Blogging

Curveballs

There seems to be some rule that as soon as I give myself a big challenge and start on it within a short period of time life throws a curveball at me to make the challenge all the more challenging. It happened within the first few weeks of my 365 daily creativity project and now just a few days into a month of daily blogging I am sick. It started out as a sore throat last night, now today I am full blown sick. I get one "I'm sick" blog post out of it. Then I need to keep generating content while feeling like crud. I can do it! No big deal.  

Sick day watercolor abstracts in my sketchbook while I sip tea with honey.  

Sick day watercolor abstracts in my sketchbook while I sip tea with honey.  

The Blogging Habit

The blogging habit is not an easy one for me. I need to commit to doing a short blog post Monday-Friday. In fact, maybe blogging should be a seven day thing for a month or so while I establish the habit. Blogging is a hard habit for me to keep up and I think that that weekend break is a good idea in the long run but derails me in the short term while establishing the habit. My sketching and painting habit is solid. My ice cream habit is sadly quite established as well. Time to get the blogging habit set. I have the work to share, time to share it beyond the word of Instagram. How do other bloggers do it? Especially visual artists that don't consider writing to be their thing?

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March is my sketching anniversary!

A year ago in March I decided to keep a regular daily sketchbook and picked up my first set of watercolors since childhood. Things have changed a lot for me in this year and a sketchbook and some paint has always been nearby and along for the ride. I am super grateful for this adventure and looking forward to sketching more and continuing to grow my skills in the coming year. Thank you for following along. Here is some then and now. I try to only compare myself to my past not to other artists. 

One of my earliest watercolor sketches. If I could go back in time I would tell my past self to use more paint!

One of my earliest watercolor sketches. If I could go back in time I would tell my past self to use more paint!

Thinking of spring a few days ago in Oxford.  

Thinking of spring a few days ago in Oxford.  

Plenty of paint on this paper!  

Plenty of paint on this paper!  

My best morning yet!

Weekend Morning Pages and schedule keeping are hard, especially in temporary housing with no personal space. But this Monday morning is the best morning I have had since moving out of our house in JP nearly two months ago. While their dad showered I made lunch for the girls and helped get them out the door, then I was showered and dressed and not feeling groggy or sick before eight. Ready to have a productive day planning for the week ahead. I made a cup of tea that I don't desperately need for once and as the skies clear up here in Oxford. The movers come with our stuff on Wednesday morning and I will be moving us in during the rest of the week while the kids are in school. My studio space along with everything else! I am so ready. What are you ready and waiting for? If I were back in Boston I would be preoccupied with waiting for the snow to melt. 

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Getting Settled

Everyday I get a little more comfortable and everyday I spend a little more time with my creativity. These past two weeks have been very hard and very densely filled with moving out, temporary housing, a red eye transatlantic flight with children, more temporary housing, jet lag, new school, new job, cultural adjustment and then finally illness. All in just a two week time span! Today as the sick haze lifts and life is beginning to feel normal again I am rediscovering myself and what drives me forward. A new and improved self that isn't frustrated and longing change like I had been back home. After so many years Boston had become my home and I loved it. But I was also struggling and had wanted to make a big change for years. Well, here is my big change and I am appreciating it. Doesn't make it less hard at times and doesn't make me miss our friends any less, but I can't think of a better place for me to grow as an artist at this point in my life. We still don't move into our apartment until mid to late February but we are expecting our air shipment to be delivered today and it has some extra art supplies for me on it as well as toys for the children. What wonderful timing! 

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My next art studio...

Will sadly not have an outdoor space to draw and paint in while I sip my afternoon tea. But it will be significantly larger than my last well loved space and I will learn from the mistakes I made setting up space the last two times when I set it up for creativity. 

After nearly twelve happy years in Boston mLee art has to Oxford UK with her family and couldn't be more thrilled. Sad to be leaving behind so many connections and friends in Boston. Boston has been a good home and a great place for our children and my art but excited for this adventure and the many adventures to follow.

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An Inky Challenge for 2015

I have been debating this idea for awhile now but I have decided to go for a daily ink challenge for 2015. I am still working out the details but I think the big things are that every day I need to make something with ink in 30 minutes or less. The #inktober challenge started off slow and difficult but midway through I hit a groove and ended up learning and growing through the challenge and missing it when it was over. My biggest artistic goal for 2015 is to improve my drawing skills and this should do the trick nicely. A year of daily ink is likely to be even more challenging than a month, but hopefully even more rewarding as well! I am excited to start and keeping it up during our travels should be interesting.

