When you are a bit of a perfectionist it is a bit hard to complete art and put it out in the world. And half done projects are a serious danger. But for the third year in a row I kept at my #the100dayproject despite the bumps and hesitations along the way and finished it only a few days late. In the end I learned a lot and am glad that I did it. Follow #100daysofmetals if you want to see the whole collection.
I'm super excited and pleased to announce the grand reopening of my Etsy shop after a bit of a longer break than I had planned when I was packing up to move to England. Please check it out. Currently I am selling a variety of original painting, a selection of my woodblock relief prints and I am looking forward to having prints from my paintings made as I grow.
It may be rainy and grey in England, but there are still springlike moments to celebrate. Elements of spring are all over my daily art practice.
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!
Back in May I joined the one hundred day drawing challenge on Instagram and chose florals as my theme. I had just gotten into painting flowers as England is filled with beautiful flowers that change all the time from spring though summer and I was inspired and motivated to improve. About a week in I started keeping these paintings in a sketchbook I dedicated for them and every day I added to the book. More or less. Today I finished the book a few weeks behind sketchdule and a few paintings over one hundred. It was a hard challenge to keep up with such a restrictive theme. But true to my goal I do feel like I improved a lot over the three months of sticking with it and painting my flowers nearly every day. I am also very happy to be done with that sketchbook as my collection of active sketchbooks has grown over the past few months and I am thrilled to have one less to think about cluttering my workspace and my brain.
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.
How fitting that I spent the day sketching in Oxford with the workshop group. Lost track of time sketching last week. Six months! The next six months are likely to fly by even faster. Summer vacation is nearly here and my schedule will shift and I am ready for the shift to a more relaxed summer schedule for a month and a half. Ending with a trip to Barcelona with my family.
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.
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.
I had big plans to attend another London Sketchcrawl this Saturday followed by a mini Sunday botanical garden sketching trip with my eldest. But recovering from illness (again!) means I need to reevaluate those plans. No matter what it will be an art filled weekend.
Urban sketching in Oxford UK around some parked bikes at a very crowded bus stop. Oxford gets filled with tourists from all over the world in the spring and summer, especially on the weekend and holidays. Yesterday was a bank holiday. Testing the limits of my ability to sketch around others. Then 1/3 through the drawing my pen ran out of ink and I needed to switch to a brush pen. Keep going.
One hundred days of florals is starting to drag. But I am sticking with it and will adapt to make it fun because it is rewarding and I am learning a lot with this daily practice.
But some days I am so tired. Some days I am so busy! I can't just collage all my prior florals and call them new again can I? No I can't do that.
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.
Monday was filled with energy and inspiration. I started the day with a run and later took a sketching hike and caught up on Sketchbook Skool. Big plans for more running, hiking and studio time on Tuesday. Then Charlotte woke up with a fever and started throwing up. I'm still sketching and stretching though, just had to trade messy dip pens for brush pens and large loose sheets of paper for sketchbooks. All this sketching helps me get through watching Dora (the Explorer) with her all day long.
Daily blogging is really hard for an introverted perfectionist like myself. I always start out strong then fumble and frustrated toss the whole thing out. Not this time. This time I will fumble and keep going. Just not everyday.
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.