When your current daily inspiration is a 60p gridded A6 notebook from Muji. I love nice paper and beautifully bound books that collect precious sketches. I even made a point to back the latest edition of the Perfect Sketchbook with it's lovely leather hardbound body filled with the finest Italian watercolor paper. But that won't be arriving for some months! In the meantime I have been finding myself getting too precious about my Moleskine watercolor sketchbook and as a result my work suffers. Time to spend some quality time with a cheap sketchbook and get back to obsessive low pressure sketching and what caused me to start drawing again in the first place. Thin (but surprisingly sturdy) paper. Not precious. Loving it.
I like to draw on paper. And I like paper a lot. As a printmaker paper is probable my favorite material. Ink and color is important but those are purely practical and utilitarian. Paper is soft and lovely and different subtle shades. Printing to the edge of the paper in a bleed print or leaving a border. Western versus Asian styles versus handmade papers. It is the base that the inks mix with and I love working with paper over canvas or other materials. With this love of all things paper and traditional I have mostly avoided digital artwork. But that is starting to change. Baby steps really but I might have room for it after all.
Don't tell anyone but I think the whole Zentangle thing is kind of silly. But I still enjoy making them and they are proving to be a great way to get myself drawing and get ideas started when I don't know what to draw. And I don't know what to draw surprisingly often. My good ideas often come at very bad times when I can't sketch them down or pin down the idea in any way. And with my life and brain being what it is if I don't pin it down somehow the idea is soon gone. But keeping a sketchbook and drawing these Zentangles can sometimes tease the ideas out of my brain. They have enough structure in the form that I can just pick it up at any moment and draw without having a plan. That is why I keep doing them.
On a lark I signed up for a free trail and then a month of Creative Bug for the month long drawing class with Lisa Congdon and it has been great. Thankfully I am already a longtime Micron pen fan and I was able to dive right in and get to drawing. Then during our vacation day this week after being home and working while the kids played nicely together (I'm serious really I could get used to this growing up and maturing business) I put on the first video lesson for Alex and she was transfixed. She loves art and drawing and she is very much in sponge mode lately so she just took everything in. I am looking forward to seeing what she does with the material.
It's super cold out there. But it's also clear and sunny with no snow or ice on the roads. And I am very aware that a snow storm is always a possibility in this city until into May. So of course I am picking up my little one from preschool on my bike whenever possible! Life is good. She's already outside and in winter gear when I get her from school and it is easy to just stick her on the bike and go home. If I can bike a little bit in February then I can bike even more in March. I have been having to drive to the burbs for appointments a few times a week and the lunchtime walks and bike rides help heal me from the mental trauma those rush hour drives cause.
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.
There is a lot of art in my home, yet very little of it is hung up on our walls. Most of what I took the time to frame and hang is art from other artists that I have collected over the years. And mostly I hang work in my studio because it makes the room seem bigger and it inspires me. In the living areas of my home we tend to not have a lot of wall space or sense of permanence to hang art but that is starting to change. Today I hung some of my art in the hallway and in my bedroom. I almost never hang my own artwork but it seemed silly to have ready to hang pieces that I love just sitting in a bin unseen in my studio. Another thing to make our apartment feel more like a cozy home where we can stay and to inspire myself and my children with art every day. As soon as the little one came home this afternoon she asked about the artwork in our hallway and told me that she loves it. Thanks sweetie!
I am thankful for my family, my health and my creativity. I am lucky to have the kind of life that allows me to express my creativity on a regular basis. That is my number one thanks for this past year. I didn't have it so much the year prior but I had it last year and I have it this year and hopefully all my following years. Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends that celebrate with me.