Obviously I haven’t been here for a couple of weeks. I can only blame a few incidences of family life crazy and some priorities. My attempts at a schedule are in vain.
I have managed some artwork though. I worked on this rooster painting some more and a still life. The rooster will probably make it to completion. I’m not so sure with the still life. I am struggling to “say” things that are in my head with the oil paintings. There seem to be some changes in my work coming. When I have broken through the learning curves I will share those. Right now I am thinking, sketching and learning.
My biggest accomplishment was finishing the portrait of my grandson for my daughter’s 30th birthday present. Drawing family members is stressful. If not blood, there were definitely sweat and tears involved with finishing the little guy.
I also spent a few hours making some Valentine’s Day cards for the shut-ins at church. I had some old ones that had been hanging out for years and then I used some fabric scraps and mixed media experiments to make the others. I forgot to get a picture of it, but I also painted a dinosaur with a valentine for my grandson. Fun stuff.
Hopefully I will get some more items on my shop this week. It’s going to be very Spring like here so the temptation to escape outdoors may be more than I can resist. There is a day or two with rain in the forecast that might give me some computer time.
I have some fruit trees I need to go prune (should have been done a few weeks ago) so I will leave you now.
Hope you are well. Hope you are warm and dry. Lots of you seem to be getting snow, ice, cold. So sorry. Here we are just sinking up to our ankles in mud, with more on the way.
This is going to be quick because I’m running out of day and the list is long.
My online store is LIVE! Ok, it only has 6 items at the moment, but I am working hard to get more on there. I set myself a deadline of January 31st to get it running and decided since this will be an ongoing process, just do it.
Now, I’m not really sure if all the bells and whistles are going to work correctly right out of the box. Please bear with me as I work through stuff. Shipping will probably have to be tweaked yet. If you try it and have questions or think the shipping seems to be running too high, please email me at email@example.com and I will see what I can do.
More than orders right now, I would appreciate you signing up for my email list. First, I need to see how it’s working and second, I can let you know when new items or features are added. I promise not to bombard you with emails! I’m thinking once a month will probably be all that happens most of the time.
I hope you are well and safe from the storms that seem to be hitting everybody this winter. Snow, rain, tornados. We had all sorts of crazy thunderstorms yesterday evening. I don’t think we had any storms all summer that matched the ones we had yesterday. Weird stuff.
This has been a tough week. Why is it that you can go along just fine for a fairly extended amount of time and then, “BAM”, everything seems to go sideways all at once? In the spirit of truth, let’s just discuss failure. You know, the stuff that doesn’t make it onto social media. All the beautiful photos, but behind the camera is huge pile of dirty laundry, kid toys and cat puke.
Last week I worked and worked on two paintings. Hours of my life put into them. By Friday I was realizing one is probably a complete failure and one is definitely not working the way I wanted it to. Generally I do not do artwork on the weekend and I hoped that by Monday I could figure out a way to save them. Nope. No such luck. By Monday afternoon I also realized that a life situation wasn’t looking too good either. Monday was super Mondayish. It was one of those days that would have been better spent in the bed with the covers over my head.
The featured artwork above has been my mood all week. Tuesday I hurried through my morning chores to get in the studio and pour out the angst in the drawing. I do not consider myself an abstract artist at all, but there is some serious therapy in just drawing or painting emotions. I believe it’s Betty Edwards’ “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” that goes into how much humans can understand just from an expressive drawn line. I imagine that musicians and dancers can work out their demons in a similar manner.
So here are the paintings or parts of them that may disappear soon. The horse’s head is workable, but the back end of the horse that I’m not showing you (I just can’t bring myself to look at it here) is a hot mess. Horses are my nemesis (“the inescapable agent of someone’s or something’s downfall” – perfect definition!) even though I have four live models outside my window. I probably have 4 or 5 more horse paintings planned. Talk about self abuse!
Now the sheep are in the gray area. This is the second time I have done a painting of these sheep. The first one went in the trash. This one is better, but still not matching the vision in my head. By the way, this one was titled “The Gossips,” years ago when I took the reference photos. My skill with oil paint just isn’t there yet. It may just turn into a drawing so that I can move on.
