the work

Sketchbook Page of the Week

Since all the artwork I did on vacation was in my sketchbook(s) I have lots to share. Head over to my Tumblr blog of drawings if you want to see them all. And head over to Etsy is you want this original watercolor mixed media piece for yourself.

Potted succulent plant viewed from above.

Potted succulent plant viewed from above.

Take off running! Scheduling that works.

We came home from our vacation a day early so we would all have more time to recover before school, work, travel and chores take over our lives again. That is one of the advantages of driving. It paid off and I have a plan to take off running in the studio on Monday with no pressure on myself to do anything other than draw in my sketchbook before my core hours start. Then come Monday after getting the girls to school I will be on the clock working. It will be a week of streamlined schedules and hopefully learning how to be more efficient as a family and as an artist. Making time work for me instead of against me.

Family Schedule:

  1. Wakeup 6am to beat Charlotte
  2. Morning Pages + Blog
  3. Light Breakfast
  4. School Drop Off*
  5. Exercise
  6. Shower**
  7. Tidy
  8. Core Hours 10 - 12
  9. Lunch + Social Media
  10. Preschool Pickup
Afternoon Plan:
  1. Play or nap
  2. Alex Pickup
  3. Playground
  4. Homework
  5. Dinner
  6. Bath
  7. Read
  8. Girls' Bedtime 8:30
  9. Read, draw and relax
  10. Bed by 10pm

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Printing Again! Art Studio Share.

Quicky collagraph of a little house in red and yellow. Concept to print in under a day. Collagraphs are about as instant gratification one can get in the printmaking world. Now I need to give them about a week to dry before I can draw on them without smudging the ink. Good thing I set up a handy drying rack string using some twine and binder clips. Totally out of the way of my work so they can hang there indefinitely. In the meantime I am working on another couple of cardboard collagraph plates to print this week. My art studio is my happy space.

Six prints drying in my art studio.

Six prints drying in my art studio.

The lies we tell ourselves and the truth that's even scarier.

Ten frightening lies that mask the truth that I am scared of failure and I often use that as an excuse to not act. Too bad that doesn't work. I keep this carefully hand lettered list posted in my art studio so I can confront it every day while I am working instead of merely listen to the whispers in my head. It is still hard, but I have reasons to keep going and I will never succeed if I don't try. Maybe someday I will start crossing off the items, or tear up the list or burn it. But for now it sits taped up by my desk next to a more encouraging list. Together they help keep me striving and pushing through the stalls that happen all the time.

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Time to Carve (again)

Not much of a break from carving when I am in the zone. Winter skin has forced me to step back and take a break from printing because all the extra hand washing and ink is hard on my already dry winter skin. Giving myself some time to heal. But as long as I don't cut myself carving does no such damage to my skin. I still have plenty of time to sketch every day when I am out of the house. But carving is something that I can only do at home and I need to use that time whenever I feel the push. I am feeling it. This is not a collaborative piece but my own simple design based from my sketchbook. 

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Thanks Ira! I will keep going and work hard every day.

Keep going. Over and over again. Thanks Ira Glass for the stellar advice and encouragement. A week into the hard focused work and it is already paying off. Of course I already knew this from my own life experience and from books I have read like The Artist's Way and The War of Art. It is so obvious that even my little kids do it. They are always working hard and practicing every skill that they know new and old over and over again. I leave out a scrap of paper and my eldest writes and draws all over it. She can't help herself. But adult me still forget and needs a fresh reminder from time to time. Now I am finding ideas that I didn't have two weeks ago are suddenly coming out of apparent thin air. I can feel my brain working better. Sticking to my Core Hours and working is begetting more energy and more ideas to work with. Planning ahead for summer and fall.

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Magic

Collaborating with my six year old daughter is pure magic. Printing with her is less than magical, at least with the three year old around getting ink all over herself and anything she touches. But I just couldn't wait until the weekend! Note to self need to plan printing time more carefully without the three year old around or with her at least contained and covered with a smock. My fashionista three year old does not wear smocks without a serious fight. 

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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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Week Two Impressions

As we finish up our second week having the girls in neighboring schools I am able to step back and get an impression of how it's going. It is going fabulous, better than I ever anticipated. Montessori school is a perfect fit for my youngest child and we love her class and she skips in most days. I am getting more time with big sister and feeling more of a connection with her and with her school by taking care of her drop offs in the morning and Jon is getting to the T faster. It's so bitter cold that we have been driving to school which I don't love. But I do love that the preschool has an actual parking lot and that I am usually home and ready to work by around nine. Pickup isn't until one for the little one. That is a lot of hours to get stuff done. And I am getting stuff done. I can't help it. Even when I waste time I am just not capable of wasting that many hours four days a week. Things are happening. I am gearing up for an exciting spring. 

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Core Hours

Big changes are in the work for next fall when my littlest goes off to preschool four full days a week. But this month she is starting preschool four mornings a week and that is the perfect amount of change for right now. So lucky to have the rest of this winter and spring to ease into everything. And four mornings is just enough for me to give myself the gift of work. Morning meetings with myself contained within my daily Morning Pages, followed by walking both kids to school together. Then I have about an hour to run any errands or get a coffee or do some laundry before I start my core hours in the studio with my printmaking apron on at ten and work until lunchtime at noon. Then it is time to pick the littlest one up at school. Two hours four days a week is sounding pretty fabulous after six years of cobbling time together and never having enough time to tackle the big projects.  

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Clean Start

After the holidays made a mess of my little studio I took some time to clean and clear it out a bit and focus on work. I got rid of a few broken tools and some old drawing assignments from my freshman art school days and suddenly I can breath again. I'm ready to work. Everyday. When I finish carving the block that I am currently working on and print from it it will either go in a drawer or a stack. I stack the larger blocks and put the midsize to small ones in a drawer. Then I can print from them whenever I want for years to come. But I will need to restock my paper supply first. That is always fun!

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