Jamaica Plain

My best morning yet!

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. 

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Getting Settled

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! 

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My next art studio...

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.

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For the many teachers in our lives. Happy Holiday gifts.

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. 

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Moving to England!

Sometime in January I will be packing up my art studio and moving it to the UK along with my family. Feeling very blessed and excited about this next adventure. Boston has been a wonderful place to live for nearly twelve years but I think we are all ready for a change. I think Oxford will be an inspiring city and I am excited about this next step. 

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The sounds of the city.

After five days up in the middle of nowhere focusing on art adjusting to being back to the city is a bit of a challenge. The city is loud and dirty with too many people. Yesterday I went to the Arnold Arboretum to sketch and get away a bit and I had a really hard time connecting with nature with the sound of the cars outside and all the people walking around. As soon as I would start to relax and sketch a woman would walk buy with clicking heels or an off leash dog would get in my face. I did manage to find a good location to sketch with minimal interruption, but it will take me a little while to get used to being back in the city.

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This is why I carry a sketchbook everywhere.

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!

A family stops for a snack before a ukelele class inside the complex.

A family stops for a snack before a ukelele class inside the complex.

Jamaica Plain Open Studios this Weekend!

The JP Open Studios are this weekend September 20th and 21st all around the JP neighborhood that I and work in. You can find me with my work inside at the UU church by the JP monument in Central JP and some of my work will still be hanging at Hatched until the end of the month. I will be be sketching and painting, will have my woodblock prints along with a couple of carved blocks for demos throughout the weekend. I have been looking forward to this weekend for months now. There will be some fresh prints, including new collagraphs, but this is the year that I decided to teach myself watercolor and became smitten with the medium.

About six months ago I decided to teach myself watercolor. Feeling ready to go outside the sketchbook and onto good paper just in time for JP Open Studios.

About six months ago I decided to teach myself watercolor. Feeling ready to go outside the sketchbook and onto good paper just in time for JP Open Studios.

Adventure Time

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?

My home filled with the sound of jackhammers in the morning, dreaming of more peaceful locations.

My home filled with the sound of jackhammers in the morning, dreaming of more peaceful locations.

Tick tock. Don't waste your time.

New beginnings. I have time. Now what? Time to make some plans and set some goals.

What is wasting my time? What gives me life and energy? Lots to think about. A schedule is probably needed.

What is life giving and what is life sucking for you?

For the record I totally "wasted" my time this morning walking around the neighborhood after dropping off my daughter and stopping to draw whenever the mood struck me. It was fantastic and I totally plan on doing it again tomorrow. Except tomorrow I will bring a stool with me.

Moleskine paper doesn't behave well with watercolor washes. Great reason to dust off my dry media and focus on drawing.

Moleskine paper doesn't behave well with watercolor washes. Great reason to dust off my dry media and focus on drawing.

Summer is over

High of 87 degrees is reported today, but despite the temperatures summer is officially over for us. We might be able to squeeze in one more trip up north this weekend but even that is pushing it. Kids are both back in school and I am jumping back into busy art activities. The schedule is filling up quickly. After I drop off my daughter at school I will go for a run and then I will be busy hanging my work at a local shop on Centre street and tonight I will be there drawing, painting and talking to people about my work. Looking forward to it.

planning out my wall for hanging for 668 Centre Street in Jamaica Plain

planning out my wall for hanging for 668 Centre Street in Jamaica Plain

Upcoming Events for August, September and October

August is filled with my kids being both home full time for summer and carting them all over for various activities. But in September getting out there with my artwork begins again. I'll be hanging my work at Hatched here in JP for the month of September and will be there on First Thursday. Looking forward to meeting people there. Then I am registered for a Moku Hanga Japanese style printmaking class at Elliot that I have been wanting to take for years. Now I still long to take lessons from Annie Bisset my moku hanga hero, but I can't make it out to Western Mass but I can walk to the Elliot school here in JP.  I only have to wait until the last weekend of September. The weekend before that is Jamaica Plain Open Studios and the first week of October I am going to Haystack with Mass Art. I'm so excited about all the upcoming events.

