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GreenBox Art + Culture

Modern Canvas Wall Art

  • Meet Copper Corners By Mary-Catheryn


    Copper Corners By Mary-Catheryn Artist Interview Meet Copper Corners By Mary-Catheryn

    First things first: Copper Corners is an actual place. “Our first house we bought together, that we brought our first-born child home to, was on a street [in Michigan] named Copper Corners,” explains artist Mary-Catheryn Baker, who goes by Mary-Catheryn professionally. In addition to the street she and her husband moved to, copper corners are also a calling card for the artist, since she adds them to her paintings.

    Although she and her family no longer live on Copper Corners, the concept of home is an important element of Mary-Catheryn’s professional trajectory, including her artistic family of origin as well as where she spent her early years.

    “I grew up in Paraguay, in the middle of South America, with missionary parents. I came to the United States at age sixteen,” she says. “It was kind of rough. It’s a pretty important age. I had watched all the American movies about high school, so I was terrified of Mean Girls [the movie and the real-life kind] and I was terrified of high school. I actually home-schooled myself.” Mary-Catheryn wanted to keep her Spanish skills sharp, so she eventually became a translator, doing medical translation for a hospital in Grand Rapids.

    Mary-Catheryn’s post-high school educational background is in business management, not art. That’s because she didn’t necessarily think of herself as an artist, since artistic talent was common in her family. “I have always been artistic,” she explains. “Everyone in my family is an artist. My grandpa did a lot of comic-type artwork. My mom is really good at drawing profiles and people’s faces. What happens in a family of artists, or at least in my family, where everyone’s good at something it’s not that big a deal. No one really paid attention to it. I never thought anything of it.”

    It was in decorating her home that she recognized the extent of her artistic ability, when her husband was transferred to Florida. “When we bought a house it had those huge, tall Florida ceilings and a whole bunch of empty walls. I looked and looked and couldn’t find any [art] I loved. I thought, ‘I’m going to do it myself.’ I went and got a huge canvas and painted a cow, which was exactly what I wanted and couldn’t find. Our neighbor saw it and absolutely loved it and insisted on buying it. And then my sister-in-law bought one, and my neighbor’s sister, and my sister’s friend from work, and it turned into something.” She laughs. “This is what I do full time now” in Grand Rapids.

    The cow, the subject of her first big painting, is a favorite artistic theme for Mary-Catheryn. That’s because when she was growing up in Paraguay, cows were a part of day-to-day life. “Where we lived, farming is very different than in the US,” she says. Farmers in the morning would open their gates and let the animals roam. You’d be driving down the main street and you’d have to stop because there would be a group of cows. I loved the cows and the horses that really weren’t my animals but were my animals, in a way. Most of my animal art is inspired by that.”

    Mary-Catheryn has a studio in her home and paints primarily on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when a sitter arrives to look after her young kids. She works in acrylics “because I have no patience,” she says. “It dries fast, so I can keep layering over and over and I don’t have to wait.”

    Although Mary-Catheryn might not have thought she’d end up making her living as a full-time artist, in retrospect it all makes sense. And as for her family, whose own artistic gifts made hers seem more run-of-the-mill than they actually are? “Family is funny,” she reflects. They weren’t surprised [I became an artist] but were kind of like ‘really? You’re gonna do art?’ [My response is] ‘yeah, and you should too!’”

  • Meet Molly Whalen

    Meet Molly Whalen

    Molly Whalen lives on the southern shore of Long Island, New York where she was born and raised. She and her family spent endless hours at the beach while she was growing up, she says. “I was in swimming lessons at a very young age because my mom wanted us not to be afraid of the water. I’m one of five kids and we were all totally obsessed with the beach.”
    That obsession continues into her adulthood, and Whalen explains that even in the winter, she and her sister will drive to the beach just to look at the water.

    Whalen’s proclivity to the water often shows up in her art. Her GreenBox collection features water prominently, both in expected settings (a whale, a jellyfish) and unexpected settings (an elephant spraying itself). “I love going back to the water, and it makes me happy,” Whalen asserts. “I’ve started to realize that there is so much reference to water in my pieces and feel like that must be why.” It should come as no surprise that, when choosing her medium, this painter often incorporates watercolor into her art, though her paintings are mostly done in acrylics. “I’ve always done watercolor,” she says. “Sometimes people struggle with it, but the moments when the water does its own thing, those are my favorite. Though I may not do full watercolor pieces, I often incorporate it.”

    As for the choice of acrylics, Whalen explains that the properties of this fast-drying paint match her personality. “I like that they dry quickly. I am very hyper, so it really allows me to have fun with it and go on to the next thing. I’m not patient at all. I used to do oil paint, but I found it would get really muddy because I didn’t want to wait for it to dry.”

