Meet Artist Maria Danil

Meet Artist Maria Danil

Here is a post I have been looking forward to sharing for weeks now. I am so thrilled to have had the opportunity to sit and chat with one of my favorite artists and favorite people, Maria Danil.

An Introduction to Maria

Maria Danil is a Romanian artist born in the Republic of Moldova in 1984. She obtained her Licentiate in Fine Arts Design “Fashion Design” (2002-2007) and her Master’s Degree in Fine Arts (2007-2008) from the “Ion Creanga” State Pedagogial University in Chisinau, Moldova.

Maria and I met at work and quickly became friends. It didn’t take me long to learn Maria was a talented artist. Being a transplant to the United States as I was, Maria kind of kept her art and talents to herself for a while and is just beginning to introduce herself as an artist within our community. I am so happy she’s doing so.

I knew I wanted to talk to her about her work and I knew I wanted to share that conversation with you.  One afternoon Maria, her charming husband Pavel and adorable son who is just a bit younger than my own came over for a dinner and a chat. Here is what we learned as we spoke.

What inspired you to get started in art and at what age?

My inspiration was probably my family. My father was an art lover. In his family he had someone who studied art and then he discovered when I was five years old I had skills in art. Since then I have always been drawing something. Later my grandfather also got involved. I was lucky to have a family that unconditionally supported me morally and financially.

Which artists inspire you?

My favorite artists are Gerda Wegener, Danish illustrator and painter. Claude Monet the founder of Impressionist painting. Edouard Manet the french painter. The Romanian painter Stefan Luchian. Nicolae Grigorescu, one of the founders of modern Romanian painting and Glebus Sainciuc, the Romanian portraitist known for his mask collection.

Where do you go to see art here?

In the area where I live, I haven’t had a chance to see much art but I was traveling the U.S., for example the Chicago Museum, Washington and New York. I have seen many beautiful art pieces. It impressed me. I had the opportunity to see the original art of many artists I studied at college. Edouard Manet, Rembrandt, Van Gogh and many others.

What media do you like to work in?

I work with pencil, watercolor, oil on canvas, tapestry, jewelry, fashion illustration and photography.

Quite a list! What themes do you like best in your artwork?

My artwork contains images of fashionable women. I like to express emotions and I love the eyes.

Why didn’t you choose to continue fashion Design?

There are just some sketches that lie on the shelf. I would like to make art I can hang on the wall and it can be admired by a bigger audience. I think this represents me now.

What themes do you like to explore in your photography?

The photo makes me very fascinated. It gives me the opportunity to see the world from another angle. I like to photograph nature because there is nothing false. Everything is as it should be, nothing is fake and doesn’t claim to be something it’s not. I can not say this about portrait photography where the human being is trying to create a character that’s false. Although I like to do that too. Unfortunately I do not have many models. My only model is my son right now.

Do you do commissioned work and where can people see your work?

Yes, I do commissioned work. Those who want to see my art can see it on facebook. The Michigan Library has an exhibit of my work up currently. I will also have an exhibit at the Lakota library soon.

Illustration by Maria Danil

Maria, you are a mom, wife and work full time! When do you find time to work on your art?

The time I can use for my art is at night. I like to create in peace without being disturbed.

Do you aspire to be an artist full time?

Yes! Who doesn’t dream of working in a field where he/she feels comfortable, and happy. It’s one of my greatest dreams. I hope that day will become a reality.

Are there any big projects you aspire to do someday? A Dream Project?

The Great Project is personal exhibitions for the bigger audience. This is so important to me. I want my family to be proud of me, especially my son. Coming from another country with another culture and language, to start from zero and to learn from the beginning step by step is not easy or simple. It’s a struggle with yourself. Every morning I say to myself ” you can”. I was lucky to meet wonderful people who helped us to acclimate to society more easily. I hope the future will bring me beautiful projects and many more friends.

Maria, what advice do you have for younger upcoming artists?

At college I was taught that one percent is talent and ninety-nine percent is work. This motivated me more toward on my skills and to achieve the desired result. My advice is not to give up. Dreams become reality if you work towards your ambitions.

Thanks so much Maria for letting me pick your brain for this blog.

