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.
I don't know about you, but it's easy to for me to gloss past my own small wins.
I like to break big projects into little steps, and I think it's important to celebrate reaching those little milestones. I don't always do it, though. So here I am, doing that now in this blog post.
If you've been following along here for awhile, you know I've been working on a children's book with a friend of mine. She writes, I draw. For years I've been working on the illustrations on my iPad. I started the first character sketches when my three year old was an infant.
Around that time, I also learned how to draw using my iPad and the Procreate App. Working on the Finnegan illustrations has been a good project for me to fuel my self-education in digital drawing.
Long story short, about a month ago I finished the illustrations! I created 18 illustrations that tell the story of Finnegan's Fantastic Friday (that's the title).
And you know what I did when I finished them? Other than texting the author, nothing much. Not even a celebratory post on Instagram. I just moved on to my next project.
Well here I am, better late than never, telling you that I'm proud of myself for creating those 18 illustrations. I had never done anything like that before. I learned a lot, and I think they're pretty cute.
And they're going to get even cuter. I've since met with the author and we've decided to add a couple more pages and details. So "finished" wasn't really the right word I suppose... There's still a journey ahead, but a lot of it is also behind! I'll keep you posted, and try to be better at celebrating small victories.
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I usually share my own art process on this blog, but sometimes I interrupt my regularly scheduled program to share the art process of my three-year-old. This is one of those times . . .
This week has been a sick week. A yucky cold has been making its way around our family. Having a lot of time at home this week, Ransom and I were able to create some cute little Valentine’s Superheroes to give to his friends at school. We were inspired by these guys, which we made last month from a printable from Messy Little Monster.
We started the process on Sunday night, when the sickness began and Ransom had to stay home from church. I had him paint a few sheets of paper with red, blue, and white tempura paint. We used a paintbrush, roller and q-tips. He got really into it actually, which always warms my heart because art-making is not always his favorite activity. I think the papers on their own turned out really lovely.
The next day I cut out a lot of capes, hearts, and circles (for heads), while Ransom colored the “bodies” (aka popsicle sticks).
Next we glue! He lost stamina at this point, coloring and painting were his favorite. In reality, I did a lot of the gluing myself.
Ransom drew on all the faces himself — the mouth, nose, and hair. (As you can see in the top of the picture above.). I thought that gave it some toddler-charm. On the back of the capes I wrote a note “You’re super, [name]! Happy Valentine’s Day!” Today, which is actual Valentine’s Day, Ransom was finally well enough to go to school and so we got to distribute his superheroes. He attends a sweet little preschool co-op nearby.
As I said, creating art is not always Ransom’s first choice in activities (he’d rather jump off of things or play Ninja), so creating these little guys was pretty sweet for me.
Reduce, reuse, recycle. There is much wisdom in those three words.
I’m all about not re-inventing the wheel, so I love to reuse old designs and turn them into something shiny and new. I also enjoy the creative challenge it brings. For instance, a couple of years ago (April 2018 to be exact, thanks Facebook) I drew this chameleon in my sketchbook.
It was for a 100 Day Challenge I had embarked upon — to draw one animal everyday for 100 days. I still have sketchbooks full of animal drawings that I actually really like, but have not had time to scan and polish. This week, I pulled up my old chameleon friend and played with him on my iPad, mostly in the evenings while watching The Night Manager.
This is where we landed.
I’m please enough to call him finished.
It's a new year! A new decade even. But you already knew that.
You're going to roll your eyes at me, but yes I am already getting ready for Valentine's Day. Every holiday I like to have a fresh design. For Christmas I had my alpaca (everyone calls it a llama and I've just stopped correcting them), and this Valentine's Day I decided to go anatomical.
I didn't know where I was headed, at first I thought I wanted to go less cutesy and do something with a dinosaur and an anotomical heart... so I sketched out both.
I couldn't quite decide how the two should go together. So I've decided to save that T-Rex for another day and focused in on the heart.
I'm super close to being done with it. It ended up more on the cutesy side, but I'm enjoying it.
I hope to polish it up this week, and then have it available as cards and stickers and such very soon.
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.