Taking a break from this blog. Watch my Tumblr Daily Sketchbook and Instagram for current activity. They are both linked on the top navigation bar.
Daily blogging is really hard for an introverted perfectionist like myself. I always start out strong then fumble and frustrated toss the whole thing out. Not this time. This time I will fumble and keep going. Just not everyday.
The blogging habit is not an easy one for me. I need to commit to doing a short blog post Monday-Friday. In fact, maybe blogging should be a seven day thing for a month or so while I establish the habit. Blogging is a hard habit for me to keep up and I think that that weekend break is a good idea in the long run but derails me in the short term while establishing the habit. My sketching and painting habit is solid. My ice cream habit is sadly quite established as well. Time to get the blogging habit set. I have the work to share, time to share it beyond the word of Instagram. How do other bloggers do it? Especially visual artists that don't consider writing to be their thing?
Weekend Morning Pages and schedule keeping are hard, especially in temporary housing with no personal space. But this Monday morning is the best morning I have had since moving out of our house in JP nearly two months ago. While their dad showered I made lunch for the girls and helped get them out the door, then I was showered and dressed and not feeling groggy or sick before eight. Ready to have a productive day planning for the week ahead. I made a cup of tea that I don't desperately need for once and as the skies clear up here in Oxford. The movers come with our stuff on Wednesday morning and I will be moving us in during the rest of the week while the kids are in school. My studio space along with everything else! I am so ready. What are you ready and waiting for? If I were back in Boston I would be preoccupied with waiting for the snow to melt.
Wait what? No, that is not what I want but it is a struggle. But keeping my blog fresh and interesting Monday through Friday is important to me, so bear with me as I work out the kinks and figure out how to make all this activity work. How do others fit everything in?
I draw everyday and have since sometime back in April when I started keeping an active sketchbook. I draw about twice as much on average now than I did two weeks ago. But really, I could still stand to draw more and I know it. The more I draw the better I become at it and it is the most enjoyable and relaxing yet exciting activity I know. Nothing can top it for me and believe me I have tried! I'm jogging twice a week and trying to make it three times a week, drawing whenever I have a spare minute or even a not so spare minute, reading, taking online classes and spending time with my family this summer. That leaves little time for the computer. This is why I have taken to drinking tea mid day to give me a bit of a lift without keeping me up all night. What a wonderful weekend! I can only hope to have many more weekends this productive yet special and fun.
Mornings are hard. I thought they would get easier when the days started out sunny and warm but so far it is even harder to get to the work and I need to be even more disciplined. I still very much want to sleep in until 7 or later and writing my morning pages snuggled in the cozy warm bed is no longer very appealing. I got out of the habit of writing Morning Pages and I think my blog suffered and I suffered as a result. Now I am working to get back into it and establish a new routine and new location for my morning work. Only to have that all change in two weeks when the girls are both out of school for the summer! My mornings will remain basically the same this summer and in a way be easier since there will be no rush to pack lunches and get dressed in the morning. We will be keeping very busy but not rushing out of the house at 8am kind of busy. I put down some scrap paper on my desk this weekend and started taking notes on it. Really great system. Protects my desk and I always have something to write on. Those rolls of paper from IKEA are going to get a lot more use now! Morning pages, blogging, warm-up sketches before I check my email or get on Facebook.
My sketchbook four months ago. When I start to feel discouraged I just look at a sketchbook from just a few months ago and look at what I am producing now and I feel better instantly. I can change and I can still learn. Practice and hard work are incredibly important. Also, the warm weather and busy days this summer is the perfect time for some refrigerator oatmeal.
The daily blog writing in November was a failure. It started out really strong and about three weeks in I was burnt out writing and posting every single day. November is a long and busy month! I stopped having things that I wanted to write about and feeling that I could write about well. I didn't have the time to really spend time developing things to say and I felt rushed. Then once I started missing posts I let the failure go to my head and I started slacking off in other areas as well. But no more of that. I am going to be satisfied and proud that I blogged 22 out of 31 days and that many of those posts were in a row and that a number of them were pretty good. Then I am going to use December to rest and recover and most importantly keep going at a pace that works for me. Keep going.
I love when I manage to get a rough draft for my blog from my Morning Pages. I love having ideas laid out for the future to make my life easier when life gets suddenly busy. Because life is always busy. I just cut and paste something that strikes me as possibly blog worthy onto Squarespace and try to add any links or tags on the Chrome Book then pictures and publishing on my phone after some editing. Sometimes it needs a lot of editing and sometimes it needs very little. With Morning Pages and Blogging together I am learning how to be an effective writer and as somebody who has always considered writing a weakness not a strength this makes me proud. The Morning Pages get me writing every day and the daily blogging in November gets me editing and developing what my blog writing is actually about. By writing and posting every day for a month I am learning how I want to let my family into my Art Blog writing without talking about them too much or sharing too much. And what too much means to me. I am learning what kind of a blog I have as I write more and more. I am not quite a mommy blogger but I am not a pure art thinker either. I can't be. I wasn't even before I had kids and I certainly am not now and that is okay.
Looking for my tribe on the internet and in the blog world. Reconnecting with some print making blogs that I used to follow before my children were born. There are some really great artists that I have been missing out on during these years I have been so busy with my small children. In particular I am feeling a bit disappointed that I missed out on this large collaborative puzzle block from 1000 Woodcut artist Maria Arango. Each zone is a puzzle piece that has been mailed off and carved by a different artist and then mailed back to be printed together. It looks really neat and I regret not having it together enough to sign up for it a year or two ago. Now I know that I need to keep my eye out for upcoming projects like this and maybe even eventually start one of my own. In the meantime I will keep making art, keep blogging, keep connecting with others and start a blog roll reading list on my website.
I'm a printmaker. Sadly a lot of people out there don't know what that means. But people that I meet are generally pretty eager to learn and that is why I do things like being carved blocks of wood to shows. The internet is a little trickier but I aim to show what I do rather than just the end result here on my blog. These days being a printmaker and a mom means squeezing time to draw, carve and print in during nap times and the precious few moments I have alone during the week. Earlier this week I had two hours to print, but today that time was taken by errands and other family obligations. And nap is not happening. Printing is the hardest activity to plan for because I can't just pick it up and I can't just drop it at a moments notice. It's messy. I pull my hair back and wear an apron. And I still end up with ink smears all over. There just aren't enough hours in the day. In life and in art I do what I can with the time that I have.
This morning was hard. This week is not off to a great start. I need a redo. After a fairly fabulous weekend the family is having a hard time adjusting to our ordinary week. The girls were fighting over everything this morning while I was trying to write and I was not handling the stress of it very well. Then it was time to take the big to school and drop the little off at a friend's house. Somewhere on my drive home while I was stuck in traffic I realized I was alone again and stopped stressing out so much. I am giving myself a redo and clearing my head and starting over.
Procrastinating art making is what I am currently beating myself up over. I don't have a clear project that I am working on and that is probably why it is so hard for me to use my time to create. I don't know what I am creating just yet. I know I need to do research and sketch and be ready to start carving a new block soon but so far the inspiration is not there. I need a schedule to pour over my books and do the research and the sketching to find the right design that I will love to print from for years to come. Something like the starfish block that I caved last winter. My deadline for myself is to be carving by winter and printing by spring. Carving can take a very long time so this deadline is not as forgiving as it may seem.
This post is a part of Just Write, an Extraordinary Ordinary writing project. My first attempt to join a group writing challenge.