By Summer Stanley
When March winds blow another season of change into view, we crave the lighter and fresher fares of life. It’s easy enough to think about transitional pieces in our wardrobes (everyone knows a new floral dress can bring you out of a winter slump), a good spring cleaning of our homes, and hopefully more time spent outdoors with extra daylight. Whether you’re on that long-anticipated spring break getaway or in the nature of your own backyard, it’s usually the scenery that is most appreciated. A visit to a museum or gallery often gives us that same gentle nudge in perspective, as we leave awakened and inspired for change.
We’re shining the spotlight on three talented artists, each with a passion for creating and illustrating your next visual escape. Their unique styles are blended with a love of Loudoun, as you’ll find modern, traditional and fashionable ways to update your spaces, plan your soirees, and give your calendars more than just a glance.
Sweet Tea Stationery
Lindsey Kite of Sweet Tea Stationery in Chantilly, Virginia, studied interior design with an interest in graphic design and typography infused with art. Her days are spent working for a local architecture and interior design firm to promote brand building for her clients through the transformation of commercial and retail spaces. Working in that deadline driven, fast-paced corporate real estate market made her realize a need for professionals to slow down and connect in more meaningful ways.
She began producing handmade paper goods, such as thank-you notes, so the time-honored elegance of a personal communication wouldn’t be lost, while still providing another medium for brand recognition between businesses. Kite has now expanded her side business to include greeting cards inspired by country music lyrics, wedding invitations, and digitally enhanced watercolor and pen sketches. Influenced by her southern style of easy front-porch living, each wedding line of Sweet Tea Stationery is “infused with a different flavor,” Kite explains. Clients can choose their base from contemporary paper designs in the Lemon, Mint, or Clove collections and customize their tastes from there. How refreshing is that?
Kite’s 2018 desktop calendar is made up entirely of barn sketches from photographs taken while “barn hunting,” which she fondly describes as a favorite pastime that involves jumping in the car with her mother, a retired high school art teacher, and going in search of undiscovered beautiful barns.
“I love when you drive down Route 50 and start to see the fields and pastures emerge,” says Kite. In her experiences with research-based design, she sees more young people being drawn to the country for wineries, antique shopping, and the general sense of community as a way of closing the generational gap.
Follow Sweet Tea Stationery on social media for a sip of the creative process through Kite’s Monday mood boards, inspired by texture and color. You’ll find her products at a few local artisan shows during the year, and the Sweet Tea Stationery Etsy shop online is always open for custom orders and everyday paper goods.
Lydia Marie Elizabeth
Lydia Schrader, of Philadelphia, spent much of her childhood and formative school years in Middleburg, always with a brush in hand. It remains a special place where she remembers walking around town, surrounded by history, and admiring the traditional and timeless spaces that are still relevant today.
“Even the landscape seems perfectly proportioned,” says Schrader, who admits to having a greater sense of appreciation during her visits home since leaving the area for college.
Schrader earned a degree in interior design, and just as she was honing in on her love for interiors, she began missing the paintbrushes of her youth. She started working as an interior designer at an architectural firm in Greenwich, Connecticut, where she found time to illustrate the scenes that most inspired her during the day. In 2015, she decided to launch her own brand, Lydia Marie Elizabeth, as a full-time artist, focusing on architecture and interior watercolor illustrations.
“What is so intriguing about buildings is their reflection of those who inhabit them,” she says. “Interiors and architecture are what we intentionally surround ourselves with, both for shelter and comfort. Once we’re beyond the structure of the building, architecture has the ability to touch on what we like to project about ourselves, much like how we dress, and interiors can be a very intimate portrait of a person’s inner self.”
While you might be familiar with some of her illustrations of popular Middleburg sights like The Red Fox Inn & Tavern, or the Hunt Review with horses and hounds at Christmas, Schrader also sketches her own travels, most recently in Palm Beach, Florida. She joyfully paints places inspired by nostalgic or daydreamed moments, where she finds the colors of a memory to be most evocative. Much of her work comes from commissioned pieces, often including custom illustrations for wedding stationery and live event painting.
Visit lydiamarieelizabeth.com to view the gallery, read the blog and shop stationery, prints and the 2018 Around the World Desk Calendar. Don’t forget to follow Lydia Marie Elizabeth on Instagram to hold her accountable for the original #LME365 painted sketches she vowed to post daily this year!
Inslee by Design
Inslee Fariss of Inslee by Design, is a native of Leesburg, Virginia, currently living and working in New York City as an artist and illustrator. Pinterest is flooded with her fashion illustrations, each with her signature magazine cover style depicting effortlessly chic socialites captured doing seasonal activities or simply being en vogue. Many of these watercolor illustrations were born from a calendar she releases each fall for the holiday gift season. Inslee also creates a popular calendar filled with luscious botanical prints, and new for this year, an animal calendar with images that go perfectly in a nursery.
Having worked as a full-time artist since 2008, she credits the social media rise for how her business has really blossomed over the past 10 years. “I wouldn’t be where I am without it,” says Inslee. Building that social network made the world feel smaller as her name got out there. Creating art for both individual clients and large companies, she’s been commissioned by the likes of Lela Rose, Neiman Marcus, Dior, Jack Rogers, Elizabeth Arden and many others.
“As my life changes, my art changes,” explains Inslee. What began as an outlet to celebrate her love of fashion illustration has evolved over time into a brand that is very much a wedding paper resource. She works with brides regularly now to create wedding suites, bridal portraits, save the dates and bridesmaid gifts. Her live illustration events span weddings, department stores, even a White House Correspondents’ Brunch, all beautifully detailed on her blog.
Though she enjoys the opportunities of living in New York, Inslee says she still feels like a Virginian at the core. The traditional and preppy East Coast aesthetic that comes through her work speaks for itself.
“I love the beauty of changing seasons in Northern Virginia, and they have influenced my art and the way I style fashion in my calendar through the year,” she says.
To learn more and shop all things Inslee by Design, visit inslee.net. You can also visit her studio in the West Village, where she welcomes visitors by appointment. ML