April Graves is a woman who needs no introduction. Owner of Light Drawn Studios at The Foundry in Barrington, she has been capturing works of art with her camera for more than a decade. In addition to exquisite portraits of families and individuals, Graves is known in Barrington for her “Beautiful Things with Wings” calendar project, which has raised more than $500,000 to support the WINGS program in Chicago. This month and next, she’s embarking on a similar project to benefit HARPS of Barrington Hills. Devoted wife and mother of two, here are some of her favorite lasts:
Last great vacation where you couldn’t stop taking photos?
I prefer to live in the moment and be present so I don’t take my camera everywhere. That said, I recently traveled to Boston on a speaking engagement and turned it into a family trip. My sister-in-law gave birth to our newest nephew two weeks prior so between images of love with cousins and the amazing historic backdrop of Boston, it was a great opportunity to create.
Last experience or encounter that made you proud of what you’re doing?
Over Mother’s Day weekend, we held our first “Princess & the Pea Fairytale” portrait sessions to benefit Binkeez For Comfort, a nonprofit that makes MRI-safe blankets for children with pediatric cancer and other illnesses. My team and I raised enough money to have 40 of their blankets made and will be delivering them to Ronald McDonald House Chicago on September 18.
Last meaningful book you read?
I read a lot and as much as I love a great novel, 95 percent of what I read is either business or inspirational. I would say Start with Why by Simon Sinek stands out to me the most. While I’m a total artist, I am also an entrepreneur at heart.
Last unexpected moment in your daily routine that ended up inspiring a new project?
I end each day with a prayer of gratitude. I recently decided that I would incorporate acknowledgments of gratitude into our weekly team meetings at the studio. We work hard and I want to be sure that my team knows how much they mean to me.
Last small thing you did to treat yourself and why?
I bought myself the most beautiful handmade vase at a local art show for our lake cottage. It is such a feminine and artful piece … I just couldn’t resist. I can’t wait to fill it with fresh blooms!