    When asked about the dichotomy between her self-described hyper personality and the incredibly soothing palettes of her paintings, Whalen becomes introspective. “Sometimes I do make sure I’m aware of my palette. But I definitely notice that in my work, I’ll sometimes have an idea for a palette and always end up adding white. It’s just second nature that I end up muting it with white. I do love color, and happy colors, but I add the white because it makes everything softer and relaxing. I don’t want it to be monochromatic, so adding white allows me to have color, and create happy pieces, and allows them to have a relaxing feel.”
    She pauses. “I guess my art ends up being a lot like me. I am a very hyper person all the time, but all the same time I am very relaxed and laid back about things.”

    Molly Whalen is the middle child of the five in her family, which may help explain her take-things-as-they-come, laid-back approach, even in the midst of lots of activity. Nearly everyone in her immediate family has a career in medicine, including doctors, nurses, and PAs (physician’s assistants). “My parents have always been supportive of my art. They think it’s great. In fact, that’s how my parents always introduced me while we were growing up: ‘Molly’s the artist.’” And in fact, her career in art is not all that different from her family’s respective careers in medicine, in one important respect: “We’re both helping people, in some way,” Whalen reflects.

    The way she helps is by sharing some of the happiness she feels when she paints, Whalen explains. “I do love painting florals, and I am drawn to seascapes. When I think back on why I’m interested in these subjects, it’s because they all are things that make me happy and so they make me happy when I paint them. I’m so grateful to have art in my life. When I have that feeling of happiness I just want to go with it. I focus on that feeling, and I hope that the people who end up being drawn to my art end up feeling that happiness too.”

  • Meet Tammy Kushnir

    Tammy Kushnir’s mother turned her art into gifts. “My mom was into art. She used to create T-shirts for us and decorate cakes for us when I was little. Things like that,” she remembers.
    And now Kushnir herself, who lives with her husband and two sons near Philadelphia, creates art as gifts, too. “Even today I make paintings for people as gifts for different things,” she says. “My husband and one son and I recently became blackbelts, and as a thank-you to our senseis, I made paintings for them. Creating art for gifts kind of started with my mom.”

    Kushnir has been making art since she was little and was an art history major in college. It was when she and her husband started a family that she turned her focus to becoming a working artist. “I got married when I was twenty-two,” she says, “and we wanted one of us to stay home with the kids. I said ‘I’d love to do it and get a chance to do art.’ I started in mixed media and used to write a lot and get money that way. So, I never really used the art-history degree technically, but it still serves as an inspiration in my work.”

    Another major inspiration in her work was a trip to Alaska the family took about two years ago. In fact, this artist now known for her acrylic paintings didn’t actually take up the medium until after that trip. “I used to do everything in black and white, with graphite. But after Alaska I was kind of inspired. I have a nice camera and got nice photos for inspiration. I never thought I would ever paint or be able to paint, and I ended up loving it. Now I want to keep expanding. I’m trying to broaden into different things and branch out more.”

    Part of her branching out will involve trying her hand at abstracts in addition to animals and nature.

    One thing that won’t change for Tammy Kushnir is the link between art and gifts, even when the recipients are people she will never meet. “To think something that I’ve created could make someone I’ve never met happy, or make their day, or inspire their children to want to be an artist like I was, that’s a good feeling,” she says.

  • Kristin Llamas Draws Llamas!

    Kristin LLamas Draws LLamas

    For starters, yes, this artist known for her soulful llama portraits is really named Kristin Llamas. It’s her married name, she’s had it for fifteen years, and it’s pronounced “yamas.” The name came first, then the art subject, and the whole llama-in-art endeavor is very name-based, she explains. Her series of llama (and alpaca) portraits each bears its subject’s first name.

    “[Depicting llamas] started as a fun play on words,” she says, “and I was curious about first names.” Specifically, since we are named before we have a personality, Llamas was interested in how much a person’s name serves to shape his or her personality. She put a post on social media asking followers to tell her their own naming story, whether they were named after someone or something, and whether they identify with their name. Her intent was to produce llama portraits named after people who responded to the post. “I was only going to do twenty-five for a gallery show,” she recalls, “and I got them all the first day. I had over one hundred [responses] by the end of the week.”

