Shelving is up and my printmaking tool pegboard is up. That makes me officially moved in to my new space in England!
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.
My awesome birthday gift this year is being here and not in snowy Boston right now. While it hasn't always been easy it is such a wonderful opportunity and adventure. Happy to be turning 37 in the United Kingdom!
You might have heard that the Northeast United States from NY to Maine is getting hammered by what is being built up as a "historic" storm. The Boston area is supposed to get the worst of it with up to three feet of snow. I lived in Boston for nearly twelve years and weathered many blizzards during those years. I lived in the Chicago area before that and weathered storms there as well, but it was always harder in Boston because getting in your car and driving isn't a simple choice during good weather and it flat out is not a choice in bad weather. The infrastructure in the entire Boston area is so bad that storms are crippling in a way I did not experience in the equally snowy Midwest.
The thing is I moved to the much more boring climate of the United Kingdom a little over two weeks ago. During the winter the temperature hovers around 40 degrees and it might rain. It's all rather boring. Grateful to be bored as I think of my friends back in the Northeast and hoping that none of them lose power and stay safe and warm.
One of our many blizzards in Boston. This one is going to miss the rest of us not so much.
Everyday I get a little more comfortable and everyday I spend a little more time with my creativity. These past two weeks have been very hard and very densely filled with moving out, temporary housing, a red eye transatlantic flight with children, more temporary housing, jet lag, new school, new job, cultural adjustment and then finally illness. All in just a two week time span! Today as the sick haze lifts and life is beginning to feel normal again I am rediscovering myself and what drives me forward. A new and improved self that isn't frustrated and longing change like I had been back home. After so many years Boston had become my home and I loved it. But I was also struggling and had wanted to make a big change for years. Well, here is my big change and I am appreciating it. Doesn't make it less hard at times and doesn't make me miss our friends any less, but I can't think of a better place for me to grow as an artist at this point in my life. We still don't move into our apartment until mid to late February but we are expecting our air shipment to be delivered today and it has some extra art supplies for me on it as well as toys for the children. What wonderful timing!
A week ago we were winding things down in Boston, now we are getting settled in Oxford. Jet lag was rough and I am only now feeling mostly recovered and sleeping properly. Missing my art studio, especially a couple of bottled inks for fountain pens and dipping. But mostly the dining table in the temporary apartment is working well. Spent my first day exploring by myself and was frankly too awestruck by the amazing buildings to sketch them. But soon. Very soon. Right now I am busy taking it all in.
Will sadly not have an outdoor space to draw and paint in while I sip my afternoon tea. But it will be significantly larger than my last well loved space and I will learn from the mistakes I made setting up space the last two times when I set it up for creativity.
After nearly twelve happy years in Boston mLee art has to Oxford UK with her family and couldn't be more thrilled. Sad to be leaving behind so many connections and friends in Boston. Boston has been a good home and a great place for our children and my art but excited for this adventure and the many adventures to follow.
I love my watercolor brushes and treating them well is important to me. Treating them right so they give me their best for years to come. But my space is small and I would rather spend my hard earned money on paint and brushes rather than fancy brush storage. I like to keep my most used supplies as close as possible. Enter the binder clip. Low tech yet they pretty perfect for all sorts of jobs, including good brush storage.
Each child has multiple teachers. How can I make a meaningful gift for so many when time and money is limited? Of course gift cards to our favorite local bakery and handmade watercolor art cards. Boston we are going to miss you so much.
It's hard to leave my favorite studio tools even for a short Thanksgiving road trip to Ohio. But I will get to know some favorite portable supplies better on the road.
It takes so much practice to get to the point where the work looks effortless. I'm not there yet, but I can tell that I am on the correct path finally.
One sketchbook page at a time. The oh so familiar will soon be far away and left in the past and while the move is exciting leaving our home of nearly twelve years is filled with loss and sadness.
Sometimes (often) I need to remind myself that I am still learning and that I need to be patience with my style and keep working and I will get where I need to go. I have been painting for less than a year and I enjoy it more than I ever expected. But the truth is I have no idea what my work will look like in a year or two. My personal style has not yet developed and I get frustrated waiting and searching for it and I must remind myself to enjoy the journey and keep working hard and I will get there. That there are no shortcuts. That said if anybody has some tips on honing in on a more personal style I am all ears. In the meantime I am enjoying the journey in my soon to be relocated art studio with a sketchbook always nearby.
My paint pallet, brushes, ink and pen collection has exploded recently. They bring me joy to use and I do indeed use them. Experimenting with a new color or brush is always fun, but can I master them if I am constantly trying something new? Paint more.
Drinking tea while listening to the wind and rain while painting in my cozy studio. Sunshine is great but sometimes I need the excuse to stay in and work indoors. Loving this stormy weather.
I am an anxious person. Drawing (rather obsessively) helps me channel that anxiety and remain calm (more or less). I feel time passing strongly and often painfully. I feel myself losing time and I worry. Drawing helps me remember my days and gives a record of my days. Ever since I started keeping a sketchbook I have been infinitely more engaged and happier. I recommend it to everyone.
Making my mark.
Happy Friday! Happy Weekend! School meeting cancelled yesterday while my youngest child was still at preschool and my oldest child was at a playdate. Instead of eating one of their yummy fattening desserts I sat outside and drew the Ula Cafe during my free hour. So glad that I had my little portable art studio with me and was ready to draw.
See you on Monday!
The car is in the shop for the next couple of days so I am either on foot, on bike or taking the T around Boston while the kids are at school. There are still jackhammers outside my window so I don't really want to go home to work. Plus the weather is beautiful and mild. What kind of adventures should I go on? Yesterday I stayed in my general area and had a lovely time drawing JP, but today I think I will go a little father. Maybe the South End?
The other morning I got a rare twenty minutes alone at the Arnold Arboretum with my sketchbook. Lately I have been working on drawings that focus on the experience outdoors rather than the scene. The line of the trees, some plants, the blue of the sky and the green of the leaves are all here. And like that my morning was captured on paper. Looking forward to doing it again!