Saying a fond and grateful goodbye to the year 2014 today. It was a year of finding a new artistic voice and growing my skills and confidence. It was a year of saying goodbye to a current life, city, friends and country and it was a year of me often unconsciously self-sabotaging myself. I am going to say goodbye and thank you to all the piles of good from 2014 and thank and learn from my very personal mistakes. I am ready to wrap up things here in Boston and start our adventure in Europe. Just thinking about the inspiration for my art that I am sure to discover has me super excited and ready to get started.
Moving across the ocean in two weeks is stressful and distracting. Who knew? I am going to miss our friends in Boston so much but at this point I just want to get it over with and get over there already. We have one more full week in our home then the movers come and pack us up and we spend part of a week in temporary housing in Boston. Then we fly out on a Friday red eye flight. The girls are due to start their new school in the UK that following Monday. Some art supplies will come with me on the airplane. Some will go on the small air shipment but most of it will go on a boat and take a month or longer to get to us along with all of our furniture. I need to choose wisely. Temporary housing is waiting for us over in the UK. We will be fine. My goal is to keep working, prepare to depart and enjoy our friends here while we still have them. Life is a party at the moment.
Today is Veterans Day, not my favorite holiday as an anti-war, anti-empire Christian pacifist. But the schools are not about to get on board with that sentiment so my kids have the day off and are asking me why. This is where things get complicated as I see how much power I have on their opinions. Complicated! But currently they are focused on not having school today and going to now the Boston Children's Museum to meet up with friends. And I am focused on surviving the chaos. Not my most favorite place, but we are moving I will take them both one last time and they can see their friends and I will deal. But I do hope I have a chance to actually use these supplies and sketch today. Will see how that goes.
Sometime in January I will be packing up my art studio and moving it to the UK along with my family. Feeling very blessed and excited about this next adventure. Boston has been a wonderful place to live for nearly twelve years but I think we are all ready for a change. I think Oxford will be an inspiring city and I am excited about this next step.
Our last American Halloween was a good one thanks to friends, Jamaica Plain and Dunster Street. New adventures are coming soon.
I was tired and wanted to go to bed as soon as the kids went to bed. I wanted them to go to bed early so I could go to bed early. Then they ended staying up drawing together in their room so I wandered back to my studio to tinker with some paintings. I am glad I kept going. Once I get through my to do list I will start putting watercolors up on my Etsy shop. I am nervous about listing these new creation as I still very much consider myself a student when it comes to watercolor. But I was a student with printmaking too not all that long ago.
I fill about a sketchbook a month these days. When I am done they go on a shelf in my studio and I look back on them often. My children look through them and I show them off to friends and other curious people. This number doesn't include the "extra" books I keep around. Why do I do it? Why do I use precious paper and other materials for plenty of less than perfect pages? Because if I don't I grow stagnant and miserable. Because the process is how I grow as an artist and as a person. Because my sketchbooks are important. I admire other artists that keep active, consistent yet varied and adventurous sketchbooks. It is a tricky balance for sure to develop and maintain a style while continuing to push yourself as an artist and experiment. As I try to break out of my sketchbooks a bit more and feel comfortable doing pieces for the public rather than for myself I know that making time for my sketchbooks is something that needs to come first in my art life. No matter where I am at in life I will always sketch.
After five days up in the middle of nowhere focusing on art adjusting to being back to the city is a bit of a challenge. The city is loud and dirty with too many people. Yesterday I went to the Arnold Arboretum to sketch and get away a bit and I had a really hard time connecting with nature with the sound of the cars outside and all the people walking around. As soon as I would start to relax and sketch a woman would walk buy with clicking heels or an off leash dog would get in my face. I did manage to find a good location to sketch with minimal interruption, but it will take me a little while to get used to being back in the city.
One more sleep at home in Boston. On Wednesday morning I leave for Maine and will get to spend five days at Haystack. But my art life has been full since before Haystack. Just this past weekend I got to take a Japanese Printmaking workshop at the local Elliot school and it was great fun, intense work going from sketch to block to print all in a too short weekend. But I learned so much and I do want to do more with it now that I understand the basics of the technique. Carving the block was basically the same as I now it, but printing was completely different. Very painterly and flexible which was great fun. But with the ticking clock of the water based inks quickly drying out stressing me out. I came home exhausted both physically and mentally both nights. I have six original prints to show for the weekend and an itch to make more. The woodblock printing that I am much more familiar with is western style printing on various papers with oil based ink and a printing press. No painterly fun like the Japanese moku hanga, but also once I lay out the oil based ink to work with it is good all day long with little risk of it drying out. I would love to print these blocks with my oily methods to compare, but then I wouldn't be able to go back to the waterbased inks.
