How much more of gray?

This is my most asked question when I am consulting clients on paint colors.

Now I am by no means a trend forecaster but I do have a lot of experience working with color. And have seen quite a few interiors. I also pay attention to the ways the design industry uses color. 

So, do you want to know what my answer is to this burning question? 

“Do you love gray?” 

That’s my answer.  

Classic evasion! Just kidding! 

But I want my clients to think more about what they love, what they are drawn to, what they want to live with before making decisions based on trends.  


Another observation I’ve made as I talk with homeowners is that collectively most of them have been through the gold, black, red color palette of the early 2000’s and now have been a good 5-8 years following the farmhouse style marked by cooler neutrals. It’s been a natural response to a previous decade of saturated tones and busy paint finishes. Collectively we were ready to clean, clear, reduce, and minimize. So the gray palette has been the solution. However, I’m hearing a new collective sigh for more color. And shelter magazines, Instagram, and blogs are feeding us the new color trends we crave for dusty earth tones, deep jewel like colors, and feminine pastels. 


So back to the original question.  I believe (and I tell my clients), your home is unique. You have preferences. You have a story of how you use your home. Sometimes gray neutrals are the answer, sometimes a certain space needs white walls (that’s a whole other kettle of fish to discuss), or in other instances a room might beg for navy, lavender or teal. 

That’s why I believe color consulting is so important. It’s personal! There isn’t a one-size fits all answer. So let me help you find what’s right for your space. I offer Nashville area color consulting or e-design options. I can create digital color mock ups of your interiors or exterior projects. (See below)

Just email me for more info and rates.  



Sometimes less is more!

Stencil sample boards 

Stencil sample boards 

Heather S. Thompson Fine Art distressed stencil paintings as seen at The City Farmhouse show. 

Heather S. Thompson Fine Art distressed stencil paintings as seen at The City Farmhouse show. 

Recently, I had the great pleasure of working with a fabulous, creative client with brilliant ideas to take her basic builder grade home out of the box and make it uniquely hers. She contacted me after seeing some of my distressed stencil works on canvas at The City Farmhouse Holiday show in Franklin, TN. A stencil accent wall became the perfect creative solution to set her home apart. 

We discussed her color story and I developed sample boards to work with her current wall colors. She knew she wanted a creative paint treatment but her powder room was a narrow space. Once we viewed the sample board in her space it was clear that she only needed this special treatment on her accent wall which can be seen down the hall from her kitchen. 

The walls were already painted Sherwin Williams Sea Salt, so I layered some texture, a glitter glaze and then a distressed Corsini Damask stencil, which ended up being a four layer process. But the effect is a deliciously dramatic pop, perfect for a truly unique fine art accent wall. 

With the powder room complete, we tackled the master bed and bath (also with Sea Salt walls). The client wanted something soft and romantic yet slightly distressed to blend with her furnishings and her eclectic feminine farmhouse style. To achieve this look, she chose the Florence Tile Stencil. We planned to use her trim color for the stencil but quickly realized it did not have enough contrast and switched to Sherwin Williams Snowbound. Instead of a crisp clean finish for the stencil, I allowed some of the wall color to show through and worked with imperfections rather than against them.  This provided the soft, distressed finish we were seeking. 

So what do you think? Does less of a good thing work for you or are you an all-over pattern person? 

Photos of walls by Tammy Russell. All others Heather S. Thompson

It's been too long!

Watercolor sketch while munching scones. Part of the #breakfastsketching series.

Watercolor sketch while munching scones. Part of the #breakfastsketching series.

Dear friends, 

Oh my, how I am blushing that it's been May 1 since I've written a blog post. You know that feeling when you ask yourself "Where did the time go?" This summer was especially busy with my three year old out of play school and several large-scale painting jobs. The evenings were filled with water hose play with neighborhood children and all things active little boys do to work up a sweat. We also tackled potty training and greived the loss of nap time. Whew! No wonder I'm tired. 

