Bougainvillea, diana willard

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began.
~ from "The Journey" by Mary Oliver

sketchbook, diana willard

I've been trying to make a very big decision for about a year now. And I've finally decided.

I waited a long time before writing this post -- partly because it would make the decision real (things aren't real until they are on the internets, right?), and partly because I didn't know how this space would fit in.

To make a long story short (and to rip the band-aid off, so to speak):

I've decided to return to medical school and bring my art-making back to the realm of hobbies and self-therapy where I enjoy it most.

sketchbook, diana willard

This decision was not an easy or clear one for me. I loved my time living as an artist in San Francisco, painting and scheming and exploring the city. In fact, there were many times I felt absolutely certain I would never go back to medical school.

I'm not going to go into the nitty gritty details of my agonizing and flip-flopping over this decision (plus I think I've blocked most of them out), but I wanted to share a few pieces of writing that helped me:

Whitney English's interview on Latrina's blog - on the difference between purpose and passion

Cheryl Strayed's Dear Sugar column "The Ghost Ship That Didn't Carry Us" - on big decisions and letting go of the options we don't choose (p.s. the whole column and Dear Sugar book is fantastic)

Sheryl Sandberg's book Lean In - on many things, including being unafraid of big undertakings and not over-planning for the future

paintbrush, diana willard

This will be my last post here, and it is certainly bittersweet. I will miss the space, but mostly I will miss the lovely and unexpected community that came with it. Thank you to everyone who has been so welcoming and supportive of me. I really can't thank you enough.

I am both excited and terrified to start (re-start?) this new phase of my life, and see where it carries me. I hope you will stay in touch, and perhaps follow along on my new adventure over on Instagram.

Oh, and before I go -- one final sale! I wanted to thank you all, plus celebrate my transition back health care by donating the proceeds to a favorite non-profit: Partners in Health. Use code ARTPARTY over at my Etsy shop for 20% off your purchase.

Have a wonderful weekend, and I'll see you around.

xo Diana

Topics: in the studio

clementines, diana willard

It's been a good, long winter break.

We just got back from Iowa, where I spent a quiet ten days with my parents and brother. It snowed, I shoveled, and we had dinner around the fire. It was a wonderful, and much needed, rest.

I'm easing back into the studio and preparing for some big changes and decisions over the next few weeks. Most of which I haven't even made yet. So, it should be an interesting month.

In the meantime, the lovely Kate invited me to do some free writing based on the word "fresh." Perfect timing for the near year and new beginnings. You can read my reflections here.

I hope you all had a refreshing holiday season. Have a wonderful week everyone!

xo Diana

Topics: weekly wishes
WEEKLY WISHES 13 // this is it!

olive branch, diana willard

In three days we fly out to Iowa! Yes, we're traveling on Christmas day to celebrate Christmas (and a belated Chanukah) with my family. Pray with me for no flight delays! :)

I don't have any particularly ambitious weekly wishes this week, which I think is how it should be for a holiday week. I hope you all have a wonderful week, whichever holidays you may be celebrating this time of year.


  1. Finish up holiday paintings. Done!

  2. Thirty minutes exercise every day. Nope, but we went running on Saturday and Sunday, so I'm hoping to continue this trend into the week.

  3. Finish my Python course. Not yet -- it turns out the last few chapters are the most challenging, so this is going to take longer than I thought. But that's ok, because I'm taking my time to do a good job on it.

  4. Work on a save-the-date design. I made good progress on this, but now comes the fun part -- creating the illustrations and layout!

  5. Work on my Well-Designed Life worksheets. I completely forgot about this wish. . . but like my Python course, I think this is one of those longer-term goals.


  1. Work on save-the-date illustrations. The image above is one of the original options -- we'll be going in a slightly different direction, and I'm excited to get to play with watercolors this week.

  2. Do a "winter cleaning." The holiday rush left our apartment in a state of semi-chaos. I'd love to do some cleaning, organizing, and purging our belongings.

  3. Stay active during the holidays. This one is going to be a challenge between travel and holiday meals, so we'll see how this goes. . .

  4. Enjoy spending time with my family! Because we live so far apart, I don't get to see my parents and brother as much as I'd like, so I'm really excited to get to spend a full ten days with them!

Have a wonderful week everyone!

xo Diana

Topics: weekly wishes
My least favorite color

palette, diana willard

The lovely Julia Hendrickson, a fellow painter, asked me to share my paint palette over on her blog.

Take a peek here, and find out what my least favorite color on it is!

xo Diana

Topics: in the studio
WEEKLY WISHES 12 // tis the season

planner, diana willard

I can't believe we're only ten days away from Christmas! We decided a bit last minute to spend Christmas and New Year's in Iowa with my parents, and I hope to wrap up some projects before then!

This week'sweekly wishes, are pretty similar to last week's, as I'm still working through several projects.


  1. Spend my mornings making art. Yes and no. Early in the week I was able to do this, but later in the week some more business-related tasks find of took over. Not exactly what I planned, but definitely needed.

  2. Thirty minutes exercise every day. Ok, the tally is jogging three times and 20 minutes yoga four times. Getting closer!

  3. Work on my Python course and attend two coding events. I spent a lot of time on Python this week, and even though my progress was pretty slow (read: incredibly slow!), I feel good about it. Due to the weather, I only went to one of the two coding events, but it was great to meet other women who are also interested in learning to code and in possible career changes. I'd definitely like to go to more of these!

  4. Work on a save-the-date design for a friend. We're making good progress! We've hammered out a plan and a mood board (I'll be sharing it later in the week) and now I get to do lots and lots of botanical illustrations -- take a look at the first one!

  5. Take some time for introspection and planning. I made some good progress on my Well Designed Life packet from Whitney English. As part of it, I took the StrengthsFinder test from Gallup, which was fairly interesting. Have any of you taken the test? What do you think of it?

planner, diana willard


  1. Finish up my holiday paintings. I have a couple of commissioned paintings to finish up and some others to package up and send. The holiday rush is almost over!

  2. Thirty minutes exercise every day. This week I'm feeling pretty motivated -- we went on a longer run on Saturday (four miles), and it was pretty painful. I'm hoping that by running two miles everyday, I'll be better prepared for next weekend!

  3. Try to finish up my Python course. Only six more chapters to go. . . aiming for one a day!

  4. Work on a save-the-date design for a friend. I'm excited to try out more botanical illustrations and play around with some fonts!

  5. Keep working on my Well-Designed Life worksheets. I really like having a more structured way of thinking about how I want to choose and organize my goals. Let's keep working towards clarity!

What are your plans for the week? Best of luck getting your wish list done and your to-do's checked off!

xo Diana

Topics: weekly wishes
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