Brought to You From Green Meadows Farm: Beets and Radishes!

My husband and I have been enjoying the first few weeks of our summer produce share from a local CSA, Green Meadows Farm. This week’s share featured various greens, a handful of garlic scapes, a pint of organic strawberries, and a stoic cucumber. All were delicious, but I have to say, it was the beets and radishes that stole the show. Why? Well… (excuse my shallowness)…because they are BEAUTIFUL!

This week’s share also brought with it a miracle. That’s right friends, a miracle! Here’s how it played out:

Rewind to a few weeks ago, when I bought some beets from the grocery store and roasted them for dinner. Upon sitting down to eat, I discovered, to my shock and dismay, that I could not STAND the taste of beets anymore! Thus ensued an identity crisis in which I was forced to grapple with some big existential questions. Who was I without beets? What monster had I become? Was it possible that I…Jacque…the SUPREME Lover of Beets, would henceforth have to be called Jacque, Supreme Lover of All Vegetables EXCEPT Beets? Oh the turmoil. It was tough.

Then we got this week’s vegetable share from the farm, and my heart broke when I saw the beets. For 4 days I avoided eating them, choosing, instead, to commune with them artistically. Finally, this morning, a revelation came down from the sky (it WAS thundering, after all):

Put the beets in your oatmeal.” 

So I washed one, shredded it with the grater, and cooked it into my morning porridge (along with some other good stuff).

And — joy and jubilation — my heart of stone was made alive once more. For it was delicious, and beautiful to boot.

The end.

Beets_Sketch(And just for kicks, here are the radishes):

Radish_Sketch

Ink and Watercolor Sweetgum Tree

The other day, I was gazing out my studio window, looking for things to feel cheery about, when a sweetgum tree caught my eye. The sun was shining intensely through its leaves, making them glow like green paper lanterns. It struck me, then, that during both night and day, the sky is filled with visible stars. The day stars just happen to be green, herbaceous ones.

SweetGum_Leaves

 

Scenes of Summer: Strawberries, Clovers, and…Viking Llamas?

Strawberries from our CSA!

Strawberries from our CSA!

simpler strawberry illustration

simpler strawberry illustration

Clovers make me happy. They make me think of cows grazing and big, fuzzy bumblebees. Plus, they smell divine.

Clovers make me happy. They make me think of cows grazing and big, fuzzy bumblebees. Plus, they smell divine.

Doodling...

Still doodling houses…

Oh you know, just a cartoon with Viking Llamas out fishing. (I dunno, I picked up my pen one morning and it just happened!)

Oh you know, just a cartoon with Viking Llamas out fishing. (I dunno, I picked up my pen one morning and it just happened)

 

Spring Sketches (And More Dandelions)

Nature is full of metaphors. If you ever need a reminder that life will be fresh and different tomorrow, walk the same path for three consecutive days and note the dandelions each time. It’s remarkable how quickly they progress from flower to seed. It’s a helpful way to gain perspective on life — In a bad mood? Don’t fret. Like a dandelion, a mood has its natural course.  It will pass like a {*cheesiness alert} dandelion puff in the wind.

Dandelions Seed Puff

dandelion puffs

Dandelions No Seeds

their seeds all blew away

Maple Seed Sketch

maple seeds scattered on all the walkways like confetti

 

Door View

enjoying the spring breeze and happy bird sounds through the screen door

 

People & Sheep

practicing sketching people (and sheep)

 

sunflowers

Sometimes I unconsciously doodle when I’m on the phone. Apparently last week’s conversations inspired sunflowers.

 

Breakfast Doodles

I’ve got some bigger projects going on these days — a couple of commissions, my ever-progressing children’s book, and preparations for the Summer Arts Festival next month (where I’ll be selling watercolor originals). Good stuff. Always keeping on keeping on!

To keep myself balanced, I’ve continued the practice of taking time to just let loose and doodle. In particular, I’ve observed that when I sketch during breakfast, it gets me energized for the rest of the day. It clears out my head so I can focus better on the “big” stuff without feeling antsy about wanting to draw distracting things like dandelions and tree bark and koalas and all those wonderful things.

I’ve always loved breakfast, and drawing makes it even better! Here’s my recipe for a healthy, happy way to start the day:

Combine oats, eggs, water, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and shredded zucchini in a large bowl. Microwave 2-3 minutes. Add fresh blueberries and strawberries and microwave 1-2 minutes more. Top with almond butter. Serve alongside coffee and sketchbook.