So, what do I do about failures? I would love to hear what you do to get through them. There is no sugar coating them. They feel awful and maybe we can help each other through it.
Yesterday I started a great big (well, big for me and the available space) new painting that will either work out or I will fail at it in flying colors AND I started a new drawing. Drawing is my happy place and my safe place. I know how to work a pencil and charcoal. I also don’t agonize over trashing a drawing because the supplies don’t cost so dang much. So basically I am forcing myself back on the horse in a manner, but with a slightly safer subject to build skills and confidence in my painting. The drawing is to sooth my tortured soul. I can go into that wonderful place called FLOW and lose all track of time. My brain is on auto pilot and not beating myself up for failing.
As far as the life situation goes, the drawing process is a salve until I know what to do. Part of it is in my control, but a good bit of it is totally out of my control. It will not be easily fixed and it is not something I feel I can walk away from as tempting as it is right now. I guess the human reaction is to run from hurt, but the spirit needs to find the strength to walk through the muck to the other side. If you are dealing with failures, just know you aren’t alone. We all project the pretty pictures to the world, but we need to clean up the cat puke.
I hope you are well. We are having a cold, rainy day here. My least favorite weather. The upside to a rainy day is that I can’t get outside to work and can escape into my attic studio.
My current projects include trying to finish some unfinished paintings and work on this website. DH pointed out the other day that I don’t have any of my commissioned work on here. Over the years I have had little time to pursue shows or galleries because it has been hard to build a body of work to use. I have been able to consistently take commissions though. They have been my bread & butter artwork.
It is still a work in progress, but if you look under the MENU tab above you will see my Commissions page now. These are samples of work I have done in the past few years. Somewhere I have more photos of more work, but they seem to be MIA. Does anyone else need a better system of filing your photos? If you have a good system, PLEASE tell me how.
I have a table full of unfinshed work and some canvases I’m getting ready to start on. It has been an absolute pleasure to finally have some consistent time (did I mention that our niece got her license so my taxi business has retired) to paint. My minimum daily time is about 2 hours most days. Today I have been holed up here for almost 4 hours. Other than a lack of heat up here, it has been wonderful.
Trying to improve my website has proven just how scattered and fragmented my art time has been over the years. I have reference photos everywhere – digital and hard copy, photos of finished work stuck in weird places and finished work in equally weird spots. Finally I have one place for all my supplies, files, work, etc. Slowly I am cleaning out dried up paint, art that should be burned, craft supplies I will never use again and crazy stuff I wonder why I kept. Now if I can just get my studio construction finished, it might not be as cold and would certainly look better!
Well, folks I need to wrap this up, go thaw out my feet and put some soup on for dinner. In case I haven’t mentioned it recently, I am on Instagram and Facebook under Bloomtown Studio. Usually I post the same stuff in both places so just pick one to visit. Also, check back here when you can. I am determined to get my act together (stop laughing, it could happen) and get this website in better shape.
Yes, I have been MIA for a very long time. There are several reasons for my absence. Primarily it has been an extended creative block. I have been doing some artwork, but was struggling to get into it. I decided to pull out the sewing machine and start making myself some much needed clothes. Maybe something about switching up my focus started getting the creative juices flowing again. I think it may take a different turn, but I will start sharing what’s happening and give an update on my studio construction (hint: it’s not done yet).
I have closed my Etsy shop. Maybe I will explain that decision later. Many folks have been disgruntled with Etsy and I was one of them. I am looking into just adding a shop here on my website if I can afford it. I am also considering starting a newsletter. It would only be sent out when I have a major update or important information. If you would like to be added to the newsletter email list please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me you would like to be added.
That’s my update for today. The handsome pup is a recent commission that I finished.
Have a great week and I should be back posting soon.
Hello to the new readers. Welcome. How is everyone doing? In my part of the world winter has arrived in force. We were snowed in over the weekend and expecting more snow and ice tonight. Hopefully not much this time. I am very tired of slipping and sliding my way to the goat shed every morning.
Our temps are not supposed to reach above freezing all day. Yuck. The wood stove is working hard! Even both of my kids who live at different parts of the East Coast are expecting significate icing tonight. One is having to spend the night at the hospital where she works and I’m sure my firefighter son will be busy with wrecks and possibly space heater fires.
