Tag Archives: painting

Meet Jennifer!

7 Dec


Jennifer Smith, of Charlottesville, Virginia, has been creating art all of her life, but discovered her distinct love for oil painting ten years ago. She specializes in mostly landscapes and abstract art, and is interested in displaying her work in exhibitions, shows, commissions and also providing art lessons to others. Her favorite thing to do in her spare time is paint, claiming she can never seem to get enough of it!

Jennifer would like to showcase and sell her original artwork and designs, as well as find a way to retain rights and make them available on other media, such as fabrics, kitchenware, tiles, carpeting, wallpaper, fashion accessories, and furniture designs. Her dream is to one day open an art studio or artists co-op, with a tentative possibility to drag in a crowd or local population.

For now, Jennifer is focusing on getting her own artistic business launched and being able to support herself, as well as add value to her clients and economy in the Piedmont region. Jennifer found EWI when she began searching for programs catered towards entrepreneurs or artists to help them learn the business aspect of their work, and when she found a listing for EWI, she applied immediately and was eager to enroll in the course. She says her favorite part about the course was meeting everybody, getting to know about each of her classmates’ creative ideas and watching their dreams grow into thorough business plans. Her passion has always been painting, and she loves to connect with people through her work and share what she loves most with them. She wishes to enable local artists to gather a sense of community, further motivating them to succeed and share with other artists. With Jennifer’s bubbly and eager personality, coupled with her amazing talent, it is only a matter of time before her art business flourishes.

– Mina Alemzadeh
Alexandria ETS Intern



2 ETS Grads, Sarah & Nadia, Featured artwork TONIGHT at Busboys & Poets, Washington DC

18 Sep

TONIGHT, come see ETS graduates Sarah Jawaid and Nadia Janjua, as they open their exhibit “Humanity and Nature Divided”, a contemplative look our relationship with nature.

These two artists will be presenting their mixed media pieces, as well as answering questions, tonight from 6-8 pm.

Come out and see some truly talented young women at:

Busboys & Poets
1025 5th st NW
Washington, DC

see below for more details…

Nadia Janjua

Nadia is a practicing architect and professional artist based in the Washington DC area, working under the business name NJARTitecture.  Born to Kashmiri-Pakistani parents, Nadia grew up in the forested mountain of Western Maryland with her three siblings, strongly influenced by the solitudeand beauty of her natural surroundings.  She started drawing before she could write, and started painting with oils as an adolescent.  Over the past fifteen years,she has explored different paint mediums, photography, graphic design, ceramics, and printmaking; eventually spending the majority of her time nurturing her painting ability.

See more of Nadia’s work on her website

Sarah Jawaid

Sarah was born in Southern California and transplanted to Washington, D.C. a few years ago. She received a B.S. from the University of Southern California in Public Policy and an MA in Urban Planning from the University of California, Irvine.  As an urban planner Sarah finds herself constantly thinking about how spaces affect people and the environment, and this motivated her to begin exploring through art.  Most of her exploration involves paint on canvas. Each one of Sarah’s works is truly an extension of herself and a glimpse into her internal world. It is the external spaces and the spaces within herself that move her to action.

See more of Sarah’s work on her website

Thank you – Doler and Michael!

2 May

Spring2Action is an exciting day, full of philanthropy. We can’t thank you all enough for stepping up to the plate to help us empower ONE more woman. Your gift makes a huge difference.

Thanks to our supporters, members, and community we will be giving away gifts to donors ALL day long!  Check back here throughout the day to learn about the prizes.

It’s only 9:30 in the morning and we’ve just given away our first raffle prize.

The first gift of the day is a drawing by one of our current Entrepreneur Training for Success students, Doler.

Doler and her husband moved to the United States in 1980. She has a fine arts degree in structural and textile design. As a result of their combined efforts, Doler and her husband decided to open up an Indian restaurant in 1981. After a hugely successful stint of selling Indian food at a fair, Doler’s and her husband opened their own fully developed restaurant in order to continue selling Indian food.

Now, Doler is ready to shift her career path and begin teaching cooking classes instead of running a restaurant. While operating her restaurants, Doler became an accomplished chef. She provides her customers with nutrition information and where in India the food originated.

And the winner is…..drum roll……. Michael J Cowden!. Thank you Michael for your generous donation!

Thank you Doler for sponsoring this raffle!

