Leana is a watercolor artist, designer, and founder of May We Fly, a stationery and gift brand devoted to all things delightful. She opened the online doors back in 2014 as a place to share her artwork with family and friends, and slowly but surely, it grew into a full-fledged career. Her aim is to create products that celebrate simple pleasures and add beauty to daily life. She loves finding wonder in the little things, and is most inspired by simply walking out the door into the world around her.
Watercolor is her preferred medium, which has been her teacher along the journey as she has learned how to harness its challenges and embrace the limits of her own control. Its transparency has taught her to create confident strokes, and its fluidity has shown her how to play and let go. She continues to develop as an artist and grow her skills as a painter through the constant process of trial, error, and experimentation.
In addition to creating her own work, Leana has taught hundreds of students how to begin using watercolor through workshops and multi-week courses, including a six-week course at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. She has also created licensed work for clients including Papyrus and Hallmark.
Leana lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas with her husband, Dan, a PhD student in History at the University of Arkansas.
Both of my parents are artists, so my creativity growing up was very encouraged. I always loved to draw, and chose to take drafting class in high school instead of art. That led me into the field of architecture, which I studied in college and did professionally for a number of years. I enjoyed designing buildings, but never felt quite myself in an office setting and found much of the work to be creatively frustrating.
In 2013, I married my husband Dan and moved to Fayetteville (from Virginia) so that he could pursue his PhD in History. This left me temporarily without work, so I used the extra time to get back into my painting and drawing, which I hadn't done much of since college. I fell in love with it all over again and started to take it more seriously. After about a year, I started my little shop, May We Fly, as a place to sell the pieces I was creating. Slowly but surely, over a number of years, it grew into a full-fledged business, which is where we are today.
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