What are you doing tomorrow? I am not getting on a train or doing anything earth shattering. We'll probably reconcile our bank account or paint some trim we replaced a couple months ago. Do I wish I were getting on a train to go on a bike tour? I'm not sure.
I've been having fun lately reflecting on some mundane daily events through little poems. A couple nights ago Karl even helped me write one and you can hear him reading it here:
Originally Posted January 28, 2007
My next post will be from California. I get on the train tomorrow. I'm almost packed.
YouTube has really evolved in the last 15 years. I never really used that much on my bike tour 15 years ago. I've got a new YouTube channel now. There still isn't too much on it; just a few reviews. My most popular one so far is my review of the StablO Portable Easel with 1,700 views!
Originally Posted January 25, 2007
I signed up for a YouTube account. Here is a short clip I took on the Yukon canoeing expedition.
"Time has escaped me without much definition between the days."
I love this quote from 15 years ago! Early pandemic I heard this exact sentiment so many times from so many of our customers. People were home alone doing the exact same thing everyday or doing nothing at all. For me early pandemic meant working from home (like always), but homeschooling and lots of other random stressors thrown in there. I didn't have any trouble remembering which day of the week it was. I loved that my social calendar was wiped clean! I had more time to do a lot of things I really wanted to do (like go for a walk everyday).
I am sure that I didn't properly appreciate 15 years ago this feeling of having time. Time to exercise. Time to rest. Time to let thoughts wander. Oh and quiet! My life was so much quieter then. I miss the quiet. Of course in another 15 years I bet I will even miss the noise of little children arguing.
Yesterday I stole a few moments and popped out to the now updated Waterman Pier.
Originally Posted January 24, 2007
Tomorrow it gets boxed.
An Inky Advent
I'm no stranger to Advent calendars, festivities, and traditions; but the Diamine Inkvent Calendar really was something else. Every morning my kids and I hunted for the next door and popped it open to a reveal a new color, sheen, or shimmer.
In my spare moments during the day I plotted how I might integrate the new ink into a drawing or sketch. Ideally the sketch would feel like Christmas or winter. On a good day I was also able to have the sketch relate to some of my devotional texts: Christ in Our Home or Bread for the Day. I've always struggled to actually retain any of the daily readings. However, doing some copy work and the act of choosing one verse to focus on really helped a little more stick. If you followed me on Instagram where I posted daily my inksplorations, you might have noticed the majority of my posts were after 10pm and there were about 6 days that I was a day behind. I still loved the daily reading, writing, and painting practice. I already have my next project lined up and that will be rolling out in the next week or so.
Here is our full review of the calendar. Which inks were your favorites? I'd love to hear in the comments!
Find me on Instagram to see more pictures @anotherbunny14
A Christmas Star
I love this time of year. I tend to get 40 amazing ideas for decorations and traditions and I manage to pull off 2. I am glad we did this one. It went fast and the kids even helped hammer in the staples.
Lay out the boards.
Grab your fence boards and lay them out on the ground. Keep adjusting them until you have a star that looks as symmetrical as you want. Don't worry about which boards are on top and which are on bottom. The boards are pretty thin and long so they will flex for you. It didn't hurt that mine have been soaking in the rain for the last several months.
Screw the boards together.
Use two screws at each point and two screws at each cross section. Make sure that you don't have screw tips poking out the back side to get hurt on. I used screws that were exactly the length of the two boards' combined thickness. So I had to be careful.
Attach the lights.
It is easier if you move the star up onto sawhorses or a work table at this point. Start at the center of the bottom of your star with the female ends of the plugs. Tack on all three light strands at once. Stagger the starts of the strands so that your lights will be more evenly spread out. Orient the plastic staples on the boards to ideally strain the wires the least.
Let me know if you try it out in the comments! Any other exciting light displays that you've made?
How good are you at powering down?
The Winter Project
Do any of you experience seasonal productivity?
I've started to notice that different seasons of the year bring their unique traditions, flavors, and demands on my time. Duh, right? In the spring and summer much time is spent in the garden: planting, watering, weeding, and harvesting. The spring's return of light is so exciting that I need to get outside and sketch. In the summer I get so distracted with all the fun random projects (this summer was screen printing). In Western Washington, the fall brings a constant drizzle from the sky and then the daylight just evaporates. It is just so so so so dark in December and there are holiday festivities that distract me. In October 2020 I started to draw bunnies... and I didn't stop until the weather got better and the sun came back. I drew a lot of bunnies. Check out the post about it here. Also, 2020 holidays had a refreshing lack of activities which left me room to get my creative repetition on.
I am hoping that Winter 2021-2022 will be equally awesome.
The bunnies happened by accident. My sister, Chelsea, turned me on to the idea of projects. She recently re-picked up photography (and a new camera) and this video gave her some great ideas. So now I am in the process of being proactive in choosing a winter project. I'd like to pick something:
DIY Screen Printing... so far
This is probably going to be my exciting thing for the summer and it is SO HOT right now! I've been working on some designs as far back as April. Most of them were initially hand drawn, scanned, vectorized, and cleaned up using Sketch. Then I started to investigate the whole screen burning process. There are lots of great YouTube videos and a number of different approaches to building screens, coating them with emulsion, exposing them with the design, and then finally getting some ink on shirts.
