I don’t have enough time in the day to do all the art that I want to get done. I also have been working in my studio for my full time job (because it’s warmer) and then staying in that very same room during the evening to do my artwork. That has led me to have this weird, closed in feeling at times. I can’t wait until it warms up outside and we are in that sweet spot where you don’t have to run the heat or the air conditioner. I will feel more comfortable working in other areas of my house and I can reserve my studio for my art activities.
I’ve been doing a lot of drawing on my iPad, using Procreate, and also editing photos in Affinity Photo on my iPad. I figured out how to remove the backgrounds from my drawings, which I had a good method for in Photoshop, but I wasn’t sure how this new program would work. My process is not the most efficient, but I enjoy it and the results have come out to my liking. Even on the days that I am not drawing new artwork, I have been working on my art in one form or another. Not a day goes by that I haven’t been working on something.
This is my first proper painting of the year, called Clean Morning. I took the reference photo about a year ago, the morning after a late February or March snowstorm. This watercolor does not contain any pen and ink, but uses a sketchy style pencil drawing for the trees (I used a BIC disposable mechanical pencil). What attracted me to this scene was the dramatic light shining through the trees and the long shadows cast over the snow. It was really a perfect snowy atmosphere that morning, and I took a number of interesting photos on that occasion that I have in my reference file.
I’ve been feeling a LOT better since my surgery, although I have really fallen off the wagon with my healthy eating. I think that is in part because I feel better, so my diet is not always a priority on my mind like it was a few months ago. Some things that have stuck are that I have been eating quite a bit of fruit for the first time ever, and I haven’t eaten cold cereal with milk since November.
I have still been focusing on my health in other ways though. I started reading the book Mind over Medicine and it discusses the effects of stress in healing quite a bit. I’ve always known that I feel better overall when I work on art, but this book does a really good job of explaining why. I’ve also been trying to get better sleep at night and I’ve started taking melatonin which has helped my sleep tremendously. I bought a sauna back in December but I started using it recently and it’s incredibly relaxing.
Last year I did not get much artwork done, mostly because of all the upheaval in my life.
My schedule should be more routine for me now and I am going to focus on my artwork a lot more. Instead of just drawing random things in my sketchbook, I’ve decided to work on projects this year – things that will result in a tangible artwork to frame or a product (either digital or physical), or work in a series of some sort. With the limited time I have, I need to be intentional about what I focus on and I would also like to have something that I am able to sell at some point.
I’ve started by making a little series of flower drawings in sepia toned pen and ink and watercolor (see one of them below). I still need to edit the images and remove the backgrounds, etc. but I have an idea of something I would like to make with them. I recently cancelled my Photoshop subscription and purchased the Affinity suite (because there is no subscription). That means that I have to learn how to use the apps, which should be fun but will take me extra time.
Last week my surgeon called me and said they reviewed my case at Tumor Board and determined that it was a borderline tumor, not cancerous. This was amazing news to hear, and unexpected, because the report originally said cancer. (Also, weirdly stressful in a way.) However, after doing some more research, I found that borderline tumors can still recur and come back as cancer in the future. With that in mind, I have still decided to pursue a better lifestyle and do everything in my power to stay healthy. I have given up meat and dairy and have been eating as many raw vegetables as possible. I have also purchased an infrared sauna (haven’t tried it yet). I have an appointment with a naturopathic doctor to see what else I can do to get healthier. I have been feeling a lot better after my surgery and I’ve been getting dressed in the morning which makes me feel like a more normal person.
I have been reading a book called Radical Remission, which is all about people who have healed themselves from advanced or incurable cancers without or despite modern medicine. It is encouraging to read positive stories and realize that it is possible to get better after a terrible diagnosis. I’ve also been listening to Chris Wark’s videos and interviews. He is an inspiration.
I’m not supposed to drive yet, so I’ve been staying home most of the time. I haven’t minded it though. I’ve been really enjoying my quiet time during the day. I’ve started a few art projects that I’m excited about. I joined a Facebook group called Creating a Cozy Life – Hygge style. It is full of beautiful photos and ideas and everyone is so kind. I’m thinking of doing some small, crafty sewing projects. I have a number of patterns from Ann Wood that I haven’t tried yet and I want to work on some of them.
I have a follow up appointment with my doctor at the end of the month. She said that until then, all I have to do is have a good Christmas and that is what I am trying to do.
I have wanted to update this site for many months now, but I have had a wake-up call recently and I have decided that if I don’t do it now, then I might now ever do it. I am at home, with six weeks off from work, recovering from a big abdominal surgery last week in which I have learned that I have ovarian cancer. I haven’t even heard the results yet from my doctor, but I read them in the results that popped into my MyChart account. I’m not sure how I should be feeling. I’m trying to be positive right now, but I’m also wondering what went wrong with me to have had this happen.
I haven’t been drawing much at all this past year. I started a new job, moved, got married and was focusing on a lot of other things. I’ve been under a lot of stress generally. In my new place, I even have a room dedicated as a studio, yet I haven’t spent much time in it.
In the next few weeks, I will remedy that, of course. I am busy researching nutritional/natural healing plans and I’m pretty sure I will have chemo in my future, but I know in my gut that I need to start drawing again because it is the greatest stress relief I know. Please follow along as I post updates, photos, and sketchbook pages on this site. I am going to update my own blog with most of this information as I would like to maintain a record of my work that is not connected to a social media site.
