Vacation

Hello Eiffel

Effiel Tower sketching was required during the trip and I wasn't about to let some rain stop me. The running ink just adds to the atmosphere and memories for this trip.  

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Sketching, blogging, tourism and being part of a family with young kidson vacation is (almost) too much.

It's exhausting but exhilarating and oh so much fun. Each day is different and better and I end each day exhausted and happy. Love Paris! 

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Notre Dame took my breath away.

Growing up in the States I have never seen anything like Notre Dame before and it left me speechless. Having the chance to walk around and take it in before sitting down and sketching it was a huge privledge. Walking around inside during mass I felt both French and Catholic for a few minutes. 

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Sketching Memories in Paris

Sketchbook keeping on vacation/holiday is one of my favorite activities. This morning I woke up and sketched a corner of the living room on our Parisian apartment. Memories of this trip kept forever in a precious book. 

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Hello Mona, do you have any idea how popular you are?

Mona Lisa. People fight to see you and elbow children and the elderly to get a selfie with you. An alarm goes off around you when people get just too close every five to fifteen minutes. Basically you seem to bring out the worst in people. I can see from that famous smirk of yours how amusing this is to you. But personally I would rather hang with one of your more calming relations and avoid getting elbowed. Nothing personal but I feel a little claustrophobic around you Mona.

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Packing for France!

We are heading to Paris next week for the first week of our spring break and I am planning my sketchkit for the trip. I want to stay fairly minimal and not put too many choices on myself on what to use each day. Most days I will be with my family and sketching light therefor traveling light, but I have one lucky day in Paris by myself and can bring a more robust sketching kit on that day. What would you bring? My basics these days is a sketchbook that is big enough to comfortably use yet small enough to comfortably carry, a watercolor kit with a minimum of 14 mixing colors, a fountain pen with waterproof ink, a mechanical pencil, water brushes and a brush pen. We got a new camera for this trip and upcoming trips and I will be taking photos and using them as reference when I get back to my studio. 

My maxed out sketching kit ready for Paris! 

My maxed out sketching kit ready for Paris! 

A little break from illness with a road trip to Stonehenge

We are happily going car free in the UK, but for our first two months here the company that moved us out here is paying for a rental car. Being so sick for weeks on end has meant that we haven't been able to use the rental for the little road trips that we planned. Until this past Sunday when we went to Stonehenge! Over a million people pass through the Stonehenge site every year despite it being a bit of a pain to get to if you don't have a car, and still a bit of a pain with a car. But it is only about an hour and I could finally breathe without breaking into a coughing fit or gagging, but I wasn't ready for a trip to London. So we piled in the car and went to Stonehenge and it was really cool! They have very few signs for it along the way and we lost our wireless directions halfway there but we knew we were going in the right direction when we saw a bunch of big rocks arranged in a circle from the highway. From there we headed to the visitor center and took a shuttle bus to Stonehenge. I am typically not a fan of those little recorded devices that museums give out or sell but they gave them to us and they seemed to really help the children get into the idea of seeing a bunch of big old rocks. I grew up seeing Stonehenge in every history book and now I have seen it, sketched it and taken a selfie with my family in front of it. Next weekend we are going to London! Another one hour road trip.

Stonehenge sketch. Watercolor and grey colored pencil in a pocket moleskine watercolor book.  

Stonehenge sketch. Watercolor and grey colored pencil in a pocket moleskine watercolor book.  

Stonehenge surprises us as we drive on the highway. 

Stonehenge surprises us as we drive on the highway. 

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! 

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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Veterans Day = Take my kids to a crowded museum day

Today is Veterans Day, not my favorite holiday as an anti-war, anti-empire Christian pacifist. But the schools are not about to get on board with that sentiment so my kids have the day off and are asking me why. This is where things get complicated as I see how much power I have on their opinions. Complicated! But currently they are focused on not having school today and going to now the Boston Children's Museum to meet up with friends. And I am focused on surviving the chaos. Not my most favorite place, but we are moving I will take them both one last time and they can see their friends and I will deal. But I do hope I have a chance to actually use these supplies and sketch today. Will see how that goes.

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The sounds of the city.

After five days up in the middle of nowhere focusing on art adjusting to being back to the city is a bit of a challenge. The city is loud and dirty with too many people. Yesterday I went to the Arnold Arboretum to sketch and get away a bit and I had a really hard time connecting with nature with the sound of the cars outside and all the people walking around. As soon as I would start to relax and sketch a woman would walk buy with clicking heels or an off leash dog would get in my face. I did manage to find a good location to sketch with minimal interruption, but it will take me a little while to get used to being back in the city.

