Share my “streamline everything” progress (believe it or not, there has been some progress!)
Watch as much of the Olympics as humanly possible
BACK TO SCHOOL WITH HOLLAR
And because it’s nearly back-to-school time (I know, I know), I have something extra cute to share today. Grace starts preschool in just a few weeks and our friends at Hollar (our new go-to spot for gifts and goodies) hooked her up with an Elmo backpack and all kinds of art supplies and learning tools. Check out Grace’s feature on the Hollar blog here. We’re really grateful to have partnered with them on this fun project.
What I made | 007 sounds so… James Bond. I assure you what follows is less secret agent and more… lady making a mess on her coffee table. I’ve been completely swept up in Mary Ann Moss’ Oh My Gouache class and have been using gouache in place of my usual watercolors, acrylics and inks. I even made my own sketchbook (Who am I?) and promptly began painting ships in bottles… and bottles of Polar Seltzer.
So this post is all gouache, nothing but the gouache. So help me, gouache.
No need for more nonsense. Here’s what I made recently:
July’s printable calendar is inspired by the matching popsicle pajamas Grace + Nick wore last night. As soon as the paint on this sucker dried, we hit the road, staying up past our collective bedtime and making decent time from the city to the Cape.
Nothing beats an actual popsicle on a hot July afternoon, but popsicle pajamas are pretty great. And these painted ones aren’t so bad either. They’re mess-free and calorie-free… which is occasionally a good thing. Like, say, if you’ve already eaten four real popsicles. Or whatever.
A new Mama Beasts challenge kicks off on Sunday, which makes setting wellness goals extra easy — I find these challenges to be super motivating (a new session of classes just started, check out the website for more info) and love feeling extra inspired both during and outside of class.
In addition to specific challenge activities (increased vegetable/fruit intake, mileage, core work, etc.), I will also be conscious about staying adequately hydrated. I usually drink at least 100 oz. of water, but I’ve been slacking lately (and feeling ridiculously thirsty at night).
Start (and, like, somewhat finish) sleep training. We moved Nick in with Grace a month ago… and then he cut 5 teeth and stopped sleeping so I moved him back to the co-sleeper in our room. I love having him in there. But I haven’t slept for more than 4-5 hours straight since 2013. And I think that’s probably not okay.
I want to streamline everything. I was reading about people who eat the same breakfast everyday in order to not waste their decision making braincells (or whatever) and started noticing how much time and energy I waste waffling (which, disappointingly, has nothing to do with waffles). This is obviously not a fully developed idea, so I suppose my goal is: Figure out what “streamlining everything some things” would look like.
It’s been ages since I’ve shared what I made. Grace and I spend plenty of time drawing things like “Dad with a stroller” and “Dad with shoes” and “Grace in a bed” and “Grace in a different bed” and “Baby Nick with a shoe” and “Mom in a bathing suit.” My solo creative time, however, has been a bit limited lately. Everything is a bit rushed, weird, slightly ugly, and mostly unfinished.
Oh, and I’ll spare you the bathing suit drawing.
WHAT I MADE | 006
Materials used: Actual gouache (Holbein, jet black and Winsor and Newton, gold) and Holbein Acryla Gouache — which is not really gouache, but it is really fun to use (pale aqua, luminous lemon, pale peach and pale mint), Bee Paper cotton watercolor paper (6 x 9 inches, 140 lb)
Just a quick little doodle while thinking about… thinking. And the power of thoughts. Keep ’em positive, people.
Materials used: Random letter stickers, Pilot Varsity pen (pink, water soluble), magazine clippings, matte medium, watercolors
The new season of the Get Messy Art Journal program centers on the theme of introspection (much more my jam than last season, which just didn’t do it for me). This is the first self portrait I’ve done in years. It’s a bit wonky, but so am I. So maybe it’s very true to life?
Materials used: Acrylic paint (sky blue and black), magazine clippings, matte medium, Micron (black 01), Gelly Roll pen (white), watercolors
I love that smiling, proud lady. I’ve been holding onto that image for a while and figured it was time to put her somewhere more dignified than in a stack of tear-outs.
Materials used: Acrylic paint (Golden heavy body + high flow), watercolor and gouache paint
I really liked this week’s Get Messy prompt around ink blots (members have access to a great tutorial from Vanessa on this). The mix of paint made for some really fun texture.
