The MNY Spotlight

Meet Evelyn Hensen, Watercolor Artist & Entrepreneur

Introduce yourself! 

I’m Evelyn–a Southern artist who paints a whimsical, colorful line of art, stationery, home, and gift items. I grew up in Columbus, GA and currently reside in Charlotte, North Carolina where I work from a home studio. Led by the mantra "painting is a celebration of life," I seek to create stylish art that colorfully celebrates the everyday. I look at places and things, but most of my paintings begin when I think about others and what I can paint to brighten their day. I most recently developed a collection of wallpaper and am looking forward to growing to more categories in the future.

Evelyn wears the Vera Top in Ivory Midnight Garden

How did you begin drawing and painting, and what inspired you to turn it into a business?

I've always had an appreciation for art and was always drawing growing up. My mom volunteered at our local museum so I would often wander the art galleries there and frequently attended their art camps for things like decoupage, jewelry making, or drawing. In school, I was always the girl with the cute, doodle filled notes and would design my own prints on Microsoft Paint to use for my class projects and notebooks—everything had a pattern! I majored in Art History in college where I also discovered my love for painting when I attempted a floral still life for a Mother’s Day gift. I honestly haven't been able to put down the paint brush since -- there's something about art that brings out my happiest, brightest self. After college, I started selling a few prints on Etsy for fun and it slowly evolved into a colorful & happy gift brand from there. Once my work began selling, I kept seeking out more ways to create whimsical gifts for others.

Your products are perfect items to gift! What is your favorite way to personalize your paintings and drawings to incorporate them when gifting?

Thank you! I really enjoy drawing from real life experiences and find so much of my inspiration through celebrating friends and family. One of my favorite gifts is the personalized pet mug, which was initially a joke Christmas gift to my sisters because we love our family dogs. I also designed a personalized travel print (can be customized to feature your favorite places) as a gift for my parents to commemorate our family travels. Most recently, I created a personalized baby print for my best friend’s first child.

You offer a wide range of products! What is your favorite to create?

I love putting together my yearly wall calendars, especially an annual dog themed one. I always hide some of my family’s dogs in the pages and have a lot of fun imagining various scenes like dogs playing golf, dogs trick or treating, and dogs on a synchronized swim team.

What advice would you offer to someone wanting to pursue art as a full-time job, but unsure of where to start?

Start sharing your work and progress now—even if it’s just a quick post on your instagram story! Once you feel more comfortable with that, start a website with your work. Take it one step at a time and don’t let perfectionism stop you from moving forward. Remember that success takes time so don't be discouraged or feel lost just because you're not making any sales or don't have as many instagram followers as you want. Just keep your hand on the paintbrush and your eyes on your own paper! The more you work, the better you'll get and the more unique your work will become.

Follow Evelyn along on Instagram @evelyn_henson

How would you describe your style and how is that style reflected in the clothes you wear?

I strive to paint pieces that feel like sunshine and are timeless in the way it brings the viewer joy. I go for colorful hues balanced with whites and neutrals, and often whimsical, imperfect brushstrokes. With my clothing choices, I also seek out classic and polished looks but with a ton of color or whimsy. I love feeling put together through what I’m wearing, but always like to include bright hues or a fun print that makes me feel happy.

What is the biggest lesson that you have learned throughout your career journey?

So many! I think one lesson I remind myself often is that mistakes help you learn so don’t beat yourself up too much over them–just remember to carry what you’ve learned with you moving forward. Another lesson I learn over and over again is that “comparison is the thief of joy.” It’s really tough to be an artist and not compare your work and portfolio to someone else’s!

What is your best tip to anyone first experimenting with painting?

First and foremost, don’t compare yourself to others.  Find inspiration in fashion, art history, television, or whatever you’re naturally drawn to. Have fun with it and challenge yourself to experiment with different mediums as much as possible–watercolors, acrylics, collages, beads, etc. There’s so much to explore! From there, I would say narrow your focus onto one subject matter to start; get really good at just flowers or just beach landscapes for example. Then do studies of something else and continue honing your skills. The more you paint, the more inspired you’ll be, and the better your work will become.

Evelyn Hensen, Watercolorist in North Carolina
What draws you to the Mestiza brand?

The sophisticated silhouettes and chic, whimsical prints. I love joyful brands that make dressing fun, happy, and effortless.

How does wearing your Mestiza piece make you feel?
A good outfit with a favorite shirt always puts me in a good mood and makes me excited for the day! This piece makes me feel polished, chic, happy, and feminine. I’ve always loved how Emerson said “the earth laughs in flowers” so floral prints like this one make my heart extra happy.

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