I took about a dozen watercolors to Open Studios and I sold about half of them. JP Open Studios was a market test for the watercolors to figure out if I should keep at them and how to price them and the answer was yes keep going! JP Open Studios was fabulous fun this weekend as I love connecting with my community. And I love sending original artwork out in the world. Thank you to all those that have supported my fresh start these past months by reading my blog, offering feedback and buying artwork. I will be putting watercolors up on my Etsy shop as soon as I can get new work made, scanned and listed.
The JP Open Studios are this weekend September 20th and 21st all around the JP neighborhood that I and work in. You can find me with my work inside at the UU church by the JP monument in Central JP and some of my work will still be hanging at Hatched until the end of the month. I will be be sketching and painting, will have my woodblock prints along with a couple of carved blocks for demos throughout the weekend. I have been looking forward to this weekend for months now. There will be some fresh prints, including new collagraphs, but this is the year that I decided to teach myself watercolor and became smitten with the medium.
I get to go on some fun sketching adventures around Boston and when we travel. But sometime I have at home to draw and want to draw something real not something imagined and don't know what to draw. Am getting sick of drawing my coffee cups and couple of plants. That is where the Everyday Matters drawing prompt list challenge comes in handy. Going through that list one at a time at whatever pace suits me. Also, I am impatient to finish up this small sketchbook so I can move on to a larger non-wirebound sketchbook. Next up is a lamp.
Over the weekend I gave myself the challenge to draw exclusively in black and white and the various shades of grey to help myself see value better. I didn't get as many chances to draw outside this weekend as I would have liked so I may keep the challenge going in my travel sketchbook for awhile longer. I am happy to be using some old shades of grey Pitt markers after years of neglect. Very happy that I took on this extra challenge. Wish I had done something like this when I was in art school.
Finishing up an art filled week with a sunny and mild Friday and looking forward to the weekend. Loving these early fall weather days here in Boston. On Tuesday and Wednesday I wandered and on Monday and Thursday I stayed close to home. Today I will have two little ones with me so any adventures will need to include them.
"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is God's gift, that's why we call it the present."
Why thank you Joan Rivers. That is a useful reminder for me today. Anybody else collecting quotes in their sketchbook? I started putting them on the first page of my sketchbook along with my color pallet, my name and number and of course the date but now I am starting to put them tucked away in the pages of my sketchbook.
The current gift in my life is time. Time to pursue my art dreams. Time to spend with my eldest daughter in the morning and afterschool. Time to go running a few times a week. Time to explore. Time to spend with my husband while our kids play nicely together in the evening and on weekends. I know all these gifts could evaporate at any moment and instead of wasting time fretting about losing them I am just going to do my best to enjoy them while I have them in my life.
New beginnings. I have time. Now what? Time to make some plans and set some goals.
What is wasting my time? What gives me life and energy? Lots to think about. A schedule is probably needed.
What is life giving and what is life sucking for you?
For the record I totally "wasted" my time this morning walking around the neighborhood after dropping off my daughter and stopping to draw whenever the mood struck me. It was fantastic and I totally plan on doing it again tomorrow. Except tomorrow I will bring a stool with me.
Both of my kids are in school most of the day for the first time in the seven years since I became a mother. This is the first day of our first full week with this new schedule and it is a little intimidating. I feel distracted, anxious and intimidated by the passing time. There is road repaving happening right outside our apartment that is so loud that the whole place is shaking. Not exactly a super zen environment for my first day. But hopefully they should be done in the next couple of days and at the worst by the end of the week. Then I will have no excuses. I made myself a simple breakfast, drew my breakfast, worked on a painting for JPOS, painted in my sketchbook a bit and then decided I was ready to work on my blog. I lack focus, a clear schedule and order to my days but that will come. I have time.
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.
So glad that it's Friday. It has been a long week of a long summer here and this morning I am super grateful for the upcoming weekend. Hoping to get some beach time and drawing time.
For a few months now I have been keeping a sketchbook in ink and it has changed my drawing for the better. My lines are more confident and my drawings improved rather quickly and steadily after making the switch. About two weeks ago I hit a rut where I wasn't growing as quickly anymore that I found horribly frustrating. And worse I was growing bored with my drawings. So I took on a new challenge for myself. Blind contour drawings in ink. A blind contour is a one line drawing where you don't look at the paper while you are drawing. Focusing on what you are drawing on instead of looking back and forth can train your eye to see details that you may have glossed over in the past. But often the drawings end up pretty wacky. Early on they look like scribbles, but they get better and now I am totally addicted to the process and feel that it is improved all of my drawing. The challenge is to do this for seventy-five days or seventy five drawings. I am already at more than seventy drawings two weeks in so I am going to ignore the number of drawings and focus on the days.
Friday is here and I am looking forward to getting outside this weekend. Long week here with the kids filled with a lot of fun but not a lot of art time for me. Hope the weather cooperates and I get in a couple of morning jogs that leave me feeling energized and inspired. What inspires you? What brings you down?