I took a pile of thrift store frames and stripped them down to the wood. I heard that some screen frames made from wood like to warp. I had some clear coat laying around so I added some to the frames for good measure.
Then I smeared some activated Speedball Diazo Photo Emulsion on one of my screens. I was trying to get it on there with a nice consistent coating... but I missed some spots. I let it dry overnight in a dark dresser drawer. The next day I used clear scotch tape to attach my transparency to the prepared screen. There is a way to do this backwards... so be careful. I'll really have to go into more detail in another post and actually take pictures. Anyways, burning the screen was easier than I thought it would be because it changed color for me.
Fishy Ink Samples
I've been wanting to revamp the way that I sample my ink. I ran out of room on the paper I was using to do swatches of my inks. I'm not even sure where that paper went when it got banged off the walls from having siding done. The Col-o-ring has been on the market for a while and I finally went for it. Then a month or so after getting it and mulling over how exactly I was going to do it, I got this video done.
Do you have ink samples and how do you do them? Share in the comments!
Petal talk with Cathy DeLauter
I was very lucky to have Aunt Cathy drive over to Washington so that I could interview her about her creations and enjoy her presence. While she has sold her art previously in Colorado, she is been doing more of other things lately. It was still great to have a laugh with her and hear about petals, birds, and much more.
She was a bit elusive. She didn't want her picture taken. She asked me numerous times if I could edit the audio. I loved all of it... so you get to hear it all.
You should know that the pieces above are not her favorites... those have all found new homes.
Oh and this was the very first time I interviewed someone about their artistic process, but I look forward to doing it again. Let me know if you want to be the next victim (I mean interviewee).
A couple days ago, my aunt was looking at my work and she said that she can’t draw like that, but she wants to. Now aunts come in all shapes, sizes, and wills. This aunt is artistic, independent, hilarious, well traveled, forthright and retired. She wants to spend a whole year traveling Europe and she’ll do it. I could not understand what was standing in her way.
I hear it all the time, “I can’t draw.” It is something adults will often say when they mean “I can’t draw like that and I don’t care if I ever learn.” That’s cool. We can’t all do everything. We certainly can’t do everything all the time. However, some of you actually mean “I want to draw, but I don’t feel like I have the capacity or talent to be able to.”
I believe that you just need to start practicing. It takes time and my own artistic path is in its infancy. So if you always wanted to draw/paint/write/whatever here is the advice I give:
1. Pick one thing to do over and over. I kept drawing bunnies for several months and you know what? I got better. My bunnies started to look less stupid. They took on little personalities and they made me laugh. I didn’t have to waste time deciding what to draw. I just did it and with limited time in the evenings I was still able to make headway. Liz Steel warms up by drawing her coffee and tea. What would you draw every day?
2. Don’t get hung up on the materials. One day I’ll take my own advice. Use what you have. You don’t need the perfect art supplies. In fact less is probably better.
3. Share with others. You are going to need encouragement and advice. My husband will look at my stuff, but the 6 year old will give me more feedback. I enjoy the network of Urban Sketchers around the world. Also participating in a class will give you the support you need too. There is always social media.
4. Try to listen to only one voice at a time. I am always checking out 3 cookbooks at a time or 3 how-to-draw books at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Pick one teacher or one guidebook to start with. When you’re done with that then look for a new perspective. Remember that this is supposed to be fun. Actually practicing the art is more important that learning from a book how to do it the “right” way.
5. What went well? This is a great phrase to ingrain in your thoughts. Always look for the things you like about your work. Don't dwell on all the things you did wrong.
I’ve got below 131 bunnies I drew and characterized before I started on the bunny clipart I made this spring. I had a blast and it was a great way to spend my winter. My family, while supportive, weren't quite sure why I was just painting another bunny.
This process is supposed to be sort of mindless and easy for me. I devoted a whole Stillman & Birn Alpha sketchbook to this type of creative practice and I follow the same steps each time.
Fewer variables = less thinking = more doing.
I start by picking a song or poem that I have memorized. I try not to pick the “perfect” poem. Catch a Falling Star featured in The Princess Diaries is one I use to unsuccessfully sing the kid to sleep. I put the blue tape down to give myself a visual edge to write up to. I picked up a TWSBI Eco with a Fine nib filled with Liberty's Elysium and started practicing my cursive.
Originally I was going to use my watercolors to do the stars, but I changed my mind and used little puddles of fountain pen ink. The inks were already in other TWSBI Ecos so I just twisted a few droplets out into my palette. I used from left to right: Sailor Ink Studio 162, Sailor Ink Studio 252, Noodler's Apache Sunset, Noodler's Rome Burning, Sailor Ink Studio 224, and Noodler's Dostoyevsky.
The apple page is the Johnny Appleseed prayer (Noodler's Rome Burning) with watercolors over top.
I did the stoplight a few months back. I wrote the little song:
won't you tell me where I'm going
won't you tell me when to stay
won't you tell me what to do Lord
it's been that kind of day
I sing it to the the tune that's whistled in Robin Hood.
What little songs or poems do you have memorized? Post it in the comments.