I don't know what's going on with me and snails lately, but I've re-invented two old snail drawings in the past month. My "I Miss You" Snail, and now, my Christmas snail! I originally drew this little guy a few years ago
The original drawing is now hanging in my son's room. I re-drew him on my IPad, and he's now my Christmas 2020 design.
I hadn't originally planned to add words, but once I was finished with the design, I felt inspired to add some verbiage regarding Christmas being slow this year. Whether you like it or not, there will be a lot less going on this holiday season.
Pretty soon I will have this design available as cards in my Etsy shop. In the meantime, you can snatch up some cute snail wrapping paper on Society6.
Lotsa little snails, slowly getting ready for Christmas.
See all my available wrapping paper here.
Back in 2018, I published my first coloring book, Beautiful Bugs.
It was a learning experience, creating a self-published book. I'm still proud of it and still sell copies of it every month.
Ever since then I've wanted to publish another one. In between tattoo designs, turtle illustrations, and other flights of fancy, I have been s-l-o-w-l-y working on an ocean-themed coloring book. I thought I'd take this post to give a little progress report of it.
My original goal was to have 20 illustrations (my bug book has 12), but I've since decided to lower that bar to 15. So far I have seven, and am almost done with my eighth. As I draw them I make them available as printable coloring sheets in my Etsy shop (and if you're on my email list, you've received them as free downloads). Here's a look back at what's completed so far . . .
It's fun to see them all together like that.
The next one I'm working on is a shark.
I'm kind of just making it up as I go.
Do you have any ideas for what my next ocean-themed illustration should be?
In our new house, we have our own master bathroom, It's teeny tiny, but also so luxurious because we didn't have our very own toilet in our old place. Anywho, the view from my porcelain throne is this snail. I drew it years ago, from a photograph of a snail that I encountered on a hike.
Confession: when I frame my drawings for myself, I eventually get tired of looking at them. I start not liking them the more I look at them. They eventually end up in a closet because I don't want to look at them anymore.
This guy though, this guy I still enjoy looking at. And being where it is, I look at him a lot.
So I decided to pull him out again and spruce him up for a card design. I thought this card might resonate with people in 2020, wanting to reach out to loved ones.
I just ordered these from my printer, so sometime in the next month they will be available in my Etsy shop. I'll keep you posted.
(And now when you buy any card from me, you can choose to have me send it directly to your loved one with your greeting inside, hand-written by me. No extra charge. Saves you a stamp.)
And on an unrelated note -- man life is weird right now. It just keeps getting weirder. I'm in Portland, Oregon and can't be outside because of the smoke from nearby forest fires. The sun is orange. It feels apocalyptic.
Hope you're safe wherever you are.
I've been MIA here the past month due to a 10-day road trip my family and I got back from last week. We had sweet times exploring lovely spots in Central Oregon - playing in lakes, camping (and Airbnb-ing), hiking, driving.
The unfortunate side effect of time away from my blog is that it's harder to find something to say when I sit back down again. It's interesting, the more you create, the more you have ideas for what to create. The more consistently I write here, the more I have to say.
So this post is mostly just me trying to get back into my bi-monthly groove of blogging.
I have a lack of words, but here is my latest tattoo design commission. It's an "under boob" tattoo, which I hadn't heard of but means what it sounds like. First a process sketch, and then the finished product.
I had never done sunflowers before,I think it turned out nice.
I loved my last tattoo design so much that I put it in my Redbubble shop, so now it's available on lots of fun and useful products
Gosh, do you know there was a time when I avoided drawing flowers? All the petals and leaves just felt so monotonous. But now flowers are my bestsellers and I can't strop drawing them. I also love how drawing flower makes me notice them more in my daily life. I have an album on my phone of flowers that I see and want to draw eventually. All I do is keep adding to it though, I have yet to draw any of them.
Oh, except the white trillium a while back.
Once tattoo-design season slows down (summer) perhaps I'll draw some more just for fun flowers.
I like to follow other artists - because they create lovely things, and to get ideas for my own art business. Often when I read other artist's blog posts, they have these flower-y peom-like entries. Very artist-like, in my perspective. And the titles of their artworks are often equally poetic and thoughtful.
I think that's lovely, but I've never been able to muster up that kind of blog post or title my work with such flourish. These two designs, for example, are called "Carrot" and "Potted Plant." (And don't get me started on titling blog posts, I never know what to title these things.)
And my blog post are not poems, rather I enjoy talking about the technical process of creating my art and other things from my daily life.
This used to make me a little insecure - that I wasn't serious enough about my art, or artist-y enough. But reflecting on my personality has helped.
On the Meyers-Briggs personally assessment I think I'm a bit more of a Sensing person than an Intuitive person. Usually artists lean toward more the Intuitive type, which means they like abstract ideas and are often more idealistic and imaginative.
I definitely have aspects of that type. I'm not totally devoid of imagination and abstraction. But I do think I lean slightly more toward the Sensing type, which means focusing on concrete details, noticing things with my physical senses, and thinking more literally.
This really resonates with me in the way I create and think about my art. I relish the process and product of creating, rather than the philosophy behind it. My art doesn't really having some deeper concept or message I'm hoping to express. I just think it's really cool how lines on paper can turn into something lovely and interesting.
Reflecting on that and has helped me feel more free in the way I create and think. I can still be an artist without being the head-in-the-clouds stereotype.
But I can still enjoy drawing clouds.
It's been a weird week.
We had to put our dog, Akon, down on Monday evening. We knew it was coming, he wasn't really eating much or walking well, and he was old for a German Shepherd - eleven. Ryan took him to the vet because of the not eating etc. He got an ultrasound that same evening, revealing the bad going on inside him, and we put him down that night. It was expected, but also so quick.
