I enjoy making art with my son almost as much as making art on my own, and on this blog I like to share about both. This past Saturday, we were feeling crafty. Ransom loves ocean creatures, particularly sharks, but we'd made plenty of sharks already so we decided on an octopus. He's super inspired to make something when his project can become a "toy" when it's finished, rather than just a pretty picture.
So we pulled out our trusty paper plates (so many things you can make with paper plates!) and he painted one purple. After it dried, I drew the shape of its head and he cut it out. We used some streamers for tentacles (in a pattern -- he enjoys using patterns like his mama). Then we made it come to life with some googly eyes.
We thought we were finished after that, but oh we were just getting started.
We noticed the leftover paper plate was kind of like a headband. Why not decorate it with googly eyes? Everything is better with googly eyes.
Then Ransom decided this wasn't just a googly-eyed headband, this was an alien. Well, then the alien needed a body, so we pulled out another paper plate.
And taped on some pipe cleaners for hands and legs.
"Hey, it's also an alien costume!"
It so fun when our projects evolve into something totally different than what I first intended.
And check out his sweet drawings behind him on the fridge. Watching him draw and create just gives me so much joy!
Also featured on the fridge is a collaborative piece -- he turned my whale shark sticker into an ocean scene.
One of my bestselling designs for the past 6 years has been Oregon.
I thought it would be cool to do some other states in the same style, but just have never gotten around to it.
One of the things I love about selling on Etsy - selling directly to customers rather than using a third party like I do with Redbubble - is the ability to hear from the people who are buying my art. One customer asked me recently to create a Washington and Colorado sticker in the same style. I thought that was a great idea, so I dove in.
First I started working on my neighbor state, Washington. Like I did with Oregon, I decided to include the state bird (Goldfinch) and an iconic mountain peak (Mount Rainer). I also included the state flower (rhododendron) and other iconic things such as fir trees, ferns, and clouds -- all things that us Oregonians are also very familiar with.
Here are a couple of process pics followed by the finished design.
I'm really happy with how it turned out. The sticker isn't available yet, but will be soon.
Now I'm working on the Colorado design. It's coming along a lot quicker, since I feel like I have somewhat of a formula down now with state bird + state flower +iconic mountains +doodles.
Here's my initial sketch.
And a peak of me working on it this morning at Jola Cafe while Ransom was in preschool.
And of course now I want to rework my original Oregon design, because I drew it 6 years ago and so now find parts of it cringe-worthy...
But Oregon is indeed such a beautiful state. Yesterday we saw a lovely waterfall, played at the beach and were home by bedtime.
Yeah it was windy. And so lovely.
Last week, I got a head start in spring cleaning and participated in a portfolio refresh challenge put on by Elizabeth Silver. It was all about not reinventing the wheel when creating and seeing how I can make older stuff into something new. I looked through some old (and not so old) work and refreshed them a bit. I thought it would be fun to share all my before and afters.
First I took this old watercolor doodle I did probably 5 years ago, and turned it into a seamless repeat pattern.
Next I freshened up the colors in this wood slice pattern.
Finally, I turned my Easter Polar Bear Cub into a Birthday Polar Cub.
That little feller will be available as a birthday card shortly in my Etsy shop!
I could do lots more spring cleaning in my portfolio for sure. And in other places in my life and home . . .
I've been going a little pattern crazy lately.
I'm trying to grow/refine my portfolio by creating more collections -- a group of 6-10 patterns that exhibit the same theme and color palette. Only 1-2 of these patterns are complex, and the rest can be rather simple.
Here's the collection I've been working on. I used this potted plants pattern as a spring board...
I love the vibe and color palette of this pattern, so I figured it was a good design to spring a collection out of it.
Here's a peak at some of the other patterns I'm developing in this collection.
I actually really love constraints. Limiting myself to certain colors and themes is really freeing. I'm not sure when I'll declare this pattern collection "done," but not yet. There's lots more fun to be had within it.
I think the trickiest part will be giving names to all the designs! Titling artworks (and blog posts) is kind of a headache for me. I'm usually not very poetic about it and just call it like I see it. I'm thinking I see a "Dots in Lines" pattern and "Pinwheels" pattern up there.
