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Coming Home to Art


I think some part of me has always known I would be an artist.


Maybe it was in the “art studio” I built in our living room at age 5. Or maybe it was in the pages of my childhood books, filled with leaves that I just couldn’t stop collecting. But wherever it was, there was always a whisper calling me back to creating.


As I got older, there were many times I wished it to be quiet. The call to art is an inconvenient thing—it brings with it uncertainty and instability. After all, art was something to do on the weekends, when all the “real work” was finished, right? I did my best to build an 'art-ish’ career. I worked in galleries and classrooms, surrounded by art but never making it.


I thought maybe I could keep it quiet by giving it the margins of my life. I should’ve known better.

That low whisper became an ever-present hum in the back of my mind, and art spilled into every space it could. I painted through my lunch breaks, and missed sleep to sketch. In a small notebook with “The Artist Plan” scribbled on the cover, I let myself begin to dream. I mapped out every possible way I could make being an artist work. That ever-present hum became a heaviness in my chest, and I couldn’t argue with it any longer.


I handed in my notice, and began dreaming up the 100 Painted Leaves Collection.


Newly self-employed and in search for structure, I committed to painting a leaf each day for 100 days. The love these little paintings were met with was overwhelming, and solidified my new journey as an artist. I think that collection will always be precious to me. When I look at those paintings, I see the path I took back to myself.


I find a peace in creating that pushes me to keep painting. I believe that the artistic process is an act of reverence, and we are called to celebrate the things that matter. It is one of my greatest joys to create pieces that speak to others. I am honored to be trusted with preserving sacred memories, and thrilled time and time again to see each painting find its home. Community is what makes art meaningful, and I’ve got an awfully good one.


You are the reason I get to be an artist, and I cannot thank you enough.


With the fullest gratitude,



Features, Interviews, & Other Projects These beautiful paintings drawn on found natural objects will make your jaw drop

This artist uses leaves, shells and bumblebee wings as her canvas.

Creative Collective #004 – Art as Reverence 

Katie Brooks for Creative Collective

Artwork Archive A Few Favorites | Environment First Art Competition

Take a look at some of our favorites from our “Environment First” art competition.

Quarto Publishing Nature Art Workshop

Tips, techniques, and step-by-step projects for creating nature-inspired art


NC State College of Design Katie Brooks Transforms Fallen Leaves into Breathtaking Artwork

The world is your canvas. Meet Katie Brooks, a senior in the Art + Design program at the NC State College of Design with a minor in Arts Entrepreneurship.

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