Winter

But first coffee. A new challenge for 2017 starts now.

But first coffee. A new challenge for 2017 starts now.

A 365 art challenge for 2017.  

Botanic Studies. Happy Spring.

It may be rainy and grey in England, but there are still springlike moments to celebrate. Elements of spring are all over my daily art practice.  

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Leap Day. What did you do with your bonus day?

Bummer that it fell on a Monday of all days but I hope that everybody got a chance to carve out some creative time today. Did you make anything today? What? Did you do anything different than your usual Monday routine? 

Frenchie Hat

Essentialism in illustration is pretty powerful. I was working on some slow and detailed watercolor illustrations of hats when my five year old wandered over and pointed to the beret and said Paris! She then called out the witches hat, the winter hat and the police hat. I abandoned that watercolor painting (for now) and went in this direction instead.

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Finding my groove

And hopefully holding onto it for a bit. Hard with my kids home from school all week making studio time scarce. But things are clicking for me right now.  

Memory building and practice.

My ability to draw from my imagination could stand some improvement so I have been working on it by drawing objects and people from life and then drawing them from memory at different points in the day.  

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Daily Drawing with Lisa Congdon

I have been using the daily drawing prompts with Lisa Congdon on the Creative Bug as my morning creativity warmup. Usually in the giant cookbook I've been sketching in lately and usually I don't feel like sharing my results. But sometimes I put in a bit more time and use better paper and I am more likely to share my work as it feels more me and less derivative. 

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One Year

Our first year abroad came and went last week. The first year was an exciting yet challenging combination of fun travel, stress and isolation. So far this year we get to keep the fun travel and dump most of the stress. Could not be better! 

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Depression, journaling and the power of the weekly blank canvas in my journal.

My week was varied with encouraging highs and depressing lows. But the weekly canvas in my journal helped me pull it all together, see the big picture and look forward. This is how I find meaning in life. I tend to record the events and experiences of my day in a small notebook that I carry with me everywhere. Then on weekends I sit at my desk and create a journal spread around my week. 

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hilsener fra København (greetings from Copenhagen)

I'm in Copenhagen with my family for a few days and loving it during the Christmas season. Yesterday was Tivoli which was all decked out in lights and today was filled with exploring and sketching. Fun trip!  

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Urban Sketching Outdoors

I haven't sketched outdoors much lately. The weather and my brain just have not been cooperating. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself when it comes to sketching outdoors and that often bites me in the end. But the sun was shining and I had some time so I went out to sketch to many impressive Oxford University buildings and had a wonderful experience overall. I cleared my mind and just worked on it one line and shape at a time and then when I got too chilly went inside to add the colors. I am an outdoor sketching wuss when it comes to cold weather. I am glad that I packed my sketching kit in a hurry and did this simple drawing of Oxford.

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One month in England

It's been a month already! It has been a long and challenging month with stress and illness. But good things are ahead and I am very excited to stretch my creativity in England and the rest of Europe. In a month I will be all moved into my new art studio and it will be spring. Spring and flowers in March! I can hardly contain my excitement.  

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Missing Juno the possibly historic storm.

You might have heard that the Northeast United States from NY to Maine is getting hammered by what is being built up as a "historic" storm. The Boston area is supposed to get the worst of it with up to three feet of snow. I lived in Boston for nearly twelve years and weathered many blizzards during those years. I lived in the Chicago area before that and       weathered storms there as well, but it was always harder in Boston because getting in your car and driving isn't a simple choice during good weather and it flat out is not a choice in bad weather. The infrastructure in the entire Boston area is so bad that storms are crippling in a way I did not experience in the equally snowy Midwest.  

The thing is I moved to the much more boring climate of the United Kingdom a little over two weeks ago. During the winter the temperature hovers around 40 degrees and it might rain. It's all rather boring. Grateful to be bored as I think of my friends back in the Northeast and hoping that none of them lose power and stay safe and warm. 

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One of our many blizzards in Boston. This one is going to miss the rest of us not so much.  

Vulnerable

Last weekend me and my youngest got sick and on Tuesday night our internet went out. It didn't get fixed until Friday. Having just moved abroad the Internet has been our lifeline to our old life and our friends. Please never leave me again wifi! Feeling healthy again means more Oxford exploring. Looking forward to making a full recovery this weekend. Happy Friday!

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It's really pretty here. And quirky. I like that mix! 

For the many teachers in our lives. Happy Holiday gifts.

Each child has multiple teachers. How can I make a meaningful gift for so many when time and money is limited? Of course gift cards to our favorite local bakery and handmade watercolor art cards. Boston we are going to miss you so much. 

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Morning Pages

After months off this Morning Pages writing is extremely effective at opening up my mind and generating blog topics and content. Getting through a month of daily blog posting for #nanoblopomore would probably be a failure already if I didn't start up Morning Pages in late October. I came up with three rough drafts just this morning for me to expand on later. I love it! This leads me to believe that I should find a way to make Morning Pages work for me year round and not just during the dark and cold winter months. If I want to keep blogging and I do then I need to write more or my mind will just be visual. The visual is obviously super important but adding text to my visual thoughts and journey and being able to express myself with words is pretty important for eventual success. 

Downtime, rest and recharging.

I took the weekend off blogging, rode my bike, got my hair cut and spent time outdoors with my family. Did minimal art stuff and didn't spend much time thinking about my next steps. I have been feeling plagued with a lot of "what next" kind of worries and the weekend of glorious weather and one sick child seemed like as good a time as any to step back for awhile. Vacation is next week.  The world didn't end and I felt better starting out the week after a bit of rest. I still kept my sketchbook up because that is completely habit at this point.

 Sick day spent drawing.

Sick day spent drawing.

Winter dry skin, printmaking and drawing as an alternative.

Spending so much time drawing lately. Last week I decided to take a break from printing because all the handwashing was drying my hands out so bad they were at the point of cracking and bleeding. Eeek! I got some Gloves in a Bottle to help but I think I got them a little too late to help me out until I focus on some serious healing time. I hadn't made the connection of why I tend to draw and carve in the winter and print in the spring and summer and fall until now, maybe dry skin is why. Because I cannot escape the horrible dry winter skin. On the plus side that means as I give my hands a chance to heal by not handling ink and not washing them quite so much I can focus on drawing and generate some ideas and just generally enjoy that time to just draw. It's been pretty fabulous.

Transient