Well, technically it never left, exactly. It just wasn’t here.
If you follow me on Instagram you know that I never stopped making art over the last year. There was a significant lull from August to December-ish. Part of that was due to illustrating a book for a dear friend, Vince Costa. I couldn’t manage any more brain space than that! Towards the fall it was sheer exhaustion and keeping one’s head above water, as Elliana steadily deteriorated and was just not sleeping well, which meant I wasn’t sleeping well.
I kept drawing and painting as time allowed, but not in any significantly formal way. I picked up my 365 Handbook project again sometime mid-March, and finally filled in the second of the two Handbooks. If I had kept to the original intention, I would have filled up six of those little sketch books in one year, but that clearly didn’t happen. I’m happy with the two I have now. I don’t know that I’ll return to that project ever again, but it gave rise to such fertile ground for further explorations.
I got a bit sidetracked after I finished the Handbook project on my watercolor work, because the sketch book I chose that was supposed to handle wet media profoundly did not. Oh the bleed! The muddiness! The wrinkling! It was awful. I had made my choice oh so carefully because of my limited finances and was so disappointed when it turned out so bad and wouldn’t be fit for watercolor or gouche at all. I resigned myself to having to use it for awhile. Funny thing, though. It was perfect for charcoal and pencil work. And would you know it? All of the sudden, these little characters came pouring out on the page. These old-timey ladies and gents. They’ll come for a visit next week, but you can see them over on Instagram. Somehow, I can’t help but think that the sketch book snafu was the best thing to happen to my art process lately. I had no idea these people lived in my head!
Thanks to my brother’s kindness, I was able to purchase another sketchbook for watercolor, and I chose the Handbook Journal Co. Watercolor 8 x 8. I should have known after using the smaller 4 x 4 Drawing ones for my 365 project. They were meant for charcoal and pencil work, and they held up to all sorts of media throughout the project, even when they weren’t intended for it. The Watercolor is dreamy. It takes the media so beautifully. I am itching to get to work in it! I never thought I’d have two sketchbooks going at one time, or have a billion more ideas for both sketchbooks than I’ll ever get time to do in them, but Glory! What a wonderful ‘problem’ to have.
I told you yesterday of my intense artist’s crush on Breezy Brookshire. I have been following her for ever so long, all the way back to the olden blog days. She is self-taught, and it was her illustrating style that I first fell in love with. There’s a direct line between my ever starting an art pursuit and Breezy’s work. She inspired me so much! Without her, I wouldn’t be here, three years into pursuing art and illustration. I still have such a long way to go, but the journey is so much fun.
The other artist that I just discovered this week via Jeanne Oliver is Mish Wooderson. I am falling head-long down the rabbit hole of her IG feed and blog! I love the sense of rootedness and place you get from her work. It’s making me think. I love her decorating style too.
I’d love to see what you’ve been up to lately! Share in the comments. It doesn’t have to be “art” either- poetry? Good bread? A delicious steak? A cozy corner? I wanna see!
I have quite a bit of catching up to do now that the move is finally over, don’t I? I was able to keep sketching a bit but just finally got to paint in the last few days. I also have been playing with a new lettering pen. I wanted to capture the spirit of my old neighbourhood before I left it with this sketch, though the colours of the actual neighbourhood are a bit more subdued. Artistic license! 😉(57/365)
My parents had the funniest little bird sculptures in their front garden. I knew I had to bring their funny little faces and long, long legs to life in a sketch! They still make me giggle just looking at this page. (58/365)
This quote has taken on more meaning for me than I could ever give words to; I also basically sobbed through the entire second half of the audio book version a few weeks back. I don’t recommend listening to it while driving. 😉 It is fitting this one lands here during Holy Week, on Holy Wednesday, the Feast and Sacrament of Holy Unction. (59/365)
I keep playing with cloudscapes. The 365 practice definitely keeps me stretching. Loved how the sky turned out; could have passed on the landscape. Practice, practice. (60/365)
I didn’t plan it this way, but the quotes are lining up so neatly with Holy Week. On Good Friday, in the dark, we look forward to the Hope. (61/365)
These birds keep showing up. (62/365)
If you remember my little girl dreaming of spring from a few weeks back- she has discovered that it has sprung! (63/365)
I remember when I sketched this; it had been so frigidly winter cold and then one day it was finally warm. I remember standing outside and just basking in the warmth, like a cat. (64/365)
I sketched this the day we found out we were moving; a little country house down a country road from the echoes of my memory. (65/365)
I’ve finished my first full Handbook; 65 little 5 x 5 paintings. I had no idea where this little #365daysofpaint project was going to take me. It’s been such a delight and an eye-opening experience. I can’t wait to see where it takes me next.
