• Featured Artists
March 7, 2023

Inspiring Women: Artist Features

In honor of International Women’s Day, we are sharing the work and stories of some artists we find inspirational!

By The Art Toolkit Team

An artist holds up a small notebook with a sketch of the surroundings.

In honor of International Women’s Day, we are sharing the work and stories of some artists we find inspirational! Recently, we featured some incredible artists on our social media pages and we want their work visible as people like you browse our website.

As Art Toolkit grows, we get to see the many ways that people around the world use and love our products.

An artist sits and paints next to a lake.
Photo: Jess de Jesus

Jess is a landscape artist living in Walnut Creek, CA. She finds great joy and expression in watercolor, gouache, ink, and other water-based media. With a strong love for nature and the outdoors, she is inspired by its breathtaking beauty and ever-changing environment in California, especially in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

A watercolor painting of a sunset over a snowy valley.
Watercolor by Jess de Jesus

Jess loves backpacking and enjoys bringing a Hahnemühle ZigZag book for its flexibility and size and an Art Toolkit watercolor palette that fits the occasion—she has all three sizes!

On any given day, she can be found running on the trails near her home with her sketchbook and mini watercolor “go bag.” Since the pandemic, art has permanently carved out a space in her life and brought her a lot of peace and balance.

An artist holds up a sketch of rolling golden hills and a Demi Palette.
Watercolor by Jess de Jesus
A painting of “Live Oaks” on a hillside.
Gouache by Jess de Jesus
A sketch of a pass and lake with the subject in the background.
Watercolor by Jess de Jesus

To see more from Jess, visit her website or follow her on Instagram!

Cassie Wells Lumbrazo

At a distance, a scientist wearing a backpack bends over the snow, inspecting equipment.
Photo: Cassie Wells Lumbrazo

Cassie is an environmental engineer and, more specifically, a snow scientist! She is currently working on her PhD, studying the water capacity of snow and its life before it becomes the water we drink. Her admiration for snow and water led her to explore plein air watercolor painting. She wanted to find a less-scientific way to put to paper the way she felt when overlooking a snowy landscape.

Cassie shares, “Taking the time to paint outside is a type of meditation that forces me to be still and observe the movement of light across a landscape. Simply existing with nature and experiencing her elements, while attempting to capture her beauty and complexity, brings peace to my soul.”

As her love for painting grew, nature continued to be her inspiration. “Leaving a painting session with a beautiful piece of art is never really my goal. I don’t believe art is made to be beautiful as much as it’s made to make you feel more alive,” she says. Above all, Cassie intends to take the time to connect with nature and inspire others to observe the intricate details of the natural world. These days, Cassie brings her Art Toolkit and Pocket Palette when she embarks on snowy mountain adventures, preferring to travel light.

An open backpack full of paints and displaying a sketch of a snowy mountain, sit on a snowy mountainside.
Photo: Cassie Wells Lumbrazo
An artist sits on a mat in the snow, surrounded by sketching supplies and thermoses.
Photo: Cassie Wells Lumbrazo
An artist holds a sketchbook at arms length, aligning the sketch with the subject in the background.
Watercolor by Cassie Wells Lumbrazo

Sue Yeon Choi

An artist in a red sweater and purple glasses regards the camera, with shelves of books and sketchbooks in the background.

Sue Yeon is a neurobiologist and graduate of UC Berkeley and the University of California San Francisco, as well as a lifelong self-taught artist from California. Though she has drawn and painted her whole life, she became a full-time artist just a few years ago when Caltrain commissioned her to paint the historic Bay Area train stations.

A painting of a trolley car, with a Pocket Palette next to it.
Watercolor by Sue Yeon Choi

Curiosity and variety guide her art; she is fascinated by how a pen drawing can have just as much soul as a big painting. “My favorite medium is watercolor because it is so dynamic and alive to me. I plan my steps carefully, but it also taught me to let go. I also love exploring pen for its simplicity, colored pencils for their precision, and oil pastels for their boldness.” Sue Yeon’s favorite subjects are everyday things and urban scenes. “I believe there’s beauty all around us.”

While the studio allows for abundant materials, time, and control, Sue Yeon loves urban and travel sketching, saying, “sketching on location lets you capture the energy of the moment.” She always carries a compact kit, including Art Toolkit Pocket Palettes, travel brushes, and a sketchbook. “I treasure flipping through my sketchbooks full of fond memories.”

A hand holds out an open sketchbook painting of a field with a palette in front of the field.
Watercolor by Sue Yeon Choi
An open sketchbook showing a sketch of a view of a harbor, with a palette and drawing supplies nearby.
Watercolor by Sue Yeon Choi
A monochromatic landscape watercolor of an urban neighborhood.
Watercolor by Sue Yeon Choi

Sue Yeon’s art has been published in The Urban Sketching Handbook: Understanding Light, and she is this year’s Artist in Residence for San Francisco’s Symphony Parnassus.

Browse her train station series on her website, and follow Sue Yeon on Instagram.

Emily Beaudoin

An artist wearing a sunhat and bright colors sketches red rocks in the desert.
Photo: Emily Beaudoin

Emily is a Canadian watercolor artist who spends most of her time outside. Whether biking, skiing, or paddling into the backcountry, she brings compact and lightweight supplies that give her the freedom to capture her experiences.

An artist holds up a watercolor painting of a mountain with flowers in the foreground.
Watercolor by Emily Beaudoin
An artist holds up a painting of a mountain with the mountain in the background.
Watercolor by Emily Beaudoin
An artist holds up a detailed line drawing of a bear surrounded by colorful wildflowers.
Watercolor by Emily Beaudoin

“My hope is that my art will transport folks to the ridges, summits, and valleys I paint and allow them to feel their own sense of connection and awe,” she says. “The way I see it, people will only fight to protect the wild places they have a relationship with, and if my art inspires even just one person to go outside and want to be a part of the wilderness, I’ll be a happy camper.”

To see more of her work, visit her website or follow her on Instagram!

Thank you Jess, Cassie, Sue Yeon, and Emily for sharing your work and your wisdom with us! We regularly feature artists on our social media platforms and in our newsletter; we love to see what you are all creating.

An artist sites on a rock, dipping a paintbrush in a Pocket Palette.

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