OCEAN SKETCH CLEARANCE SALE: I'm clearing out some old ocean sketches this week, so if you've had your eye on a specific one, click here to visit the sketches page and see if it's currently available at a reduced price!

MY STORY

Hi there! I'm so happy you've decided to visit my slice of the internet, and I'd like to introduce myself to you. I'm Bryana: a poet and painter who grew up in T√ľrkiye; has since lived in Texas, Arkansas, and England; and now resides in Eastern Pennsylvania with my husband and a rotating array of short-lived basil plants.¬†


As a third-culture kid who has inhabited seventeen different houses on three continents, I'm equal parts open-minded, risk-averse, and screwed up. I love talking about non-toxic spirituality, exvangelicalism, and women's global liberation. You could also get me Very Engaged in a convo about why Anne was the bravest¬†Bront√ę sister, or how John Steinbeck and Cormac McCarthy come so close to a critical examination of patriarchy and yet remain s o o o far away.¬†

In my spare time, I enjoy volunteering at my local Boys & Girls Club, exploring the Atlantic coast, and zealously avoiding driving. I listen to Enya with gusto, and if that makes me basic, I don't even mind. Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for progress shots, messy hair photos, tiny poems, and (what I think are) glorious finished paintings. Follow me on Twitter for feminist theory, poor attempts at humor, and long threads unpacking unhelpful sacred and secular teachings about sex.

Painting

I knew I wanted to be an artist from almost the earliest point I can remember. As a child, I spent many happy hours drawing horses and flowers and placid nuclear families on sheets and sheets of copy paper. In highschool, I invented my own handwriting font and filled a stack of homemade journals with watercolor sketches and lettering practice. In college, I launched a little Etsy shop where I infrequently sold hand-painted bookmarks with calligraphy quotes from my favorite authors. And from 2018-2022, I sent out around 7,000 illustrated snail mail letters to 30+ countries as part of a project called the Letters From The Sea Tower.

In 2022, I began working with gouache and acryla gouache, and took up painting the ocean in earnest. You can find my museum-grade prints and original seascape paintings here, and my sketches here. You can also reach out to request a seascape commission featuring an ocean (fictional or from this planet!) you especially love. 

I'm a dues-paying member of a couple different arts organizations in the Lehigh Valley, and since 2022 I've exhibited with the Lehigh Art Alliance and the Arts Community of Easton (ACE). My paintings have also been displayed at Nazareth Center for the Arts and gallery840 in downtown Allentown. 

When I'm not painting the ocean, there's a good chance I'm working on one of the illustrations for my Faces of God book project: an exploration in poetry and art of how the Divine appears in the world. I hope to launch this project in 2024 via Kickstarter, and if you'd like to be in the loop when it kicks off, you'll want to be sure to subscribe to my email list on the homepage. 

In addition to these projects, I find myself creating from time to time various new works of art honoring the poetry and stories that have challenged and changed me. From fine art prints featuring illustrations based on Studio Ghibli, Emily Dickinson & J.R.R. Tolkien to handpainted ceramic pendants inspired by literary seascapes, literature moves through my studio and shop like a living thing. 

Poetry & Workshops 

I grew up in a home where thousands of books lined the walls. My childhood was filled with imaginative adventures inspired by rich literature and powerful stories, and although I have since¬†developed a passion for modern and contemporary poetry, I still derive a lot of joy from studying the classics and sharing their ongoing relevance in fresh ways. My favorite authors include George Eliot, W.S. Merwin, Aracelis Girmay, George MacDonald, Anne¬†Bront√ę,¬†James Baldwin, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Naomi Shihab Nye, e.e. cummings, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and the Brownings. In their own ways, each of these authors have given me Puzzle Pieces‚ÄĒsmall fragments of a beautiful whole that catches the light now and then and makes me catch my breath.

I hold a B.A. in English from Hardin-Simmons University and have been writing and publishing since high school. My poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in over forty literary magazines, including Poetry Northwest, Beloit Poetry Journal, and Blue Earth Review, and my poem "Summer of the Oystercatchers" was named the winner of Iron Horse Literary Review's annual National Poetry Month Competition in 2022. (See a more exhaustive publications list here.)

TINY POEMS GALLERY: Although I have a strong belief in the value of traditional publishing and am proud of the print and online publications where my work has appeared, I love poetry too much to be satisfied with confining it to these places. I believe good poetry is a kind of magic; that it harnesses the emotive capacity of music and the imaginative capacity of sensory language to put us smack dab in the middle of other people's stories and pull our eyes wide open. I know of no other artistic medium that carries more power to challenge my small-mindedness and push me into deep love and respect for the humanity of others. And so I find I have to write poetry that doesn't end up in any journals, that doesn't sit in a queue for months or years waiting to be released. This is the thinking behind the Tiny Poems Gallery where I share small poems grappling with current events, present chaos, and oh the humanity. 

POETRY WORKSHOPS: In 2021, during a particularly lonely time in a new city, I began timidly hosting online poetry workshops to bring writers together from around the globe. I was blown away by how meaningful and intimate these Zoom gatherings became, and how fervently the participants expressed their enjoyment of them. In 2023, I hosted three more four-week workshops and hope to launch another round of workshops in 2024. If you're like to be notified when workshop registration opens again, be sure you've subscribed to my email list on the homepage.