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First Friday Meet the Artists Show with west elm at Ponce City Market

A few days ago I had the amazing opportunity to show my work along side three other incredibly talented local artists at the west elm at Ponce City Market. Celebrating their first ever "Meet the Artists" First Friday exhibit, the weekend long show began with an opening Friday night- complete with colorful sodas, jars of cookies, and even organic cotton candy from the ever amazing Cult Carts. 

meet the artists exhibit | First Friday's with west elm ponce city market | atlanta contemporary watercolor artist courtney khail

Not only was I blown away by the turn out (seriously, you guys rock and we all appreciate the support) but I couldn't get over just how great the other artists were (personality-wise- I already knew their work was great!) Aside from a few planning emails, I don't believe any of us had ever spoken before the show, but within minutes of arriving, we all just meshed together. Maybe it was because the show took place at west elm- and therefore we were surrounded by comfy couches and beautifully styled vignettes, but the whole opening kind of just felt like a really laid back party at a friends house. A friend with a killer art collection of course. We all just kind of lounged around- laughing, drinking, and eating cotton candy. I almost forgot it was "work."

meet the artists exhibit | First Friday's with west elm ponce city market | atlanta contemporary watercolor artist courtney khail

The featured artists

(Emily of Ink and Indigo, Michelle of Michelle Armas, Brynn of Brynn Casey Art, and myself)

meet the artists exhibit | First Friday's with west elm ponce city market | atlanta contemporary watercolor artist courtney khail

Mandy (the owner of Cult Carts) doing her thing.

I met her at an event a few months before, but didn't get to really talk to each other until the opening. So happy we finally got the chance because she is an absolute blast! If you want your party to be amazing, hire her. (And if you're weird and don't like cotton candy, she has other carts like a champagne one and a waffle one.)

meet the artists exhibit | First Friday's with west elm ponce city market | atlanta contemporary watercolor artist courtney khail

west elm hooking everyone up with snacks

Speaking of west elm, every single person I met was spectacular and went above and beyond to help make the show a success. Such fantastic hosts! (A very special thanks to Ashley and Adriana for making this whole thing a reality.)

meet the artists exhibit | First Friday's with west elm ponce city market | atlanta contemporary watercolor artist courtney khail
meet the artists exhibit | First Friday's with west elm ponce city market | atlanta contemporary watercolor artist courtney khail

Shots from the show

meet the artists exhibit | First Friday's with west elm ponce city market | atlanta contemporary watercolor artist courtney khail

me and the hubs celebrating with Cuban food after the show.

He isn't a huge photo person so I may have been trying to be sly about this one by taking a photo of our reflection in the window. As you can tell, he caught on. Now to be fair- and for the sake of full disclosure- I may or may not be "that person" when it comes to photos. When I get in the "capture the moment" mood it's hard to get me to stop. So it's probably not that he's opposed to taking photos as much as he's not into taking a bajillion photos. (Tomato tahmato.) 

So there you have it! If you couldn't make it, I'm bummed we didn't get to meet (but there is always next time.) If you did make it though, thanks so much for spending your Friday night with us. I hope you had a great time!

The Invitation Suite (Courtney Khail Watercolors for Weddings Unveiled Spring Inspiration Shoot)

The Invitation Suite (Courtney Khail Watercolors for Weddings Unveiled Spring Inspiration Shoot)

courtney khail watercolors | custom fine art watercolor wedding invitations | Atlanta, Georgia | rustic yellow wedding

Custom Fine Art Watercolor Wedding Invitation Suite by Courtney Khail | photo by ellegolden

I absolutely love when I'm given free reign with designing. Which aside from sending over inspiration boards to give me an idea for the overall look and colors, is pretty much exactly what Raquel did. She trusted my expertise and ability and just let me create- and in the end she got amazing pieces. (I stress this point to anyone looking to work with an artist- whether it's for commissioned art for custom wedding invitations or for your home. Choose someone whose work and style you love, give them enough information- favorite colors, overall mood, etc- so they know what you want, and then trust them to provide that. By giving people the freedom to really create, more often than not you will be rewarded with exceptional art far exceeding anything you could have imagined!)