EWI is currently in second place with 65 donors and we’ve raised $2,648!

An Interview with EWI Graduate, Nadia Janjua

3 Apr
  • Why did you join EWI’s Entrepreneur Training for Success(ETS) program?

“I had recently become Coordinator of a MD-based group called Muslim Women in the Arts in January 2011, and it was the first time I found myself in an Arts Administration position. Marga was led to me through a mutual friend, and after a conversation and interview with her, I was convinced that the ETS program was the perfect place for me to gain and refine the skills I needed to successfully lead a non-profit arts group. “

  • How has your business grown/changed since graduating from ETS?

“Well, first of all, in the time that I was enrolled in the ETS program, I had a major shift of focus from wanting to start a non-profit arts group, to building my own professional career as an independent artist. I started making jewelry and other hand-made items featuring parts of my paintings for the first time in my life, and the initial success of sales was extremely encouraging. Towards the end of the ETS program, I had already started setting up and selling items at my “NJARTitecture” art booths at various venues and events. Since graduating the program, I have been extremely prolific in production, sales and marketing. I’ve had a steady calendar of events mixing my interests of the business side of the arts, with the spreading and education of the necessity for the arts. My fan base has widened from continued social marketing on the web, and from attending countless events all over the East Coast and in Canada. Just recently, I was able to take a hiatus from accessory production to focus uninterrupted time on producing paintings for my first solo show in Washington, D.C. last month.” 

  • Can you share any of your favorite moments from your time in training?

“One of my favorite moments from the ETS course was a class where we broke up into small groups of four students, and one mentor. Each student was given the opportunity to present what they felt was their main challenge or hindrance in their personal pursuits, and as a group, we offered solutions or tools for that student to reach their own solution. That exercise was extremely enlightening for me because prior to that, I don’t think I realized just how overlapping our struggles were, despite the fact that one of us was an artist, a fashion designer, a cook and a house cleaner. It was incredible to have been reminded of the benefit of learning from your classmates, no matter how different they were from you.” 

  • What was the most valuable lesson?

“To follow your gut. In listening to the stories of how other women were led to the ETS program, and in my personal struggles and meetings with mentors at EWI, I was reminded time and time again — follow your intuition — you already know what’s best for you, you already know what you  have to do, stop holding yourself back and don’t be afraid to turn your passion into a daily reality!”

"And Then It Came"

  • What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs like yourself who are interested in taking their business to the next level?

Every time you come up with a reason to talk yourself out of doing something you really love, tell yourself three more reasons for why you should do it, and remind yourself of those three things over and over in your moments of doubt.
Every honest, sincere thing you do will take an amount of risk, and faith — you have to be your biggest believer. Don’t worry about how others will respond or if they’ll like what you’re selling — an act done in harmony and love will be transparent all on its own, and those that are their to support you will somehow find their way to you. 

“Even if you feel downtrodden by financial woes or wavering motivation, never stop creating, designing or producing — everything is a potential muse, and what better way to channel energy than to use it constructively and positively in developing the thing(s) you love.”

"Delusional Sunset"

“Humble yourself. Meet the people you need to meet, speak what you need to speak, reward yourself for your accomplishments, but get up the next morning and get back in the grind. Don’t lose your sense of self. Be critical of yourself, constructively, and be kind to yourself. “

“Think big. Be your own mentor, but also confide in a mentor(s) more experienced than yourself. Let them be your cheerleaders. Don’t ever let money stifle how big your dream is. The money will come, and it is not the most important currency of life.”

“Work hard. Work hard. Work hard.”

  • Where have you showcased since ETS? Any upcoming events?

“A few too many places to list, to be honest, but if interested, you can visit my “Art Shows” albums from 2011-2012 on my Facebook fan page “NJARTitecture” to see the variety of events that I’ve been present at. As I mentioned before, I recently had an opening night for my first ever solo show at BloomBars in Washington, D.C. in March, entitled “She Comes With A Past :: The Art of Healing.” A really exciting event that’s coming up for me is a showcase this month sponsored by a group called RAW Natural Born Artists (http://www.rawartists.org/washingtondc). Basically, this group helps emerging artists gain exposure by hosting a showcase that lasts 4-6 hours on a Thursday night of each month, and each showcase features 15-20 different artists. Other artists, gallery curators, directors, professionals, etc. are invited to help the featured artists network and meet potential customers or gain gallery representation. This also happens in twenty other cities all over the US, and interestingly, the February opening showcase in Washington, D.C. this year had a record-breaking 500 people attend — most people ever to attend the first show of the year in any city in the US, which is really exciting! “

