A Look Inside My Sketchbook

Hi there. How are you?

Summers are busy around here, and I haven't had much time to work in my studio lately.  If I don't get my art fix, I get pretty crabby, so I've had to make away from my studio.

I've been channeling all of my creativity into my sketchbook, which comes with me everywhere I go.

Care to have a look inside?

A stars & stripes themed sketchbook drawing that I finished on the 4th of July.

A stars & stripes themed sketchbook drawing that I finished on the 4th of July.

Stars & Stripes Forever

Stripes have been popping up in my sketches lately.  I like the way they play against the organic forms that I naturally draw.

The finished version of a sketch that I started and abandoned earlier this year.

The finished version of a sketch that I started and abandoned earlier this year.

Months in the Making

I started and abandoned this drawing months ago. (See the earlier version HERE.)  After a lovely fan left an encouraging comment on my blog, I decided to finish it up.  I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, and my fan was too. (She bought a print! Thanks Lisa!)

A ballpoint sketch in an elegant emerald green.

A ballpoint sketch in an elegant emerald green.

An Elegant Emerald

I'm usually really drawn to the yellow-green pen my set of 8 Bic Crystals, but this emerald green was calling to me. There's a real elegance to this color that I'm totally digging right now. You'll probably see more in this color soon.

Adding a little pop of pink really brought this sketchbook drawing to life.

Adding a little pop of pink really brought this sketchbook drawing to life.

A Pop of Pink

I decided to use pink sparingly in this composition. I like how it adds a little variety to the composition, instead of it being the same all over.

I'm planning on designing a 2018 calendar and you'll most likely see some of these sketches as backdrops for the pages. Stay tuned my friends.

Want a Print Made?

If you're fond of my sketches do head on over to my shop. I've made a small collection of prints from my most favorite sketchbook pages.

Don't see what you're looking for?

I'd be happy to make one special for you. Just get in touch!

Until next time. Ciao!

2017 Studio Tour

Hi there. How are you?

I'm really lucky. I have a lovely, functional, and spacious home studio. Back in 2013, my very handy husband, set out to turn two basement bedrooms into a dreamy art studio. See the early renovation snaps HERE and the studio in it's final finished form for HERE.

After 3.5 years of heavy use, I thought it would be fun to again photograph my studio, to see how things have held up, and how I'm currently using the space.

The big island is the best.

As you walk into the studio, you are greeted by a 4ft x 6ft island workspace. It's a big, stand-up desk, and I love it!  It hardly ever looks this clean...It's usually a dumping ground of stuff. I spent a couple of hours cleaning everything up for these pictures, and I'm trying hard to keep it in it's current pristine space. It's so much more fun to be in here when it's all picked up and pretty.

Built in Storage

The island has some great built in storage, that's been heavily utilized. My flat file drawers are a little worse for the wear (notice a new bottom drawer and one with a missing face.) I keep all of my most necessary and most used materials on this side of the island, as it's closest to my computer and drawing table. 

Attaching the power strip to the island was a brilliant Matt move. It gets used all of the time.

Attaching the power strip to the island was a brilliant Matt move. It gets used all of the time.

Attaching the power strip to the island was a brilliant Matt move. It gets used all of the time, especially when I'm charging a dozen iPads for work.

The Command center

I spend the majority of my time in the studio right here. The built in desk is 8.5 feet long, but often feels crowded with those two printers. (One is really just used as a scanner. Hoping to upgrade that soon!)

Over the years, I've decorated the space with interesting things I've collected. As I spend so much time here, I like to have things to look at as I work. Eventually, I'll fill all the space in on that back wall.

My newest acquisition on the wall is this tiny watercolor that my great grandmother made for my grandmother on her birthday in 1952.

My newest acquisition on the wall is this tiny watercolor that my great grandmother made for my grandmother on her birthday in 1952.

My Newest Acquisition

My newest acquisition on the wall is a tiny watercolor that my great grandmother made for my paternal grandmother on her birthday in 1952. I never met my great-grandmother (she passed long before I was born) and I had no idea she made art. Such a treasure!

Also pictured here is a childhood portrait of my husband Matt and a dino wall hanging I made with teens at the library a while back

I used to do the majority of my drawing here. Now it's mainly a storage area for my stupid huge pen collection.

I used to do the majority of my drawing here. Now it's mainly a storage area for my stupid huge pen collection.

The Drawing Niche of Yore

I used to spend a lot of my drawing time right here. Honestly, I do most of my drawing upstairs on the couch now, so this spot doesn't get much use. It's just been a storage area for my ridiculously large collection of pens that are tucked away in the bags, boxes and tubes seen here.

I used to be a painter. It was my first real art love. Now, I'm too impatient for it. Maybe someday I'll go back to it.

I used to be a painter. It was my first real art love. Now, I'm too impatient for it. Maybe someday I'll go back to it.

The Painting Niche of Yore

Matt and I both used to paint and as seen here,  we each have our own easels. The paintings here are both mine, and were done about two summers ago, when I got the itch to paint again. It didn't last long, and they've been sitting there with my dried out palette ever since. Maybe, I'll go back to it again someday. Maybe.