However, during the early mornings ( my son is an early riser 5:30 or 6am) I brought my art supplies to the kitchen table and we started a little art practice I dubbed #breakfastsketching. It was a quiet morning activity we both could enjoy before the activities started. I purchased us both some watercolor sketch pads. He quickly cranked out robot portraits and I refreshed my still life painting skills. You can read my story about it here on Steller. 


Along with breakfast sketching, I've been in a research mode: looking for inspiration to start a real body of artwork. And will be showing a new collection of pieces at the City Farmhouse Holiday Pop-Up Fair at the Factory in Franklin, Tn, November 13-15.


There have been tea parties and travels this summer too with friends and family. All in all , it has been a refreshing time for regrouping as a family, recharging creative batteries and reviving skills. Even with another Parade of Homes in Nolensville,TN (featuring my decorative painting work) and approaching holidays, I'm looking forward to this Fall season with renewed vision. AND I'm so thrilled to be reconnecting with YOU! I've missed you. I've missed US. 

Now that Summer is drawing to a close, let's stay connected. (I promise I'll be better)

Also, I'm hosting an Instagram PROP SALE this weekend ONLY on all my vintage photo props. My obsession can be part of your collection! 

 Stay tuned via Facebook or Instagram

Vintage Rosy Planter: $10 + shipping

Vintage Rosy Planter: $10 + shipping

Celebrating Creative Female Entrepreneurs: Christy Jo of The Strawberry Patch

Besides tea and painting, I am also really passionate about entrepreneurship. One of the things I miss about Gatherings Magazine was the opportunity to interview creative female business leaders. So since launching this blog, I've been committed to spotlighting such women once again. Today, allow me to introduce you to Christy Jo of The Strawberry Patch.  Christy is a maker, mother, designer and barn sale host. She is known for her signature "grandad dress" designs, upcycled upholstery and being the first Tennessee barn sale host. 

I've asked Christy to share a little about The Strawberry patch and how it all started as the FIRST Barn Sale in Tennessee! 

CJ: The Strawberry Patch is an outdoor marketplace filled to the brim with handmade+ vintage+indie-craft goods such as soaps, pottery, antiques, chippy furniture, custom lighting, clothing, jewelry and eclectic vintage finds….. The Strawberry Patch takes great pride in bringing the Barn Sale trend to Tennessee…It all started in 2009 in a tiny back yard in Lafayette, TN..In 2011, after a few growing pains+domestic issues, the event was moved to Starlite Farm, a family owned farm nestled on the Cumberland River….

CJ:  In 2003, after quitting my full time job as an Internal Affairs Investigator in the State Prison System to be a stay-at-home mom, I started The Strawberry Patch. It was a creative outlet for me to free my mind from the demands of a newborn and 18 month old.  I began making children’s clothes, diaper bags, baby blankets, and appliquéd goods.  My handmade goods were sold in several stores across Middle TN. In 2009, I started itching to try something new.  I knew I did not want the demands of a brick+mortar because I now had 3 babies at home, however, I yearned to have occasional sales…I wanted the best of both worlds. I started doing some research and found a trend up in the North West: Barn Sales. I then visited the Country Living Fair in Ohio where I met Gina Bishop, Homegirl. Gina encouraged me to press on with my dream. I did, came home and hosted my first Barn Sale in a tiny building/barn in my tiny back yard. I think I had 7 vendors and 50 shoppers at my first event and we were tickled pink! In the beginning, I had a hard time teaching people what Barn Sales were all about. Slowly the concept began to catch on and the shoppers were hooked. My first sale was in 2009 in my back yard in a garage…It was a glorified yard sale..We had live music, an outdoor bistro, and loads of handmade goodness…Each sale we grew a little more and in the Spring of 2011, I decided we had outgrown the neighborhood feel and needed more space, a more romantic feel, and a place where I could grow …Today the show is held on my family's farm in Hartsville, TN, Starlite Farm…Moving the event to this location opened up so many doors and allowed it to become what I wanted it to be from the very beginning…I now have approximately 60 handpicked artisans..Although i have unlimited amounts of space on the farm, I prefer my event to be quaint, cozy and not-so-overwhelming..I prefer quality over quantity any day of the week!!! We are very selective with our vendors and prefer artisans with unique goods and who are experts at styling and inventing their space..The Strawberry Patch was the first to host a barn sale in Tennessee and has since paved the way for others in the area who have started their own outdoor events.

