometimes because of the deadlines and I’m just not doing it for myself anymore. I make sure that the pet owner is completely satisfied with the painting. It’s just great. I act as well but it’s nice to have, I think, all my eggs in one basket, the painting and the acting they see each other. I think when they were all in the acting basket I was kind of lost I feel and now that I have this direction going I can see where I can put steps in my acting as well and I think they really just help each other out. I mean they’re two different outlets.
JB. Is there a message that is given to the owners from these portraits?
EB. Oh, my gosh! They’re really excited. I don’t know if it happens to be because it’s their dog that they’re absolutely enthralled of the painting. No one has to give feedback and they’re just incredibly happy. They’re really personal, really specific, really individual thing. I do have testimonials; I have more to put on the blog. I get emails and I get messages saying when it’s your own pet, people they were crying or they were so happy or they’re wondering how you knew the dog or if you’ve ever met the dog. You just really got what the dog was about. Just to hear how happy they were with it is really exciting.
JB. I was going to ask what reactions have you experience from your complete works but you’ve already told me.
EB. Yeah, I also tell them if there’s something they’re unsatisfied with, I usually try to email them an image of what I find complete painting before I mail it just to make sure everybody is satisfied. And so far everyone’s been just…they enjoyed it. I’ve been able to paint the way I like to paint as well. I haven’t gotten anyone who’s been too specific so that’s also reassuring that my style is acceptable and the way I view the dogs. My colors can be kind of weird, they’re not exactly the real color of the dogs but I think I’m coming into my own style the more I paint, the more I know this what I do, this is how I do this. Because before I was: do I use light colors, what do to do with the background, do I do something specific. And it also depends on each dog, sometimes you want to add a forest or badge the collar, it depends. But everyone’s enjoyed the style of painting; everyone’s enjoyed getting the essence of the painting.
JB. How has this impact the other areas in your life?
EB. Working with her (Marina Romashko) has been a lot more proactive, lot less hazy, things became a lot more clearer, really taking the little steps serious, getting the gratification of making that to do list and checking off that little step that you do every day and seeing the long distances that you’ve made by doing it every day. It helped me kind of get things done in order in other places in my life; just habits of making lists for artworks and stuff, made lists with my acting, financially, all over the place. It’s definitely helping in all areas.
JB. What other doors have opened up for you?
EB. I’m doing other things right now. I’m painting for a person who has a Christmas tree farm up in Massachusetts and they want me to do some, I guess two pieces of their farm. It’s a little more landscaping. It’s kind of like what I’ll do with the two pieces, that’s something new. Painting things I never thought I’d paint. It’s interesting to have this effect on people. I guess I should start painting some cats but no one has come to meet with cats. Maybe someday, maybe somebody will come to me with a tiger. Actually someone did ask me to paint a tiger one time. If it has a heart beat I’m gung-ho, I’m pretty much good with it.
JB. What advice can you give to someone who has a passion such as yours?
EB. It’s incredibly liberating with acting and with art, sometimes, more times than not I would feel I don’t have time to this, I should be doing this, I don’t have the money to be doing this but now it’s kind of hopefully it can be a business in the future to have. I wait tables right now and I’ve been waiting tables less and hopefully I can quit that completely and just do acting and art. I’m hoping. It’s one of my bigger goals within the near future that would happen. But if you have the time to put towards your passion it feels like whatever you wanted to do as a kid, like I wanted to be an astronaut or I wanted to be a marine biologist, it just feels like you can do all these things. It makes you feel like, I don’t know, if I wanted to take skydiving lessons I could ‘cause now I have the tools to carve out the time and know what to do, what kind of research to do, know what kind of money to save up. It makes you feel liberated to do it. It gives you freedom, I guess. Freedom without guilt.
JB. Can you describe your process working with Marina?
EB. We’ve make to do lists. She really takes on the project. We already had that one meeting about where we talked about idea coaching and how she takes on the project and wants what you want and she sees the potential in you. We meet every two weeks. We also sometimes have a phone conversation in between. But we kind of see where we want to go short term, medium and long term goals are, we make lists we kind of try to get that list done during the week. And we usually by getting those lists, sending those points into the universe coming back to her within two weeks I get these things done and guess what else happened because I was working on those goals. All these other doors, all the other things started to happen as well. She just keeps you really active and the support- she just lets me know that I’m okay. Oh I don’t know, I should write books, she’s just great. It’s just really, really nice to have that support and to have someone working with you, working on your goals with you. Having someone outside of the box, outside of your head. Someone’s who’s a bit more business savvy about marketing yourself, know a bit more about getting something on its feet, let you know what you’re doing in saying that you’re on the right track you’re doing really good. This is where we can go next. She has definitely made me believe we can build something big with this which is also very encouraging.
You can see Elyse work here
Our favorites. It was not easy to choose :).
Sugar and Spice