So Much Storage!

The back half of the studio is used for storage. There is open storage for packing supplies, inventory and odds and ends that I like to have quick access to. There's also a lot of old paintings of both mine and Matt's. (His are the huge ones!) In the far back corner of the studio, we have a wall full of storage closets. Not pictured: the mess of stuff that these closets hide!

I have a thing for chairs. Even broken ones I guess. I can't seem to get rid of these.

I have a thing for chairs. Even broken ones I guess. I can't seem to get rid of these.

My Chair Graveyard

They're both broken and honestly, I don't know why they're still sitting here. I just can't seem to part with them yet.

Studio mascot that both frightens and delights.

Studio mascot that both frightens and delights.

Our Studio Mascot

I have no idea where this lil' devil came from. Matt hung it up on the peg board when we were setting up the studio, and it's been hanging there ever since. A young visitor to our studio told me that this looked like a devilish version of the "Elf on the Shelf."

Kid art wall of fame.

Kid art wall of fame.

Kid Art Wall of Fame

When the young ones in my life make me art work, I've taken to hanging it on the wall here.

Interlocking foam tile flooring is an inexpensive and comfortable solution for a studio floor.

Interlocking foam tile flooring is an inexpensive and comfortable solution for a studio floor.

Comfy Foam Flooring

The interlocking foam tile flooring has held up like a champ and is very comfy to stand on. It was a perfect, thrifty solution for our basement studio.

A collection of things that I've somewhat artfully arranged in my studio.

A collection of things that I've somewhat artfully arranged in my studio.

A Corner Vignette

I've been slowly building this eclectic vignette over time. Some things,  like the The "scandi" style prints, old metal cabinet and scissors I've picked up at yard sales and antique stores. The circus print is Matt's and badly needs to be framed. The owl key hook came from my maternal grandma's house, and the kokopelli pin was my paternal grandmothers. (Both of my grandmas passed last summer at ages 89 and 94. I've got some serious longevity genes folks!) It feels nice to have these little reminders of my beloved grannies nearby.

And there you have it.

I hope you've enjoyed this glimpse into my happy place. Until next time. 

Ciao!

I Gave Myself a Break

Hi there. How are you?

Me? I'm much better.

I very much appreciate all of the support and encouragement I received after my previous post.

My slump didn't last long. I did one very simple thing to get me out of it.

I gave myself a break.

Since January, my primary goal has been to design a new line of wholesale goods (cards, prints, calendars, tea towels, etc.) that I can pitch to retailers. I set out to make 10 new cards featuring my current abstract pen drawings as well as designing 2 new calendars and some new tea towels. 

For a while, I made really great progress towards that goal. Despite the fact that I have been steadily designing new products since then, I'm still not done and haven't even begun to lay out a new catalog. There never seems to be enough time.

Or maybe my heart wasn't really in it.

After my vacation meltdown, I decided to put wholesale aside (at least for a time).

I also put aside my sketchbook and went for a big 12" x 18" format. I picked up my trusty Bic and went to work. (Yep, even after all my searching and experimenting with other pen brands, Bics are still my most favorite.)

After struggling in my sketchbook, I decided to go big and start a 12" x 18" drawing with my trusty Bic pen.

After struggling in my sketchbook, I decided to go big and start a 12" x 18" drawing with my trusty Bic pen.

Pretty quickly, the work started to flow.

I had so much fun working on this drawing that I even recorded a short video of the process. Unlike the others, this one is in real time, so you can really see my technique.

Working large helped too.

There was more room to experiment and move. I was back in my happy art place, making work I was pleased with. It doesn't look forced, but instead free and flowing. This I where I want to be.

After fleshing out the composition with green, I added in some black to enhance the depth. At this point, it's just about complete.

After fleshing out the composition with green, I added in some black to enhance the depth. At this point, it's just about complete.

I want to be making original work, not a stationery line.

When I dream of my future as an artist, I see work in galleries, not at the National Stationery Show. I started working towards a wholesale line when my success selling work at art fairs started waning. I've seen other people be very successful with wholesale home goods and thought that might be the way to go for me as well. Unfortunately, I've never been completely satisfied with the cards/pillows/etc that I was making.

I still don't know how I'm going to do sell and market my original work.

All I do know is that I am enjoying the process of making again.

I'm going to think less and draw more, and see what comes of it for a time. My tentative goal is to make and frame enough new work to hang a solo exhibition at a local space. (Or maybe even in our house!)

I appreciate you following along in my journey.

Ciao.

 

How Drawing on Vacation led to a Vacation from Drawing

Hi there. How are you? 

I just arrived home from vacation again. (It's been a pretty awesome spring!) This time, we were in South Carolina, staying just steps from the beach.

The beach for me, is inspiring and relaxing. There's a sense of calm that I feel there like no where else. And usually, spending time at the beach leads to some good art making.

The beach for me, is inspiring and relaxing. There's a sense of calm that I feel there like no where else. And usually, spending time at the beach leads to some good art making.

The beach for me, is inspiring and relaxing.

There's a sense of calm that I feel there like no where else. And usually, spending time at the beach leads to some good art making.

