vacation

Illness, Inktober and some rambling

Wednesday blogging turns into Thursday blogging. I have a sinus cold and possibly an infection right before a family holiday. I am resting as much as possible so I can be at my best in Spain. The kids are already home from school and that is actually a blessing because the two mile walk picking them up from school every day was not helping me recover quickly! I miss having energy and a clear head but I am managing to just barely keep up with #inktober and other smaller projects this week. I am glad that I decided to be flexible and not stick with any theme or format for this years Inktober as it has allowed me to keep going and not give up when I am not feeling my best. The motto that I need to pin on my wall and remember is that done is better than perfect. It is so easy for me to get sidetracked searching for perfection that I never finish or never share a project, blog post, artwork or whatever. Is this a common problem? I am all ears for any good strategies for avoiding the perfection trap?

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Sketching in Barcelona

I felt better prepared for this trip both mentally and with what I packed. The time with family, tourism, activity and relaxation all just seem to flow with the chance to make art woven throughout it all. It's pretty great.  

Family outing to the beach included time to sketch.  

Family outing to the beach included time to sketch.  

Relaxing on the patio left time to sketch.  

Relaxing on the patio left time to sketch.  

Hello Mona, do you have any idea how popular you are?

Mona Lisa. People fight to see you and elbow children and the elderly to get a selfie with you. An alarm goes off around you when people get just too close every five to fifteen minutes. Basically you seem to bring out the worst in people. I can see from that famous smirk of yours how amusing this is to you. But personally I would rather hang with one of your more calming relations and avoid getting elbowed. Nothing personal but I feel a little claustrophobic around you Mona.

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Packing for France!

We are heading to Paris next week for the first week of our spring break and I am planning my sketchkit for the trip. I want to stay fairly minimal and not put too many choices on myself on what to use each day. Most days I will be with my family and sketching light therefor traveling light, but I have one lucky day in Paris by myself and can bring a more robust sketching kit on that day. What would you bring? My basics these days is a sketchbook that is big enough to comfortably use yet small enough to comfortably carry, a watercolor kit with a minimum of 14 mixing colors, a fountain pen with waterproof ink, a mechanical pencil, water brushes and a brush pen. We got a new camera for this trip and upcoming trips and I will be taking photos and using them as reference when I get back to my studio. 

My maxed out sketching kit ready for Paris! 

My maxed out sketching kit ready for Paris! 

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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Here today, gone Wednesday.

Coming off a great art making weekend I am back into the regular week of preschool snacks, herding children, meal prepping, school drop offs and errands. But only for two days because on Wednesday I leave for Haystack on Deer Isle Maine. It is looking like we are in for another beautiful five days the second year in a row. And for that I am grateful. No matter what the weather brings the time at Haystack will be magical because Haystack is a magical place. Five days of art making with other makers in gorgeous surroundings. My third year going I am very blessed. I need to do some more packing.

Can't wait to be back!

Can't wait to be back!

Repeating myself. Draw more, paint more, write more.

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.

moths did not haunt my dreams last night

moths did not haunt my dreams last night

Relax and enjoy nature.

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?

Inspired by nature.

Inspired by nature.

Impatient and Anxious. Accept it or change it?

Often I feel very impatient to have my skills catch up to my desires. Learning to slow down, breathe and enjoy the journey rather than fret and worry is something that I struggle with. Anticipating vacations is often something filled with similar anxiety and worry. Drives my husband batty since he is a much more chill person than as well as very logical and anxiety over fun things like vacations doesn't make a lot of sense to him. Thankfully as we take more vacations as a family and I even get to go out on my own once or twice a year this anxiety is starting to wane a bit. But the anxiety I have over my artistic skills and accomplishments still beats strong. I compare myself to others and see all my shortcomings and have a mini freak out. Today I tell myself to relax and enjoy the journey in my sketchbook. Whatever my destination to trust that I will get there. Working on some continuous line and blind contour drawings and other sketches on this lovely Friday. Planning for a fantastic weekend with all sorts of cool and inspiring events happening right in Boston. This weekend I will remember that I can change and not just grow in artistic skills and pick up new positive habits such as keeping a sketchbook and running, but I can also grow and become less anxious over time. 

Learning to relax and see with continuous line and blind contour sketching. 

Learning to relax and see with continuous line and blind contour sketching. 

Friday Favorite : Art Institute Sketch

I drew a lot on vacation. And I have drawn a lot since I have been back home. This one is from a photo I took outside the Art Institute Chicago during our first night there. Walking around the city at night was a memory I feel privileged to have and wanted to be sure to capture the memory in my sketchbook. Since I don't like using pencil using the wash and ink or fast and slow technique by blocking out the basic images in color using watercolor before drawing. That served as my guide when I slowly drew everything I could see. There are a couple of slightly wonky areas but overall I am quite pleased to have this image in my sketchbook. This is my favorite drawing of the week. Thank you Sketchbook Skool for the technique to tackle such a complex image and the focus to keep going and finish it. 