Sadly in 2011, I went through the big-D and I had to sell my home. I had not worked outside the home in eight years so I found myself struggling to find a way to support myself and my 3 children: I needed a job that would allow me to still be available for kids. What is so obvious now, wasn’t so obvious then~I moved the event to Starlite Farm and tripled the number of vendors I previously had. This decision was huge because I didn’t want too grow to fast, an issue that can easily result in failure. The first sale at the farm proved to be extremely successful and suggested I would get to proceed on with my dream job of creating and hosting Barn Sales.

Christy also shares her challenges and joys of running a pop-up event. 

CJ:  My favorite thing about hosting The Strawberry Patch Barn Sale is the magic that happens during the weekend of the event. The combined effort of the artisans, the stylists, the musicians, and the food vendors creates a dreamy wonderland, farm-style, full of inspiration, laughter+giggles!

The most challenging thing about hosting The Strawberry Patch is trying to set myself apart from all the others. When i first started hosting barn sales, there was no competition therefore I was inherently different but within the past year, TN has become a mecca for barn sales. Finding a unique set of vendors that carefully select the shows they participate in and also that haven’t saturated themselves in  this area has become more and more challenging. My inner desire to be different, to stand alone, but yet to be an inspiration to others has become a daily battle. I am so bad about doing something one way but once I see someone else doing it, move on to something else. This can be exhausting but yet it keeps me on my toes, keeps me from becoming stagnant and keeps the competitiveness alive. My events are smaller than most but it’s because “I would rather be Tiny and Mighty than Big and Typical!”

The Strawberry Patch offers an amazing array of handpicked vendors from across the southeast.  Bring your truck and your smiles and spend the day on this beautiful farm. Food vendors are on the property along with indie/folk musicians setting the mood throughout the weekend.  See you all at The Strawberry Patch Spring Sale for a great weekend of fun, food, socializing, and inspiration!

Meet Christy in person next weekend! 

May 7th - 9th, 2015

5pm-8pm Thursday
10am-7pm Friday
10am-4pm Saturday

Thursday Preview Night: $10
Friday & Saturday: $5

1272 Starlite Rd
Hartsville, TN

For more info visit The Strawberry Patch Facebook Event Page.

Starting with a Sketch

Charles Brindley, The Angel Oak / Graphite on paper / 16×26 inches / 2010

Charles Brindley, The Angel Oak / Graphite on paper / 16×26 inches / 2010

Charles Brindley, Study of Various Live Oaks and Architectural Ruins / Graphite on paper / 26×16 inches / 2009 

Charles Brindley, Study of Various Live Oaks and Architectural Ruins / Graphite on paper / 26×16 inches / 2009 

Charles Brindley,   Ancient Red Oak on Edge of Agricultural landscape  ,   2008   oil on canvas,    30x40 inches

Charles Brindley, Ancient Red Oak on Edge of Agricultural landscape2008 oil on canvas, 
30x40 inches

Charles Brindley,  Beech Tree in Granberry Grove ,  2014,  oil on canvas,  30x24 inches

Charles Brindley, Beech Tree in Granberry Grove2014, oil on canvas, 
30x24 inches

Sketchbook page from the grounds of Cheekwood, inspired by Charles Brindley

Sketchbook page from the grounds of Cheekwood, inspired by Charles Brindley

Although I've been painting and drawing since I was a teenager (and before), I had shelfed my skills in the past few years. With a newborn, a magazine to run, and my normal business stretching me thin, sketching or even keeping a journal felt like a fleeting luxury. 

In art school, I learned the benefit of "staying in shape" by constantly sketching. It's really less about talent and more about practice. Like anything really. And my skills have grown weak and flabby. In the past six months, I have had some personal awakenings that motivated me to dust off my sketchbook, pens and pencils and flex my drawing muscles once again.  Just like in exercising my greatest enemy is lack of time. Or should I say ,"making the time". That is the beauty of practice. It takes time. There is no instant upload or a virtual app to make it happen. (at least not that I know of). 

