The Winter Watercolors Continue: Another Bittersweet

I think I spent more time choosing the composition of this watercolor piece than actually painting it…
Bittersweet 2

…which isn’t to say that I painted it quickly, but rather, that I spent an excessive amount of time obsessing over what the “most perfectest” layout could be.

Oh the many paths down which the mind will wander! My brain will take ANYTHING too seriously, if I let it.

And it’s par for the course when you’re living the creative life. The art-making process teaches me so much about myself. It’s a destination-less, lifelong quest to master not just my technical skills, but also my mind. I’m getting better at recognizing the typical pathways that my mind likes to wander down at each step of the creative process. I know that every time I step into my studio, I have to pick and choose which thoughts to pay attention to. Experience teaches me which beliefs will be constructive t0 my aims and which will hinder them.

But boy, it’s such a balancing act! It requires so much mindfulness and alertness. It take a lot of energy, flexibility, and perspective. In this, I’ve found a great motivator to take care of myself — physically, spiritually, and mentally. The better I take care of myself, the better equipped I am to engage wholeheartedly in art. And life!

But now I’m starting to ramble…

Oh life. Oh human brains. Oh bittersweet berries sparkling in winter!

Ok, I’m done.

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A Brief Word About Seagulls, Beauty, and Nature’s Wisdom

Give a gull a puddle full of sunset, and suddenly he seems sublime.Gull in Sunset PuddleGulls in Puddle 2

(more experiments...)

Sunset Puddle Gulls

All things have their beauty, you just have to look at them in the right light. Nature, ever the wise one, is good at reminding me that.

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Winter Watercolor: Bittersweet

Here’s some winter beauty for you:
Bittersweet

It’s a bittersweet! Bright little gems in the snow.

Watercolor and ink, 8 x 10, 2016

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Portrait of the Mind in Winter

In an attempt to make light of my tiredness in winter, I illustrated some of the mundane thoughts that play on repeat through my half-hibernating mind each day.Portrait of the Mind in WinterMostly, though, I think this speaks for itself.

 

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Commissioned Painting: An Afternoon at the Lake…with Dog.

This is what I spent most of November and December on (when I wasn’t baking or eating cookies…)Luna at Lake George It was a commissioned piece based off of a photograph taken at Lake George. I painted it in acrylic. (This photo isn’t the best, but you get the idea.)

January has been off to a good start — I’m pretty excited about a watercolor and ink project I started this week. Wont you be surprised to know it involves more twigs and berries. Stay tuned.

Ok, bye.

 

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Embracing the Beauty of Winter

I used to really dislike January. It was such a come-down after the cozy excitement of December and the holidays. With the flip of a calendar page, winter turned dark and oppressive instead of snuggly and warm. Year after year, I would wake up on January 1st and jump, headfirst, into a 2 month “time-suck” in which I could be found plodding along feeling uninspired, unmotivated, and uninterested in basically everything. I had no spark, and I beat myself up for it.

Over time, I’ve learned to value the art of acceptance. What a gift it has been! Now, instead of being so upset that short days make me tired, I accept it and move on. I’ve also realized that tiredness isn’t such a terrible thing. It’s temporary. It’s an invitation to rest and to think — to respect my connection to the cycling seasons and go at my natural pace. The tiredness of winter gets balanced out by the hyperactive energy I feel in the summer, and after enough years of experiencing this, I have learned to trust that cycle. I’ve also learned the important lesson that being tired doesn’t preclude me from doing art (or any of the things I love), nor does it prevent me from finding joy and beauty in the world.

So this year, I’m excited for January! I’m ready to be delighted by the subtle beauty of winter, and find inspiration where it lies. I’m particularly excited by the twigs and berries that sprinkle the gray world with texture and color. I am looking forward experimenting more with them in the months ahead.

This is my most recent pen and watercolor drawing of a crab apple branch. I love twigs. I hope to draw lots of them in 2016 (I’m not simple minded, right?).

Crabapple in WinterBelow  is a picture of the drawing in the early stages of the process. I liked it best at this stage, and feel sort of sad that I continued working on it from there. I find unfinished things so beautiful. I think they are more effective at expressing the experience of walking through the world, picking up bits and pieces of visual information, and assembling the fragments in incomplete memories to be recalled later. The finished drawings sometimes seem fake to me because I don’t see things that completely in my head. It can be hard to even look at artwork that I think I’ve taken “too far”. It’s like there’s nothing left for the imagination to fill in. It’s too…complete.
Crabapples in ProcessAnd here’s a picture from mid-way through. I’m still learning to not overwork things. It’s such a delicate balance. Thank goodness for another year to keep learning and growing!
Crabapples in Process 2
So, Happy New Year! I hope you find beauty and meaning in the unfolding of another year. There is much goodness to be found, every day. Keep your eyes and heart open – that’s what I’m planning to do!

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The Christmas Cod

Christmas CodMerry Christmas! Here’s a Christmas cod.

This was a custom design I came up with for my parents’ Christmas cards this year.  My parents moved to New England this year and my dad wanted to poke fun at the Boston accent by sending a “cod” instead of a “card”. So here is my illustration of said cod. If only it was scratch-and-sniff.

I hope you have a truly blessed and wonderful Christmas! See you in 2016!

 

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Star Wars Episode VII.5: The Corgi Awakens

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, I was commissioned to do the best dog portrait ever.

Jedi Corgi

A former college classmate of mine commissioned this Jedi Corgi to give to her boyfriend for Christmas a few years ago.  To date, it is still my favorite commission.

“There’s been an awakening. Have you felt it?”

It’s the Corgi. He’s returned from the archives. And he’s up for sale now on Society 6!

 

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Hand Turkeys…for Christmas?

I know it’s December, but I decided that it is still Thanksgiving. In fact, I decided that it’s going to be Thanksgiving every day from now until forever.

Why? Well…

  1. because I wanted to share these tiny hand turkeys that I made, even though their “season” is over and
  2. because there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for! EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Ok.Tiny Hand Turkeys in a Row

(Gobble gobble.)

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Inspired by the Coffee Shop: A Hipster Illustration

Hipster Illustration

 

The other day, I walked into a local coffee shop and found myself submerged in an overwhelming sea of “hipsters” wearing plaid shirts and thick-rimmed glasses. Then I looked down and realized I was wearing plaid, too. And then I felt conflicted about stereotypes.

 

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