I imagine this is what Prince sits in while chilling in Heaven (and can we talk, solemnly, about the all star jam band Jesus formed in 2016…). I got carried away with the cushion tufting, but hey.
That’s one of the (many?) good things about imaginary purple-rain-inspired chairs. You can get carried away with the cushion tufting and just pretend that’s how you intended it to look. And then you can blow up your own spot and tell the internet that it was actually a mistake. Because you were distracted by Bridget Jones’s Baby.
Please don’t be too intimidated by my high brow taste in movies films.
Also On Tap for Today:
I’m thrilled to share that I am on the 2017 Creative Team for the Get Messy Art Journal Community – – if you’re looking for a warm + enthusiastic crew and inspiration for regular art-making… check ’em out (all are welcome!)
For the record: the movie was cute, but generally… just okay (same goes for the chair…)
80% of all my meals and snacks – This is not some sort of fad diet. My children and dog (and occasionally, my husband) eat all their food… and then they eat my food. I am basically the peasant of the family.
A bunch of books with pretty covers (and really good insides, too)
Adele on repeat… in anticipation of seeing her perform live next month (insert 100 of the red-dress-dancing-lady emojis, and then a crying emoji, and then the two-hands-in-the-air emoji and then 47 exclamation marks)
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood “Big Feelings” album on Spotify during every, single car trip… while cursing the day I revealed to Grace that this was a thing.
Grace and Nick laugh hysterically on the swings. And in the car. And in their highchairs. And in the bath. It is the best sound ever.
A new workout playlist, which I’ll share here in the next few days. I’ve been enjoying a few Pinterest-inspired home workouts and running at Castle Island during the break between Mama Beasts sessions.
Bittersweet about Grace beginning preschool next month. She is super excited and I know she will love it. And I’m looking forward to some one-on-one time with baby Nick, and a bit more structure to our weekdays. But I also sort of want both kids to stay tiny and young forever. Which would be very weird and hinder their prospects for becoming healthy, successful adults… I am aware. Meanwhile, we’ve been painting and making some pretty cool stuff together. The girl loves her googly eyes.
Way less itchy and way less dependent on Benadryl spray than I was two weeks ago… when I somehow got poison ivy all over both feet and like, in between all my toes. We live in the city. The only greenery on our property burned down a month ago (True story: someone threw a lit cigarette into one of our hydrangea bushes and it burned to the ground… but not before sending flames six feet into the sky. We weren’t home at the time, and fortunately everyone in our building was okay.) I still have no clue how or where or when I got it, but I’m telling you. Poison ivy is no joke.
Excited to sneak in one more quick trip to the Cape this month
The Night Of on HBO – We have a couple episodes to catch up on, and I still run out of the room at least twice a show for fear of what’s going to happen next… but I’m hooked.
Bad Moms – Watched this hilarious (and surprisingly heartfelt) movie the best way possible, with 34 other moms in one of those fancy movie theaters with the reclining seats and hard cider and french fries and no children… such an awesome Mom’s Night Out with the Mama Beasts.
For the record, these are not ads, just things I’m obsessed with and feel like everyone should know about them. Some of these links, however, are referral links.
Wearing baby Nick! He quickly outgrew our Baby Bjorn and was starting to feel not-so-secure in our linen ring sling… so we upgraded to the silk Sakura Bloom ring sling and I am completely obsessed. I also really like the midnight black color way. The silk grips really well and feels a bit more structured than the linen. Let me know if you have questions about baby wearing — I could talk about it forever (or at least an hour).
Ebates for “back-to-school” shopping, or more accurately “both kids outgrew all their clothes on the same day” shopping – I hit the BabyGap sale hard (and will get magical cash back from Ebates) earlier this week, saving baby Nick from a lifetime of wearing togas fashioned from swaddling blankets. It nearly came to that. But it didn’t. I also use Ebates for regular purchases like Diapers.com. It really adds up.
Dollar Shave Club – I decided I was done spending a million dollars on razors and joined Dollar Shave Club on a whim (Nick uses Harry’s, a similar service). For $6 a month, I get 4 razors delivered to my door. The handle thing came in my first order, and yes, it’s super plain… but let’s be serious. We don’t need lady razors. Just like we don’t need lazy forks. Or lady pencils. Or lady steering wheels. I’m super happy with the blades and for the first time ever, I’m remembering to use a new one every week. So adult.
Instagram stories. I love seeing everyone’s candid videos and fun photos! You can find me on IG at @elizabethev and @elizabethevart (for the painting, doodling, making a mess-type stuff).
Also On Tap for Today:
Making 9,000 appointments for the fall (check-ups, dentists, dermatologist, GI, vet, hair, and so on…)
Looking forward to a little brainstorming session with my fellow HLB ambassadors
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.
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…
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.
This week I accomplished a whole lot of half-things. Which is to say, I started a lot, but finished a little. I feel like I’ve been washing the same load of laundry for a month. And I’ve been reading the same paragraph of the same book for just as long (incidentally, it’s a very good paragraph and a very good book). I don’t get much done these days.