Here is a recent picture of him; he plopped down in the garage after a walk around the block wore him out.
I'm glad he isn't hurting anymore, and frankly we were ready to not have a dog anymore to make life more simple (and less hairy and muddy).
But I've still been crying on and off this week. I wish I could do back to Monday night and pet him a little longer.
Interestingly, I've been working on a pet portrait for an Etsy customer (interesting because I rarely get pet portrait commissions). I finished it up yesterday, it was a double pet portrait of a bird and a dog. It was a fun challenge.
So of course now I want to draw Akon. I think I'll surround him with roses. Yesterday we got home to discover roses on the porch from Ryan's work. I think it would be nice.
He was such a good dog, I've never met one better.
I've been quiet on here all of May and most of June for good reason. We've moved! Most of my creative energy has gone into packing, moving, settling, selling and buying household items, getting our old house ready for tenants, etc. I'm finally starting to get out of the fog of moving enough to be able to focus a bit more time on my art business.
Thankfully my Etsy shop has not been quiet these last two months. Even just today I'm finishing up two tattoo commissions, which I thought I'd share the process about here.
The first is a single double daffodil. A mother wanted it to represent March, the month her son was born. Here's a couple of progress photos, from the initial sketch to the finished drawing. The inside of that flower sure was a puzzle.
And then just today I've been working on this design -- a cancer ribbon surrounded by some gladiolus flowers which symbolize strength.
Once I wrap that up, I'm going to start a pet portrait. This will only be my second one -- and will involve both a dog and a bird -- so it'll be a nice challenge!
Also, Ransom and I have been painting rocks today, which is a fun art project we can both get into. I'll have to post some pictures of the finished rocks once they dry.
My family and I have been taking a lotta walks lately. As dog owners, we have always been regular walkers, but this lock-down has taken it to a new level. Walking outside in the spring sunshine while oo-ing and aahh-ing over the spring blooms has helped keep us sane during the lock-down.
There's a lovely little park nearby that just consists of nature trails (and one playground that is currently off-limits). Surprisingly, Ransom has had a blast walking and running on the trails and has not constantly asked to be held. Its been really sweet. We even discovered an awesome tree-house, that I later found on Airbnb.
We also spotted these pretty trillium flowers.
We didn't know what they were at first and had to do some internet sleuthing when we got home. We only noticed them for about two weeks (if that, I honestly don't remember when we first spotted them) and now their time is gone. So I've started drawing one in my sketchbook.
Usually at this time of year we're starting to go on more hikes at epic places like Mt. Hood and the coast, but our life is smaller right now, closer to home. I'm thankful we have such beauty even in our own neighborhood.
That's all I really wanted to share. Just some simple walks and a simple sketch. I hope you can spot some simple joys today as well.
In my last post I share lots of fun little art projects I've been doing with my son during the lock-down. I don't anything like that to share today. This week he has decided he's done with art projects, and instead just wants to play superheros and fight bad guys all day. Sigh.
It was about a year ago that I received my first tattoo design inquiry. I've since completed eight floral tattoo designs for clients. It's been a fun and expected endeavor. In the past month I finished these two designs for clients.
I also heard back from a former client. She shared with me the finished product of her tattoo. Each flower represents the birth month of each of her children, with their names on the stems. It turned out lovely!
If you'd be interested in a tattoo design, you should know that right now my entire Etsy shop is on sale -- 20% through next Friday. That means your $30 deposit would be discounted. Just send me a message and let me know what kind of tattoo you want, and we can get the process started.
We're all stuck at home, and I thought I'd take a moment to share what that looks like in the Maxwell abode. I'd love to say I've had tons have time and motivation to create, but both have been lacking.
The reason I can't say that, though, is because I'm spending the majority of my time with my three-year-old. In the alternate reality where I do have tons of time to create, there is no Ransom. So really, I'd rather things be the way they are. Not a lot of drawing, and yes there's a lot of frustration, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
I spent the first two weeks complaining a lot about the fact that we're stuck at home. There is definitely something to be said for the value of venting, but I really want to try and savor this time rather than just wish it away.
So since I don't have a ton to share of what I've been making, here are some snapshots of what Ransom and I have been making together. (Also, side-note, I'm trying out using affiliate links with Amazon. That means if you happen to click on something on this post and purchase it, I get a little money. I thought I might as well try it out since I'd be sharing all this with you anyway.)
Green is Ransom's favorite color, so we've spent some time just free-painting with green washable tempera paint. Anytime I paint with him, I try to limit it to three colors so it doesn't all mix together and become brown. And I like to have white be one of those colors.
Ransom's preschool teachers have been sending him cute little activities to do everyday. This one was one of my favorite so far and he really enjoyed it. He watched a video of his teacher reading The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear, and then we made a shape mouse together. I cut out the shapes, and he choose the colors and did the gluing. The addition of googly eyes made it particularly charming.
We made a newspaper boat based on the book Curious George Rides a Bike (another suggestion from his preschool). The tutorial is here.
We've also sorted bottle caps and made a few pillow forts.
Of course, he's also watching plenty of Paw Patrol and Octonauts and throwing plenty of fits. It's not just peaceful afternoons full of painting and pillow forts.
If you have any other suggestions for fun three-year-old activities, send them my way!
I hope you're finding fun and creative ways to keep busy. And taking long naps.
A place to share the process. A space to be honest about the triumphs and trials of my daily life as an artist and mama. Writing motivates and refreshes me.