My mom, Cate and I visited Tower Hill Botanic Garden for the first time last week. What a treasure of a place! I can’t believe that I’ve never visited in over twenty years of living in Central Mass. There is a lot to look at and it changes seasonally with new things on display all year, even in winter I’m told. The tulip beds, planted in coordinated color combinations, were the highlight of the trip for me. There was also a display of fairy houses and an exhibit of watercolor paintings by wildlife artist Barry Van Dusen (on display until June 26, 2016).
I only took photos and didn’t get the time to sit and sketch this time. However, I joined as a member and will be visiting again soon with my sketchbook and a big block of (undisturbed) time.
It’s been a while since I’ve painted in watercolor without doing an ink drawing first so I decided to try it out in my moleskine (not the moleskine watercolor album). I used fairly wet washes. Granted, moleskine paper is not meant for watercolor, hence all the buckling. Still, it was fun and I enjoyed getting outside in the breeze to paint it instead of working from a photo.
A pink peony for Valentine’s Day, drawn from my photo archives. I have really been enjoying the artwork of Inky Leaves on Instagram and I’m getting inspired to start making some more botanical themed artwork myself in the near future. I never used to care for the white backgrounds in traditional botanical painting (thinking they were too boring), but this aesthetic has grown on me and I’m going to try to leave my backgrounds white for the next couple of paintings.
I’ve always wanted to learn how to make an animated GIF in Photoshop. This morning I figured out how by following an online tutorial.
The images are various floral themed artworks I have made over the past few years that I cropped into a heart shape. I also didn’t know how to crop an image into a shape until today, so I’m feeling kind of pleased with myself right now.
Here is a compilation of my recent sketchbooks for your enjoyment. I’ve been really trying to keep a regular sketchbook habit as it is the single best thing I know of for stress relief and relaxation. Plus, I’ve been lucky to have a lot of fresh flowers in the house. Right now I’m really busy with Christmas prep and having a great time with it.
I read this book a few months back and it has really stuck with me, which is rare for a nonfiction book. I am someone who has struggled for years with what Marie Kondo calls “rebound.” My relationship with organization is similar to what some people deal with when yo-yo dieting. I go on a massive cleaning spree and have things under control for about one week, but things quickly fall apart again. Over the past four years or so I have really improved, due to drastically reducing my living space and possessions accordingly. Even still, I continue to struggle, as I have not been able to stick to a long term solution. When my summer term is over, I am going to do a purge and fully implement her method. I will report back on my findings.
This is one of my favorite passages of the book:
If you have read this far, you have probably noticed that in my method your feelings are the standard for decision making. Many people may be puzzled by such vague criteria as “things that give you a thrill of pleasure” or “click point.” The majority of methods give clearly defined numerical goals, such as “Discard anything you haven’t used for two years,” “Seven jackets and ten blouses is the perfect amount,” “Get rid of one thing every time you buy something new.” But I believe this is one reason these methods result in rebound.
Even if these methods temporarily result in a tidy space, automatically following criteria proposed by others and based on their “know-how” will have no lasting effect – unless their criteria happens to match your own standards of what feels right. Only you can know what kind of environment makes you feel happy. The act of picking up and choosing objects is extremely personal. To avoid rebound, you need to create your own tidying method with your own standards. This is precisely why it is so important to identify how you feel about each item you own.
–Marie Kondo in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, pg 125-126.
My last day of work was this past Wednesday and I’ve taken the past few days off before school starts to take care of some things around the house and to do the last of my pleasure reading until the fall, The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley. This afternoon is probably the last of the family parties that I will be able to participate in until the Fourth of July.
In other news, Michael Nobbs has redesigned his website, Sustainably Creative, and has now made his podcasts freely available. I have followed Michael since I was part of the Everyday Matters Yahoo! Group and I really respect his ideas. He also has a really nice British accent and a generally soothing voice.
My tooth is also feeling quite a bit better—not perfect, but better.
I’ve been delving into my reference files and made the above drawing from the same scene that I drew in this drawing from 2009. I made the earlier drawing from life and added the watercolor at home. I find it very interesting how I approached my current drawing differently (more loose and imaginative).
“Spring is the time of plans and projects.”
― Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
Today felt like a late January winter’s day with snow and wind, but over the past few weeks the snow mounds have gone down some and I can see grass on my lawn again. I am trusting that true spring weather is coming soon.
For the past few weeks I’ve been busy working on projects for other people, which I will post when they are finished. I’m looking forward to when they are complete and I will be able to make some things just for me again.