I've mentioned this before, but I just love recycling old designs to create something new. Here are two current examples of that.
A few years ago I drew this Sandhill Crane.
Well, this past month I traced that crane in Affinity Designer on my iPad and created a coloring sheet out of it. Here’s a sneak peak of that. It’s my first coloring page that is a vector rather than a raster image. (And if you’re my newsletter subscriber, you’ll be getting a free download of this soon!)
With the crane, I made a coloring page design from an older art print design. Now, I'm working opposite -- turning a coloring page design into an art print.
Here is the original reef fish coloring page. I drew it just a few months ago.
And then here is an in-process pic of where I'm at with creating an art print out of the design.
I just love those reef fish, because they take me back to snorkeling in Maui.
I thought I’d take a moment here and celebrate patterns.
I’ve always enjoyed drawing patterns. When I really started diving into my own artistic practice, I was carried along by patterns.
A pattern helps me feel grounded and safe. I decide on the design elements, and then just repeat and repeat and repeat.
Then in 2019 I learned the magic of creating patterns that seamlessly repeat, which means when you repeat the pattern, you can’t tell where it begins and ends. Seamless.
Now, anytime I create a new design I like the added challenge of turning it into a pattern. Like these cherry blossoms I wrote about in my last blog post.
Next I want to create a pattern from my Reef Fish design.
Spring time has been blooming around here (Portland, OR) this past month. Even though we oddly had snow this week, there still so much more sunshine than usual and lotsa lovely flowers, with new ones blooming every week.
Some of the earliest bloomers are the cherry blossoms. By this time, almost all their petals have fallen, but for a few weeks they were simply magical. I decided to do some cherry blossoms for my free printable coloring page last month (sent out to my newsletter subscribers, but also available here in Etsy)
I didn’t invent this design from scratch. I pieced it together from two older drawings, one of which was a tattoo design (the one on the right).
I love not reinventing the wheel.
After making the coloring sheet, I’ve still been playing with the new cherry blossom design. This one I’m going to make available as an art print.
And now I’m playing with the elements to make a repeat pattern. It’s a work in progress.
Even though the real cherry blossoms have lost their flowers around here, they still live on in my pen. 😌
You know me, I love to draw. And usually on my iPad. That's my comfort zone for my personal art-making.
Well, I was recently asked to lead a group of girlfriends in a watercolor class in my art studio (aka Bright Art Studio, my art education business). I hadn’t worked in watercolor in awhile, so I took a couple of Skillshare classes to refresh myself and get ideas for what we should do. I ending up having a lot of fun preparing for the class and thought I’d share some of the paintings on today’s post.
First we painted some simple, patterned landscapes. I was isnpired by this Skillshare class taught by Ewa Kleszcz. I thought this was a fun warm-up project for our class.
Then we played with some some wet-on-wet watercolors techniques by painting misty pine forests, which I had learned in this Skillshare class taught by Jana Raninis.
I actually would like to play around with this technique more. It was a lot of fun.
I definitely got out of my comfort zone with this class — teaching grown-ups, and teaching watercolor. But I’m happy with the results.
And now I’m not so regretful that I forgot to cancel my Skillshare membership and it I renewed for another year. Oops. I better try to make the time to learn lots now.
Back in 2018, I published my first coloring book, Beautiful Bugs. Since then I’ve had the personal goal of publishing a second, ocean-themed book. Slowly I’ve been widdling away at drawing the pages. (My monthly commitment of sending printable coloring pages to my newsletter subscribers has helped me with this). Well, last week I finished my 15th and final ocean coloring page. If you’re on my mailing list, this will be familiar to you (if you’re not, you can download it via my Etsy shop).
I still have to work on a cover and title page, and then format it to print — but I’m super excited! I feel proud of all the drawings and am excited to have it in my hands. I'm still deciding on a title for the book that's not totally cheesy. Sea Magic? Ocean Wonders? The Awesome Ocean? Marine Magic? I don't know!