Drawings made in spring 2016 while vacationing at the beach.

Drawings made in spring 2016 while vacationing at the beach.

I was prolific at the beach last year.

Last year, while staying at this very same place, I woke up every morning and went right to my sketchbook. I made a drawing a day. They just seemed to flow out of me. I was relaxed and in the zone, and it showed in my work.

As our beach trip approached this year, I was looking forward to some serious sketchbook time.  I'd been in sort of a slump in the past few weeks, so I was hoping some beach time would get me out of it.

This year, vacation drawing felt like work.

My attempts at drawing while at the beach this year were less successful than last year. 

My attempts at drawing while at the beach this year were less successful than last year. 

I started the top half of this drawing before I left for the beach.

I was excited about where it was headed and thought I was on the path to something cool. I continued work on it while on vacation, and ugh. The part I added didn't really match what was going on at the top. I thought about trudging on, but I didn't see anything good coming from it.

So, I decided to start over.

Instead of continuing on with my first drawing, I decided to start over. Again the results were lackluster.

Instead of continuing on with my first drawing, I decided to start over. Again the results were lackluster.

I really wanted to make this color scheme work (it's one of my faves) so started a new drawing with a similar motif. Again, I just couldn't make myself finish it. As I look at this now, I could probably salvage this one, but I'm not sure I want to.

vacation-sketchbook-drawing-blue.jpg

I started over yet again.

This time, I gave up on the green/pink color scheme and just started drawing. As I've said time and time again, I do my best work when I'm relaxed and just go with the flow. I tried to do that here, until the drawing started to look like a face and I couldn't look at it any more.

A drawing I made while on vacation. This one was going somewhere...To bad my darn pen ran out of ink.

A drawing I made while on vacation. This one was going somewhere...To bad my darn pen ran out of ink.

Using my trusty blue Bic, I attempted one more drawing.

This one was going smoothly. I was feeling confident and drawing felt easy. I was on my way to regaining my drawing mojo.

Then, my pen ran out of ink.

I wanted to keep going, so I switched to the maroon. The Pentel maroon didn't go on as smoothly or feel as good in my hand as the Bic did. On top of that, it kept "throwing up" blobs of ink. Of course, that got me frustrated and I started to lose my mojo. In my eyes, this one started to look overworked, so I decided to leave it as is.

Just like the Cubs at the moment, I'm off my game.

I'm not enjoying the process and it all seems forced. I've got no confidence. I feel so much pressure.

That pressure is killing the work.

I put a ton of pressure on myself to succeed. I feel pressure to keep up this blog, to regularly post on social media, to make new products that people will want to buy, and to sell the ones I already have. I feel a constant need to perform, and for what? Likes, comments, and follows? There certainly hasn't been much financial gain in the work I've poured myself into this year. 

How am I going to make this artist business thing work?

I have no solid direction, I don't know what to do next, and I don't see a clear path to success. I'm frustrated and sad. I feel like I'm spinning my wheels and wasting my time. I feel guilty for not pulling my weight in this family financially.

I share this all with you not because I want your pity, but because it feels good to me to get it all out. I know you're supposed to "fake it till you make it" and maybe I'll regret this post in the future, but for now, I just wanted to let you into how I am feeling.

I've been here before.

It must be a spring thing. (I wrote about my spring frustrations in both 2016 and 2015.) I know I can get myself out of this hole. I'll just take some time and some thought.

Instead of letting this need to succeed eat me alive, I'm going to take a step back and access.

Don't worry, I'll keep you in the loop.

Ciao.

Vacation Inspired Art

Hi there. How are you?

florida2017.png

We recently returned home from a lovely 10-day vacation.

Traveling to Tampa, Florida, Matt (my husband) and I embarked on a 5-day cruise with a group of old friends. We witnessed the beach wedding of our friends while docked in Key West. (Matt served as officiant!) From there we headed to Cozumel, and back to Tampa.

After the cruise, we drove down to Naples, Florida and spent a few relaxing days visiting Matt's parents in their winter home.

Ten days of sun, sea, and leisure does wonders for my psyche.

In the words of my Dad, "It didn't suck."

My vacation drawing was influenced by the tropical color palette of my travels.

My vacation drawing was influenced by the tropical color palette of my travels.

Our tropical travels inspired this drawing.

My sketchbook comes with me everywhere I go, especially on vacation. Though this trip was packed with activity, I did manage to get in a little drawing time. I drew out by the pool on cruise days and in the Schooner bar when we had our pre-dinner cocktails. If I don't get in a little drawing most days, I just don't feel right.

As you can see, the tropical colors of my travels inspired the "bird of paradise" color scheme. I had intended to use this drawing as the backdrop for a new card design, but I haven't decided how to use it yet. (Thoughts?)

My vacation drawing is available as a print. Click through to purchase.

My vacation drawing is available as a print. Click through to purchase.

My vacation drawing is available as a new 8" x 10" print.

Here's the print, shown mocked up in a frame. Doesn't it look sharp? This print, along with several others is now available for sale on my website. These vibrant, abstract prints are sure to give a little pop of personality and color to your space.

That's all for now. I've gotta get busy making! Ciao.