this is #yeahfieldtrip.

Three weeks ago I attended Photo Field Trip in Santa Barbara, CA for the 2nd year. It's a 5-day photography workshop /camp /gathering, and it's one of the most amazing things I've been a part of. Last year I learned so much that it actually launched the photography portion of my business. I knew nobody, and had to push my comfort zone so hard so that I could meet new people. This year I took more wonderful classes, was less overwhelmed and a lot more comfortable, and made new friendships a priority. As a result, I feel like I found a little creative haven where I actually fit. This is #yeahfieldtrip. Where you learn through play. Where you stay in cabins and tents and wake up early and go to bed late and learn from your favorite photographers. Where you laugh and love so hard it feels like your heart is going to explode. Where 400 photographers flood the beach at sunset and don't even get bothered by the crowd. Where you find your people, the people with creative heartbeats who understand yours. Where you talk about where you live and what you photograph, but then immediately start talking about life stuff and there are no walls up like when you're in the rest of the world. Where photographers are finally sometimes in front of the camera. Where you're encouraged to do what you love and do it the best you can. Where you are reminded of why you love to do what you do and feel inspired to keep doing it, no matter how hard it is. Where you feel like it's all worth it and that what you do is really important in the big picture of life.

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And now a couple of my favorite SmileBooth photos with friends...

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I'm so happy to be a part of this. I'm not really a joiner, so to finally find somewhere I genuinely love and fit is so welcome in my life. 

To the people who made Field Trip a home, thank you for welcoming me. Kindness is the most beautiful thing. And the power of a familiar face should never be underrated.

[some friends pictured who you should check out because they do beautiful work: yan palmer | anna naphtali | jenna kutcher | megan gielow | alicia white | posy quarterman | becky earl | simone anne ]

You can see my post from last time here.

I'm working on a watercolor piece to remember this year, because I loved making one last year. So you'll see that soon :)

xo, Michelle

Follow me @maryandluna on your favorite social media: InstagramTwitterFacebook. See my art in my Etsy shop or on

if you’re interested in a low-rate portfolio-building session with me for you and/or your kids in OC, visit my website or email me!

holidays + a recent photoshoot

I can't believe Christmas is only a few days away! This has been my busiest season ever, and my first really full business holiday season. It's been a little nuts, and this week I finally got to relax, watch Christmas movies with my family, drink hot chocolate, go to The Grove in LA & Disneyland, write cards to friends, burn yummy smelling candles, and listen to lots of holiday music. All the special holiday festivities that I love so much. IMG_8353* edit

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I participated in the Santa Ana Patchwork show last month, where we got rained poured on! I'm now finishing up just two more photoshoots this year, and then I'll be focusing on planning 2015 (also, I can't believe it's going to be 2015. I need a pause button).

my table at Patchwork show

my table at Patchwork show

Here are a couple favorite photos from my session with a family friend's cute little family. I really love toddlers.

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I hope you are all having a lovely December filled with lots of love and fun. 

xo, Michelle

Follow me @maryandluna on your favorite social media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. See my art in my Etsy shop or on

if you're interested in a low-rate portfolio-building session with me for you and/or your kids in OC, visit my website or email me!

Meet the artist: a Q&A with myself!

photo credit: Mariah Milan  

I’ve been doing some major business organization and really focusing on what I’m doing in my business, how I’m doing it, and why I’m doing it. I’m constantly reading material & taking classes about creative business. In all of these venues of learning, they ask you questions to help guide your business. So I thought I would share some of them with you so you can get to know me better!

Who are you? 

I’m a wanderer and a daydreamer. I’m an artist and a photographer and a writer. Everyone calls me a baby-whisperer, and I now call myself that too. I’m a thinker. I’m a reader. I’m a frolicker. I’m a lover of too many things to keep track of. I’m an extroverted introvert & a hermit. I’m a major family girl; I'm a daughter and a sister. I’m a night owl. I’m a music lover & a spontaneous dancer. I'm an observer.

When did you start creating?

Art always came naturally to me, since I was a little kid. I always took art classes in between sports & school stuff, but I think junior year of high school is when I really thought I may pursue it. I firmly decided on being an artist after my freshman year of college ended.

What drives you to create?

Mostly my imagination. It needs to come out. I see things in my head and I need to put it on paper. And following that creative urge is good for my emotional well-being. I just really love to draw & paint & design! But further than that, I love knowing that things I made are in other people’s rooms, making their space happy & cozy.


Why are you compelled to do what you do?

It’s extremely important to me to do what I love and what I’m passionate about. It always has been. I’m motivated by my love for something, not by money and status. I don’t get things done when I don’t enjoy them (unless it’s for my business, then I know there’s a purpose for the boring business stuff- I have to do it in order to be an artist!). I want to live a creative life, something different and interesting to me where I create my own path and my own rules. I’ve always done things a little differently than other people, and I see now that I operate best that way- improvising. It’s never boring and I have a lot of control to change things I don’t like. I love possibilities! Being an artist in the way I’ve chosen to be works for me: I get to do what I love, put more beauty in the world, be a happy human (which always makes the world a better place), and I create a lifestyle that suits me perfectly. It’s a very powerful thing to know that you can make the life you dream become a reality.

