on sketching

For as long as I can remember, I have loved watercolor paintings. More specifically, watercolor illustrations, especially if they have some pen/ink and/or words. I'm not quite sure where this affinity came from, but it has been long-lasting and continues to inspire me. 

As I recently mentioned, knitting is causing me a lot of problems these days. It's really sad and I feel an empty hole in my heart that can only be filled by creating something with my own two hands. As I have also mentioned previously, I have been a creative thing my entire life and have never not been doing some sort of art or craft. In junior high I was introduced to the idea of keeping a sketchbook. It was encouraged in one of my drawing classes but I never really did it. But I had to admit that there was something so pleasing about the idea of doing a little something everyday and filling up a book with whatever I wanted. 

In high school I continued to take art classes and continued to every once in a while play around in a sketchbook. It wasn't until I was in college that I started putting ideas to paper more often. It still wasn't an everyday thing but it was so fulfilling to see pages filling up in my sketchbook! This sketchbook habit was highly encouraged by my painting professor during my senior year of college. She didn't care what we did in our sketchbooks, but she wanted us to be doing something in them. We turned our sketchbooks in at the end of the semester and she filled the pages with sticky notes with her comments. 

Now, if you aren't an art-type person you will have no idea how scary all of that was. Someone else looking at your sketchbook!? Commenting on it?! What?! All the comments were positive, of course. You can't just go through someone's sketchbook and tell them you don't like it. And guess what? I have a sick fascination with other people's sketchbooks. Always have, always will. I love to see what people are doing in their own little art space, all the ideas they are working on and just messing around with. And I feel that same sense of satisfaction seeing someone's sketchbook filling up as I do with my own sketchbooks. 

So anyway, this is getting tangential. What I'm saying is this: not knitting is leaving a void in my life and I think working on my sketchbook more often will help fill that void a little. I learned in college that in order for me to actually keep a sketchbook, I need to take the pressure off of myself for anything to be "good" and also I needed to downsize. I am a person who is just naturally drawn to tiny little things. My sketchbooks weren't huge- usually 8"x12"- but the pages were just large enough to make me feel intimidated about filling them. At some point in college I picked up a little 5.5"x7.5" sketchbook with thicker pages perfect for using watercolor on and figured out that it was my perfect sketchbook size. I collaged the front of it and the rest is history- I have completely filled up two of those sketchbooks and am working through a third. Each gets its own special collaged cover (because I find the covers they come with very uninspiring) and filled with whatever I want- notes from books I'm reading, lots of hand lettering practice, swatches from new supplies, paint sample cards, magazine pages, sketches that I blatantly copy from other artists, the list could go on and on. 

This all comes back around to watercolor, I swear. It is often my preferred sketchbook medium. I am not formally trained in watercolor at all but I find it to be so fun. Some of my favorite illustrators work mostly in watercolor and I get so inspired by their work. After perusing Pinterest for a while, I am inspired all over again to play in my sketchbook more often with my watercolor. I did so on the 4th of July and it was pretty much the best. So this is me setting some sort of intention in the world- I want to do more watercoloring in my sketchbook. I'm not going to put any rules around it but it is merely a little goal, something I want to strive to do more of. 

Now for some watercolory links. 
My "art inspiration" Pinterest board which is full of watercolor and pen/ink illustration
Yao Cheng Creativebug watercolor class
Jennifer Orkin Lewis Creativebug gouache class
Jennifer Orkin Lewis (a few years ago) on painting in her sketchbook everyday

crafty thoughts

I'm (clearly) real bad about posting anything other than my favorite links posts every friday. I'm not even going to apologize. This is my little internet space to do what I want. 

And today I wanna talk about my crafty thoughts. 

There are lots of them in my head. 

Right now I'm on an embroidery thought kick. Just thinking a lot about hand work and needles and thread. But not actually doing any embroidery. Just thinking about it. My phone and watch wallpapers right now are of an embroidered paper and every time I look at the screen it gives me that little urge to make some stitches. I'm thinking a lot about embroidering a chambray shirt. Just filling it up with stitches, without a real design in mind. An ongoing, possibly never ending project. 

One of my friends had a "make and take" birthday party. She bought this Sarah K. Benning embroidery pattern (which I also just recently bought) and she supplied the, well, supplies, and had her gal pals over and they embroidered. Even the non-crafty folks. I'm going to steal this idea for my birthday. FORCE my friends to do what I love. 

I've been thinking about my Sea Captain, who, nearly 2 years after starting, is still not finished. I'm in no rush. He's just chilling in my little hexagon tray, easily accessible to pick up and work on whenever I feel the eventual need to add some stitches. Maybe I'll do that while I watch Big Little Lies. While searching for the link to the Sea Captain, I spotted this pattern and now I'm thinking about that one too. 

