Children’s Furniture Project

In April-May I began a massive clean out of my art studio. After over 40 years of collecting projects and resources, I have decided I have “been there, done that” and I know what I want to concentrate on from this point forward.

So nieces and nephews were the benefactors of all sort of fun things, but also, there were a few projects I really wanted family to have. While I donated a large amount of raw children’s furniture to a new church nursery, I held out a few pieces for my nieces and nephew. This was the result.

This table top was their Grandma’s farm with the chairs celebrating a childhood cat (a nod to their daddy – and Grandma still has cats on the farm) and the hummingbirds ever present in the summer.

Watercolor Nature Journal

Practicing snow and shadows with the Mulberry tree behind our house

I did work on the nature journal a bit this past Winter/Spring. I love our birds and critters but this year we did not feed them. There was a scary disease going through this part of the country. Thankfully, I did not see it with our birds, but the DNR asked us to not feed them in case it was spreading.

Farm Journal Watercolor Project

Quick sketch of our childhood farm in the 1980s

The kids continued to ask for more classes, so in February I sent them all watercolor paints, brushes and paper. We had loads of fun as I taught them how to use their new tools. In the meantime, I continued on with my own project of painting family memories. I am trying to get looser with my sketching, making it less of a detailed and frustrating project.

One of my favorite things is using old black and white photos from my Dad’s family farm. I want to amass a large group of these. Maybe a picture book with stories in the future.

Tanuary 2021

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. from the Finding Your Roots (PBS) show

I like to work on a tan sketchbook in January – although I was too busy with nieces and our weekly zoom coaching sessions to do the full Tanuary challenge on social media. We had a lot of fun, even so.

I challenged the kids to use different surfaces, including cardboard pieces and talked about charcoal, pencil, crayon, pen etc. It was good drawing practice for all involved.

2021 Family Calendar

At the end of 2020 one of my final projects of the year was to create the 2021 family calendar. This one absolutely annihilated me. It is a tribute to the first sibling we have lost in my family.

I printed off the normal 8 for siblings and Mom, but I also printed off 5 for my brother Aaron’s children. Then every month I write each of them about the stories that are held in the photos of their Daddy and his childhood. It has been a hard year, but I will not regret that I did this.

  • Printed double-sided on 13×19 matte photo paper
  • This is year 16 of creating these and it will probably be my final. At this point, we can start reusing some of those I made before.

I continued to do some art after the first of the year because my nieces were begging me to continue teaching and coaching them, but I lost my spark for a number of months and am just beginning to get it back. So expect some fun posts as I catch up on what I have been doing.

Finalizing Inktober

So Inktober almost went bust for me mid month when my brother passed, but I finally jumped back in on day 21 and did a few more pieces.

Here is my wrapup:

Day 6 – Rodent
Day 7 Fancy – this was a rare bird who showed up in our area – I was practicing ink washes and will watercolor this later
Day 8 Teeth – I added this to my Nature Journal since I heard the coyotes again behind the house.
Day 21 – Sleep – this was my re-entry into my creativeness after the loss of my brother. It seemed a nice, gentle way to get back to it. My cat and pointillism.
Day 23 – RIP – My brother, Aaron
Day 25 – Buddy – My brother Ron – we were buddies growing up on the farm as the closest to my age of the 7 of us.

I had to catch up on some Christmas commissions at this point, so I put my energy into those. I also was meeting once a week with a set of nieces who were participating with me, which I will share in another post.

One other thing that kept me involved is that I am an Admin on a Facebook group called Inktober SafeSpace where artists, young and old, can share their work without imagery depicting violence, hate, and sexually explicit material. The larger Inktober can trigger someone due to depictions of suicide and depression etc. Also, some of us simply do not like all that in-your-face art.

This is a place where people can safely have fun, share and not have to deal with the artists who are going for the shock factor, edginess, and trying to push the envelope of how disgusting they can be. Sometimes life is hard enough without having it in your face 24/7. We are a small group, but we certainly had fun this year.

All of this kept me Inktober-busy! I did enjoy the “season”.

Painting During Loss

2.5 months ago my baby brother, age 44, was told by his doctors that there was not a thing they could do for the colon cancer that he had battled for some time. His wife and 5 children chose to do home hospice so that they could be with him (covid rules-grrr). This past Wednesday he passed away after a valiant fight. I have learned to despise cancer!

My way of dealing with this was to spend time painting him as I remember him, and pushing myself to get better at portraiture through this, trying again and again. I want to use this grief as a force for good instead of letting it sink me. So hang in there with me, I will be posting more Inktober soon, and my brother will be my subject more than once, I am sure.

FUNDRAISER FOR THE FAMILY

For those who feel to help his widow and children, I have included our fundraiser. Thank you!

Inktober Week 1

Inktober Week 1

Day 1: Fish – Belted Kingfisher in my Nature Journal

It is Inktober! This year I am taking the course from Sktchy: Inktober2020 Portrait Challenge. I am not planning to stick to only portraits, but I am going through each day’s course and using what I am learning.

Day 2: Wisp (me at the age of 2 – and that wispy hair). A tentative use of a light ink wash for the first time, as well as using a brush pen.

My main focus this month is learning portraiture. Portraiture has terrified me my entire art life. It is time to lay that ghost.

Day 3: Bulky (for the bulky lines and sticks.)

Day 1 of the classes I learned how to create ink delivery systems out of sticks from the back yard and dipping ink. It was so much fun! I thought Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s image lent itself well to this style. This was such a freeing experience.

Another one for Bulky is an ink wash of a Dark-eyed Junco. I am not yet sold on ink washes. The light ones I love, but the heavier ones, I have not yet found my comfort.
Day 4: Radio – blind drawing

6 of my nieces have joined me this year. We zoom once a week to look at what we are doing and I give them one assignment a week. This week was to do a blind drawing and then I also have to do it. I forgot how much fun some of these fundamental drawing exercises are! I hope they can cut loose and just enjoy their pens.