What does the process feel like to you?

When I create art, it feels like meditation. Everything goes quiet around me, and I’m so focused, it’s almost like a trance. I focus on each line, each patch of color, one at a time. I pull back and look at it. Then I focus again. I become unaware of the fact that I’m even working. It feels like I’m allowing my thoughts to pour out of me.


What emotions does your work evoke?

To me, it evokes a feeling of quiet, simplicity, home, happy little things, freedom, whimsy, nostalgia, and wistfulness.


Where do you find inspiration?

It seems that it's everywhere when you're open to it. Ideas hit me at the weirdest times. But here's what I can pin it down to: photography, animation concept sketches, childhood, countryside, landscapes, travelling, stories, wild animals, weather & seasons, other artists, people I love, little moments and details, and light.

One last fun one: what do you fangirl over?

Too. many. things. Harry Potter, Taylor Swift, Disney, so many singer-songwriters and actors and TV shows. I'm really easily excited by many things.

I hope you guys have enjoyed this self-conducted interview! I've never really seen it done before, but I thought it would be a fun thing to do! 

xo, Michelle

Follow me @maryandluna on your favorite social media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. See my art in my Etsy shop or on


aloha vibes

Last week I was in Hawaii, and it was so lovely to be away from my to-do list for a week! I focused on really being in the moment and just taking photos. I only allowed myself phone time at the end of each day, and I was often posting a photo to instagram the day after it was taken because I just wanted to absorb that day. I think that's an important thing I tend to do when I'm traveling- it helps me experience the place I'm visiting more thoroughly & to feel like I'm really there. Taking photos doesn't take me out of the moment, posting them does. I'll have art to share next week. Until then, enjoy the dreaminess of Maui. Maybe you'll be able to feel the tropical air :)


love cloud-scapes.




we were able to help my dad surprise my mom with a vow renewal!


29 years married!

a family trip: my aunt & uncle are book-ending me, my parents, and my 2 sisters.

Maui plantation exploring

sister selfies during car rides around the island.

what much of the island looks like next to the coast.

I love all the trees.

maui plantation

more maui plantation

another maui planation photo

shells hanging from palm trees, what fun decor.

Lahaina sunset. So dreamy.

golden hour perfection.

another beautiful Lahaina sunset.

Wailea, the day we were attacked by sand.

double rainbow!

panorama of the double rainbow, full arches!

Napili is perfect.

gluten free chocolate (white & milk) macadamia nut pancakes. ARE YOU KIDDING. So delicious.

me + twirly dresses= love

our hotel beach :)

the rainbow state is aptly named.


falling light on fallen flowers. melting me!

perfect beach path.

like the tikki torch is setting the sky on fire.

loved this window of a shop :)

give me trees all day.

new phone case with one of my favorite quotes.

Lahaina sunset. (always remember to look the opposite direction of the sun for more pretty clouds!)

last night in Maui, sunset.

Lahaina sunset.

xo, Michelle

PS. many of these were posted on my personal instagram, @michelleelaluna, if you'd like to find me :)

custom art for singer-songwriter Christina Perri!

I met one of my all-time favorite singer-songwriters (and human beings) on Saturday, Christina Perri! What does this have to do with art? Keep reading!  :) Christina is someone who has inspired me deeply as an artist and a person, to keep creating, to keep living, to keep loving, and to be beautifully human. She's such a light & I love her so much. It meant so much to me to finally meet her.


I wanted to make her something special as a gift & a thank you for all the music she's created that I love so much. So I made her a custom 8x10 watercolor piece of her 4 favorite places (I've learned from her many tweets about them!). I chose two of my favorite lyrics about home from her song "Miles,"  and then I made the division a compass, since she's always on the road, touring and working on music. The "LOVE" sculpture is from her hometown of Philadelphia, the "Imagine" circle is from her favorite place in New York City (the memorial for John Lennon), the "101 Coffee Shop" is her favorite place in LA (her current home), and the map of Italy pays homage to her Italian roots & her favorite place she's ever been.

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Here are two of my favorite photos I took during the concert:

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I really love to make custom art pieces like this for people. I get so giddy while I'm making them, and when I finish I get so excited thinking about how they will react when they see it! Christina's reaction was my favorite ever. Her jaw dropped open and stayed that way, and she didn't even say anything until finally she said "I'm trying not to cry…" She told me (like 3 times) that she was going to frame it & she loved it.

That is the reason I make art. To make people feel happy and full of love and like it's a piece of home, because art that connects with someone can bring such powerful emotions to the surface, and when it's displayed somewhere, it can serve as a source of happiness each day. That's what it does for me.

xo, Michelle

If you'd like me to do a custom piece of artwork like this for you, please don't hesitate to email me! We can brainstorm and come up with something special :)