Drinking tea while listening to the wind and rain while painting in my cozy studio. Sunshine is great but sometimes I need the excuse to stay in and work indoors. Loving this stormy weather.
I want more succulents and vessels for my studio. But right now is not the time to accumulate more stuff. So I browse online and window shop and fill my sketchbooks with my findings. Someday I will have plenty of interesting looking and beautiful plants of my own to inspire me. Just not today.
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.
The car is in the shop for the next couple of days so I am either on foot, on bike or taking the T around Boston while the kids are at school. There are still jackhammers outside my window so I don't really want to go home to work. Plus the weather is beautiful and mild. What kind of adventures should I go on? Yesterday I stayed in my general area and had a lovely time drawing JP, but today I think I will go a little father. Maybe the South End?
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.
More more more! Also sleep more to keep myself energized. I went to bed early last night and woke up this morning feeling wonderful. Good morning indeed! We are going back to NYC this weekend and I am excited to bring my sketchbook to various places. After a bit of a slump I am back to drawing whatever comes to mind and strikes my fancy and enjoying it. Case in point moths are interesting to draw but I needed to draw a bird to eat them so I could sleep last night.
The 75 day blind contour challenge has been easy and rewarding. The original challenge is to draw in ink for 75 days or 75 drawings. But I already draw in ink in my sketchbook and a lot more than one drawing a day. But I am not super familiar or confident with blind contours so I decided that 75 days of blind contour drawings in a single sketchbook would be my theme. My drawing has clearly improved from this exercise and I still enjoy doing them yet I realize that 75 days is a long time and I am not even halfway done. That fact is discouraging and tempts me to stop, but I am not going to stop. I can see myself looking through this themed sketchbook in the future when it is complete and that makes me keep going. What makes you keep going?
Having fun with a dip pen, white acyclic ink, abstract shapes and making a mess in my studio. This is why I cover my work surface with craft paper and why I always wear an apron. The geodoodles are back and I am loving combining them with the concentric circles of watercolor and paint splatters. Last night I went to bed thinking about drawing more with my dip pen.
Spent some time on Saturday wandering around Fenway by myself so of course I stopped by my favorite Thai restaurant for lunch. Being home with my two children full time over the summer is a lot of fun but it is also exhausting and it is important that I take time to be by myself whenever possible. So my husband Jon took the girls on a hike at Drumlin Farm and I headed to the Dick Blick in Fenway. While I did not end up buying much, being able to shop and then getting lunch at my own pace and not having to manage other human beings was such a welcome break. I left the weekend feeling ready for another week with my little girls.
Vacation travel was wonderful, but as usual I am finding it difficult to adjust to being back to regular life. Especially the not so regular routine that is summer vacation with my kids 3 and 6 home with me and asking for enrichment all. day. long. Camp is expensive and the 3 year old is still too young for most of them and I feel guilty leaving them to watch TV all day and feeding them frozen pizza. So art we do art projects with together and we go outside to the zoo, playgrounds. playgrounds inside of the zoo, sprinkler parks and more playgrounds. The days are hot, humid and very long. I love them but by 4pm I am so totally done and out of things to do and out of energy for myself.
Meditative watercolor paint circles to the rescue. They look cool. They help me relax. They are fun and simple and require more patience than technique and concentration and they help me get to know my paint better. In the end I always feel better and learn something during the process. In my book that is a total win. This one is available on Etsy.
Yesterday I met with fellow buried creative that wants to start a sketchbook habit. I want to start a running habit so we are hoping to trade some positive habits that will benefit both of us. We started out sketching together at the pond and then stashed our stuff in her car and jogged around the pond together. I didn't burst into flames while running and have plans to do it again. She has plans to keep sketching. I'm still very much a beginner when it comes with drawing and painting on a regular basis. I did a little oil and acrylic painting in high school and college but never watercolor. As soon as I discovered printmaking painting was over for me. I was not a painter. Now years later I am finding that watercolor and drawing works well with printing. Once a week (or month in the summer months) I get to print and the rest of the time I draw and use watercolors. Six months ago I didn't draw much. Certainly not daily! Draw more. Paint more. Two surefire tricks to improve your skills. Start with a few pens and a cheap sketchbook. Maybe add some watercolors to that to see if you like them for splashes of color. Make an Altoid watercolor tin like mine.
Happy July! Summer vacation happening in full force over here. My days starts out with quiet, small, controlled, meditative watercolors during our slow summer mornings before I get super busy and my little art studio heats up from the sun and becomes too hot to work in.
Happy Monday! Drawing what I see on location with ink and watercolor is my current way to challenge myself and learn more about how to use these materials. I do get to make choices about what goes into my drawing and what doesn't. But as I get better at it and my confidence grows more and more makes it into my pictures and I am picking more challenging things to draw. Many times when I start a sketchbook drawing and the ink is on the paper I think to myself "Oh crud! What a mess of a drawing I have signed up for with this one." But then as I work on it the drawing starts to come together and usually works out just fine and surprises me. I am getting more confidence to draw strangers incognito, I am sure that one of these days I will get noticed and asked and I need to prepare to be able to talk to strangers. I plan on ending summer with a sketchbook filled with this type of on location drawn from life sketching.
When I started making Artist Trading Cards or ATC again and carrying a stack of them around with me and simply giving them to people it was a little bit scary. Giving away my artwork to strangers and near strangers is not something that I am supposed to do. I started out giving them to friends but now I have moved on to people that fall in my social circles. So I am not coming up to strangers on the street and handing them cards just yet. I don't have enough confidence or handmade cards for that. But these cards are teaching me a lot not only when I make them but when I give them to others. I am learning how to talk to people about my art and I am really enjoying making people smile. I think I will keep this habit up for awhile.
How do you feel about artists giving away their art? Normally I am not a fan but I think for me 2.5"x3" ATC are the perfect size to keep in my bag and give out freely. I get more from making them than I ever could from selling them and I truly enjoy giving them away when I am done with them. I don't like taking pages out of my sketchbook so tiny individual cards are the perfect option for me to give out.
Opening up my studio to people on Saturday was a big scary for my introverted side and I nearly send a message cancelling it a bunch of times the night and even morning before. But I went through with it and had a great time. It was a beautiful day so most people were having fun outside, but I got to work and enjoy talking to the people that did come. Thank you! I will be doing this again sometime, possibly in the fall or winter. The most enjoyable part for me was the conversations. Having studio space in my house is so convenient with small children but I miss the conversations that I imagine I would have if I rented a shared spot somewhere. Also, enjoyed giving ATC to the kids that came and getting them excited about making and collecting original artwork.