Sprinkle liberally with doodles. (Watercolor optional, but delicious).

Tulip

Tulip

Another bandana-clad dachshund

Another bandana-clad dachshund

Sidewalk dandelions, graffiti style

Sidewalk dandelions, graffiti style

(did I mention that I love dandelions?)

(did I mention that I love dandelions?)

can never decide if I like things better with or without ink

can never decide if I like things better with or without ink

sketches_Farm

(In case it needs clarifying, this is not supposed to be a freaky girl head hovering above a cute pastoral scene. They are two separate sketches, yo)

 

Wandering and Watching

Today I’m sharing some sketches I’ve made while out and about town. They are field sketches, so to speak, of my new environment here in the Northeast.

It takes discipline to actually sit down and sketch when I’m out walking. I get all hyped up on creative adrenaline while I’m walking through this Smörgåsbord of textures, patterns, colors, and action, and instead of calming down and focusing on any one thing, I keep walking and making an infinitely long mental list of things to come back and draw later, with the hope that someday I might find myself feeling more disciplined.

But, really, I know I’ll only be more disciplined tomorrow if I practice it today. So I’ve been reigning myself in with one simple rule: Every time I go out, I have to draw SOMETHING, even if it’s just a 10 second sketch. It’s been a good enough guideline for me so far. It keeps me from getting caught up in the expectation that I could possibly draw everything I see, and that is very freeing, since holding on to such expectations sets me up to feel disappointed rather than appreciative of the experience at hand. And, obviously, my rule is good because it keeps me from drawing nothing. It’s fun to brainstorm creative ideas, but it’s also fun (and more productive) to create. My rule has helped me balance between the two.Salem Houses SpringTrolley Depot

Salem Common
St Nicholas Church

 

 

 

Winter leftovers and a Welcome to Spring!

Hiydee hey.

Spring has burst onto the scene here in Massachusetts and it’s a glorious thing. Gone be the winter coats! Gone be the ritual struggles to bundle up before leaving the house! Suddenly it’s so easy to just grab my sketchbook and walk out the door.  And let me tell you, this city of ours has some excellent fodder for my HUNGRY herd of creative, over-wintered brain cows…

But before I get to sharing the first-fruits of my quest to become Salem’s resident sketcher (I’ll be like that guy you see everywhere who is always taking photos to document events, only I’ll be more of a wind-blown looking lady who always has a sketchbook, a runny nose {allergies! can’t complain though because, woo spring!} and a mustard stain on the boob of her shirt {what can I say, I love a good sauce}), let me first say goodbye to winter by sharing some snippets and doodles that I didn’t get around to posting earlier. They’re not necessarily wintery in content, but still, they were done in the days when inspiration had to come from things other than the splendid experience of being outside.

How few lines does it take to capture "essence of cat"?

How few lines does it take to capture “essence of cat”?

"Hello, Lobster. I think you are delicious."

“Hello, Lobster. I think you are delicious.”

Bouquet from my husband! A good remedy for stubborn dreary moods.

Bouquet from my husband! A good remedy for stubborn dreary moods.

Inspired by an old timey exhibit at the local Peabody Essex Museum, I went home and pretended I was a silversmith, engraving decorative silverware for classy, cake-serving ladies.

Inspired by an old timey exhibit at the local Peabody Essex Museum, I went home and pretended I was a silversmith, engraving decorative silverware for classy, cake-serving ladies.

In another life, my husband has a seafood restaurant named "Fishenelli's". One morning, I needed something to doodle, so I decided to make it's logo.

In another life, my husband has a seafood restaurant named “Fishenelli’s”. One morning, I needed something to doodle, so I decided to make its logo.

Winter rain.

Winter rain.

These are winter’s remnants. Now get ready, Salem! I’ve got a sketchbook and one million creative itches to scratch. I’ll be watching you.

Watercolor Painting: Fall Leaves

Here’s something that has been a long time coming, but after many interruptions and distractions, it’s finally complete! Prints of it will be available on Etsy soon, but if you are interested in buying one, let me know!

Leaves_9x12

Now perhaps it’s time to move on to a piece that is a bit more seasonally appropriate.