    And so the llama portraits have continued, now number up to 250, and Llamas is taking commissions on her website from people who want their name, or a special person’s, interpreted as a llama. “I have a huge file of reference photos,” she says. “I follow lots of llama and alpaca farmers on Instagram. [For the record, she says that the two animals are often difficult for her to distinguish in close-up photos, so she acknowledges that an alpaca may slip through now and then into her art.] When I see a cool personality coming through I’ll put it in a digital file. When I get a name submitted lots of times I don’t even know the person or anything about them. But certain names give you a feeling. I’ll see a William as a strong and more traditional llama. Penny is a little bit more fun. I can’t pick just any name to go with any llama. The thing that takes me the longest is pairing a reference photo with the look and feel of the name.”

    Llamas the artist has come to appreciate llamas the animal for their individual characteristics. “I love the symbolism behind llamas themselves,” she notes. “There’s a feeling of community in the herd, and they’re loyal and strong, they can carry things on their back for a long period of time. But if you upset them they’ll spit on you.”

    Llamas, who lives with her husband and three daughters near Nashville and is building a second home in Colorado, draws many of her llama works digitally on a tablet. She also creates large-scale (non-llama-related) artworks on canvases, with acrylics and oils.

    As for the future of the llamas in her art, Llamas thinks they’re here to stay. “I love the llamas. I did not anticipate the llamas taking off so much and so quick. I’m just kinda running with it and seeing where it goes.”

  • Meet Nancy Bass!


    Meet Nancy Bass! Meet Nancy Bass!

    Sometimes art is inspired by life and sometimes life is inspired by art. In the case of painter Nancy Bass, the inspiration is literal and cyclical. Her paintings of cows are inspired by real cows, but some of the cows she’s painted were inspired by art. Literally. Bass raised cattle on a farm in Virginia for thirty-five years. The two herds she raised were inspiration for her art in the truest sense: they were bred for it. “I had various breeds to interbreed and create various colors and personalities to inspire my art,” Bass explains. “Our herd was really just based on the beauty of the animal, various colors, having good personalities. Other herds are bred based on their meat or dairy, but ours were bred based on their beauty.”

    Bass and her husband no longer have the farm, instead splitting their time between the mountains of North Carolina, near Asheville, and a little island off the west coast of Florida. She finds inspirations in those places, too, she says. “In Florida there’s the seabirds and the oceans and a lot of cattle. Just off the island we live on are cattle. In North Carolina we have bears. But the colors change, the light changes, it’s a different feel wherever I go.”

    Bass works in oils, always. “I just have always loved it and always come back to it. I love the flexibility of building up layers, and I can change things. I love the colors in oils. They’re softer than acrylics, which tend to be brighter. I like the traditional, softer colors of oil.”

    She took some painting classes in college but credits later workshops, working with artists she particularly respected, for really helping her learn her art. “That was really how I made progress,” she says, “that and going to museums. That really puts you up a level, to see the best work.” She still finds lots of inspiration at museums, she says, and notes that on different occasions she’s drawn to different artists, often because there’s some aspect of her own work that she may be considering. “When you go to a museum and look at work that inspires you, it’s always different work. There are things in your work you’re looking to that you may not even realize. I’ll come back and realize it’s something I’ve been pushing for in my work. The more you surround yourself with higher quality work than yours, the more you learn to see.”

    And Bass has been seeing, and learning, for her whole life. Her first art pieces were of animals, back when she was a small child. “I wanted a poodle in the worst way,” she laughs. “I must have been about three. I had a big box of crayons with every color and I learned how to draw poodles. I made poodles in every color. I made a pink one, which was the one I really wanted. I had no idea I would become an animal artist.”

    While she never got that pink poodle (she did eventually get other dogs, she says), Nancy Bass has been painting animals ever since. Her appreciation for them has helped her to create portraits that are more than just representations. Her work has the added level of truly revealing an animal’s personality, a skill she attributes to her affinity for them. “People look at my art and say they really feel they know the animal, it isn’t just something that doesn’t have a personality but is real; that I really understand the animals and captured what was real about them. If you love animals, you just kind of know. People who are animal people just kind of feel the animal. I tend to make things generally more beautiful, more loving. That’s just something that happens in the work. That’s the way I see them.”

    Bass is still surrounded by animals, including lots of birds and cows in Florida and bears in North Carolina. And when she needs even more inspiration, she still has a series of files on her computer of photos of each of her cows in Virginia to refer to. “I find my animals wherever I go,” she says.

    Bass is happy in her studios, one in Florida and one in North Carolina, and teaching workshops and offering private classes, sharing the art of painting animals. And speaking of sharing, she’s happy to have the chance to share her art through GreenBox Art as well, she says. “The point of doing work is to share it with people. When you’re an artist your work is only shared with whoever owns it. It’s not shared very often. It’s not like when you‘re a writer. So printing my work makes sense to me.”

  • Meet Angela Staehling!


    Meet Angela Staehling! Meet Angela Staehling!