I have been trying my best to use my winter confinement wisely. We won’t discuss the cookie baking and biscuits and gravy that have been happening! I finished the blouse I had started last week. The original plan was for long sleeves, but I did not have enough fabric so it became a summer blouse. I am happy with the pattern (the fabric was a beast and I will avoid such slipperness in the future) and am planning a dress in the future from it. If anyone is interested, it is the Rhapsody Blouse & Dress from Love Notions pattern company.
I am still working on DH’s sweater and am playing a serious game of yarn chicken. There are going to be some creative sleeves on this baby if the beige yarn runs out too early. Sewing and knitting have their share of drama! I am using the Flax pattern from Tin Can Knits, but not doing the garter panel on the sleeves.
For a long time I have been wanting to learn stranded colorwork, but have been intimidated. I have enough trouble controlling one ball of yarn much less multiple. But the time has come. I am joining a Knit Along in February to see if I can master it. I have visions of Fair Isle sweaters in my closet, but I’m starting with a hat. I will let you know how it goes.
Artwork is limited because it’s just too darn cold in my attic studio. I am still slowly working on a drawing. If I get this post done soon enough I am going to work on it today. The puppy is down for her nap and I have a heck of a time accomplishing any detailed projects when she is awake. We see glimmers of hope that she will eventually become a big, squishy puddle of pit bull lazy in the future, but we aren’t gonna be there for months yet. She is losing her baby teeth and that has been exciting. I haven’t had a puncture wound for almost a week now!
That’s about it from the frozen wasteland of North Carolina. We won’t discuss the mud levels either when the ground thaws. Double yuck.
I am trying to sneak this post in quietly while the puppy is sleeping. Honestly it is just like having a two year old running around again. I can’t take my eyes off of her while she is awake because she will get into something and I try to cram all my work into her two hour morning nap. It’s exhausting.
So 2022 is here and I am juggling lots of things at once. How is your January going? Things are supposed to slow down in the winter, but I really don’t think that ever happens in my life. I am trying to do more cozy activities. The Scandinavians know how to do winter so I am embracing as many of their traditions as possible to get to Spring without diving into my usual Winter depression. Currently three pairs of socks on my feet, wood stove going, candles at night, more books to read and forcing myself out into the cold for some walks.
We are still working on the studio, but I now have three tables up there full of creative endeavors. Yours truly is spending at least an hour a day in her UNHEATED studio. I have one space heater and will probably move another up there soon. Yesterday I had my three pairs of socks on, a hat, fingerless gloves and three layers of clothing while just happily working away on three different projects. When it’s your thing you just do it!
The 2022 plan is to revamp my pitiful Etsy shop and hopefully my website. I am thinking in April I will have a one or two day sale of original paintings and drawings. I am also trying to post current work on Instagram and my Facebook page a few times a week (search for Bloomtown Studio both places) so you can see what I am actually doing in my attic hideaway. Currently I have two drawings in the works and a couple of unfinished paintings I need to get to. With it being so cold I don’t think the paint works as well as it should so I have been concentrating on my drawings. Here is a video of the beginning of one. Yes, to many people this probably seems pretty boring, but I’m processing what I want to do with this piece and pondering life.
I am also working on a knitted sweater for DH and sewing myself some much needed clothes. Yes, I know there are stores that have these things. First, I extremely dislike shopping (hate seems too harsh). Second, I “inherited” boxes and boxes of both yarn and fabric from DH’s Mom and Grandmother. Both ladies were talented makers and left behind very nice fabric and yarn. I kinda feel like it should be used and not wasted. Grandbabies have been getting blankets, DN is learning to crochet with some of it and I am using all of it that I can. There are also several quilt tops and quilt pieces that I am planning to finish.
I suspect many of you that read this crazy blog know exactly what I’m talking about. Makers gotta make. It’s our thing. It’s our sanity. It’s our duty to use our talents. Yes, those folks who don’t have this blessing/curse don’t understand why we will spend hours and hours making something. Something that may or may not be actually good or usable in the end. Something that may not be appreciated when it is received as a gift. I quit worrying about it and you should too. Don’t try to explain it and don’t get your heart hurt when a gift isn’t appreciated. Hopefully they will realize that if you put so much time into something it was given with EXTREME love. We don’t give people these things if we don’t love them! We can go to the mall for a gift for those people.