Spring has certainly provided a wealth of subject matter. So I've been snapping pretty foliage with my phone on nature walks with my son to use later for evening sketching sessions.  When I read about an exhibit at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Art Museum of one of my first Nashville art instructors, Charles Brindley, I knew it was a must see. Last weekend I took myself on a luxurious "mommy-day-out" date to the exhibit and gardens. In Charles Brindley: Trees of Myth and Legend   his impressive oeuvre of tree portraits from the past 20-25 years included an array of paintings and drawings.  

The intricacy of each piece is truly masterful.  Brindley's paintings simply glow.  This result from meticulous under painting is one the treasures I learned and remembered from his classes. Each piece is a layered masterpiece finished with fine brushwork to recreate the look of textured bark, swaying wheat, or curling lichen. 

From a conceptual perspective these trees grow to become characters in a story. Like the works of The Angel Oak found in South Carolina (aged at appx. 1500 years) and rooted in the history of slavery. 

Although I love the story, color and paint application, it was the drawings that really stuck with me. Brindley's proficiency with graphite and paper, his mark making and dedication to studying his subject matter impressed upon me. 

So I sauntered into the gardens, sat on a bench, opened my sketchbook and began making my own marks with my trusty ebony pencil. It felt like catching up with an old friend. The more we talked the more I remembered. 

Hopefully we will meet again in the near future.

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is just start. Just put pen to paper. Just take up the instrument standing in the corner. Small simple acts. Without distraction or noise. 

For me noise can feel more comfortable than silence. Distraction is less vulnerable. Less exposed. 

Yet, I am learning this lesson in this season in life. Slow down, listen to the heart and pick up the dusty pencils. 

And you? How are you "sketching" or writing or painting or playing or cooking, or making to return to your truest heart calling? 

Welcome to my new (virtual) home

Welcome friends, far and near. This site has been a work in process. Like life, which ebbs and flows.  Much like being a mom or an artist, you truly never know what may come next. And so instead of rushing forward, this has been a season of contemplation and rest. Of walking slowly and drinking in. 

After three years as Founder/Editor in Chief of Gatherings Magazine, giving birth to our son, mothering and continuing my established business as a decorative artist, life in fast forward became the norm.  In April 2014, I decided to say goodbye to Gatherings in order to make more time for my family and personal journey.  Little did I know how that decision would also open up my heart and soul to better understand my calling in order to better support my clients. 

I continue my work as a decorative painter (check out my portfolio) in the Greater Nashville area. In fact, my work with designer Julie McCoy received top honors at the Kings' Chapel Parade of Homes last December. You may remember this mural. My Magnum Opus to date! (It was featured in several local publications as well). 


In the meantime, I am spending more time with my son, and have thrown my creative energies into my Instagram posts. Each day I am presented with a creative challenge to share a new styled vignette or some of my personal sketches. Beauty is my heart, for I am a true romantic. With the feedback received on my Facebook page, I decided to open a shop to sell some of these images as prints, pillows, totes, phone cases and more. It's a perfect fit for me right now, since I don't have time to print and ship myself. I just upload my artwork and they do the rest! 


Thanks so much for continuing to support me during this period of adjusting. There so many more exciting ideas that I am brewing up on the horizon (if time and means permit). I've realized through my work with Gatherings that I really love encouraging and helping other female creatives pursue their goals, so I started a Facebook group Creative Female Entrepreneurs  that I hope will blossom into other events/happenings. So stayed tuned. Make sure to sign up for my newsletter so we can stay in touch (and you receive a free download of my hand-lettered freedom quote as seen above). 

Spring is here in Middle Tennessee and in my heart!  These tender buds are about to unfurl. I hope we stay connected and enjoy this journey forward together! 



Ps. Let me know what creative projects you are up to this spring in the comments (include links to your work/site). I can't wait to have a peek.