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Processing Haystack

Monday morning. Back to reality after an inspiring trip to Haystack. Yet I am still happy to be home around my favorite people. Now that I am home I have a lot to do to process the artwork that I made there and the ideas that I generated. Plus laundry. So much laundry. Laundry is the worst. But for now there is coffee to drink and kids that need to get to school.

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Goodbye Haystack deck. 

Blast off!

Heading out to Deer Isle Maine for the annual Mass Art Haystack retreat. So ready to be among fellow creatives in the deep pines next to the ocean. Internet is spotty up there, just how I like it. I am so ready to disconnect from regular life for a few days. I have a couple of sketchbooks, some paint, a bunch of pens and my creativity ready to take some workshops and connect with others and draw everything I see. I even packed my running shoes. Be back blogging about the experience on Monday!

perfect size for travel and no big loss if I lose it.

perfect size for travel and no big loss if I lose it.

Oil vs Water

One more sleep at home in Boston. On Wednesday morning I leave for Maine and will get to spend five days at Haystack. But my art life has been full since before Haystack. Just this past weekend I got to take a Japanese Printmaking workshop at the local Elliot school and it was great fun, intense work going from sketch to block to print all in a too short weekend. But I learned so much and I do want to do more with it now that I understand the basics of the technique. Carving the block was basically the same as I now it, but printing was completely different. Very painterly and flexible which was great fun. But with the ticking clock of the water based inks quickly drying out stressing me out. I came home exhausted both physically and mentally both nights. I have six original prints to show for the weekend and an itch to make more. The woodblock printing that I am much more familiar with is western style printing on various papers with oil based ink and a printing press. No painterly fun like the Japanese moku hanga, but also once I lay out the oil based ink to work with it is good all day long with little risk of it drying out. I would love to print these blocks with my oily methods to compare, but then I wouldn't be able to go back to the waterbased inks.

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Vacation Visual Journal

Before heading on our long weekend to NYC I spent the day trying to finish up the sketchbook I half filled during our travels to Ohio and Illinois in early July before the kids head back to school after Labor Day. Now we are back from NYC and despite drawing a lot while I was there on location I still have more planned drawings to do to fill up our summer sketchbook. But today is my daughter's seventh birthday and I am going to focus on spoiling her before she heads back to school later this week.

Cedar Point memories

Cedar Point memories

Lucky Charm

Happy Friday! We are heading to New York for the weekend to see friends, go to museums, eat pizza and other yummy foods and hopefully draw on location. Feeling the art groove in my studio lately that I hope translates to various locations. Maybe I should bring my studio good luck charm with me. Two years ago at a Disney World gift shop I saw my name on this necklace. This never happens to me. They didn't have my eldest daughter's name but they had mine so of course I bought a necklace that I will never wear and hung it in my studio. I still won't wear it, but maybe it should come along in my bag. See you next week!

my lucky charm is a cheap Disney necklace with my name on it

my lucky charm is a cheap Disney necklace with my name on it

Sketchbooks and play

Been playing a lot in my sketchbook lately. Playing with paint, playing with lines, drawing random objects from around my house as well as doodles from my imagination. No pressure, just enjoying the act of drawing in my sketchbook. I tend to fall into pressuring myself into unattainable and paralyzing perfection pretty easily. Vacation from my nagging accuser and critic.

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Upcoming Events for August, September and October

August is filled with my kids being both home full time for summer and carting them all over for various activities. But in September getting out there with my artwork begins again. I'll be hanging my work at Hatched here in JP for the month of September and will be there on First Thursday. Looking forward to meeting people there. Then I am registered for a Moku Hanga Japanese style printmaking class at Elliot that I have been wanting to take for years. Now I still long to take lessons from Annie Bisset my moku hanga hero, but I can't make it out to Western Mass but I can walk to the Elliot school here in JP.  I only have to wait until the last weekend of September. The weekend before that is Jamaica Plain Open Studios and the first week of October I am going to Haystack with Mass Art. I'm so excited about all the upcoming events.

For August I have a blank sheet of note paper on my desk ready to be filled with notes and scribbles. I took a few pictures of my old one and stored those pictures in Evernote after I spilled paint on it and had to rip it off. 

For August I have a blank sheet of note paper on my desk ready to be filled with notes and scribbles. I took a few pictures of my old one and stored those pictures in Evernote after I spilled paint on it and had to rip it off. 

For August I have a blank sheet of note paper on my desk ready to be filled with notes and scribbles. I took a few pictures of my old one and stored those pictures in Evernote after I spilled paint on it and had to rip it off.