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.
I am a social media/ Instagram challenge addict. I know I have a lot going on but I could not resist joining in on #the100dayproject for the third year in a row. I would like to thank Elle Luna for creating this inspiring challenge and I hope to participate for many more years to come. Take an action and repeat it for 100 days in a row and document your progress. Since I am enjoying my metallic watercolors/gouache paints so much I decided to base my theme around them and other metallic art materials. I am looking forward to seeing what this next 100 days brings me creatively as I know it will challenge me in unexpected ways as it progresses. I'm also very interested in seeing what other creatives are doing. How many new voices are participating in 2017 and how many are returning like myself. Say hi in the comments and let me know what action you plan on repeating over the next 100 days. It's a long time, but we can do it!
Last week I took on the intense challenge of #oneweek100people2017 that Liz Steel outlined in her blog and managed to not neglect my other activities and responsibilities. I started out with using photos from the awesome iphone Sktchy app before realizing that I was being far too precious and working far too slow to get to 100 that way. So on Tuesday when I was able to get out in the sunshine and sketch tourists and students around Oxford for a few hours I took advantage. Inspired by the energy of Marc Taro Holmes I sketched 100 people that afternoon perched from my vantage point in the Oxford tourist centre. Now that I had my 100 sketches done by the second day I was free to play without counting for the rest of the week. Thanks for the challenge I learned a lot from the experience and am glad that I joined in. The rest of the week I continued to do slower studio portraits using Sktchy and quick gesture drawings from life. I made it to life drawing on Thursday already warmed up and ready to draw. Balancing this challenge while not falling behind in other areas forced me to step up my game and step out of my comfort zone. I already want to do it again next year.
Here are some of my highlights from the week.
The first days were rainy but then it was beautiful perfect weather. Lots to do, see and sketch here.
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.
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.
I haven't sketched outdoors much lately. The weather and my brain just have not been cooperating. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself when it comes to sketching outdoors and that often bites me in the end. But the sun was shining and I had some time so I went out to sketch to many impressive Oxford University buildings and had a wonderful experience overall. I cleared my mind and just worked on it one line and shape at a time and then when I got too chilly went inside to add the colors. I am an outdoor sketching wuss when it comes to cold weather. I am glad that I packed my sketching kit in a hurry and did this simple drawing of Oxford.
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!
Last week I visited Berlin with my family. After wasting my twenties not traveling and not being able to travel during much of my thirties due to babies we are using this move to the UK as an opportunity to travel all over Europe whenever we have a chance. So far that has meant trips to Paris, Rome, Barcelona and just recently Berlin. It's been great to see so much and share it with the people that matter the most. I am also so glad that I got into obsessive sketching and travel journaling before starting these trips because now I have the ability and desire to document these trips in the way that I enjoy. Years ago I tried a family blog but that just wasn't for me. And taking photos is somewhat fun but for me the fun ends when it comes to printing out the photos. Sketchbook keeping is perfect for me since everything is automatically in a book!
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.
Not much time for urban sketching this summer with my two young children are home full time. We are quite busy getting to know our new city and neighborhood through playground visits and other outings. While I have sketched our favorite playground before and I'm not all that interested in drawing it again beyond small bits inside larger sketches. Instead I park myself at a picnic table and draw using my imagination and record feelings and events as they come while my kids play. It's pretty different but also pretty wonderful. I might get the chance to sneak out and draw some Oxford buildings in detail during the evenings or weekends but so far I am satisfied with my current sketching habit. Happy summer!
How fitting that I spent the day sketching in Oxford with the workshop group. Lost track of time sketching last week. Six months! The next six months are likely to fly by even faster. Summer vacation is nearly here and my schedule will shift and I am ready for the shift to a more relaxed summer schedule for a month and a half. Ending with a trip to Barcelona with my family.