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.
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!
It's a sickness I allow as long as it doesn't get in the way of creativity. Now that I have a better idea what I like I have put some severe limits on what I add and am starting to put away, sell and gift what I am not using. Mostly I just focus on drawing and painting every day. As much as I strive for minimalism I often fall short, especially when it comes to art and stationary supplies. This little box I got in London when I first moved to the UK and was waiting for my supplies to arrive from Boston via boat shipment. Now it is a contained collection of everything I need to get to art making. Usually in the living room while I watch TV with my husband in the evening. What is your shopping weakness if you have one?
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.
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.
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.
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.
A year ago in March I decided to keep a regular daily sketchbook and picked up my first set of watercolors since childhood. Things have changed a lot for me in this year and a sketchbook and some paint has always been nearby and along for the ride. I am super grateful for this adventure and looking forward to sketching more and continuing to grow my skills in the coming year. Thank you for following along. Here is some then and now. I try to only compare myself to my past not to other artists.