Here’s a little preview of some of the pages. If you’ve been following me for awhile, these will be familiar to you.
Ok, done patting myself on the back. Now here is a picture of a silly bear Ransom and I saw at the zoo this morning.
If you scroll through my "art" page, you can see that I just seem to be gravitating towards sweet animals lately. Such as this sweet baby beluga.
And my Valentine's Day 2022 design.
That's just a thought.
Here's some more thoughts. Things I accomplished in my little art business in 2022 . . .
That last bullet point is why this blog has become so quiet. And why I am sending out less newsletters. Because now I have a second blog and a second newsletter list. My goal is to blog once a month on each website, and send one newsletter a month for each group (one for my own art, and one for my Bright Studio peeps). Phew. We'll see how that rhythm works out as time goes by.
It's actually been kind of nice to put less pressure on my own art making to bring in sales. I still enjoy running my Etsy shop and developing new designs and patterns, but since the art classes are doing well, I'm not concerned about turning my own art into a full-time gig. There is less weight
I'm excited to see what 2022 will bring.
December is one of my favorite times of years. I just love the Christmas season. And now Ransom is old enough to really get into all the movies, decorations, and anticipation,so that makes it all extra magical.
Every year since 2015 I've created a Christmas design. I thought it would be fun to peek back and see where I've been. So here we go.
I hope those seven images brought you some Christmas cheer! I think my favorite is still the alpaca. Which is your favorite?
It’s November. Thanksgiving is next week. I should be sharing cozy holiday things with you. But I just can’t right now.
Because at the moment I’m sitting on a couch in shorts and a tank top with the sound of waves crashing coming in through the window. And because of the time change, I’m getting up early enough to see this every morning.
The Maxwells are in Maui 😎
So instead of sharing something cozy, here is the Hawaiian state bird I drew a few years ago — the nene. It’s a type of goose.
A couple of days ago we learned about the state fish, the humuhumunukunukuapuaa. AKA the reef trigger fish. We saw some swimming around a coral reef while touring in a semi-sub (part boat, part submarine), and later that same day I saw them while snorkeling at Napili Bay.
I feel like we bonded, so that’s what I’m drawing next.
I’ve started to split my time between my own art making and a new creative endeavor, Bright Art Studio. I turned our lower level spare room into a studio, and have started teaching classes for preschool-elementary aged kids. If you aren’t local to Portland but still want to follow along, I have a blog just for the studio where I’ll detail some of our projects and point you towards resources and inspiration for creating art with your own family.
I’m still trying to figure out how to best organize my time — to balance working on developing and planning for classes, while also working on my personal art business (not to mention my most important job title — Mommy).
I still hope to pop into this blog once a month (used to be twice a month). Today I want to dump a bunch of Merry Manatees on you. This sweet guy is my holiday 2021 design and is available in all manner of products. Here are some of my favorites. (I’m sharing this with you now, before Halloween, so you can be prepared and not have to worry about inevitable shipping delays and supply chain issues as Christmas gets closer. AKA If you see something you love, order it now!. Click on the picture to get more info.)
And I'll end with one more cozy image, more matching this season.
Earlier this summer I finished the above tattoo design, and just couldn’t leave it. Being a book lover myself, I love an opportunity to create bookish designs. So I tweaked it a bit to create this, which you can grab as an art print in my Etsy shop (and soon a sticker!)
It made me reflect on my other book-y drawing. For instance, this one below was my first and still one of my best-selling designs. I remember drawing it in my sketchbook at a coffee shop about 5 years ago. It's still my bud.
And this next I created in Procreate last winter. I remember working on this when there was snow on the ground (which is rare here in Portland, Oregon) and sitting with Ransom on the couch, watching Dino Dana.
I’m surprised I don’t yet have a book pattern. Bookish wrapping paper sounds like a lovely idea.
Here’s some fun book wrapping paper I found on Society6 . . .
Have you read any good books lately?
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.