A lot of drawing and a little text. This is how I will remember my life.

A lot of drawing and a little text. This is how I will remember my life.

Travel Journal Sketchbook

Back from vacation with a sketchbook half filled with drawings that I did during our travels. I manged to draw every day, sometimes a little sometimes a lot. A great vacation and we have lots to help us remember it forever. Cedar Point, Columbus, Chicago and family all in my sketchbook. Not wanting to switch gears with it completely now that I am home and fill it with random sketches I have decided to continue it with the theme and fill it with memories, mementos and ideas that come from the trip. Using various souvenirs and photographs that we brought home with is for drawings will quickly fill the rest of the pages. Hopefully!

A journal spread that I worked on after we got home. 

A journal spread that I worked on after we got home. 

Ideas:

  1. Pets (Yuna, Abby, Lizzy the shy kitty, the three legged cat and Maeby).
  2. Favorite roller coasters
  3. Weekend trips
  4. Family Trees
  5. statue gardens
  6. The Art Institute Lions
  7. Pizza
  8. pool portraits
  9. Travel Map
  10. Cake pops for Charlotte

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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Fighting off the Darkness

Every morning I wake up and say to the darkness: "Not today, you can't have me today." But I feel the anxiety and depression lurking around the corner all the time. These are emotions that have completely mentally crippled me and almost destroyed me a handful of times. They are as much a part of me as my brown hair and brown eyes at this point in my life. It is something that I have to actively combat. Vacation should help but it mostly stresses me out as I anticipate everything that could go wrong. But I do eventually start to relax and feel less anxious and have a good time. Now I am pretty relaxed and hopeful as we head home, I just need to work hard to maintain this feeling and keep the darkness at bay.

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Leave on a high note. Done with Disney!

We are all pretty done with this busy vacation and wanting to go chill out at home before heading back to school, work and chores. And home is a two day drive away. So we packed it in early and packed up and I spent some time relaxing with my sketchbook just filling pages with drawings and writing and we are heading home early. A vacation is supposed to be rejuvenating not exhausting and leave one primed for new more creative work. That is why when the girls showed little interest in going back to the Magic Kingdom for a fifth and final day we decided to follow their cue and pack it in and head home early. No rush to leave or get home just take our time and enjoy the journey. No pressure to meet actresses dressed as cartoon characters. A short shop in Savanna instead maybe? We have time and my studio and some inspired art making are waiting for me. See you there!

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Vacation: We're Going to Disney! (again)

How did I become the type of person that enjoys Disney World? My family went last year and I was more excited about the sunshine than about the park. I left saying while we had fun I wanted to wait at least two years before going back because I didn't want to go with a three year old. But as the year went on I softened. A few short years from now the kids won't be interested, but for now it is magical. I am excited to go back to Disneyworld! And excited about the sunshine. Filling my sketchbook with doodles of the sleeveless dresses I am going to wear. I am going to bring my sketchbook with me and come back with all sorts of interesting drawings whenever I have the chance. 

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New York Twinkle

Christmas may be over but the holiday decorating is huge here in New York and there is so much sparkle for me to enjoy. Mild sunny weather and a great time walking around looking at the lights and the holiday spectacle. The crowds are a bit much for me. No way I could do New Years Eve in Manhattan. The thought makes my blood run cold. But this is just right and such a treat right now. Very lucky to be here.

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Mini-Vacation!

Going on a trip this weekend to NYC by myself to see this show and so much more. My family will be staying behind and while I will miss them and call every night I am going to enjoy myself doing adult childfree things for three days. Oh and taking the train! The reading. The quiet. The headphones. So great! Really looking forward to this spur of the moment trip and spending time alone and with friends and great art.

The Goldfinch by Fabritius

The Goldfinch by Fabritius

Jury Duty

I have Jury Duty on Wednesday and we are trying to get our favorite Parents in a Pinch babysitter here otherwise Jon will stay home with the kids. I'm actually looking forward to spending the day away from the children and my responsibilities at home and getting some reading done. As long as I don't get picked and it is just the day it should be nice. Jon's parents will be visiting on Thursday and Friday and offered to watch the kids those days if I have to serve but those days are very busy and I would like to be home and not on a jury during their visit. But right now Wednesday is sounding a bit like a vacation that I pretty clearly need. I just starting reading The Goldfinch and could use some quiet time to read and sketch. If the weather is nice I can bike to the courthouse. A day away from my little princess on Wednesday is starting to look pretty nice after this weekend of craziness.

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