    The National Park Foundation is fifty years old this year, and artist Angela Staehling is celebrating with a series of National Park paintings. “Being a nature lover myself,” she explains, “I wanted to dive deep into exploring the parks. I wanted to take a fun approach with them and try something different.” Staehling’s National Parks series takes a close-up look at each of the nation’s sixty National Parks, a different approach than many of the wide-angle views that illustrate the parks’ overwhelming majesty. “I researched each park,” Staehling explains, “and tried to find main, recognizable icons and represent them in fun, playful ways. I took a little artistic license to try to capture the life of each park.” The resulting pieces have her signature vivid colors, bold lines, and decidedly artistic spin on the natural world. She uses mostly gouache, with a little acrylic and pencil for titles.

    Staehling has a degree in graphic design, and attributes that to her frequent use of lettering in her art. Two decades ago, she was hand-painting home décor items and found that they were very popular. A successful stint at the Atlanta Gift Show convinced her to let go of the graphic design career and take her art full-time.

    Once she did, her choice of topic was a natural: “My love for art came as a child, and as I grew older my focus is primarily around nature. Not always, but that’s just where I draw the most inspiration.” She draws inspiration (before painting it) from being outdoors whenever possible. “Gardening is a huge love of mine,” she reports. “Spending time in my garden, and hiking trails.”

    Staehling’s current style is not the only one that interests her. “I just love to experience with different styles, so it’s hard for me to stick with one particular style. I find myself playing around with different styles and themes. That keeps it fun and fresh for me.” She’s got one book already, Happy Houseplants, and intends to create more in the future.

    Happy Houseplants by Angela Staehling Happy Houseplants by Angela Staehling (Image via AngelaStaehling.Com)

    As for the National Parks she’s commemorating, visits are on her list, maybe even this year to celebrate the parks’ fifty years. “I have not been to enough,” Staehling says, “and I may try to get out there this summer.”



  • Meet Stephanie Jeanne

    Meet Stephanie Jeanne Meet Stephanie Jeanne

    The 2018 Kentucky Derby has us focused on the art of competitive equestrian Stephanie Jeanne.

    When most artists refer to their portraiture, it goes without saying that they’re referring to portraits of people. But artist Stephanie Jeanne Hardy (who goes by Stephanie Jeanne professionally) is so committed to her animal paintings that when she talks about “portraits,” which she often paints on commission, she’s referring to portraits of animals. “Having the skill set to paint people is important,” she says, “but there are artists who do that much better than I do. I do animal portraits. I love animals and that’s why I’m good at painting them.”

    Hardy’s commitment to depicting animals goes far beyond the nuts and bolts (or whiskers and fur). Her love for animals allows her to see their individuality in a way many others reserve for people. “[Clients] send me videos, tell me about the personalities of their animals, their special moments. That helps get a feel for what the animal is all about and how it’s connected with its owners. Capturing the spirit of whatever animal I’ve chosen to paint is so important. If you capture the expression of the eyes you’ve captured the whole animal. Even if the rest is a loose interpretation of the style, fur, feathers, whatever--as long as you get the eyes it’s going to capture the individual.”

    Hardy’s commitment to capturing the personality of an animal means that the even when she’s not painting a specific pet, she is careful to depict each animal as the individual it is. That’s especially true for her horse paintings. Hardy is a competitive equestrian and has two horses of her own. “I train with them six days a week,” she explains. “I travel a lot to competitions and have for over twenty-five years. That’s my norm. I go to the barn a lot. When I’m not painting I’m riding.”

    Her incredible skill at depicting horses so realistically is in part a side effect of her decades-long love of horses. She didn’t start painting them until about six years ago. “Horses are particularly difficult to paint or draw,” she explains. Their anatomy and composition is so unique. A lot of people struggle with their proportions. That’s something I feel pretty confident that I’ve got down. Being around them the majority of my life helps immensely. I know their bodies, musculature, how they move.” And her love for her own horses means that she also knows how unique each one is. “I have such a strong relationship with my animals [she also has two French Bulldogs] and I think of my own when I paint others. It’s important for me to connect with the painting in order for the eventual owner of the painting to connect with it too.”

    Hardy is trained as a graphic designer and is mostly self-taught. Her mother’s work as a seamstress taught Hardy a lot about fabric and patterns and details, she says. While she is currently living in Nashville, Hardy and her fiancé are relocating, dogs and horses and all, to Denver this spring.

    “I love what I do,” she says of painting. “I feel so fortunate to get to paint for a living. It’s not the easiest path, but it’s so fulfilling. Everyone I’ve met has a story of an experience with an animal that they hold dear to them. If I’m painting something as silly as a cow and people can look at it and be reminded of those experiences, then that’s a special connection that’s been made. Every animal is important to someone in some way.”

