This week has been all over the place, so I really didn’t play much this week. When I did, though, I’ve been interested in playing around with pattern ideas. I don’t think surface pattern design is anywhere in my future yet, but I like expanding my brain and my hand a completely different direction. I tell ya, if I was a the tattoo type, I’d legit have the pencil floral as a tattoo on my inside forearm. I haven’t finished up the sort of nordic pattern, either- just adding bits and pieces as I have a few minutes here and there.
I have a lot of sketches in the notebooks from the last few months, but it’s only been within recent days that I’ve been able to start painting them in. I love how there has been a trend of little flower fairies and gnomes lately. The three gnomes were a collaboration with my children last week: we were stuck waiting for something and they were bored and trying so hard to behave, so I showed them my “to paint” file. They picked out what to draw, and I drew as they watched. Later, they chose the colors. When we finished it, we realized it looked a lot like Ron, Harry, and Hermione, so the story goes that Ron cast a de-gnoming charm in the Weasley garden and it went a bit…sideways. Hence Harry’s look of shock. Hermione looks like she’s going to start giggling at the sight of them any second now…
The last piece this week was inspired by a larger print from the ladies at Common Place Quarterly. I can’t recommend the publication enough. I only had a few pennies to spare for “fun money”, and I cancelled everything else I had so I could keep this. Anyways, each issue comes with some lovely goodies, and this latest issue had a print of Psalm 46 in it. Verse five really stood out to me, so I wanted to pull it out and make a larger watercolor print of it.
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’ve been receiving a lot of questions, and I am excited and a bit scared to announce that I will be selling prints of some of my recent artwork. The Plumfield Collection will launch next Friday, October 15th, and there will be a fun giveaway next week, so stay tuned!
I am so pleased with this collection. Sketching and painting these brought me such happiness and peace, and I hope that you will enjoy them as much as I did making them. As I am working to prepare these for print, I am filled with wonder. I had no idea that these were all tucked away in my soul, waiting for a ray of sunshine. The path to this launch may seem very straightforward to the rest of you, but to me, I would not have imagined that I would be offering this. I had no idea! I am as pleased and excited as you are. The name, of course, is pulled from the delightful Little Men, which we were listening to on audio book during many of my painting sessions. It just seemed fitting to name the collection so. I think Aunt Jo would enjoy these small offerings.
Speaking of wonder, Kort has a wonderful series going this month called The Wonder Project. I was so inspired by her fall leaf mandala the other day that I think I want to try something similar in paint, soon!
The current works in progress for this week. I can feel a shift in my daily thought (and work) process, which is basically summed up in how fast can I get the rest of this stuff done so I can play? A thought process I did not think would be mine until the kids were grown and gone. It’s happening now, though, and it’s so lovely.
I find myself a bit tongue-tied as I try to explain what this new impetus to create is to me. It is a gift borne out of pain. I am who I am and I am creating what I am creating because of a profound stripping away. I was left with nothing, or so I thought- and out of the ashes, this was what was born. It belongs to me, entirely. No one can lay claim to it. This is a strange claim, I am sure. I claim it anyways.
I laughed pretty hard when I read that quote of Mark Twain’s the other day. We really try so hard to throw things out the window sometimes and then are alarmed at the results. I’m learning to coax this creating habit down the stairs one step at a time. I can feel a turn in the stairs this week- what is in my head is making its way to the page in a smoother manner, my technique is getting more consistent. I don’t feel like I’m taking one step forward and then four back. I’m generally moving the direction I’d like to go.
With it, I feel a piece of my soul has shifted back into right places, no longer a phantom limb. It’s going to sound crazy, but I can tell because I don’t care about the house chores anymore. I don’t think I ever quite realized how ‘taking care of the house’ was my coping mechanism, my way of controlling the uncontrollable during the storms- but now, crunchy floors going on three days? Who cares? I’ll get to it on Saturday. Playing and painting are winning out every day. There is a habit I can get behind!