For August I have a blank sheet of note paper on my desk ready to be filled with notes and scribbles. I took a few pictures of my old one and stored those pictures in Evernote after I spilled paint on it and had to rip it off. 

For August I have a blank sheet of note paper on my desk ready to be filled with notes and scribbles. I took a few pictures of my old one and stored those pictures in Evernote after I spilled paint on it and had to rip it off. 

For August I have a blank sheet of note paper on my desk ready to be filled with notes and scribbles. I took a few pictures of my old one and stored those pictures in Evernote after I spilled paint on it and had to rip it off. 

Relax and enjoy nature.

Friday is here and I am looking forward to getting outside this weekend. Long week here with the kids filled with a lot of fun but not a lot of art time for me. Hope the weather cooperates and I get in a couple of morning jogs that leave me feeling energized and inspired. What inspires you? What brings you down?

Inspired by nature.

Inspired by nature.

Athletic Artist? Making time for something new.

But I am an artist! I don't get into sports or exercise. Plus I live in a city where I can walk nearly everywhere so I don't need to exercise. Except that I do. Especially since I have to drive more and more as my kids require me to take them further outside the city for various educational and enrichment opportunities. The days that we walk around our neighborhood are fewer and fewer. This will hopefully change in the fall, but in the meantime I need to get active. I've decided to make jogging three times a week a priority. I cannot bring a sketchbook with me so instead I focus on looking and clearing my head as I run around Jamaica Pond and bring home the experience, the colors and a handful of leaves and other bits of nature to my studio. Sunday was my first solo run and it was a really lovely way to start my day and prime my brain and body for a day spent in my studio drawing and painting. It rained most of the day, but after an active morning and an active day outside the day prior I felt no guilt focusing on processing my experiences through color and line. I don't think I should have any trouble finding time for this new habit. 

Bits of nature drawn in my studio after a day of activity. 

Bits of nature drawn in my studio after a day of activity. 

Enjoying my quiet Art Studio.

Good morning and happy Monday. Hope everybody had a great weekend. Mine was pretty phenomenal, the perfect mix of activity, time with family, time alone, time in nature and studio time. Bike ride and sailing on Friday night, ICA with my eldest, followed by Figment Boston and a long walk all over the city, food trucks and friends, then a jog and a rainy Sunday spent in the studio. Doesn't get much better than that. With summer I don't get a lot of uninterrupted time and space to just be in my art studio and experiment. Yesterday was one of those glorious and rare days where I got to spend hours in quiet drawing, painting and experimenting. It all started with a jog to clear my head and get my brain going. I came home filled with new and different ideas and ready to begin executing them. Well, ready after a shower. During that time I set up my little paint pallet with the colors that I use the most and made a little strip of paper with them for reference. I have a fancy set of 48 colors that is gorgeous and wonderful to play around with but I feel I do better with fewer colors most of the time. Now I have 22 colors plus sparkly gold and silver in a handy and portable case. They won't travel with me except on special occasions, I have my Pocket Pallet or Altoid set for daily painting out of the house. But they may come with me on vacation or if I decide to spend a day alone in Arboretum

So much beautiful paint color to play with. 

So much beautiful paint color to play with. 

Waiting in line... for the Jamaica Plain Open Studios

Jamaica Plain Open Studios is approaching again and registration was (yet again) in person at the Footlight Club here in JP this week. People started lining up before three for a registration that began at seven. With kids and a working spouse that is not how I can spend my afternoon. And on a glorious May day that isn't how I want to spend my afternoon. But luckily one of our favorite neighborhood playgrounds is near by and my kids were able to play there and be watched by friends while I waited in line long enough to get a number. Eventually the kids had to wait in line with me but they were very well behaved. JPOS is September 20th and 21st. Hope to see you there as summer winds down and autumn begins! 

Helping mama hold that #20 spot in line.

Helping mama hold that #20 spot in line.

Coming Soon: Spring Studio Event

Loving all the buzz and interest in my blog and my new work. As a thank you come celebrate the coming of spring with my studio here in Jamaica Plain. I will be selling many pieces at a special rate, will be serving light refreshments and offering a printmaking demo. May is filling up super fast so Saturday June 7th is the planned date for this event. Sign up for my mailing list to receive an Evite for this event and others.

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