As I write this I am more than 1/4 of my way through my #100daysofmetals challenge for the 100 day project. While I haven't missed a day it is still a struggle and I have had to accept that I am not going to love every piece I do and that's okay. That's not the point. Growing as an artist, making connections and following through with your plans and commitments are the ultimate goals for me.
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.
Over on Instagram I am hosting a contest to win a postcard that I sketched in Lisbon. Comment here with a place you would love to visit for a chance to win and head over to Instagram for a second chance to win. I will pick a winner June 8th.
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.
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!
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?
This week has been chaotic with my kids home for school vacation a week earlier than most local schools while we plan for our final trip of the year. Tomorrow we head to Copenhagen for a few days before spending Christmas at home in Oxford. I have been keeping up with the finishing what I have started most of the weeks finishing sketchbooks, ideas, painting on scraps of collected paper and just generally focusing on getting things done whenever I have a moment to focus. This trip I am packing light and efficient on the art supplies for such a short visit with the hope that I can finish up a bunch of projects and ideas that I have had lingering for awhile now.
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.
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.
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.
Late start plus a convoluted journey led me to London to sketch Hampstead Heath with the London Urban Sketching group. Next month they are coming to Oxford!
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!
Both of my girls love art, especially painting and I love when we get a chance to paint together. I always keep some markers and paper in my bag for them. Sitting at our dining table painting fairies and flowers with them is pretty a pretty perfect art activity. Water brushes are super useful for this!
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?