“My showcase will be on April 12, from 8PM-12AM, at Cafe Asia in DC, and I’m going to be exhibiting new paintings, jewelry, and an exciting new product — phone and laptop cases featuring my art work! Tickets are only $10 pre-event, and you can purchase them here (http://www.rawartists.org/njartitecture). I would love to see some of the EWI women out there! 🙂 It’s such a great place to meet other emerging artists in the area; please be sure to check out RAW DC’s main page — there are some really great musical performances and even a fashion runway show that’s going to happen at the event as well! “

 Remember!  Nadia’s Dream Earrings are the Item of the Week, receive a special discount of 15% off this week only using Code: THISWEEKEWI 

Member Spotlight: Lezlie

13 Oct

Lezlie, one our current Entrepreneur Training for Success students, is an artist and painter who came to EWI to learn how to market her art and turn her love of painting into a business.

Lezlie sharing her vision board with the class.

Originally from California, Lezlie started her training as an artist early by coloring on the blank pages her Mother provided instead of coloring books. What seemed to her like pure torture at the time, because all of her friends were coloring inside the lines, later sparked in her an imagination and her love for drawing and painting.

Having two parents with artistic ability, Lezlie was destined to paint. Her father, thought by some, to be the doppelganger of Salvador Dali, taught her to paint in oils at the age of 8. After becoming involved in theatre in her home town of Simi Valley, California at the age of 11, she learned to paint large sets as well as create murals, design costumes and apply stage make-up

Later on in life, Lezlie had the idea to paint homes on slate.  She would often paint Victorian homes she found beautiful and would give these “Homes on Stones” as gifts, even if the homeowner was a stranger to her.

As a self-taught artist, Lezlie’s talents have evolved and expanded over the years to include the use of oils, acrylics, watercolors, and textiles as well as the use of stones as a canvas.

Pet Portrait by Lezlie

A few years ago, Lezlie moved to Virginia to be closer to her brother.  She got a job as bus driver but due to an injury and surgery she was forced was to stop working for a while. In order to stay sane, she found herself painting again.  She gave her paintings to friends and family as Christmas gifts and after seeing her work, one of Lezlie’s friends commissioned her to paint a portrait of their pet. When several of her friends found out about her pet portraits, they too wanted a portrait of their pet. Lezlie then realized that there was an entire market for her and she began painting a few pet portraits on commission.

When we first met Lezlie, we were blown away by portraits, her passion and drive to succeed. Right after

Pet Portrait by Lezlie

that first meeting, we received an email from her friend who referred Lezlie to EWI:

Listening to Lezlie last night after she had met with you all truly put a smile on my face as she was so invigorated and excited to have the opportunity to be a part of EWI. I do not know if you realize this but you ladies really have a gift in helping women not only reach their business dreams but also give hope to people who sometimes do not see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Lezlie continue to amaze us with her talents and over the last four weeks she has made tremendous progress in launching her business. We can’t wait to see her business take off!

You’ll have the opportunity meet Lezlie and all of our other current students on December 17th at the Fall Entrepreneur Training for Success graduation. So save the date and prepare to be inspired.

Member Spotlight: Sarah Jawaid

13 Sep

 “My paintings are the blasts of color that resonate from a place that I often do not tap into otherwise. They are a manifestation of my inner spatial landscape and what I like to think of as a direct route to my Creator.”

Sarah Jawaid recently graduated from Empowered Women International’s Entrepreneur Training for Success program’s Spring 2011 class.  Sarah was born in Southern California and transplanted to Washington, D.C. a few years ago. She received a B.S. from the University of Southern California in Public Policy and an MA in Urban Planning from the University of California, Irvine.  As an urban planner Sarah finds herself constantly thinking about how spaces affect people and the environment, and this motivated her to begin exploring through art.

"Untitled" 18 x 30, canvas/ acrylic

Sarah is interested in how spaces effect the psyche, reflecting  on how the external world impacts the internal.  She explores how the world we inhabit is a reflection of the values we hold dear and the thoughts that regularly cross our minds.  She stated that “synergy exists between the external world and the world within me”.  Noting that  often “it can be difficult to listen to the external world when our internal landscape is relentlessly inundated with the dissonance of idle and self-defeating thoughts.”