Feb 21: I spotted Elliana laying on the sidewalk watching some ants today. It made me wonder what she was thinking, imagining this whole jungle of thoughts blooming behind her…which immediately made me think of the Anne quote. (52/365)
Feb 23: Preaching to my own heart. (53/365)
Feb 24: Who else was completely entranced by the Trappist-1 discovery yesterday? (54/365)
Feb 27: I may have gotten a wee bit sidetracked this weekend…whoops. Lenten roses (hellebores) seemed appropriate today. As Lent begins, I ask forgiveness for any hurt or slight I may have caused this last year. Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. (55/365)
Feb 13: I apparently have a thing for Wendell Berry lately, too. There are worse addictions.(44/365)
Feb 14: Unapologetically schmoopy today. (45/365)
Feb 15: I”blame” @mrs.amanda.c for this one. She was talking in her Stories about the dreary gray weather they’d been having and how she was going to soak in the rare sunshine today, and I swear the whole sketch came right to life in my head. ‘Dreaming of Spring’…See the little sprigs of green in the snow, and the robin returning? (46/365)
Feb 16: This quote…sheesh…One of the hardest things to do in this life. I had a lot of chances to test my skill at it this weekend and failed miserably. Thank goodness each day is new! (47/365)
Feb 17: Sometimes you don’t know what to say. So you paint.
Feb 18: It’s always fascinating where things head. I seem to swing wildly between highly detailed and evocative landscapes to very simple straight line, flat illustration. This was a house we drove by on a wandering drive on Saturday, but it is very much a sort of Virginia Lee Burton inspired rendition. 49/365
Feb 19: If there is anything this project teaches me consistently, it is to show up, make mistakes, and then walk away. I always learn something new. But the small size of it keeps me from feeling wasteful. (The bird was driving me nuts, and the more I tried to fix it, the worse it got.) I was listening to the On Being podcast with Maria Popova (Brain Pickings) while doing this one, and her quote about the bridge between cynicism and hope struck right to the crux of why I’m doing this project, wrestling. 50/365
Feb 20: I’m in a suspended waiting space for something, wrestling with time. The answer is right on the horizon and I just. have. to. wait. I’m not good at that. Rilke is talking me off the ledge of doing something stupid in the waiting. 51/365
The week kind of got away from me last week. I have so much to say but so little time to say it in at the moment. I promise more soon.
Feb 4: Josiah gives the best hugs. (35/365)
Feb 5: This one has been on my brain since Candlemas. Finally got it out on paper. (36/365)
Feb 6: Was feeling sort of relentlessly homesick tonight, trying to recreate what I used to see out the window at our very first house in that sort of flat Secret of Kells-ish animation style. I love how the clouds came out, though it’s hard to see in this late night lighting. Man those Tennessee hills. Miss ’em fierce. (37/365)
Feb 7: Watching Elly watching Lorelei is one of the true gifts in the world. I was so tired tonight but I wanted to capture the thought before it left me. I still have so much to learn about drawing faces. (38/365)
Feb 8: If there is any set of hills that call to me more than the Appalachians, it is their sisters in the Scottish highlands. I walk there often in my dreams. (39/365)
Feb 9: We are in the middle of Prince Caspian. I’m starting to feel as if I should put a warning on these audiobooks: “Don’t listen while driving!” You will be, at some point, completely overcome and tear up and struggle to drive straight at least once a book. Ask me how I know. This book especially- for a while only Lucy can see Aslan, and while Edmund can’t see Aslan, he trusts her, and they are walking the most dangerous cliff side path in the middle of the night because Edmund perforce drags Susan and Peter along. Anyone would be rightfully scared, especially when they can’t see Aslan. Aslan is speaking to Susan here just after this scene I painted- they all finally see him as they are crossing the river. Lucy would see Aslan at the top of this promontory and look on with hope. All the rest would see only the dreadful drop. “Are you brave again, daughter of Eve?” (40/365)
Feb 10: Two themes are consistently running through my sketches: celestial dark skies, and light- especially warm lanterns. And hills. And mountains. Hmmmm. This quote though. Sometimes we lose sight of what we’re fighting for and why. I needed the kick in the pants today. (41/365)
Feb 11: We embarked on a somewhat unexpected (but good!) adventure Saturday morning, so I missed posting yesterday. Catching up! (42/365)
Feb 12: We finished listening to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader yesterday as we were driving. It’s got everything you’d want in a sea story: pirates, treasure, dragons, daring sword fights… (43/365)
Also, by popular demand, the Practice Resurrection print is now in the shop in 8 x 10 and 5 x 7 sizes.