courtney khail watercolors | custom fine art watercolor wedding invitations | Atlanta, Georgia | rustic yellow wedding color palette

The color palette board I made to show the original inspiration (photo by Elle Golden)

But back to this suite. Raquel wanted a natural palette- lots of greens, blues, and whites- that evoked spring. After seeing her inspiration, I immediately envisioned a garden after a spring rain (Wow. Feels like I'm writing copy for the J. Peterman catalog with that one.) Subdued, yet still vibrant colors, with enough contrast for interest, but not so much that anything is jarring. Have you ever looked into a clear, blue lake? How close to the surface the water is barely blue at all- more crystal clear- but as your eyes look deeper, the water gradually darkens until it's almost navy or midnight? (If not, I suggest you go explore the outdoors more because the world is beautiful and you'll get to see things like what I just described.) I wanted my pieces to appear delicate, but strong enough to stand on their own, with subtle color variations like those that occur in nature.

courtney khail watercolors | custom fine art watercolor wedding invitations | Atlanta, Georgia | rustic yellow wedding

Invitation by Courtney Khail Watercolors (photo by Elle Golden)

Like all of my work, I incorporated handwritten elements as well. With this particular one though, I kept the lines very thin. (The style was inspired by the handwritten notes my grandmothers used to send. Cursive, airy, and always consistent in the width- probably because they were written with a ball point pen. There was always something so feminine about their handwriting and I want to capture that in this suite.)

The design itself was directly inspired by spring time in the South. I'm originally from Augusta, Georgia and for Augustans the beginning of spring is marked by one thing- The Masters golf tournament. Always the first full week of April, the city is full of bright azalea blooms, dogwood blooms so bright they appear to be glowing, and tons of green- in everything from manicured lawns to the famed green jacket. I dialed back on the colors some, but still strived to capture the overall feeling of spring's "fresh start" with the artwork itself.

courtney khail watercolors | custom fine art watercolor wedding invitations | Atlanta, Georgia | rustic yellow wedding

Watercolor RSVP by Courtney Khail Watercolors (Photo by Elle Golden)

And there you have it- the back story and inspiration of the invitation suite. Does it remind you of spring as well?

courtney khail watercolors | Weddings Unveiled Spring/Summer 2016 Launch Party

Weddings Unveiled Spring/Summer 2016 Launch Party

weddings unveiled |courtney khail |custom fine art wedding invitations | Atlanta, Georgia

Last Thursday, I drove over to StudioWed's studio for the launch party for Wedding Unveiled's Spring/ Summer issue. While I most likely would have gone anyway because I'm a big fan of the women behind both StudioWed and Weddings Unveiled, this launch was especially exciting because this particular issue featured a four page spread of a shoot I'd collaborated on! 

Seeing my work never fails to get me all excited, and despite trying to act like a professional, much less a normal functioning human being, I'm pretty sure I just transformed into a five year old who was just found out they were going to Disneyworld. (Maybe a bad example since I can't even look at a roller coaster without getting sick. Okay how about a five year old being told they were getting a puppy? Yep that works. Because if you don't get excited about puppies, something might be wrong with you.) So yes, imagine me first walking in as "Courtney Khail, professional artist" and then moments after being handed the magazine turning into "Courtney Khail, five year old that just found herself surrounded by lab puppies."  (Because labs are my favorite.

weddings unveiled spring 2016 launch party | courtney khail | Atlanta, Georgia | custom fine art watercolor wedding invitations

THEN if seeing the feature wasn't enough, surround me with friends, put me in a photo booth, and hand me a huge cloud of (organic coconut) cotton candy. Which all most definitely happened. 

(Speaking of, way to throw a party StudioWed and Weddings Unveiled. I tip my hat to you.)

Over the next few days/weeks/tbd time frame (I'm just being honest here. I'm not the best at blogging regularly) I'm going to share my work, (as well as some of the work of the other amazing vendors,) behind the scenes moments, and shots that didn't make the magazine. Until then though, definitely go pick up a copy and see the feature in it's entirety for yourself! It's a stunning magazine filled with gorgeous photos, inspiring work, and beautiful ideas.