I would also appreciate your prayers too – thanks for reading.
Below you will see some of the artwork I have made since the first of the year. I also have several pages of abandoned pen and ink drawings that I’m not going to post.
So far this year, I have drawn every single day, but not for enough time each day, I admit. I have also been picking up extra shifts at work, so I’ve been feeling a bit over scheduled lately. I’ve been saving money by making almost no unnecessary purchases and I’ve been feeling very responsible.
Things I’ve been working on:
I’m wondering how long I can go at this pace. My pen and ink class is two months away, on April 22, and I still have a lot to do for that. I can’t wait to get started on a few more projects afterwards. Once summer comes, I won’t be at work so much, so I’ll have more time to myself and some bigger paintings.
Welcome to my annual yearly review and goals post. I didn’t have any goals in 2019 except to be more regular with doing art every day and to send my newsletter out monthly. I included a picture of my art tracker for the year so you can see that I got much more serious around June. I made art every day in October and I was so proud of myself for this achievement. I plan on trying to continue this momentum for 2020. I did send my newsletter out monthly except for in the summer. I want to get more regular with this and to also plan it out better to relieve some stress.
For 2020, I want to be more intentional with my art activities. Instead of spending weeks working in my sketchbook, I would like to work on some finished artwork to frame and sell. I also want to spend more time doing projects of my own instead of just looking at what everyone else is doing online.
I got an iPad Pro and an Apple pencil this year and I want to learn how to use the Procreate app. This app is very powerful and there are so many features. There is always a learning curve with any new medium, but I’m excited about some projects that I can make with this app.
Pen and ink will be a huge focus of my artwork, especially in the first half of the year, because I will be teaching a pen and ink nature sketching workshop in my community. I’m excited about this opportunity.
Thank you for following my work. I appreciate everyone who follows me regularly and everyone who just stops to look. Below, I’ve posted some work from the year that I haven’t shared here before. Best wishes for a productive, creative and healthy 2020 and beyond.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone reading from the US. I have so much to be thankful for this year. I have a regular routine and my life has quieted down so much compared to year’s past. I’m pleased with myself that I’ve been working on art (nearly) daily since the end of September. I think one of the reasons is that my work schedule gives me mornings off and I feel more motivated to get some artwork done before I go in to work.
Still, I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed with several projects. I tend to do this every year before Christmas, and I’ve vowed to myself several times (unsuccessfully) that I would not repeat the mistake. I’m looking forward to wrapping up all my handmade gifts and then moving onto some pursuits that are just for me. Andy J Pizza has a new Skillshare class on this topic that really has me inspired.
I recently finished a sketchbook and started a new one, the Etchr A5 hotpress 100% cotton watercolor sketchbook (see bottom left image below). I love that this sketchbook takes watercolor so much better than the moleskine books. However, I have some projects in mind that aren’t in a sketchbook and instead involve working on frame-able artwork. Stay tuned for some work outside of the sketchbook in the coming months.
I’ve been working on pen and ink all summer, but now I’m feeling like a change. The start of the school year always feels like a natural starting point and actually feels like a better time for new ventures than the beginning of the calendar year for me.
School starts tomorrow so I think it might be the perfect time to shift to a new way of working for awhile. I miss painting in watercolor and making more colorful art. So stay tuned for some more work in a colorful vein in my next update.
Since April, I’ve been using the Platinum Carbon Desk Pen with Platinum Carbon black ink. I originally heard about this pen through an art facebook group that I’m a part of. I used the ink cartridge that came with the pen and I’m on my second cartridge. I haven’t yet tried the converter. The ink cartridges and converters come with a small ball bearing inside to agitate the ink and prevent clumping, which is quite unique.
All summer, I’ve been making pen and ink drawings of various places that I’ve visited for day trips and small getaways. It’s been the longest time that I’ve worked in one medium without deviating and so far I haven’t lost interest. This is the closest thing I’ve done to a series in fact. Some of these drawings are duds, of course, but I will have to collect my favorite ones and find an interesting way to display/publish them.
I made these drawings from photos I took at the Hopedale Fairy Walk in the Hopedale Parklands. Here is an interesting story I found about the history of the pond and how women gained the right to go swimming in it in the early 1900’s. I always like to find out little tidbits about the history of the places I visit.
I had so many plans for my art in 2018 but things did not work as planned. I sorely underestimated the mental and physical energy that working full time as a new nurse would require. I was working more hours than a normal 40 hour workweek with odd shifts and a very irregular sleep schedule. For the last three months of the year, I didn’t pick up a pencil or a paint brush even one time and I felt so out of sorts. I’ve since taken some steps to remedy that situation and I’m looking forward to having more time for artwork in the coming months.
I have no formal goals for this year, but I just want to have fun and concentrate on making art daily or as close to daily as possible. I also want to focus on sending out my newsletter every month–I neglected to send that out for the last few months of the year and I regretted it. My January edition will be going out within the next few days (click here to sign up).
I’m looking forward to what 2019 will hold for me and I hope that everyone reading this has a prosperous and fulfilling year ahead.
Above is an illustration I completed for the cover art for the self-released album by John Hanson Project. I’ve known John for several years and he is an extremely dedicated musician who has been working tirelessly for years to realize his musical dreams. I highly recommend that you check out his new album Go On.