The grandbabies are wrapped in blankets made by my hands from yarn that belonged to their great-grandmother. DH will get to wear a sweater from yarn that his Mom bought probably hoping to make him one herself (the colors screamed DH). I get to wear clothing I made, that I like (can we admit that some of the styles out there are yucky and the quality is awful) from quality fabric and if it falls apart I can only blame myself. Making things is therapeutic, frustrating and satisfying. What’s not to like? You are going to spend that time doing something. I would rather be making than watching TV and not accomplishing anything.
Gotta get going. The puppy will be waking up soon.
Yes, I’m late this week. I’m going to blame it on the weather. What the heck? Another late season frost similar to last year. I spent time covering up little plants, bringing potted plants inside and cutting flowers to enjoy as long as possible. I’m glad I hadn’t gotten around to packing up the hats and gloves yet. They were needed on the past few late night / early morning walks with the dog. Like 2:30 am or 4:00 am walks. I think his seizure meds are messing things up. Thanks to these walks I have also been groggy and slower than usual.
I forgot to mention that I have new bees too. My brother-in-law very kindly gave me one of the splits he made from one of his hives and also a nuc he made from a swarm I believe. I don’t have the second one here yet, but am going tomorrow to meet the queen. She will probably be moving here in about a week. So I may have spent more than the usual amount of time watching the new girls and keeping them fed with sugar water. I don’t know how things are at your house, but here, 75% of my time is spent feeding things…humans, creatures and plants. There should be a tax write off somewhere in there.
A note to our neighbors…our lawn mower is being repaired. It’s going to take 3-4 weeks to get it back. Yes, the yard will be bad. Don’t panic if you see horses loose in the yard. They might as well earn their keep and mow some grass.
Today has been rainy and cold. Perfect attic construction weather. I spent several hours painting the walls that are up and DH is still up there putting up more drywall. There are some seriously wonky corners, dips and angles. Not easy on 50+ year old backs and shoulders. Some things will have to wait until lumber prices come down. We were going to frame out the window, but one small board to make the window sill was going to be $14! It can wait. DH estimates 2 more months of work. That would be about my birthday. I would be quite happy to have a finished studio for my birthday.
Yesterday morning I helped with a yard sale and by the time I got home the allergies were full on. I got what had to be done taken care of then decided to take some time to do a little painting while my head recovered. It has been about 3 weeks since I have worked in any drawing or painting. It may not help my allergies, but it sure helps my mental health. I am hoping this coming week to clean up the corner of the attic that is 95% done and maybe move a table and easel in where I can start working. Fingers crossed. Next weekend we have one of the grandkids so I know we will not get much accomplished while she’s here.
Have a great week. I hope your weather is warm. Some of you have storms heading your way I think. Be safe out there and I hope to be back on Thursday.
I hope you are well. If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, are you as excited as I am that SPRING will offically be here this weekend? The next couple of nights will not feel very Springy, but next week is looking much better.
Normally I plan to get my posts out on Thursdays, but give myself some grace to ooze into Friday when necessary. It has been a thing for the past few weeks. This week we had our oldest granddaughter with us Wednesday – Thursday while she is on Spring Break. Nothing terribly productive is going to happen when one or more of the kids or the grands are here. If all goes well (crossing my fingers), our schools are supposed to open back up to in person learning after Easter!! I’m not sure who is more excited, me or DN. She is so ready to have a social life again and I am so ready to have my schedule back again. DH is also now working 5 days a week again which he hasn’t been able to do since July. It is virtually impossible to really get the creative juices going with constant interruptions and as much as I love them, DH & DN find a way to interrupt my plans numerous times when they are home.
An update on my Queen Bee situation is in order after last week’s crazy. After providing Her Majesty with a cozy, new home, food, and brood for new workers SHE UP AND LEAVES! Absconding it’s called in the bee world. She took her tiny entourage and left to parts unknown. Dang it! There are theories and speculation as to why absconding happens, but no one really knows. I do know that it was a terrible time to leave and the likelihood that she and her attendants survived this week is very low. I guess all works out in the end. As disappointed as I was to lose her, I don’t think I really want a queen with that little good sense.
