Studio Musings

Monday, April 8, 2019

One Week 100 People Challenge

I've already spent more time sketching this year than I have in the past several years combined.  In December urban-sketcher and instructor extraordinaire, Liz Steel, announced that she was going to host a new run through of her 12-week Foundations Sketching course.  I'd purchased the course several years ago, but only made it through the first four or so weeks, working on my own.   This run through was perfectly timed!  I love that she has both indoor and outdoor suggestions for each week. Her prompts meant that even when I was feeling my worst, I was still sketching. 

My everyday backpack, with Inktense pencils

another everyday item, following Liz's prompts to explore drawing visual texture

exploring different ways to suggest or detail visual texture
an extremely fast, 'while waiting for the bus', sketch

But you'll note there aren't any people in my drawings.  I hate sketching people!  I feel really uncomfortable, I don't do it well, especially faces, and it simply feels awkward. When I do draw people in a scene, they tend to end up looking like this. 

notice something missing?  Yeah, me too.

I've decided to challenge myself by participating in Liz Steel's One Week One Hundred People challenge.  (Yikes!) To make it easier, I'm starting out with a pocket-sized moleskine and a pen.  As I get more comfortable, maybe I'll add watercolors, but for now it's just pen & ink.

I got a little jump start waiting for a concert to begin last night.  Turns out the music wasn't really to our taste, but I like my little sketches (except for the guy I tried to draw in profile - faces are sooo hard!)

quick, quick sketches

One hundred people sketches, here I go!  And to keep myself honest, I think I'll post them on a daily basis to my Instagram feed to help hold myself accountable.  Ready, set, go....

Anyone else joining in?  If you're already participating in the challenge, or thinking about doing so, I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Snow Day: Seattle Edition

I missed last Sunday's snow.  Joe and I were back in the Midwest, visiting family and experiencing the 'Polar Vortex'.  Between flight cancellations on Monday, and a delayed flight on Tuesday, we didn't make it home until the wee hours of Wednesday morning.  Our taxi made it up the hill without much issue, but I really wasn't sure we'd make it across the lake of ice otherwise known as the sidewalk separating us from our front steps.  I was more than a little tempted to abandon my suitcase on the front verge.  If Joe hadn't given me 'the look', I likely would have left it there to be dealt with in the morning. 

Happily, I managed to chip away and finish removing the ice flow by mid-afternoon Thursday.   Just in time for Seattle Snow 2.0 - my first snow of the year!

The joys of a corner lot!
 I shoveled a couple of times yesterday, but most of the snow fell overnight, so I did a little clearning at o'dark thirty this morning.  The joys of a corner lot!

But our house sure looked pretty with the snow
Only took a little persuading to get Joe to go for a walk with me

Anyone want a ride?

Queen Anne Avenue's in pretty good shape
El Diablo - open for business! 
 At the end of our walk, we stopped in at El Diablo's to get Joe a latte, and to see who else was out and about.   Quite a few of our friends, as it turned out.  After hanging out there for a couple of hours, we headed back home.  Joe finished shoveling our walk, and took care of a couple of neighbors for good measure, while I built a snow woman.

My snow woman, ready for the ball

Some of the snow packed really easily, other layers didn't want to pack at all - you could really tell that it fell at different times, and different temperatures.  But I was able to find enough of the sticky snow to make it work. 

I loaned her my scarf for a final photo before heading inside

Good fun in the snow!  Though I wonder how I'll be feeling about the white stuff by the end of the week:
it may get old before the week is out!
Right now my hands are toast from all the shoveling.  I'm hoping that they will recover enough so I can use some of these snow days for Beading, or at least Crafting!  We'll see how it goes....   In the meantime, it seems like a good time to do some KonMari sorting.  I've started piling clothing on the guest bed.  Oh my! 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Antidote to SAD - Buttterflies

While we don't get the snow and extreme cold of other parts of the country, Seattle's winters can be chilly and grey.  And damp!  No surprise - this is Seattle after all.  But it can get old.  That's when I love to visit the butterfly garden at the Science Center.   Last week two friends and I grabbed our cameras, shed our jackets, and spent a good hour or so in the tropical warmth. 

The butterflies were particularly active, filling the air with eddies of colorful wings.  Others posed for their cameos; each one more beautiful than the next.  I was struck once again by the diversity of colors and patterns.  Makes me want to pull out my beads and start playing with color. 

not great for the butterfly, but the tattered edges have great texture
the butterflies loved her squid cap, and kept circling it while she tried to take photos.

A little dream of Spring.  

Friday, January 4, 2019

Growing Where I’m Planted

decorating the front of my 2019 sketch journal
I don’t generally make New Year’s resolutions, but some years I do gravitate towards a word or phrase that helps to sum up my hopes and intentions for the coming year.  Somewhere between Christmas and New Years, I found myself ruminating on the word “Grow”.  It's been quite some time since I feel that I've grown, creatively, and it's time.  I have an equally strong desire to focus on what I already have, and what I’ve neglected or forgotten.

Our culture places so much emphasis on new growth - new artistic endeavors, new art supplies, new clothing - will create a new, better you.  Part of me is certain that if I 'just buy this one more sweater, my entire wardrobe will suddenly click'.   These beads (paper, pens, watercolors, acrylics, fabrics, etc.) are sooo pretty; I must buy them!  I know I’ll use them!  No matter that they're likely to be lost in my stash shortly after I get them home.  Same with online courses I've signed up for over the years (most often on watercolors and urban sketching). 

Moving my studio back into my home last fall, I realized just how overwhelming all of this wonderful stuff can become.  And how much of my time is spent simply curating, organizing, and trying to keep it all neat enough so that I can find things.

My goal for this year is to turn my attention away from the new ‘bright and shinies’ to focus on all of the wonderful collections, opportunities, and yes, friendships, that I already have.  To grow where I'm planted  and what are the ways in which I wish to grow.  Looking to the resources I already have, rather than what I might add.

One of the hardest parts will be determining what is clutter - the weeds in my particular garden.  Not all of the art media I've tried over the years are really my cup of tea.  That doesn't mean that giving up the related tools and supplies is easy.  I might need them one day.  Maybe?  (Okay, maybe not).  

Sort of corollary to this whole process, I’ve also embarked on a repeat of last year’s elimination diet.  Through the fall, and especially over the holidays, I relaxed my diet too much, and started paying the price with autoimmune flares.  To combat this, on January 2nd, I cut processed sugar, all grains and gluten, caffeine, and a whole host of other things out of my diet.  My plan is to stick with the strictest version for 2-3 weeks, then slowly start retesting other foods.  Yesterday was the Day of the Terrible Headache.  Today is the Day of Swollen Joints.  I expect a few more days of misery as I go through the detox stage, but am looking forward to that day, sometime next week, when I wake up without brain fog and pain, with energy to spare.

But I’m not waiting until then to get started on growing where I’m planted.   While my fingers are too swollen to do much creative work, I can type, I can visit with friends, I can sort through papers,  make lists of things I used to like to do, and start rooting through my supplies to see what I have to work with, and I can dream.

Not a bad way to start the New Year.