I'd like to interrupt my regular posts regarding my own art and share some recent projects with my 4-year-old. Before being a stay-at-home-mom-artist, I taught elementary art for a couple of years. I like to tap into that part of myself and get artsy-craftsy with my preschooler.
I've found he's not as much into "process art" (creating just for the joy of creating without a certain plan in mind) but loves projects that involve creating a certain something that he's into. What he happens to be into now is sharks. So yesterday we dove head first into shark creation.
My plan was just to create a simple cute shark that I found on Pinterest -- one shark. I made the mistake of showing him my Pinterest board of all the shark ideas I had collected, so of course he wanted to make all of them....
Yesterday we settled on three, all involving paper plates, paint, cutting, and gluing. And he woke up again today wanting to make even more.
Thankfully the paint takes a few hours to dry, giving us a break in between steps.
He's loving learning about all types of sharks, so each creation is a different kind.
For instance, a great white . . .
A mako . . .
And a leopard shark is currently drying . . .
Needless to say our whole household is learning lots about sharks.
And there's snow and ice in the forecast, so I foresee lots more shark-creations in our near future.
Which reminds me! You can get in on the action too by coloring this bad boy, available as a printable in my Etsy shop.
Stay warm! I imagine a lot of you reading this are in for the same cold front we are!
In my last post, I shared about my latest design, and today I thought I'd reach back a few years and share about an older design. I don't love all my older stuff, but this one I still find charming.
According to Facebook, I drew this in my sketchbook on October 11, 2016. That's 7 days before Ransom was born! Back then I was only drawing with pen and paper, now I mostly use my iPad.
I was inspired to draw this because I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Stuff You Should Know, and the episode that day was about polar bears. I apparently found it super interesting and inspiring.
A few years later I turned this thoughtful polar bear into a coloring sheet.
And to close, here's a picture of the cutest little chef you ever did see, helping me me make some pizza last Friday.
The is my first post of the year so I gotta say it -- happy new year!
My first new design of 2021 is this cutie pie squirrel for Valentine's Day.
I created this from a sketch I did a few years ago. Here's a look at the original.
Then I of course had to make it into a repeating pattern. I think it turned out pretty cute.
I think I'll make one or two more patterns in this same series as well, using the same color scheme and feel. I started one this morning while Ransom was coloring.
In my Etsy shop, I will soon have a Squirrel Valentine's Day card available, so stay tuned for that! I also think the design would look nice in a nursery.
(I've been a little addicted to finding fun mockups lately. I got that cute bassinet one from Rocket Mockups on Etsy.)
Bring it on 2021.
I thought it was time for an Eye Candy post -- where I share some art I'm liking by other artists. This one is holiday themed of course. Christmas is a week away!
So I'll just stop talking and share some pretty things. If you like it too, click on the image to find out more.
That last one is my favorite. ;)
I thought I'd pop in today and share about some in-process projects.
Amidst shipping Christmas orders, I've been working on this house portrait for a parent from Ransom's school.
I've already blocked out the shapes--with the help of that grid--and now I'm going in and adding details. Bit by bit it will become a home.
Ryan snapped a pic of me working on it this afternoon next to our beloved Christmas tree.
Even though I haven't share about it in awhile, I also am still working on a personal project with a friend -- our first children's book. Yep, it's Finnegan. I'm adding in a few extra illustrations, and then will format it for self-publishing. Here are the latest two designs for the book, I won't give them any context (which is hard because I love contextualizing things). You'll just have to buy the book when it comes out.
I'll keep you posted when that happens.
I thought I'd take a break from talking about my own art and share some autumn art projects I've been doing with my son.
It's always hit or miss what he'll be interested in doing, so don't think we are just blissfully making art everyday together, but here are some sweet projects recently.
The fall colors here in Portland for the past month have been spectacular. We collected leaves around our neighbor and then made leaf prints by painting the leaf and then pressing it on to the paper.
The leaves were so lovely we decided to preserve them by laminating them and taping them to our big living room window.
They look so brilliant on the rare occasion when the sun is shining through them.
I wanted to keep the leaf fun going by painting around the leaves this time, but Ransom just wanted to paint.
With Thanksgiving just a week away, I plan on us making some hand turkeys soon, and creating some placements for the big day.
And THEN it's time for Christmas crafts! I can't wait for that.
I'll close by sharing this sweet snail mail tote bag, now available in my Etsy shop.
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.