While I was driving back from soccer dropoff the other day I got to pondering the whole unknown thing. Have you ever thought about just how much “unknown” we live with every day? It’s unknown why queen bees leave a perfectly good hive. A year ago we all faced a whopping big unknown about this pandemic. It’s unknown every day what the weather will really do (sorry meteorologists, but you aren’t always terribly accurate). It’s unknown how our health will hold up, if our jobs will hold up, if our relationships will hold up. I find it ironic that human beings as a whole can be so arrogant when we know so little.
Hopefully the older we get and the more life “unknowns” we live through, the more we appreciate the here and now. I know that more and more I appreciate the simplest things because of where I’ve been. I seriously appreciate my family and friends because I have lost so many already. As I hear about more and more people losing their jobs I remember when I was laid off during the Great Recession with two kids to support and a mortage to pay. I appreciate our income and don’t waste it. Even with achy joints I appreciate my health because I’ve faced some scary health unknowns in the past. Just imagine how horrible human beings would be if we didn’t live with constant unknowns. The unknowns are here to humble us, I guess.
The honeybees and the artwork keep me humble always. I found a couple of hours to work on this drawing. In my head it looks different from the way it’s turning out. Really and truly, when I start a piece of artwork, I have no idea how it’s actually going to turn out. Simultainously, it’s amazing and frustrating. Sometimes I’m amazed it turns out ok (there is always the “this is awful” stage) and more times than not, it’s frustrating that it won’t work the way I want it to. Oh well, that’s life.
I have to go take care of a few things before it’s time to put on the Taxi Driver light for soccer practice. Have an awesome week!
Yes, I kinda sorta delayed this post because of three beautiful sixty degree days. It’s still February and I needed to be outside to soak up Vitamin D. Today is back to cold, gray and rainy. I will mention that I did not sleep well last night so this might be a struggle. Call me out if something I put in here makes no sense.
Last week I mentioned that I will do a drawing tutorial for anyone interested. Once again, I do not consider myself a teacher. I am the constant student if anything. This is meant to be a means of creativity and stress relief. Listening to a podcast this week I heard of the ever rising incidents of suicide happening. We have to find ways of looking after ourselves especially mentally with all the continuing crazy. So, if you are so inclinded take these lessons and spend about 15-30 minutes a day practicing this week. I will add more lessons to give you more skills. Don’t stress or go perfectionist on me. These are supposed to be fun, not great works of art.
Materials needed: paper (nothing fancy – copy/printer paper, etc.), a pencil (#2, mechanical, whatever you have), an eraser (a good one on the end of the pencil is fine).
Here is our reference picture. I tried to find something simple, but challenging.
LIGHTLY sketch the basic shapes. Notice that my sketch is loose.
2. Now, the trick is to look and really SEE the lines and shapes. Tell your brain to shut up, because it will tell you what it thinks the gravy boat should look like, not what it really looks like. Take your time and see where lines connect. Begin refining the shapes.
3. Keep working on the shapes and lines. Don’t think about what the object is. Right now it is simply lines and shapes that connect. Notice where I erased and moved things a bit. It is good to put your drawing away at the point you are beginning to feel frustrated. Take some time away and then come back with fresh eyes to make corrections. Just some time away will allow you to see the places you need to adjust. Every drawing and every painting I do comes with the frustration stage. It’s normal. You just have to deal with it and work through it.
4. Here is your homework. Yes, homework. Go around your house and find objects to draw. Don’t overthink this. I do suggest keeping it simple to begin with. Now, every day spend 15-30 minutes drawing one of those objects. Anyone and everyone who has taken a beginning art class will tell you that this is standard operating proceedure. Over the years I have filled many, many sketch books with crappy, daily sketches. You know what happens? Just like playing endless scales on a musical instrument, you slowly get better and better at seeing shapes and shadows (we will get to those). Your hand starts working with your eyes instead of your brain and you get into that lovely FLOW phase where the world drops away while you intensely focus on what you are doing.
I am working on pulling together some reference materials you can check out if you decide you want to delve a little deeper and learn from better teachers.
Have a lovely week. Don’t watch too much news. It is truly bad for you.