Materials used: Goauche (a mix of brands — Holbein, Winsor and Newton, Plakkaatverf, Daler and Rowney), Bee Paper
And the bottom doodle was in preparation for Mary Ann Moss’ gouache class, which starts Friday. Just a little playing around with paint mixing and experimenting with how much/how little gum arabic would prevent my gouache pans from cracking. Judging by the crack-iness, I didn’t exactly handle it…
This May calendar is coming to you a day late (sorry)… but it doesn’t matter if you’re a dollar short. Because you can download it for free. Or whatever.
If you’re down with the whole coloring book craze, this one’s for you. And if you hate the rainbow and are a strictly black and white kind of person, this one’s for you too (just skip the coloring part… obvi).
Materials used: Black watercolor paint (Winsor + Newton professional, ivory black), round brush (size 2), Micron pen (black, 01), Canson mixed media paper (160g)
So, we know I both fear and loathe Las Vegas going to the dentist, right? And that I semi-accidentally didn’t go for several years? And that, ironically, I broke a tooth (more accurately: an old filling fell out) while flossing, prompting an emergency visit to that place of fear and loathing? (If you didn’t know those things, consider yourself fully caught up.)
Materials used: Pentel brush pen (pink)… and, um… that’s it.
It’s been a year, and I’ve stuck with regular cleaning appointments and approximately 800 other appointments to replace various old dental work and (shame on me) tend to one or two… fine, three cavities. I have one more visit to go and then I’m done with my treatment plan, which feels mostly good.
The last couple appointments, though, have been especially uncomfortable and annoying. A temporary crown fell out twice in one day. Oh, and a dental assistant tried to pull out a permanent tooth instead of the loosening a different temporary crown. It was all I could do to not flee the office and cry in my car. Or stress eat an extra gluten-y donut. I know it’s silly, but I can feel my heart rate quicken even thinking about being in the dentist’s chair.
If you’re wondering what the H the dentist has to do with art-making, welp… Not much. But I did find my mind wandering away from the drill and that annoying suction thing and toward my sketchbook. I thought about what I would paint or draw or paste if I wasn’t, you know, at the dentist. Much of what I made in the last week or two was cooked up there. And that cooking up (along with a pair of noise canceling headphones and some Led Zeppelin) got me through those appointments.
This is a super roundabout way of saying that you don’t need to be sitting before an easel to be creative. And creative thought can be just as powerful and transformative as the actual act of creating. You simply need to be open to possibility. (Dental insurance doesn’t hurt though.)
Anyway… Here’s what I made.
What I made | 005
Materials used: Gifted scrapbook paper, Sakura Gelly Roll pen (white), gel medium (matte), scissors (obvi)
I come back to this poem often. When Graham (a fellow Get Messy member) sent me a beautiful packet of pink papers, I started snipping and doodling away. Sometimes pages feel like they make themselves.
I weirdly enjoy drawing hearts and regret not being a better student in biology. Just think what else I would be able to draw if I had spent more time paying attention and less time being grossed out and/or fainting.
Materials used: Strathmore Artists Tile (black), Sakura Gelly Roll pen (white), magazine pages (Edible Boston), Winsor and Newton professional watercolors, random alphabet stencil, Micron 01 (black)
This is an old work (and one I’ve shared before, I think), but it feels sort of like a cousin to the one above. And I get the same comfort from reading Wendell Berry that I do Rumi, so I thought it worth sharing again. I recently came across this recording of Berry reciting the poem quoted here. It’s just perfect.
Other writers and poets that I constantly return to: Thomas Merton, Mary Oliver, and Hafez.
Materials used: Starthmore Artigan paper (black), Sakura Gelly Roll pen (white), gel medium (matte), magazine pages (WSJ magazine).
Another collage, and more evidence that I don’t really know what body parts look like. For the record: that’s a head. With ears. And a neck.
Moving on: How divine are these words? They sort of stop me in my tracks. And I have a crush on my own handwriting.
Materials used: Winsor and Newton professional watercolors, round brushes (2 and 6, I believe).
Just some good ol’ watercolor doodling while watching The Americans. (I am convinced Clark, who came to us by way of Russia, is a spy waiting to be activated.)
Materials used: [top] Micron 08 (black), acrylic and watercolor paints, colored card stock, glue stick [bottom] Magazine image (Real Simple), black acrylic paint, colored card stock, gel medium (matte), glue stick
I really love how these two turned out. They’re sort of half flower show, half yoga class inspired.
