When you are a bit of a perfectionist it is a bit hard to complete art and put it out in the world. And half done projects are a serious danger. But for the third year in a row I kept at my #the100dayproject despite the bumps and hesitations along the way and finished it only a few days late. In the end I learned a lot and am glad that I did it. Follow #100daysofmetals if you want to see the whole collection.
The first days were rainy but then it was beautiful perfect weather. Lots to do, see and sketch here.
One of my favorite times of the month is when I get to spend the day in London sketching with the Urban Sketching/ USK gang there. It's so worth the journey from Oxford. I am looking forward to returning in June and July!
My own past through family photo albums. Studying and exploring this time period is filled with painful memories that I have spent years building a wall around. Confronting rather than avoiding. Reframing my experience with mature eyes. Deep breaths.
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!
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.
Essentialism in illustration is pretty powerful. I was working on some slow and detailed watercolor illustrations of hats when my five year old wandered over and pointed to the beret and said Paris! She then called out the witches hat, the winter hat and the police hat. I abandoned that watercolor painting (for now) and went in this direction instead.
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.
I'm in Copenhagen with my family for a few days and loving it during the Christmas season. Yesterday was Tivoli which was all decked out in lights and today was filled with exploring and sketching. Fun trip!
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.
Since summer I have been having a love affair with my Midori Travelers notebook. Scribbling away in it, taking notes, journaling, sketching and even painting. It all fits in the books that I have bound with elastic into a sturdy leather flap. It certainly helps that the Midori paper is so great with fountain pens and even watercolor. My sketchbooks change all the time and often get left behind on busy days, but my traveler's notebook comes everywhere with me. Do you have a notebook that you carry with you everywhere? I would love to hear what other people are doing with their Midori Traveler's Notebooks and sketchbooks.
Last year I took part in the October drawing challenge Inktober. It was a lot of fun and ended on a high note so even though I struggled to get going I quickly forgot about the struggles. This year I looked forward to Inktober for months and even got numerous friends on board. Then it came and I chose to use a brand new Leuchtturm sketchbook and picked a theme. And I totally flopped. Sure there are sketches that I liked in that month and I did draw in ink every day. But overall the experience was disappointing. Why so different this year over last year? My drawings this year were easily better than my drawings from last year. Still I did not have fun and ended up looking forward to it ending. It is easy to blame it on the sketchbook I chose not behaving with ink the way I am used to but I could have easily just used something else and not forced myself to keep up with that sketchbook. I could also blame the restrictive theme of portraits that quickly bored me. But really the problem was me and my own expectations and my unwillingness to let go of them and enjoy the process. So now I am back to that book and sketching in ink and not sharing the drawings with the world and I am happy. No November challenges for me. Yeah right!
Two weeks into working with this new sketchbook for the month long drawing challenge #inktober and I am making the best of it. This sketchbook has a lot to love, but ultimately for me there is more to hate than to love. I love the size and the binding. I got the medium A5 that is enough space for working yet remains very portable. It opens up nice and flat and isn't too thick like other sketchbooks. And it is portrait rather than landscape which is great. But this is not paper suitable for watercolor. Another problem I have is that most pens feather and leave a fuzzy line on the page and some even bleed through. In the end I will keep doing my ink sketches in this book knowing the limitations and then avoid these sketchbooks in the future.
After months of working on it here and there the Stillman and Birn Alpha sketchbook that I started in June and have exclusively filled at home in my art studio is full!
Just in time for October and a new sketchbook for Inktober! I tested out my new Leuchtturm sketchbook with watercolor and it failed my tests. Making it the perfect sketchbook to fill with ink drawings. Fingers crossed!
Inktober was a lot of fun last year despite some early bumps and lack of direction, and um skill. Excited to do it again in 2015! This year I have a theme. Stay tuned to find out what it is and if I stick with this theme.
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.
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.
Not the noxious green melon liquer that I drank in college! But a beautiful and simple leather folio that holds various notebooks. I wanted one and got one for Christmas. But it wasn't love at first but it has grown on me this summer as the item I carry with me everywhere and put my life into. Why wasn't it love at first? Because for urban sketching I prefer a proper bound usually hardback sketchbook. Summer has not contained much time for urban sketching but there has been more than enough time for Sketchnoting, journaling, reflection and planning. The Midori has been well used and perfect.
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.