I hope to post more content of this sort, highlighting the best thing about North Dakota – the people who live here. Their diversity and warmth and talents. I hope you enjoyed getting to know Maria who aside from being so talented is a good person and great friend.

With Love, Michelle

March Favorites

March Favorites

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Happy Easter! I have been super busy but I’m so glad to post today and share my March favorites. There so many things I’m enjoying and wanted to share with you today.

The Featured Image

One of my favorite things about living here in North Dakota is seeing nature all about me. I was lucky enough to see these two Bald Eagles hanging out in our trees. Just beautiful.

Favorite March Moment


One of the things that I want to share is one of my favorite moments from March. Little J’s Birthday! Little J is now four. I feel so blessed being the mother of such a kind, loving and smart boy! Josh and I could not be more proud to be his parents. For his special day he got to celebrate a bit at his daycare. Then he came home to a Mickey Mouse cake, gifts, Grandma and Grandpa Hagen and family on Skype from Barbados too! Having all the family made the entire experience feel rich and blessed.  He’s been enjoying all the gifts he received especially his ever-growing collection of Tsum Tsum.

Fave T.V and Movie Time

If you don’t mind reading subtitles on movies then you might enjoy these two pics. The first is a television series from Korea called Bad Guys available on Netflix. This cast is amazing and the story is fun and intriguing. It’s a crime drama about a detective who enlists convicted criminals to help him solve cases.

I am Dragon is a beautifully shot Sci-Fi fantasy story from Russia. This one was referred to me by a friend and I’m so glad I watched. I love the music from this movie and the artful way in which the story is creatively and simply told. I found this on Amazon Prime Video.

On Hulu I’ve caught up on episodes of Star. A drama series about three young women trying to make it big in an unpredictable music industry.  I love the soundtrack from this series  also but know it’s not for young ages. Queen Sugar from the Own Network is another story I’m following lately. It revolves around a family trying to farm land they inherited and the struggles that come along with the land and working together as a family should.

For Hair:

You may know from previous post that I’ve enjoyed the Mane Choice products for my hair. I recently really started trying to treat my natural hair with a bit more love. My top three fave products now are Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream, Mane Choice 3 in 1 Conditioner and The Mane Choice Ancient Egyptian 24 Karat Gold Twisting Gel.

The Cantu leave in has mixed reviews online but for my super dry hair this water based formula works wonders. It makes my hair soft and manageable. The Mane Choice products are more universally loved with good reason. They are effective and maintaining moisture and styling without leaving crispy texture or residue.

Household Faves:

Lastly I’ve loved the Grove Collaborative. I have used the grove collaborative a few times before but I recently got an order and recalled how convenient this service truly is. This site allows you to order household supplies at reasonable prices and have them delivered right to your door. They offer products without all the harsh chemicals. It’s a customizable service so you have total control over what ships and when. I love that they carry Mrs. Meyers and Method products and I enjoy discovering new products through them as well.

Well that’s it. My March Faves. I hope something on this list was of interest to you. I want to send out an Easter greeting once more to you and your family from ours Happy Easter!


Let’s catch up – February 2018

Let’s catch up – February 2018

In this post I talk about an experiment we did. Do not try this at home!

Ok so long time no post right! I know I’ve been M.I.A for a while now and for that I apologise I have just been so busy but I’m happily back. I told you in a previous post I was doing this course for work and well it kept me super busy. Working a forty hour week and being a student was hard. My blog didn’t stand a chance guys, sorry. Now let’s catch up!

Can you believe this year is flying by already. I’m glad we are getting ever closer to spring, especially because it’s been so bitter cold here. Despite the frigid weather we’ve still had a bit of family fun playing with dry ice, making salami snowmen and seeing the community play.

The salami snowman appeared one friday in January I believe and the lucky snowman is still standing! Well leaning only a little to one side but still sporting all his accoutrements. This was a daddy day project. Josh and I both work during the week but Little J spends Fridays with dad and not daycare, as Josh works from home. I love seeing and hearing what they’ve been up to while I was at work. This snowman was a fun day for them.

Another Friday after receiving a steak delivery we thought it would be fun to do a little science project with our son. Do not try this at home! Dry ice is a solid form of Carbon Dioxide! Please know that simply breathing this in is dangerous in enclosed spaces but we were in a large open space. Josh or I held on to little J the entire time as I didn’t want him anywhere near the ice. Dry ice will cause severe frostbite on contact. Little J’s Grandpa Boyd,a family doctor was also home. We cautiously set up some dry ice in a big metal bowl in the sink. Josh took control of the experiment and I took control of our son.

