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.
Head over to my Instagram for another original art postcard giveaway. Details on how to enter can be found there. I am in Athens Greece with my paint kit always by my side! I've been sketching my way though this city and my family has been super tolerant of me slowing them down or disappearing for periods of time as a result. An artist must create, especially in a place like this.
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.
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?
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.
My little sketchbook that I am filling with abstract impressions of what catches my eye here in Oxford is filling up quickly. Funny how sometimes the most humble little sketchbooks end up becoming my favorites.
We get beautiful weather in England. And I get to sketch it here in Oxford. Two days of blue skies and abundant sunshine in a row is certainly something to celebrate.
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.
So glad that I made it over to London via the x90 bus to sketch Trafalgar Square with the USK London group. Summer has meant less time for art and significantly less urban sketching time and the hours spent drawing was just what I needed halfway through school vacation.
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.
Sketching in Rome was some of the hardest on site sketching I have done. Harder than Oxford, harder than Notre Dame. Headache inducing difficult sketching in the heat while putting a lot of pressure on myself to do a good job and "make the most of the experience". At the time I did not feel that I made the most of the experience in Rome since I didn't love a single drawing that I produced. Then we went home and I started going out more on non-rainy days and really focusing on getting buildings to look believable and confident in my sketches. And it's working. It's getting easier. I learned a lot from my "bad" sketches in Rome and am so grateful for the opportunity to make them. Relax.
Became more mini when a three day two night overnight in the big city became one uncomfortable overnight in a bad AirBnB rental. At least I got some sketching and cafe visits out of the trip!
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?
Spring sprung a few weeks ago here in Oxford, or so I thought before it got cold and grey for an extended period of time. Today marks the first official day of spring and the sun is shining and flowers are blooming. Hurrah!
I can get so good with watercolor that I can create works on paper as beautiful as the random creations that form on my palette. Better keep practicing!
At the end of 2014 I decided that I needed to take on some sort of big year long sketch challenge. But with an international move looming and tons of change coming I didn't know exactly what type of challenge was going to work for a full year. I really liked the idea of focusing on ink and watercolor and setting a time limit but instead I simply promised myself that I would create in my sketchbook 365 days of the year and leave it at that. I am glad I started out easy on myself because early in the move I got sick and stayed sick for over three weeks. I was able to fill pages in my sketchbook during those weeks, but just barely with real struggle. Temporary housing limited space and supplies and that also limited what I made. But the boat shipment did come and after six long weeks in a new country in temporary digs we moved into our new home and my art studio was one of the first rooms I unpacked. With that everything changed. I was able to spread out and create and my creativity and energy flowed as a result. I would reward myself for unpacking rooms by giving myself uninterrupted time in my art studio. And now here I am finding myself doing 30 minute ink and watercolor paintings in my sketchbook everyday.
Did you plan any challenges for the new year? What are they and how are they going?
A year ago I couldn't fill one sketchbook, now I am filling multiple sketchbooks at once and loving it! I currently have small small square format Handbook sketchbook that stays in my bag and sketches my life out and about in the UK. And for in the studio I have a large inexpensive book that doesn't take ink or wet media well that I like to use colored pencil in as well as a small wire bound watercolor sketchbook. This slows down the rate at which I consume each book which in turn takes off some of the pressure and allows me to enjoy the process of filling them rather than the final product. This is about as Zen as I ever get.
The boat shipment filled with the bulk of my art supplies that is taking it's sweet time getting to the UK. It didn't even leave Boston until two weeks after we left the country and isn't due until later this week, then it needs to clear customs. I am regretting some of my air shipment decisions. I wish I had included more art supplies. Especially watercolor sketchbooks and tubes of paint. I'm comepletly out of thick tough watercolor sketchbook pages and have been on a roll with the watercolor sketching. Today I went looking for an affordable option to tide me over while I wait and I found nothing but an old stock Moleskine watercolor sketchbook. Of course I bought it immediately since the old paper is supposed to be a lot better. But this is a very nice book and not inexpensive. No doodles for it! It might come with me to Paris or Rome though!