Another week, another maker we’re completely in love with This time, we’re pumped to introduce you to our newest bestie on the maker block, Courtney Pilgrim, the brilliant beauty behind My Friend Court. Courtney flew our way from Atlanta, Georgia to show us how she does what she does in our brand new online class, Intro to Acrylic Painting.
In Courtney’s class, you’ll learn how to set up your palette, blend colors, apply base colors, and use different painting techniques to build depth and texture to your artwork. Not only will you have a unique abstract painting, but you’ll have the skills to create many more. Learn more about the class right here. For now, it’s all about Courtney, what inspires her, how she got to where she is today.
After a slightly extended stay (she describes herself as a free spirit in college, finally figuring out her plan by year 5) at Georgia State University, Courtney got a gig as a full-time art teacher at an elementary school. At first, she was unsure if this was the right path, but after just a few weeks sharing the world of creativity with a bunch of rowdy kiddos, she realized that teaching came naturally to her. After about two years, Courtney decided to give herself an after school project. Her work was taking over her life, and though she was being creative all the time, she still didn’t have an outlet for creating her own work. So, she created My Friend Court, a blog dedicated to her own creative journey and one that’s meant to inspire others to find their creative confidence.
Read on for more about the why, the what and the how, straight from our friend Court ;)
What inspires you? Why do you love to design, create and make?
The world and all its natural beauty, color, patterns and textures are what I am most drawn to. I wouldn’t say that I am super outdoorsy but I grew up in the woods and my grandmother and grandfather always had their own garden and grew their own food. So, nature is something that I always retreat to when I am feeling lost. Even if it is a walk on a nature trail in the city, it helps me recharge and gain new perspective.
I have always been a color chaser, even having the nickname Skittles in high school. I love art and fashion and combine the two however and whenever I can. I draw a lot of inspiration from fashion and fabrics in my work. And most recently have gotten into surface design and turning my painting and patterns into repeating patterns that become fabric or stationery. Seeing my paintings become actual things like bags, dresses, hair ties, scarfs, cell phone covers and more, and then seeing people I don’t even know tag me on Instagram, buying + rocking + loving my prints is an awesome feeling and accomplishment and inspiration enough to keep on creating. And I have been creating more these past 8 months than I have in the past 5 years and it’s GREAT!
What’s one piece of advice you’d share with other makers?
Shake the demons. Stop listening to the voice of doubt you have about your ideas or what you want to do with your life and career. I would hate to grow old and regret not putting myself out there more, or putting my work out there more because I was worried about what others may think.
Who cares what “they” think. Those other people that you’re worried about don’t pay your bills and aren’t in charge of your happiness. YOU are. So figure out just what you want to do and what makes you happy and pursue it with all your might! Make a plan, set goals and get to work!
The quote that has inspired me most in my creative journey is by Maya Angelou: “You find your path by walking it.”
My idea of “what I want to be when I grow up” or what “type” of artist or blogger I strive to be has changed so much throughout the years and will continue to change as I grow and keep walking my path. That’s completely normal.
I think it is always wise to learn and study from those who have gone before you, so do your research but never become obsessed with someone else’s creative journey. Stay focused on your path, and just apply what you can to your life/career/ideas from others who may be similar to you.
In the days of social media and where EVERYONE has a blog, it is easy to be influenced by others, or feel competition with others, but that’s not how it should be at all. There is room for everyone to “make” their own way — so don’t be afraid to pursue yours.
Tell us how technology has changed and supported what you do.
I seriously don’t know where I would be without it. It has truly been a gift to me in my creative journey and career path. Social media has been the biggest game changer for me and opened me up to so many new ideas and projects, some that forced me how to learn to make technology work for me and my business.
I love making mini paintings or drawings and scanning them into Illustrator. Then manipulating them with my Wacom tablet and pen. This is how I have been turning my art into products, and it is something I never imagined myself learning to do, but like I said I love it and it has taken me in a whole new direction!
What’s on your studio playlist?
On Spotify I have a playlist I created called “Girl, you got this!: and it is filled with kickass girl power songs. I love to blare the music and dance with my dogs while I’m painting. It definitely gets me in the zone!
How do you get into the creative flow? How does it feel?
For me, it’s really hard to push my creativity if I’m just not feeling it. And when it’s your job to be creative EVERY day of your life, some days you just hit a wall. In fact, some days that wall shows up on a deadline day or something. These days are fueled by lots of coffee and music. And I will usually start out in my art journal just playing around with my supplies. After I have filled up a few pages I can usually find my groove, and get that creative flow to do the work.
Once I start working on something, I am a marathon worker. I can sit and work on a painting for 8 hours breaking only to eat, drink and use the restroom. I definitely get consumed by my work and ideas and can’t shake them, until I see them come into fruition. During my summer vacays I can stay up all night long working and creating, because for whatever reason that is when I always seem to be the most alive and have my creative sparks.
What do you love about teaching people to make? And inspiring people who don’t think they are traditionally creative?
I love teaching art and encouraging others to be more creative because it usually sparks something in them that they didn’t realize they had. Especially with adults. We get so wrapped up in the day to day and stop using our imaginations we forget how to use them, and then feel awkward and silly when were asked to.
Most people, once they open up to the process of art making for the experience and not the result or product, they realize how much fun they are having and don’t even care if it comes out super beautiful or not. But you’ll be surprised at what you can create when you just stop thinking so much and just let yourself get truly creative.
Be sure to enroll in Courtney’s Intro to Acrylic Painting to test your own creative boundaries. And be sure to follow @myfriendcourt on Instagram for monthly art challenges, behind-the-scenes inspo and more.