Other crafty thoughts. I am still really enamored with the idea of woven bracelets. I borrowed this book from the library this weekend and one of the homes that is featured in it is that of Myriam Balay. I haven't ever heard of her before, but she is doing the exact sort of woven bracelets I want to do. Her shop is gorgeous and very inspiring for me. She weaves on an adorable little rigid heddle but I could definitely use my fave lap loom to get similar results. Here's her instagram account. Her pinterest account is super gorgeous too, i love her aesthetic. 

Hmm other crafty thoughts. Right now I just have a lot of ideas. I'm working slowly but surely on my knitting but not imposing any deadlines. I'm struggling with forearm pain once again (because I just can't lay off of instagram) so that makes long knitting sessions difficult. I really should go to my orthopedist and see what she recommends (probably laying off of instagram. I refuse to delete it. that's just going too far.).

I have a lot of urges to paint these days but haven't acted on them yet. I'm thinking a lot about acrylic paint these days which is new for me. Usually my painting urges are the watercolor variety. I found this artist and her finger painting really calls to me and makes me want to get a little messy. 

I think I'm just in a really tactile phase right now, wanting to really feel my materials and use my fingers as much as possible. I know a lot of non-artists and non-crafters don't get and/or understand that...that NEED to do a certain craft or art form and the need for tactile sensations. I'm not sure how to explain it other than just that...it feels like a need and feels like it will satisfy something in my soul. Even if I'm not actually doing anything but thinking about it, it feels satisfying. I get real antsy if I haven't crafted in a couple of days. 

So, there are some of my thoughts. I will hopefully one day soon post some real posts with photos and everything, but for now, this will do. 

recently in the sketchbook

 

Keeping a sketchbook is a concept that I have pretty much grown up with. Having done art classes for most of my life, the practice of having a sketchbook and drawing in it often was something that was sort of ingrained in me. I found it daunting to follow through, though. I loved the idea of keeping a sketchbook, but the pages were big and I was worried about making things look good. 

A couple of years ago I decided to take some of the pressure off of myself- nobody said I had to have a big sketchbook! So I purchased a small sketchbook, mod podged a cute collage on the cover, and suddenly, it was fun to have a sketchbook! It has been a great place for me to explore watercolors and lettering especially. It's just for fun, but I have had good ideas for final pieces come from my sketchbook and flipping through it is inspiring. I screenshot a lot of instagram photos, especially of color combinations I like and quotes to practice later. 

Here are some recent pages from my little sketchbook. I'm going to have to start another one soon! 

I'm super into moon phases right now. I've always been a fan of celestial stuff and it's starting to show through in my art! 

I want to make a large version of this to hang above my bed. 

One of my very favorite song lyrics- I practice writing this one often. 

My small sketchbook makes it a lot easier to tote it around with me, so I'll bring it with me various places, along with my travel watercolor set, and favorite brush

 

spring dreaming

 

Here in Dallas we are lucky enough to have a gorgeous and well-maintained arboretum. A few years ago my family got a membership. I dreamed of going often, studying and writing papers with my best friend while we were in grad school. That never happened, but it was a good idea. 

2 years later and my family has a membership again. In the month that we've had it, I've visited the arboretum 4 times. It's the best time of year to go- everything is in full bloom! Being surrounded by all the planty goodness outside had me craving planty goodness inside, so I brought the outdoors in. 

 

#12monthsofpaint january

 

I follow A LOT of people on Instagram. A lot. Like an embarrassing number. I've gone through and unfollowed some here and there but there are so many that I just love following! I never get through my whole feed and that is ok. I am exposed to a lot of beauty on there and that makes me very happy. 

Last week one of my Insta faves, Abigail Halpin, posted a stunning all blue painting she had been working on. I saw that she was participating in August Wren's #12monthsofpainting and that this month's theme was blue, so I decided to give it a whirl. My "piece" is just a fun little doodle, not a grand finished work like so many people using the tag are posting. But that's ok! I love just having fun in my sketchbook! 

I got these Winsor and Newton watercolors for Christmas- I'm loving them! 

I love saturating the paper and then adding color to see what cool things it will do. I thought this looked like a pretty geode.

final page

I find that song lyrics are a really good way for me to have fun practicing my lettering (I'm working on improving my brush lettering skills these days) and what better lyrics than from Kate Nash's Shit Song?! Darling don't give me shit cause I know that you're full of it. What's better to letter?! And as my bestie said, "You're the only one I know who can make 'darling don't give me shit' seem so elegant." bahahahaha! I aim to please.