"Heart Within" 12 x 16, canvas/ acrylic

In her professional and personal pursuits, Sarah has tried to explore this interaction. Her background in urban planning and public policy led her to begin questioning the reasons why our cities were built the way that they are. Asking questions such as; “Where is the connection of the built environmental with the natural environment? Who is in power?  Who is left out of the equation?  Why is the environment not a priority to many of our leaders?  How can we mitigate disproportionate environmental degradation in the most vulnerable populations?  How can we ensure that children are growing up in affordable, healthy and sustainable housing?”

"What You Left Me With" 18 x 14 canvas/ acrylic/ wax

These conversations and questions ultimately led Sarah to begin exploring on canvas through the process of creation.  For Sarah, her painting and the act of creating is a direct path to spirituality. She stated that, “Despite how vulnerable it makes me feel, I do it because in those moments on the canvas I am exploring the space within myself that I would not otherwise tap into. I am in a state of flow where each brush stroke comes from empowered intuition. There is no judgment and the movements that seem like mistakes are easily integrated into the rest of the piece.”  Each one of Sarah’s works is truly an extension of herself and a glimpse into her internal world. It is the external spaces and the spaces within herself that move her to action.

Visit Sarah’s website to learn about upcoming  exhibits featuring her artwork in galleries around the DC area.

Learn more about Sarah and her work at her Website

Contact Sarah by email: art.sarahjawaid@gmail.com

Featured Item of the Week: Ethiopian Mother and Children Painting

25 Jul

This weeks item of the week was painted by EWI artist member and Entrepreneur Training for Success graduate, Naomie Belayneh.  Naomie is an artist and painter from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. After graduating from the Addis Ababa Fine Art School, she attended the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio for a year. Naomie then moved to the Washington, D.C. Metro Area, where she has appeared in numerous exhibitions and displayed her work at various different venues. She has been a member of Empowered Women International since 2008.  Naomie commented on her artistic process:

“I start with a sketch in my sketchbook. Once I finish that, I prime the wood and then apply sand to it. I let this dry for 24 hours, and then I paint the image on it. When that is finished, I spray varnish and wood stain on the back.”

This beautiful original piece of fine art is painted in acrylic on wood, featuring two sisters. The piece of wood measures 12 x 7 3/4 inches and there is a hook attachment on the back to allow for easy hanging.

This week only receive 10% off any of Naomie’s paintings on our online shop by entering the coupon code: NAOMIEPAINT

To view more photos or purchase this item please visit our Etsy Shop.

Meet Sarah Jawaid

12 Jul

Each day, until July 23rd, we will be introducing you to one of our current Entrepreneur Training for Success students.  These women are artists, artisans and creative entrepreneurs with talent, passion, vision and entrepreneurial drive to start-up their own businesses and lead change in their communities.  Read about the amazing work they are doing and join us on July 23rd as we celebrate their graduation.

Sarah was born in California to immigrant parents who moved to the US from Pakistan in the early 1980’s.  Growing up with a modest upbringing in a small apartment affected how she viewed spaces and her attitudes about space, an interest that eventually led her to become an urban planner.  In 2008, she moved to DC to work on urban planning at think tank.

Given her multi-hyphenated identity, Sarah sees herself filling a void. In a time when some in society choose to make sweeping generalizations about her Muslim faith, Pakistani-heritage, and how the nexus between culture, faith and gender is contradictory, Sarah is choosing to speak up.  She isn’t trying to fit into one-dimensional labels as either a ‘good Muslim’ or a ‘feminist,’ Sarah is just trying to express what moves her. In this process, her authenticity tells a story and this is why individuals will find her work alluring. There is power in her rawness and for those who are drawn to this rawness, Sarah’s art will connect with them.

"Minimalistic Heartbreak" by Sarah Jawaid

Sarah enrolled in EWI’s Entrepreneur Training for Success to learn how to market her art, connect with other artists, and use her art as means for social justice, service and activism. In just the past few months Sarah has exhibited at six shows, was chosen to exhibit her art with EWI as part of Speak Your Mind Exhibition of the We the People Project 2011, connected with other artists and entrepreneurs, learned how to open herself to new audiences, and she has started to receive commission work and sales.

Read more at www.sarahjawaid.com

RSVP for the graduation gala, Women Architects of Change.