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.
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.
Davy Jones, Ziggy, Major Tom, the Thin White Duke, Halloween Jack and of course a special farewell to the Goblin King from this child of the 80's. I have to hand it to you for knowing how to make a grand spectacular exit, but I don't think those of us left here on earth were ready.
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.
The last year was filled with big change and adventure, with periods of intense loneliness and stillness. Moving across the ocean and saying goodbye to everybody you know outside your immediate family is exciting for sure, but also difficult and sad at times. Thankfully the experience is only getting better and I look forward to taking on 2016 with renewed energy and newfound clarity. Thanks to my readers for all the support in 2015, it has meant a lot to me. More painting, more drawing, more exploring, more learning and bigger projects for the next year. I'm ready. What are you ready to take on in 2016?
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!
This week has been chaotic with my kids home for school vacation a week earlier than most local schools while we plan for our final trip of the year. Tomorrow we head to Copenhagen for a few days before spending Christmas at home in Oxford. I have been keeping up with the finishing what I have started most of the weeks finishing sketchbooks, ideas, painting on scraps of collected paper and just generally focusing on getting things done whenever I have a moment to focus. This trip I am packing light and efficient on the art supplies for such a short visit with the hope that I can finish up a bunch of projects and ideas that I have had lingering for awhile now.
A couple of weeks ago I got the idea from another blogger to reserve my Fridays for the concept of Finish it Friday. Meaning that instead of starting new projects I spend my Fridays focused on finishing things that I have already started. So far it is working out well for my creative life and helping me get organised and see myself making progress. It is working so well that I am thinking about broadening the concept to the rest of my life as well as a way to get more done around the house. Will see how it goes.
Today at I finished a blog post and hopefully by the end of the day this sketchbook will be filled up and archived.
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.
I've been in my current studio for less than a year and I am still figuring out how to best use the space. It is about a third bigger than my last studio and I am fully enjoying that extra space and how that allows me to keep a chair at my desk full time and still be able to move about. I know, total luxury! It is still very important to me to keep what I am currently using the most visible and in close range otherwise I tend to forget about it while creating. So once again I moved stuff around as I go through the process of minimizing my supplies.
This portrait of my youngest daughter has a rather serious expression and twee hipster feel. Just like the real life girl I know so well. Going to start on one of her older sister next. It should be very different.
When your current daily inspiration is a 60p gridded A6 notebook from Muji. I love nice paper and beautifully bound books that collect precious sketches. I even made a point to back the latest edition of the Perfect Sketchbook with it's lovely leather hardbound body filled with the finest Italian watercolor paper. But that won't be arriving for some months! In the meantime I have been finding myself getting too precious about my Moleskine watercolor sketchbook and as a result my work suffers. Time to spend some quality time with a cheap sketchbook and get back to obsessive low pressure sketching and what caused me to start drawing again in the first place. Thin (but surprisingly sturdy) paper. Not precious. Loving it.
Since summer I have been having a love affair with my Midori Travelers notebook. Scribbling away in it, taking notes, journaling, sketching and even painting. It all fits in the books that I have bound with elastic into a sturdy leather flap. It certainly helps that the Midori paper is so great with fountain pens and even watercolor. My sketchbooks change all the time and often get left behind on busy days, but my traveler's notebook comes everywhere with me. Do you have a notebook that you carry with you everywhere? I would love to hear what other people are doing with their Midori Traveler's Notebooks and sketchbooks.
Over spending. Over consuming. Put something good into the world and create something with your hands and your mind. That has been my focus these past few months and it is paying off in productivity, skill growth and personal contentment.
Last year I took part in the October drawing challenge Inktober. It was a lot of fun and ended on a high note so even though I struggled to get going I quickly forgot about the struggles. This year I looked forward to Inktober for months and even got numerous friends on board. Then it came and I chose to use a brand new Leuchtturm sketchbook and picked a theme. And I totally flopped. Sure there are sketches that I liked in that month and I did draw in ink every day. But overall the experience was disappointing. Why so different this year over last year? My drawings this year were easily better than my drawings from last year. Still I did not have fun and ended up looking forward to it ending. It is easy to blame it on the sketchbook I chose not behaving with ink the way I am used to but I could have easily just used something else and not forced myself to keep up with that sketchbook. I could also blame the restrictive theme of portraits that quickly bored me. But really the problem was me and my own expectations and my unwillingness to let go of them and enjoy the process. So now I am back to that book and sketching in ink and not sharing the drawings with the world and I am happy. No November challenges for me. Yeah right!
Last week I visited Berlin with my family. After wasting my twenties not traveling and not being able to travel during much of my thirties due to babies we are using this move to the UK as an opportunity to travel all over Europe whenever we have a chance. So far that has meant trips to Paris, Rome, Barcelona and just recently Berlin. It's been great to see so much and share it with the people that matter the most. I am also so glad that I got into obsessive sketching and travel journaling before starting these trips because now I have the ability and desire to document these trips in the way that I enjoy. Years ago I tried a family blog but that just wasn't for me. And taking photos is somewhat fun but for me the fun ends when it comes to printing out the photos. Sketchbook keeping is perfect for me since everything is automatically in a book!
Two weeks into working with this new sketchbook for the month long drawing challenge #inktober and I am making the best of it. This sketchbook has a lot to love, but ultimately for me there is more to hate than to love. I love the size and the binding. I got the medium A5 that is enough space for working yet remains very portable. It opens up nice and flat and isn't too thick like other sketchbooks. And it is portrait rather than landscape which is great. But this is not paper suitable for watercolor. Another problem I have is that most pens feather and leave a fuzzy line on the page and some even bleed through. In the end I will keep doing my ink sketches in this book knowing the limitations and then avoid these sketchbooks in the future.
A few weeks ago I was solo parenting for the week and had to get up well before the sun rose to get my kids off to school. It was not my favorite way to start my day as I am not naturally a morning person. But I rose so early during that week and was so efficient with my time that I found that I often had 10-15 minutes of free time to create in the morning before leaving the house to catch the school bus. That part was seriously wonderful and possibly a game changer for how I work. Now my husband is home and able to help out with our early mornings so I can sleep an extra 15 minutes and I do so enjoy those extra fifteen minutes especially as it is getting darker and darker over here in the UK. But I do take 5-10 minutes to put some art down on paper before I head out the door and it makes a difference. Getting it done before my brain has fully woken up means that I create without overthinking and am therefor more creative and willing to experiment. I usually don't finish anything in those 5-10 minutes but it sets me up for a more successful time in the studio when I do get back and either finish what I started or do something completely new. Or often both.
After months of working on it here and there the Stillman and Birn Alpha sketchbook that I started in June and have exclusively filled at home in my art studio is full!
Just in time for October and a new sketchbook for Inktober! I tested out my new Leuchtturm sketchbook with watercolor and it failed my tests. Making it the perfect sketchbook to fill with ink drawings. Fingers crossed!
Inktober was a lot of fun last year despite some early bumps and lack of direction, and um skill. Excited to do it again in 2015! This year I have a theme. Stay tuned to find out what it is and if I stick with this theme.
My little sketchbook that I am filling with abstract impressions of what catches my eye here in Oxford is filling up quickly. Funny how sometimes the most humble little sketchbooks end up becoming my favorites.