P.S. The next Get Messy Art Journal season starts next week — it’s a collaboration with 30Lists and should be really interesting. A new season is a great time to join Get Messy, especially if you’re looking to jump start your own creative routine. No emergency trips to the dentist required.
It’s 70 degrees and the sun is shining in Boston, so we’re making a dash for the Harbor Walk (it’s where we do our best puppy watching). I’ll leave you with a few sunny creations from the past week or so.
What I made | 004
Materials used: Small hardbound sketchbook, watercolors, round brushes (sizes 2 and 6), Winsor and Newton drawing ink and acrylic paint.
I’ve been following along with Courtney Pilgrim’s Make Your Mark prompts — they’re the perfect way to keep up with a daily creative practice. The last painting (sort of abstracted storm clouds) is my favorite, so far. I think a weather series would be fun. The senior citizen in me just loves a good weather forecast. And trips to the post office.
Materials used: Acrylic paint, black gesso, watercolors, Winsor and Newton drawing ink, white gel pen, and a pair of small + extremely sharp scissors (I’ve got the wounds to prove it).
I can’t believe the first Get Messy Art Journal season of the year is already winding down. I’ve filled this sketchbook with lots of bright colors and happy sayings, though these pages are a bit moodier than others. The quote about breaking through is from a recent Elephant Journal post. It just seemed right to cut the edges of that page, and I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.
Materials used: Cold pressed watercolor paper (9 x 12), watercolor paint and a round #2 brush.
These paintings for Grace and our two nieces came together really quickly (as things must during Grace’s naps, which are getting shorter and shorter). I almost made one for Clark… but no.
What I made this week: A crappy video. Olé! (I’ll embed it below for your viewing pleasure so you can mock me.) I also made some other stuff. Mostly all on the same night. Nick and I caught up on Homeland (by watching 900 episodes), and I was afraid to go to bed since Carrie and Saul’s escapades usually give me ridiculous nightmares.
So I made a bunch of stuff, and then went to bed. And had nightmares about the toxicity of acrylic paint. Whatever, man. Here’s what I made.
This sketchbook goes from subdued (this page) to extra jazzy (everything that follows) very quickly. The quote is from No Mud, No Lotus and the pen is from college. Those things seem to last forever.
Materials used: Sharpie permanent marker, magazine cut-out, the Wall Street Journal, Micron pen (black 01), acrylic paint, glue stick
We recently started receiving someone else’s WSJ. After three calls to their customer service line and just as many promises that delivery would be stopped, it’s still showing up on our door step (and piling up in our building’s lobby).
One of the Get Messy Art Journal program’s recent prompts was street art-inspired, so I used a page of our magically appearing newspaper as a background. I’m quite pleased with the hand lettering and I’m glad I hung onto that random hummingbird cut out (which, I’m fairly certain, came from a car ad).
That’s supposed to say “trembling”… not t-r-e-m-f-l-i-n-g. The b looks like an f… and I meant to fix it, but forgot. Anyway, you get the point.
The right hand page is another Get Messy-inspired page. I loved scrolling through Instagram to see how everyone else used that same quote (hi, Julia). And I love cutting up my sketchbook a bit so other pages peek through.
On the flip side, a great quote about happiness and and door… and some of the coral acrylic paint that I accidentally spilled all over my palette, thus necessitating I use far more of it than planned. (I sort of wish I had spilled the sky blue instead… can’t win ’em all.) Plus a bunch of windows… and a door.
Materials used: [Left side] Handmade Modern acrylic paint (platinum, from Target), Winsor and Newton professional watercolor tubes (moved around the page with a paper straw), Uni Posca paint pen (black); [Right side] Winsor and Newton watercolor paint (black), acrylic paint, Gelly Roll pen (white)
Some brain wave-ish watercolors, a “good ideas” light bulb and more cut pages.
Materials used: [Left side] All pink everything… Winsor and Newton pigment markers, Sakura Koi brush pens, Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pen, acrylic paint, watercolor paint; [Right side] Grey acrylic paint, paper scraps (cut into cone flower shapes), white Gelly Roll pen, glue stick
Materials used: Gel printing plate, acrylic paint, string, cardstock circle, gold leaf, Uni Posca paint pen (yellow), Micron (purple, 01… I think).
Lastly, I’m finally starting to get a hang of my Gelli plate (used for making mono prints). I’ve had one for ages, but never liked anything I made with it. I think I was over-thinking the process… which is kind of how I roll.
I really like these two pages though. I added a bit of leftover gold leaf and some doodling to make the circle look more like the moon.