As an American living abroad I am resisting the impulse to be filled with anxiety today. Instead I am focusing on work and checking of a number of tasks during the day so I can go to bed early tonight and miss the endless nail biting speculation. My Etsy store reopening is delayed until I get prints sorted. In the meantime I will be offering original artworks up on Instagram at super reasonable prices. They would make fabulous gifts and the sale of them would help me purchase a new printer and scanner.
I am participating in the #100daychallenge over on Instagram for the second year in a row. Last year was florals, this year is patterns. I am not giving myself any restrictions in terms of materials/ media used or format this time around so there is a lot of room to explore, grow and do things on the go when needed. I hope you join me.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Back when I got into woodblock printmaking a started with small trading card size woodblock prints to play around with. Great for low commitment idea generating and play. Seems that I am at it again but with watercolor painting this time. Tiny portraits and other small scale paintings.
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.
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.
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.
Exploring Oxford a little every day, exploring London whenever I can get away and soon to be exploring Rome. There are so many beautiful old buildings, parks, forests, rivers and cafes for me to explore and draw along the way. Life is filled with adventure.
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.
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!
When I went to bed last night I thought that I was about to start a hundred days of self portraits. But in the eleventh hour I changed my mind. Spring rebirth and flowers it is for the next hundred days. Follow me on Instagram to see how I keep it up and keep it lively and interesting. My goal is to learn, strengthen my skills, connect with others and stretch myself. #the100dayproject
Starting with the simple daisey. We saw a lot of daiseys around Versailles.
Not just the fabulous museums and galleries in Paris but the legendary art supply stores as well. Sennelier across from the Louvre has been in business since 1887 and is where Degas, Picasso and other famous Parisian artists got their supplies. The shop even developed oil pastels for Picasso! Now I have a few small goodies to take back to England with me.
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.
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.
And I am learning to be okay with that. It's still a sketch despite an obvious lack of binding. I could gather these loose paintings up and bind them in a book later. Or not. I am learning to not overthink and over plan the process of art making and what better time to start than now?