I'm in Boston now visiting friends and sketching whenever I have a moment free. Yesterday I did some people watching on the beach and sketched them while my kids swam. It was great. But mostly I'm just spending time with friends here. But in a few days we will be heading to Chicago and in a week I will be surrounded by Sketchers and sketching nonstop. I'm so excited. Who else is going? I packed rather light and everything but my sketchbooks fit in a small bag. I'm interested to hear what others are bringing.
The first days were rainy but then it was beautiful perfect weather. Lots to do, see and sketch here.
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.
Bummer that it fell on a Monday of all days but I hope that everybody got a chance to carve out some creative time today. Did you make anything today? What? Did you do anything different than your usual Monday routine?
Back in late December I started keeping a simple inexpensive soft cover sketchbook for thumbnail sketches and experiments. That book is now full and has had a big impact on my work. Now I leave room in all my sketchbooks to experiment and play and my work is better off for it. Thank you messy book!
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.
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?
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.
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.
That happens in everyday life. Adjusting to being back in England after holiday in Spain has been a challenge. It still doesn't feel quite like home, especially after time away. But there is a lot of beauty and magic here as well even if I have total wanderlust for more and more trips.
Single people or people traveling without young children enjoy your much easier to plan with fewer limitations holiday!
Don't overschedule yourself on holiday. Think relaxation over sightseeing. And if there is some monument or museum that you just have to bring your kid(s) to, avoid an early ticket.
Go out on your own to see the sights that you are most interested in and let your partner do the same.
Get a place with a pool. This makes downtime so much easier and more effective.
Don't stay out all day sightseeing. Come back to rest midday or early evening if you got a late start out.
Memories over photos. Really look with your family rather than taking constant selfies.
Draw and journal your trip as you go and finish it up at home with collected ephemera like handouts and tickets.
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.
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.
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.
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.