children

Veterans Day = Take my kids to a crowded museum day

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.

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Where to go? What to draw? Everyday Matters Challenge.

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.

Oh how I wish these Toms fit me!

Oh how I wish these Toms fit me!

Wake up and draw. Harder than it sounds.

Wake up in the morning and write, draw and exercise. These are the three things that are most important to me in the morning. Usually I can get one or two of those tasks taken care of without too much trouble, but the third is a challenge. Why? There are other people living in this house. Small people that need to be fed and get out the door to school in the morning. Small people that fight with each other on a regular basis. The morning rushing around is about to end and for that I am excited. This summer other than two weeks of Tenacity later in the summer we don't have anywhere to be until 11 and I am looking forward to our slow starts. I will probably still pack lunches most days so we don't end up eating out, but no more getting out of the house before 8am rush after today. Here's to sleeping in children (I can dream) and productive mornings!

Summer is here and vacation coming.

This was the last week of school for my two kids. Today is the final day of school for my big kid and my little kid has today and tomorrow for preschool. Then they are both off for the summer with very little scheduled. Hopefully I have fostered independent play and I will be able to illustrate our summer adventures in my sketchbook. We are all excited about a summer filled with travel, learning, swimming, hiking, sprinkler parks, festivals, sidewalk chalk, art, relaxing and as many adventures that we can cram into two short months. And for me a lot of on location drawing around Boston and other locations near and far. 

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little, Big. Exploring with watercolor.

On location I work small and/or quick with limited colors. People move around a lot and the scene changes, plus I am usually supervising my children and they may need me. I've gotten pretty good at picking safe locations that they enjoy and I can sit back and casually supervise them play while drawing but I still rarely have a lot of time to work on a drawing when I am out with them. In the studio I rarely work big but I do work slow and more complex. My sketchbook is filling up with these color explorations and exercises in patience. Each layer of color needs to dry completely before adding the next glaze of transparent watercolor. I feel my understanding of my watercolors and their colors deepening as I relax and unwind with these complex little paintings. 

ATC next to a sketchbook page. 

ATC next to a sketchbook page. 

Downtime, rest and recharging.

I took the weekend off blogging, rode my bike, got my hair cut and spent time outdoors with my family. Did minimal art stuff and didn't spend much time thinking about my next steps. I have been feeling plagued with a lot of "what next" kind of worries and the weekend of glorious weather and one sick child seemed like as good a time as any to step back for awhile. Vacation is next week.  The world didn't end and I felt better starting out the week after a bit of rest. I still kept my sketchbook up because that is completely habit at this point.

Sick day spent drawing.

Sick day spent drawing.

Planning: Nurturing my art this summer

Thinking ahead to summer and trying to figure out how I can enjoy the summer sun and fun with the kids while still carving out creative time for myself. We will not be putting either one of them into any childcare or camp. We considered it but I decided that I would rather spend the time with them during the summer while they are little and just find a way to make up the time. I can't count on Charlotte napping like she did last summer and that kind of stinks. But on the upside that means we aren't so tied to the house which will be really great! I need to use the outside time with them as inspiration and sketch as much as I can and find some young kid friendly projects to share with both of them. Then work for myself on nights and weekends. For the most part I want to be out in the sunshine with my children as much of the summer as possible. I'll have tons of time to create once school starts up for both of them. Maybe I could save up some babysitting time during the day once or twice a month. I welcome any suggestions. Mostly on this cold March Monday I am enjoying dreaming about summer and being warm.

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Collaboration

Inspired by the magical creativity of my six year old daughter. Having just finished carving the large block that I have been working on since November and not feeling quite ready to start printing with it I needed something creative to do with my time. So I started a collaboration with my six year old daughter. I took drawings of her's and turned them into small woodblocks to print with her after school or on the weekend. Ideally when her little sister is not around or occupied with something else. So far we have a mermaid and a butterfly. The butterfly has eyes in her antenna as well as long eyelashes. Awesome! I have a bunch of these small blocks of plywood to carve so I can keep this up for awhile. Stay tuned for more carvings and the prints. 

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Minimalism and Me - Studio Post part 2

 For the past year or two I have been on a slow journey with minimalism. My free time is very limited so it can be difficult to have big purges but I do what I can whenever I have a free moment along the way. Just getting rid of a few items a week on a regular basis can make a huge difference over time. Then I spend less time cleaning and organizing and more time working and having fun with my family. Our main focus with minimalism is to not accumulate more items without careful consideration. Slowing down the consumption and going without has made a big difference. For our family it is all about finding what each member likes best and uses most and focusing on those items and getting rid of and avoiding the rest.

This philosophy of finding out what I enjoy working with as an artist and getting rid of the extra can be challenging to implement. Living a life of minimalism as an artist offers some special challenges. It is all too easy to collect and hoard various art supplies and justify it saying that it could be just what I need for some later project so I have to keep it around. My small studio starts to fill up with junk rather quickly and then when I need to do work I find it challenging. Now I purge supplies and donate them to my daughter's school on a regular basis. I figure they can put the random art supplies that I have collected over the years to better use than I can. And I still have plenty of materials to draw inspiration from and use in various projects, but without the clutter.  Messy does not work very well in a small space. 

Sewing machine I am looking at you and giving you the stink eye.  

This box of old ink was given to me before my six year old was born and I have had it unused in the box the whole time. I don't need crusty old intaglio ink. Saved a few and tossed the rest.

This box of old ink was given to me before my six year old was born and I have had it unused in the box the whole time. I don't need crusty old intaglio ink. Saved a few and tossed the rest.