It's a new year, and at Well + Wonder that calls for new art. Better yet, how about a new artist? It is our absolute pleasure to introduce Ariel Harder as our the first artist to join our ever-growing Well + Wonder team. Ariel is an emerging artist located in Jacksonville, Florida. She began pursuing the journey of transforming her lifelong passion into a business in 2020, after the world shut down. She is a seasoned military spouse, originally from the state of Washington. Ariel’s days are spent happily married to her high school sweetheart, and busily caring for her 4 children. In the fall of 2023, she adopted her foster son. She is a passionate advocate for foster children and foster parents. Her life is full and happy. She thrives to be a light to her home and community, creating tranquil, yet imaginative artwork. Ariel's debut collection features eighteen coastal inspired works and believe us when we say that they are GOOD! The paintings launch tomorrow (10 am EST to be exact) but y'all can learn all about Ariel today. Read her responses to our rapid-fire Q&A and join us back here tomorrow and help us in welcoming Ariel as the newest member of Well + Wonder!
What is currently on your nightstand?
Currently I have a candle, a baby monitor, and a few books that range in subjects from parenting to biographies on my nightstand.
Who is your biggest influence as an artist and why?
Vergil Elliott is truly a master oil painter and even though his style is classical and differs from mine, his passion for equipping the future generation of artists by helping them understand how to create archival quality works is highly admirable.
Tell us about your childhood. What is the most memorable moment as a young person?
I grew up going on summer camping trips to Idaho with my family and close family friends. I loved to be in the pine trees and catching tadpoles and frogs. One year some horses got loose from up valley and made their way to our secluded campground. My imaginative little heart was taken back in time, and I daydreamed about being wild and free living with those magical wild horses.
If you could only have one supply in your art studio, what would it be and why?
What are brushes without paint? So, a pencil would be my one supply. So much simple creativity can be accomplished with line and shading.
What is your favorite room in your house? Describe it.
I would have to say our sunroom/playroom. I love our big windows filling the room with natural light, and the views of our 100+ year old oak trees will never get old. I love sitting on our rattan day bed with a book, a cup of tea, and enjoying the occasional performance from my kids.
What is your biggest score online?
Unfortunately, I’m pretty boring, I don’t shop much online. However, I am pretty proud I found a top-of-the-line wine cooler on the side of the road in perfect condition and unashamedly asked a passerby to help me lift it into my van.
What is the benefit of buying art through a collective? What do you recommend for those that are new to buying original art?
I’m sure I will get to see so many benefits I don’t even know about soon! But as a novice, I just love that artists can come together and learn and grow together! It’s amazing seeing all the different styles and mediums all in one place. A buyer might come to the collective thinking they know exactly what they are looking for but find something completely different they love.
If you have the entire day to spend in an art museum, which one and why?
I would have to say Portland Art Museum, mainly because of the memories I’ve made there. My husband took me there right after he proposed.
What is your favorite hotel and what makes it special?
Having three kids right out of college and then fostering hasn’t lent itself to me exploring fine hotels. However, if you ever find yourself in central Washington state, the Davenport Grand is a historic choice.
If you were a lipstick color, would you be red, pink, or clear and why?
I like to think I would be a deep muted red. I love the thought of a bit of classic edgy look, however, in reality I am just a slightly elevated nude color. I like a natural truthful color with a pinch of pizzazz.
I can never get on a plane without….
My husband, who handles all the details, and a good book. Also, with the number of kids we have, throw up bags and wipes have saved the day too many times.
How did you get into the world of art?
My parents and family have always been supportive of my creative tendencies, but I always thought art had to stay a hobby and that making a living selling art was only a dream. It wasn’t until my kids became school aged and the world shut down due to Covid did I finally dive into selling my paintings. From selling my art in local arts markets, to finding an interested brick and mortar gallery, to creating my own website has progressed naturally over the last few years.
What do you do to relax?
Honestly, I’m not good at relaxing. Having no family members that live remotely close to us to watch the kids for an extended time forces me to rely on the rare few minutes here and there. However, when I do scrounge up time, my top three favorite ways to relax are being out in nature with a good book, or out with my Strada easel painting plein air or sitting with a cup of coffee socializing with friends is life giving to me.
When do you get the biggest surge of inspiration?
So much of my inspiration comes from nature, and intuitive playfulness. I do love listening to music and inspiring biographies audio books while I paint, but nothing beats being outside seeing the overwhelming beauty of nature.
Prediction for the Color of 2025?
Terre Verte is my new favorite; it is a soft green.
What is your idea of a date night? Dinner and a movie or dancing all night?
Gosh again I am boring, I just want a night out to a restaurant with drinks after, and a movie at home when all the kids have been put to bed by someone other than me! Can you tell I’m a tired mom yet?!
Tell us about your favorite painting that you have created.
I am a fan of Jane Austen, so I wanted to take elements of rolling hills and trees of the English countryside and create my own world with hidden figures living inside the massive 4ft x4ft landscape painting. I love seeing paintings from afar and then being pleasantly surprised to find little details when up close.
One piece of advice for buying original art?
You can love a piece, but it might not have integrity long term. I want the generations to come to get to enjoy art like we enjoy the master’s today. So, get to know our artist process, materials used and once the paintings are completely dry, get those paintings varnished to protect your art investment!