Tag: productivity

garden sketch collage

Plans for 2017

garden sketch collage
©2016 Carolyn A Pappas, Garden Sketch (11/6/2016). Ink, watercolor, and collage in large moleskine.
garden sketch collage
©2016 Carolyn A Pappas, Garden Sketch (12/20/2016). Ink, watercolor, and collage in large moleskine.
Above are some pages from my sketchbook when I was thinking about time and time management.

For 2017, my goals are simple. First and foremost, I plan to successfully complete my nursing program. Secondly, I want to find a way to include art in my life during the school year. Last semester, I only broke away from my studies one time to do art and I missed it terribly. I don’t think I can mentally function for a whole year (including the summer) by only drawing between terms. At this point, I’m not sure how I will implement more frequent art making, but I will post updates throughout the year.

Last year, I did have the foresight to realize that I would be buried with schoolwork and I saved some drawings to post during the year. I am aiming for one post a month at minimum, but more often if I can manage.

I wish everyone reading this a healthy, prosperous, and creative 2017!

instagram best 9 2016

2016 In Review

instagram best 9 2016
My most liked Instagram photos from 2016. I started using Instagram slightly more this past year. I post images of things that inspire me as an artist, as well as work in progress photos. Feel free to follow me: @carolynapappas.

While 2016 may have been negative in terms of events in the news and celebrity deaths, it was an amazing and eventful year for me personally. Here is a recap of some of the things that I have accomplished:

Art Achievements
  • My most productive art making months were July and August. During these months, my schedule was the lightest and I felt an urgency to make as much art as I could before school started.
  • My biggest creative inspiration in 2016 was Tower Hill Botanic Garden. I am still overflowing with ideas and you will definitely see more of Tower Hill in my art in 2017.
  • I published 35 blog posts over the course of the year, which doesn’t meet my goal of one post a week. I am okay with that though, because I made a lot of artwork that I didn’t post (stay tuned in 2017).
  • I published 52 posts to Instagram over the course of 2016.
  • For six weeks in the beginning of the year, I participated in the online Sketchbook Skool course, Expressing. You can read my review of the kourse here.
  • I participated in the Twitter Art Exhibit, held in NYC in March.
  • I decorated and mailed a blank postcard to Greenfield Community College for a show of Mail Art.
  • I completed a commissioned watercolor landscape painting for the album cover of Robert Louis’ debut Christmas album.
  • I completed my red moleskine sketchbook and started a new moleskine, which is in progress.
  • I experimented with Photoshop and learned how to make animated GIFs to feature my artwork.
  • Crafty pursuits included making two hand-sewn mermaid dolls and an advent calendar for my daughter.
Personal Achievements
  • I finished the prerequisites for the nursing program I am attending, started nursing school in September, and completed the first semester.
Thank you to all who visited me online during this past year, left comments, or sent encouraging emails. I am so grateful for the support of kindred spirits!

I will be back on Sunday with my goals for 2017.

red moleskine

A Well Used Book

red moleskineI always get a feeling of accomplishment when I finish a sketchbook, especially one that has been in progress for the better part of two years. I am so happy to move on from my red large moleskine. It was an unexpected gift that I originally began hesitantly. It wasn’t until about a year ago that I really got into a groove and began filling it up with more vigor. When I flip through the pages, I also see a real progression in my level of artistic risk taking, which pleases me.

Oftentimes, finishing a sketchbook coincides with moving onto a new season of my life. I have the rest of the summer before I start school again and I’m hoping to break in my new sketchbook by then.

English countryside drawings

2015 in Review

As is my custom, I’m reviewing the past year and looking forward to my goals in 2016. I also want to wish anyone reading this a very happy and fulfilling New Year. Thank you for viewing my work.

English countryside drawings
©2015 Carolyn A Pappas, English Countryside Vignettes. Ink and watercolor in moleskine, each drawing 4 inch diameter. My last piece of artwork from 2015.


  • I put my house plans on hold and decided instead to return to school, which was a really big and risky decision. So far I have completed all of the prerequisites I need for nursing school except for Human Growth and Development (I’m working on that now).
  • I took an intense four week CNA course and successfully passed my state exam to receive my CNA certification.
  • I made three illustrations of spinach for Sow True Seed Company. Read their blog post featuring me here.
  • I participated in Inktober, a pen and ink drawing challenge in the month of October.
  • I made some handmade Christmas presents—something I have wanted to do in past years but never got around to actually completing.


  • Art making was put on the back burner for most of the year because I was working on school so intensely, which did not leave a lot of energy to focus on much of anything else.
  • I had a pretty bad injury to my face last January and have had ongoing dental and facial pain for most of the year. Chronic pain can certainly be very wearing.

Goals for 2016

  • I am participating in the Twitter Art Exhibit, which will take place in March.
  • For the rest of 2016 I am going to try to focus solely on my own projects and sketchbooks. I’d like to have new work to post to my blog once a week, if possible.
  • My general intention for 2016 is to start projects instead of just thinking about them. Nothing this year I did was perfect, but I am glad I was able to finish some things that I had the courage to start in the first place.
Watercolor bookmarks with handmade tassels

Back to the books

Watercolor bookmarks with handmade tassels
Painted bookmarks (watercolor) with handmade tassels.

I made myself some new bookmarks in preparation for the fall semester that started today. This time I am taking all of my classes online which I have never done before. Some people have trouble keeping themselves disciplined with their self study schedule, but my years of homeschool have prepared me well.

I took a few weeks off in between the end of the summer session and now. By the end, I was really itching for school to start again. I was very overwhelmed with my intense schedule over the summer and I just could not wait to have some time off to do whatever I wanted with no demands. I was anticipating a really productive time doing a lot of painting and drawing, etc. Interestingly, I found that my expectations did not match reality. Instead, I ended up losing my motivation, getting way off my sleep schedule, and wrenching my shoulder so that I did not do much drawing at all. I realized that I function best when I have some sort of structure to my day (but not too much) with defined work to do and have to fit my artwork in between everything else. Lisa Congdon wrote an interesting post about how her expectations did not match reality when she recently went on a three week artist residency.

I’m interested to see how this next semester works out because I will mostly have complete freedom over my school schedule. Will I end up getting more artwork done? I hope so!

pink roses ink watercolor drawing

Open your sketchbook.

pink roses ink watercolor drawing
©2014 Carolyn A Pappas, Roses (11-15-2014). Ink and watercolor in watercolor moleskine sketchbook.
This thought came to my mind one day while sitting in church. I took my own advice and did some more in my sketchbook (the drawing above), as well as another drawing that I will use as my Christmas card this year. I even had the courage to break out my dip pens and I stayed up late a few nights to work on it. It seems that starting a drawing is the hardest part, and after that the rest is all downhill.