Mon Cœur! C’est Mon Voir…
Costa Mesans are creative doers.
Doesn’t matter if it’s building furniture, baking a cake, organizing a charity event or writing a song; at this point I Heart Costa Mesa has spoken with hundreds of locals, so trust us when we say: Costa Mesans have talent coming out their ears.
This isn’t a new phenomenon. For years – decades, even – creative doers have been a huge part of Costa Mesa. It’s just that these days, the rest of the world is finally taking notice. Young, up-and-coming artists and visual virtuosos of every ilk are moving here to be a part of our scene.
Mon Voir is well-known in wedding circles, and specializes in custom, hand-drawn, one-of-a-kind illustrations, watercolor creations and calligraphy. And although Rainey’s blood runs thick with paint, she never saw this career coming.
“I grew up in a very creative family,” said Rainey. “My mom is an artist – she paints with acrylic – and then both of my grandmas are also painters. It was just something we all did together.
“When I was a kid, my mom had this old marker calligraphy set. One day, when I was in middle school, she just gave it to me – probably to get me out of her hair. Of course, I was a teenager, so I rolled my eyes and was like ‘Mom, this is for old ladies. I don’t really want to learn this random, weird craft.’
“But I started playing with it anyway; spent an entire day teaching myself how to do calligraphy. Then I dropped it and thought, ‘Well, that’s the end of that.'”
But obviously, the story doesn’t end there.
“Flash forward a few years later, my husband and I are living in Chicago,” Rainey continued. “At this point, I was working nights as a waitress and he worked during the day. So I would pass the time journaling and doodling, drawing eyeballs and messing around with hand lettering before I had to go into work.
“Eventually we’d had enough of Chicago winters and decided to move to California. So the moving company came and packed up all our things. As they were unpacking in our new apartment, this random box appeared with no name on it. It was full of art supplies, none of which belonged to me.
“I called the moving company to see if anyone had claimed a missing box, but nobody ever called for it. It was like this box came out of nowhere and just adopted us. Eventually, when we couldn’t locate the owner, I accepted it was mine and started using the art supplies. That’s actually how I first got into watercolor. It was a total accident.”
As Rainey started playing around with watercolor, she began posting her work to Instagram and following other artists using the medium.
“I quickly realized that working with watercolor isn’t this starving-artist thing,” said Rainey. “People make a living doing it. I just gradually got more into it and that’s how Mon Voir came to be. Loosely translated, ‘mon voir’ means ‘my vision’ or ‘my view’ in French. I like the idea of that.
“But it’s a weird story, right? This random box falls into my life and it becomes the accidental career I never meant to have. But here we are.”
Watercolor may have been Rainey’s entrée into the life of a professional artist, but she doesn’t stop there. She also specializes in beautiful hand lettering and custom calligraphy (remember that ‘random, weird craft’ from her youth?) It’s her combined talent with both paint and pen that makes her la force formidable in the boutique wedding industry.
“Ninety percent of my job is wedding invitations,” said Rainey. “I like the challenge of meeting with a couple and bringing their vision to life. Making stationery as beautiful as they imagine their wedding to be. I do a lot of florals, it’s kind of my thing; and I like to play around with color palettes.
“But I also really like collaborating with other creative people, like graphic designers or photographers. I love a good, random side project, it keeps things interesting.”
Rainey has collaborated on apparel, murals, mixed-media prints, logo design – just to name a few – with hopes to team up more often in the near future. And that might be easier than ever because she just recently launched La Salle HQ: a light, bright, beautiful and airy photo studio and event space off Babcock Street. Photographers and Event Planners take note: Westside Costa Mesa is your next location waiting to happen.
When Rainey is not busy washing the world with dreamy, watercolor hues, she’s busy teaching the rest of us how to do it. Mon Voir is always hosting different kinds of classes and workshops to help bring out the inner artist in all of us. Themes include Modern Calligraphy, Intro To Watercolor, Florals – and seasonal offerings as the opportunities arise.
“I love teaching, it’s a big part of my job,” said Rainey. “We are all made to be creative, whether that’s inventing something, building something, designing how a thing should be built. I passionately believe that every person should tap into their own creativity – and teaching people how to do it is the most amazing, rewarding thing.
“I teach both watercolor and calligraphy, but watercolor is much more fun for me. It’s just more my personality: bright, cheery, colorful, flowy and relaxed. If people want to come in to one of my workshops for the first time, they should definitely start there.”
With so much going on in Rainey’s world, we’re surprised she’s found the time to fall for our fair city. But such is the power and beauty of Costa Mesa.
“My husband and I have only been here a few months, but we already love Costa Mesa,” said Rainey. “Coming from Chicago, I’m what you’d call a ‘city person.’ I like having lots of options at my disposal: bars, restaurants, cafes, galleries, whatever. But you don’t need a big city to do that, we get it in Costa Mesa, too.
“On every corner in Costa Mesa there’s something really inspiring or just fun to do; go out to coffee, try new things. I’ve already met so many people and overall I’m just really enjoying this community. There are so many self-employed, freelancer, creative people here – it’s cool to be a part of that.
“Costa Mesa is a great place; so far, I’ve really loved it.” ♥
Get Free Updates:
Subscribe to our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from I Heart Costa Mesa!