  • GreenBox Goes Green!

    The light has never shined brighter than it does now at GreenBox Art.

    GreenBox has officially begun reducing our energy usage with the introduction of innovative solar panels installed in our uniquely designed San Diego, California facility. Utilizing the power of natural sunlight and more energy efficient practices has both dramatically reduced the power usage from our warehouse AND increased the productivity of our art building process.

    Today, GreenBox challenges you to find fun new ways to save energy! Start by turning off lights and appliances that aren’t in immediate use or invest in a handy programmable thermostat. Even the smallest of changes can leave the biggest impact – especially when it comes to conserving power. Now is the perfect time to stand alongside GreenBox and help make green conscious decisions that benefit everyone and future generations of art lovers.

    New Rooftop Solar Panels At GreenBox Art + Culture New Rooftop Solar Panels at GreenBox Art + Culture
  • GreenBox iPhone Sticker Packs Are Here!


    Can’t get enough GreenBox? Well, we have just the thing to make your day a little bit cheerier!

    Art lovers everywhere can now decorate texts with our brand new GreenBox Art Stickers. Available free (yay!) via the App Store on iPhone, the GreenBox Art app allows you to browse through a library of our cutest and coolest art images and send them through iMessage.

    You’ll find the perfect sticker for any occasion – whether it’s a birthday, holiday, or just because! We’ve taken the time to adapt over forty popular artworks from a few of your favorite artists, such as Eli Halpin, Heather Gauthier, Cathy Walters, and much more, to fit your unique messages. Art no longer has to live solely on your walls – spread your artistic side to your friends, family, and everyone in between with our creative GreenBox Art sticker pack.

    At GreenBox, we are an ever-evolving company that believes art can enlighten every aspect of everyday life. These delightful stickers were created with the help of experienced developers from THINKware, a leader in the tech industry that executes digital content for major corporations. We are proud to bring a touch of artistic flair to your mobile conversations and make each interaction more memorable than the last!


    Please visit iTunes for more information about our delightful sticker packs!

    And visit THINKware for more on Rob, Bryan, and the talented team of developers who made our GreenBox Art Sticker Packs possible!


  • Portraits and the Artists


    The first 43 presidential portraits, and those of the corresponding first ladies,  have a certain similar quality to them. They look, for the most part, like classic portraits that strive to depict rather than illustrate. That is, they're grounded in realism in the same way as a photograph: here is the subject, here is the background.


    Forty-four is different. These paintings were created by two African-American artists, the first Presedential portaits for which that's true. Both artists were hand-picked by their subjects, based on Mr. and Mrs. Obama studying dozens of portfolios and conducting one-on-one interviews.


    Obama Presidential Portraits Portraits of Former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald (NPR)

    Kehinde Wiley's Portrait of Mr. Obama

    Former President Barack Obama's Presidential Portrait Former President Barack Obama unveiling his portrait by Kehinde Wiley (NPR)

    Kehinde Wiley, who created Barack Obama's portrait, is already known for subverting the "classic" portrait, usually by painting a minority subject in a classical setting. One of his earlier works, Napoleon Leading the Army over the Alps, shows not the expected Napoleon Bonaparte, but an African American man dressed in camouflage atop a horse. For Mr. Obama's portrait, Wiley depicted the president sitting casually in a formal chair. But the background has a surreal sense of imagination. The foliage that surrounds Mr. Obama is bright green and dotted with blooms, including pikake from his native Hawaii, African blue lilies from his father's native Kenya, and chrysanthemums to represent the Obama Family's hometown of Chicago.

    Kehinde Wiley grew up in LA with his twin brother and mother. Wiley studied painting at Yale.

    Amy Sherald's Portrait of Mrs. Obama

    Amy Sherald, in 2016, became the first woman to win the prestigious Outwin Boochever Portrait competition. She, like Wiley, is known for portraits of everyday people. Her work often features skin tones that are not strictly natural--often shades of gray--and so allow the other aspects of the painting to pop with color. For Mrs. Obama's portrait, Wiley used signature gray for her skin tone, with a flat, one-tone blue background. The dress, by designer Milly, is where the color resides. The patchwork style is reminiscent of a quilt, which the artist chose as a nod to the quilts of Gee's Bend, an Alabama community known for the gorgeous blankets created by its black female residents.

    The presidential portraits are hung in order, starting with George Washington, in the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery. Each of the 88 paintings (of presidents and wives) is its own, singular work of art, and the Obamas' portraits have taken that tradition to a new level.

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