I leave a trail of unfinished thoughts, ideas, sentences, bowls of cereal, and yes… piles of laundry in my wake. On the best of days, it’s sort of funny. On the worst of days, it’s sort of demoralizing. I feel like someone who doesn’t follow through. Someone who is unreliable. Someone who can’t be counted on.
And then I (mostly) get a grip.
When Grace was a newborn, I remember how much it helped to accomplish one thing a day. Sometimes that was taking a shower, sometimes it was a trip to the library. As time passed, we were able to accomplish more, but even the tiniest accomplishments went a long way towards building my confidence as a new mom.
So I am reminded to both keep trying and to manage my expectations. And to not start so many things that can’t be finished.
This part of life is crazy, but it’s also really short. And there is so much that is never finished. The big things, like the work and joy of being a parent.
This is turning into something waaaay more emo than I intended. Sorry. Here’s what I made. Or, more accurately, what I started making.
What I made | 002
Materials used: Winsor and Newton professional watercolor tubes, Winsor and Newton drawing ink (974 white), Royal Taklon brush (round 7), Strathmore 300 series mixed media sketchbook (11 in. x 14 in.).
The new season of the Get Messy Art Journal (click to join or learn more!) just started and the theme is happiness. Much of what I made this week is inspired by the first set of prompts (thanks, Julia!), including this painting of the sky. I love looking up (literally and, like, figuratively) and I love that Grace has taken to pointing out the moon and stars as soon as she spots them.
So I guess the sky counts as my “happy place,” or one of them, at least. Few things make me happier than a clear, star-filled sky. I don’t however, like to think about what’s beyond those stars. Outer space totally freaks me out. And don’t even start with me about aliens.
Materials used: Posca paint pen (grey), Winsor and Newton professional watercolor tubes, Winsor and Newton gouache, Sakura Gelly Roll pen (white), Strathmore 300 series mixed media sketchbooks (11 in. x 14 in. and 5.5 in. x 8.5 in.).
“Without suffering, there’s no happiness. So we shouldn’t discriminate against the mud. We have to learn how to embrace and cradle our own suffering and the suffering of the world, with a lot of tenderness.”
Materials used: Sakura gelly roll pen (black), Handmade Modern acrylic paint from Target, Golden high flow acrylic paint (I mixed a few shades to get his pale robin’s egg-ish blue), Strathmore 400 series bound sketchbook (8.5 in. x 5.5 in.).
These coneflowers (a.k.a. echinacea) are one of my favorite things to draw from memory. And I love Thomas Merton. And order (or some resemblance of order) definitely contributes to my happiness. I’m hoping to finish up the lettering on that page sometime this week this century.
Materials used: Winsor and Newton professional watercolor tubes, sea salt (it creates a fun effect with wet watercolors), Micron pen (black 01), black gesso, a cardboard box and x-acto knife (to make the bird stencil).
One of my favorite parts of the Get Messy program is the weekly tutorials shared by members. This week, Vanessa shared tips on making your own stencils. I got really fancy resourceful and cut these hawks out of an empty Cheerios box. The quote is another one from No Mud, No Lotus:
“The French have a song they like to sing, “Qu’est-ce qu’on attend pour être heureux?” (What are you waiting for in order to be happy?) You can be happy right here and right now.”
I don’t particularly like how this page turned out, so I will likely turn it into something else. Or (let’s be serious) trash it.
Materials used: Posca paint pen (black), 900 different acrylic paints, white gesso, Strathmore 300 series mixed media sketchbooks (11 in. x 14 in.), Winsor and Newton professional watercolor paint (Opera Rose).
I had an idea about where I wanted this to go. And then I got carried away. Thank goodness for gesso. I like that you can almost see all the ridiculous flowers I painted, and that their full ridiculousness is obscured by a wash of gesso.
This has “work in progress” written all over it.
Materials used: Everything I own that is both pink and an art supply. (I can provide specifics if you’re really interested, but…)
I saved the most pink and the most finished piece for last. I sort of love how this turned out. It makes me happy. And what more could you ask for?
This year, I thought I’d continue to share a weekly look at recent paintings, drawings and illustrations. Rather than keep posts like this limited to my art journal, I plan to keep things a bit more open-ended, knowing that some weeks I might make time for something really sort of great… and other weeks, I might be lucky to doodle on a napkin.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been caught up in patterns and repetition and have stuck with a single paintbrush, a small palette of watercolors, a few bottles of drawing ink and two identical watercolor sketchbooks. And 900 paper towels.
These days, my ego is a bit more fragile than usual. I chock it up to the lack of sleep and constant second-guessing that comes with caring for a newborn and a toddler. And while I’m so much more confident the second time around, I still catching myself repeating that new mom refrain (be gentle to yourself) over and over.
And so I’m not in the mood to try anything new. Or risk making something totally ugly. Or need to clean up a bunch of supplies. I want to be pleased with what I make.
There’s something really relaxing about doing the same thing over and over. And being done when I run out of time or paper or brain power. This is what gentle art-making looks like for me.