Of course when water hit the ice it began to fog up delighting our little one. I was a nervous wreck for most of the experiment but it was a fun experience too. Not something I’d urge one to try to do and certainly not without due caution!


This year I did not act in the Nelson County Arts Council’s Community play as I had in earlier years. Mostly I was just too busy! It was still important to me though to go and support the actors that doing this year’s production. The Nelson County Arts Council hosted Snow White by Marjorie Sokoloff this year. The production was great. If you live in the area, have kids or just love the theater I highly recommend going to one of their productions.

These have traditionally been family friendly plays performed by talented actors in the community. Their audience seems to grow every year and we could hardly find parking this year! Performances are in winter and I am never sorry I trudged through the cold or snow to make it there. I do it most years.


We had such a blast at this performance and it actually held our three-year old’s attention very well. He laughed and laughed which made the entire experience 100% better too! We got to take pics with the actors after the show and took a pic in the infamous mirror as well. Loved it!

Well now that you are all caught up I’ll promise once more.. not such a long wait between post. In fact I have a fun one lined up with a friend and artist I truly admire. Until then though I hope you are having the best start to the year.

Goals 2018!

Goals 2018!

January is off to a great start. It did take me a minute to kind of figure out what I wanted this year in regards to setting goals.  Somehow I lacked a bit of motivation at the start of the year but I’ve since caught up.  One thing that’s helped is this course I’m taking for work. It’s good to be a student.  I love to learn and this particular course is certainly inspiring.  It deals with the brain and how it develops and it’s reminding me that I’m never too old to learn or change. Anyway it got me in the mood to share what’s been on my brain as far as goals for 2018!

I know no one likes the word resolutions. And trust me I get why – it just sounds so constricting. I must do these things or else. That said this year I’m calling my goals resolutions. I need constricting, or else at the moment. I need to tell myself to take myself seriously or no one else will. So if resolve is what it will take then resolutions are what I will make. (sorry for the rhyme! 🙂  Here are just 5 excerpts from my resolutions this year.

Better My Health

Last year I didn’t really think too much about my health. In fact I focused so much on the health of those around me but didn’t really make much of an effort for myself. Then later in the year I thought of it like one of those things you know you should do, but would get to later. Well, this year my health is priority.


I specifically want to work on creating a good morning and evening routine. So important to me. Little J is potty trained now and so much more independent. Right now everything is so haphazard I really need a bit more order to my days and nights.


Ok so I’m a mom. I put everyone ahead of myself and that’s probably not going to change anytime soon. It does mean however that if I’m going to be able to keep that up then I need to take better care of me.  Putting my self first isn’t being selfish, it’s being kind.  I need to be kinder to myself so I can be kinder to you. I’ll definitely be working on this in 2018.


I don’t drive. This is a long story but to make it short…every time I’ve gone to learn some big life event happens and I never even make it to the driving test. Shame I know! But I can’t be the only thirty something who can’t drive! Can I? Ok so this year the goal is to become a good and safe driver. If you see me around you have permission to nag me about it . It’ll whip me into shape. Lol.

Be more present and in the moment

I need to be more present and just enjoy time with my husband and son and leave worry behind.

Welcome 2018! Happy New Year

Welcome 2018! Happy New Year

Happy New Year! Welcome 2018!!! Optimism. Hope. That is the great gift of the new year. All the injustices of the past can be rectified with the promise of 365 brand new days. We devote ourselves, with maybe more thought and energy than any other time of the year, to the improvement of ourselves. It’s a time for reflection and commitment and joy. Please know that we at the Beach to Prairie home wish you and yours the very best for the coming year.

Enjoy these pics from our holiday celebration and Blessings to you all.

Just a few Pics From Our Christmas Celebrations

Christmas Eve. Helping little J hand out presents! Lol We open presents under the tree on Christmas Eve.

Little J enjoyed playing with his gift from family on Christmas Eve. They were even gifts from the cats 😉

Then on Christmas Morning we open the gifts that Santa has left in our Christmas Stockings!

With Love Always! Michelle