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Stressed and distracted

Moving across the ocean in two weeks is stressful and distracting. Who knew? I am going to miss our friends in Boston so much but at this point I just want to get it over with and get over there already. We have one more full week in our home then the movers come and pack us up and we spend part of a week in temporary housing in Boston. Then we fly out on a Friday red eye flight. The girls are due to start their new school in the UK that following Monday. Some art supplies will come with me on the airplane. Some will go on the small air shipment but most of it will go on a boat and take a month or longer to get to us along with all of our furniture. I need to choose wisely. Temporary housing is waiting for us over in the UK. We will be fine. My goal is to keep working, prepare to depart and enjoy our friends here while we still have them. Life is a party at the moment. 

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Failed but not a failure.

Coming off the high of completing October's #inktober Instagram daily ink drawing and sharing challenge I signed up for the daily blogging challenge #nanoblopomo as a way to improve my blogging habit. It started out pretty well but about halfway through it I started resenting the challenge and remembered doing it last year and all it accomplished was blog burnout. So I stopped and promised myself weekly blogging combined with daily drawing, painting and Instagram sharing and enjoyed the rest of the month of November.  Ready for new challenges for December!

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Groove

I'm grooving with my paint and watercolor this weekend. Hard to pull myself away to blog or do anything else. Everything seems to be clicking into place after much hard work and failure. I credit a lot of my progress to sticking with #inktober and now I am going to stick with blogging. 

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The threat of burn out.

How to avoid blogger burnout? I have gotten through most of my second week of daily blogging and it is still hard. I remember blogging daily last November and then not blogging much at all for December and January because I was burnt out by the constant pressure of daily blogging. Unlike the daily drawing challenges I have completed blogging is not super fun for me. I think it is a worthwhile activity that has positive impact on my life, but for me pressure of blogging makes it feel more like a chore. Morning Pages is becoming a more enjoyable activity and habit but that is my personal writing with no pressure for anybody to like what I have to say. I am going to keep going with the challenge but be mindful of burning out and with a plan for December and January because my goal is a sustainable habit that I enjoy doing. How do more regular bloggers do it? 

Jury Duty

First Veterans Day and no studio time and now Jury Duty and no studio time. But I expect to be doing a fair amount of sitting in the jury pool room and am bringing three sketchbooks and some supplies. There is a good chance that I will finish up two of these these sketchbooks today. One of them is an old sketchbook that only works for pencil and ink that I have kept next to my bedside table for awhile. I am going to fill it with gesture drawing warmups and doodles. The other is the Moleskine that I have been carrying around with me a few months. I am super ready to move on with both these books but I am trying not to rush it with the Moleskine. I told myself that I need to spend some time with my next Moleskine drawing that I do since I have been using it for fast drawings and that is fine, but I should focus on line a little bit more. I am looking forward to my next sketchbook, but it is time to remain present with my current sketchbook. Sitting and people watching is a good chance to do that. Maybe I can creep out the judge and he will send me home for the day.

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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. 

Keep going. Instagram inspired not intimidated.

After fixing my pen I got a lot of drawings done and am now nearly finished with my Doodle Book. It is a satisfying book to thumb through because I have been working on it slowly but steadily for months now and the book actually dates back a few years and has some old sketches from back then in it as well. They are so bad! Such bad drawings. I get discouraged drawing easily and often, especially when I look at all the talent and success on Instagram. But all I need to do is look at myself and know that I will get there. I have already come so far. The art on Instagram is super inspiring and I am so glad to be following all these talented artists. But I can't let intimidation rule. Keep going. Keep working hard and I will get where I need to go. 

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Inktober for October

Blogging has been hard for me lately, but making art has not been. I got a slow start at the #inktober drawing challenge that is happening online. Mostly on Instagram. I draw in ink daily, but not the polished masterpieces that I see using that hashtag. Intimidated I didn't post much early in the challenge. But as I continue filling up a sketchbook with ink drawings my confidence grows as my need to be "the best" shrinks. Perfectionism and a low opinion of myself and my work has been my excuse to not push myself for too long. No room for perfectionism this month. Getting out a drawing a day for #inktober. Some were good but many more of them were mediocre or worse and that is okay. It was the act of making them every day for an extended period of time and the accountability of putting them out in the world that mattered. Now the month and challenge are nearly finished and I have my big Doodle Book nearly filled. Then it is on to the next challenge to stretch and push myself. 

drawing with a brush and ink is a fast skill building activity

drawing with a brush and ink is a fast skill building activity

Rainy Days

Drinking tea while listening to the wind and rain while painting in my cozy studio. Sunshine is great but sometimes I need the excuse to stay in and work indoors. Loving this stormy weather. 

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