Summer Wrap-Up

Is it really the end of August already?

Hard to believe how quickly time has passed this summer.  At the risk of turning this post into a diary entry, I’ll tell you that the past three months have been chock full of change. 

Summer HQ in my parents' basement

Summer HQ in my parents' basement

I spent the summer living in Kentucky, at my parents’ house, while my husband lived in Ohio for an internship.  It was a blast to be reunited with my family and hometown, but definitely unusual to be a happily married 28-year-old living at home, visiting hubby on the weekends. 

celebrating a summer weekend with the hubs

celebrating a summer weekend with the hubs

In July, my sweet, hilarious, wonderful grandma got sick and passed away much sooner than any of us expected.  We were so lucky to get to visit her over the 4th, right before she took a turn for the worst.  Later that month, her passing and funeral were so graceful and brave and optimistic that they gave me a lot to think about, probably for my entire life. 

some favorite photos of Mimi from my wedding

some favorite photos of Mimi from my wedding

No time to think, though – right after the funeral we traveled across the country for a beautiful wedding weekend, followed by a series of showers, reunions, saying goodbye to our 15-year-old family dog, packing, moving, beach, wedding, moving again, school starting, wedding, and so on…

meeting Al the Camel at a very special summer wedding

meeting Al the Camel at a very special summer wedding

In the meantime, I had a number of art projects to wrap up in Louisville, which I absolutely adored and wanted to pour my heart into.  I can’t wait to tell you more about them!

my proud papa.  the best part of living at home was the support from a "fan club"!

my proud papa.  the best part of living at home was the support from a "fan club"!

All this to say… sorry for the lack of communication!  Business-wise, this has been a super busy summer for Alyson Johnson Creative, and I’m looking forward to more really beautiful projects this fall.   What I’m falling in love with, as an “artist-for-hire,” if you will, are the stories behind all the projects.  Every client has unique motivation for the piece they request and that inspires me anew with each canvas. 

going to miss sharing a studio with this goofball!

going to miss sharing a studio with this goofball!

Get ready for a deluge of posts to fill you in on summer work.   Fingers crossed that I can do a better job of keeping you updated in a timely manner as we move forward this year!  Thanks for hanging in there!

Dream Big


Not every bride is considerate enough to present her mom with a gift on her wedding day.  (I know I didn’t think of it… sorry, Mom!  I wish I had!)

This sweet daughter has a one-of-a-kind mom who has always made her dreams come true.  When they were planning her wedding, they comfortably threw around idea after idea, each bigger and more impressive than the last.

The most off-the-wall idea was to put swans in the reflecting pool at the reception site: Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.  Swans became a running joke between them when it came to wedding planning, representing that pie-in-the-sky dream that seemed a little too far out. 

The bride sent me some photos of the reception site and asked me to illustrate the gardens with swans and lily pads in the reflecting pool.  What a dreamy vision.


This gift will symbolize the big dreams the daughter feels capable of reaching, thanks to her mom, who taught her to imagine them.  All the best wishes and lots of love to these two amazing women!


Real-time update: a guestbook in progress

I got the most exciting text this weekend!

I'd been asked to create a guestbook for Kristen and Drew's wedding on July 12.  To my surprise, my client sent me a picture of the guestbook under way!

This was such a treat, as I rarely get to see these guestbooks in action.  I loved seeing how they set up the station.  I liked how they included the sample thumbprint card on the table, to show guests what to do… good thinking!

Kristen was receiving this guestbook as a wedding gift from their best man, Eric.  She plans to frame this artwork in their living room, which has a lot of deep blue and green.  Kristen was so nice to work with on this project, guiding me in terms of color and wording.  She also sent me a digital copy of their wedding invitation so I could mimic their chosen fonts.

Some gratuitous watercolor close-ups… loooove that watercolor effect!

Thanks so much for the update, Eric!  You have no idea how excited I was to catch a glimpse of the wedding day!

A Proposal for Posterity


On April 11, 2013, a very special marriage proposal took place on the High Line in New York City.

The wise and thoughtful beau planned ahead and had a photographer capture the moment in secret.  She hid while the gentleman led his lady to a special location and got down on one knee to ask the big question.

She said yes!  And lucky for them, they have a set of beautiful photographs from the proposal to treasure for years.

The first photo I saw from the proposal was via Instagram:

They’re gorgeous, aren’t they?  A dear friend of the bride agreed, and contacted me about commemorating the event in a painting. 

The photographer, Caroline Frost, was very generous to send me the original photograph, unfiltered and uncropped.  It was a fantastic source photo.

Here are some more in-progress and detail shots of the painting:

I find it difficult to paint people’s likenesses so tiny like this, but I think this captures their spirit and excitement during that moment! 

I'm so pleased I was able to join in making this special gift for the couple!