We survived our first week of summer together with my creativity and sanity intact. Rainy day after a week of heavy playgrounding means the TV will be turned on without remorse.
Not much time for urban sketching this summer with my two young children are home full time. We are quite busy getting to know our new city and neighborhood through playground visits and other outings. While I have sketched our favorite playground before and I'm not all that interested in drawing it again beyond small bits inside larger sketches. Instead I park myself at a picnic table and draw using my imagination and record feelings and events as they come while my kids play. It's pretty different but also pretty wonderful. I might get the chance to sneak out and draw some Oxford buildings in detail during the evenings or weekends but so far I am satisfied with my current sketching habit. Happy summer!
The Pushing your Sketching Boundaries Oxford workshop ended and both of my kids are now home for the summer. That fun challenging week feels miles away now. But I am seeing changes in how I approach sketches.
I'm drawing more and painting less.
I'm back to working straight with ink.
No time to sit on a stool and spend loads of time sketching a building. Instead I work on windowed vignettes during stolen moments throughout my day.
Recording life rather than focused on product and skill development.
More journaling, text and drawing from my imagination.
This is a short season in my life and I'm enjoying the relaxed pace of summer and seeing where it leads.
Nothing exciting except after twelve years of single floor living and two kids this simple staircase is just about the best thing. A bigger space for my family, tons of inspiring local structures to draw as well as a vibrant art community to join plus traveling all over Europe these past five months in the UK have been pretty fantastic.
The Sketchbook Skool assignment for the week was to collect sketches and after six days cut them out and collage them in my sketchbook. The instructor Jonathan Twingley uses a dip pen and ink to make bold expressive marks. Sounds like an exciting challenge. I got started a few days late but I was motivated. Then my four year old got sick. Away went the dip pen. While I was able to sketch during this period it was mostly inside of books and it was far from free and messy. Mostly blind contour drawings of my sick kid filled the pages. But I have been filling loose pages with watercolor, gouache and a bit of ink for months so I got that stack out and started cutting. What fun! Stay tuned to see what I ended up making with all these bits and bobs.
Finding myself already counting down to our next vacation. On vacation in new countries I don't expect to know anybody and don't have the chance to feel bad. Here in England when I go out and am around people it is the worst because at home I know people back home through online. But out there I know nobody. Feeling alone in a crowd feels like a horrible party every time I go out of the house. It rarely bothers me I'm so busy and preoccupied with making art and growing my skills and business, but when it does ouch! Summer might me difficult for me.
365 days of creativity for 2015, a month of daily blogging for March and April and 100 days of flowers on Instagram. It was only a matter of time before I missed a day of something. That would be blogging yesterday! Oops! Flat out forgot about it with everything going on and I am not going to waste my time feeling bad about it or using it as an excuse to quit. Instead I will think about sunshine filled playgrounds, spending time with my kids during the last day of spring vacation, scooters, butterflies, sketchbooks and drawing workshops. Mistakes happen.
Both of my girls love art, especially painting and I love when we get a chance to paint together. I always keep some markers and paper in my bag for them. Sitting at our dining table painting fairies and flowers with them is pretty a pretty perfect art activity. Water brushes are super useful for this!
I am a bit of a collector and a tinkerer. My collection of watercolor palettes has led me to some tinkering. Yesterday after scrambling to grab my painting supplies so I could paint in the dining room with my kids I decided to hack up a neglected palette into something more workable for that task. First I removed the rather heavy metal insert that holds the pans of paint inside and instead used blue tac to place 22 half pans in my favorite most versatile colors inside. That left room for a couple of brushes, a water brush and a pencil. Put one of my wrist cuffs sock rags at the bottom and the brush tips are protected. Kit complete? Not until I removed the mostly annoying flap from the bottom.
Meet my new and improved palette! I love it!
Oh boy here we go on the latest bit of our UK adventure. We no longer have a car and are giving a car free lifestyle a go. When we left Boston in Jabuary we sold our car but we have had a rental car here up until we left for Paris. Now we are back and starting our first week without having a car to fall back on. Saturday I took the bus to the city centre and came back with groceries for the week. Today my husband took the complimentary shuttle bus to work for the first time. Biking is also an option for both of us. And when they are in school the kids take a bus there and back. So far this car free thing is pretty great. I like it. One step closer to my dreams of a more minimalistic lifestyle.
A new challenge for 100 days? On top of my 365 creativity challenge but with a narrower focus. And the 30 days of blogging. Sure, why not? But only if I can roll it into my main challenge.
1) self portraits - 100 of them in a row, ouch! Not medium specific. Challenging to keep it interesting and not get terribly sick of myself.
2) drawing - probably too broad of a theme
3) painting - same problem as above
4) daily floral - another good option. Good chance to practice florals.
5) daily portrait - like #1 but with more flexibility.
Next time I go to Paris I'm taking the train! Rookie mistake. Trying to save a couple of bucks was not worth the hassle of airports and customs. Just glad to be back and with a fridge full of fresh food and the endless laundry we brought back with us started.
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.
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!
After two months of setting up painting at various dining tables throughout our stint in temporary housing I am energized by my newly set up art studio! I have a filled palette for my studio and I am ready to paint all day long. In fact that is pretty much what my Monday looked like.
Life drawing drop in is tonight. Since today is Charlotte's day home with me I really need that time out to focus on art. I need to pack my bag with the right collection of supplies.
It's lovely here in Oxford now that we are no longer tripping over each other in temporary housing. Just tripping over boxes, but we are making progress moving in and prioritizing certain rooms over others. I could get used to this living room view and space.
My studio is comfortable and I was able to spend the morning painting. It's a good life out here.
That is what my life here is here as we wait for our stuff to arrive so we can move into our apartment. Over a month in temporary housing and our furniture and possessions just arrived and now we begin the hard work of unpacking and moving in. We got rid of a ton of stuff when we left Boston, but apparently not enough!
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.
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.
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!
It's really pretty here. And quirky. I like that mix!