One of my favorite times of the month is when I get to spend the day in London sketching with the Urban Sketching/ USK gang there. It's so worth the journey from Oxford. I am looking forward to returning in June and July!
My Midori Traveler's Notebook has traveled all over Europe with me this past year and Greece for our first trip in 2016 it has been by my side even more. Feeling very inspired and filled with energy to create here in the sunshine
Do I want to spend it being afraid taking timid steps? No I do not! Today is my birthday and this morning I asked myself what I wanted to do with my day and this is the answer I received. And this time I listened to it and was rewarded for my willingness to push past the fear, play and experiment.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
It's a sickness I allow as long as it doesn't get in the way of creativity. Now that I have a better idea what I like I have put some severe limits on what I add and am starting to put away, sell and gift what I am not using. Mostly I just focus on drawing and painting every day. As much as I strive for minimalism I often fall short, especially when it comes to art and stationary supplies. This little box I got in London when I first moved to the UK and was waiting for my supplies to arrive from Boston via boat shipment. Now it is a contained collection of everything I need to get to art making. Usually in the living room while I watch TV with my husband in the evening. What is your shopping weakness if you have one?
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.
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.
I felt better prepared for this trip both mentally and with what I packed. The time with family, tourism, activity and relaxation all just seem to flow with the chance to make art woven throughout it all. It's pretty great.
Keep on making and sharing. Often I don't find myself in the mood to share and that impulse can bleed into my creative output. A messy studio is a loved studio. But spending 5-15 minutes a week cleaning it up is probably a wise habit to form.
Shelving is up and my printmaking tool pegboard is up. That makes me officially moved in to my new space in England!
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.
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.