Mexico by The Staves

A friend recently introduced me to The Staves – a British trio of sisters. (Thank you Kimberly!)

I’ve been listening to them a lot while painting.

This Friday I thought I’d share one of the songs with you to get you in the wind-down weekend mode. Not only is it a beautiful song but it has quilt images superimposed! I found that part particularly inspiring and very suited to my Quilted Landscape series.

Enjoy the song and have a happy Friday!

still  #1 from Mexico music video
still #1 from Mexico music video
still #2 from Mexico music video
still #2 from Mexico music video

An update letter to my dear readers

Dear readers,

Has it really been four months since I opened the virtual door to my studio and shared what was going within it? Wowzahs.

Let me tell you, I knew this year would be busy but I really miss sharing my day to day – or at least week to week – progress with you. I don’t think there is an easy way to catch you up on all my work but I will try my best to give you a taste. I apologize for the poor quality of the photographs : I’m using my phone camera to maximize efficiency!

1. Illustration for the biology textbook has been an ongoing project since the Christmas/holiday season. This consists of researching, traditional sketching and working with digital illustration programs. I usually spend my mornings on this project. Below is a drawing in progress from the past week.

biology textbook illustration in progress
biology textbook illustration in progress

2. Next, I give you three 8 x 10″ oil paintings in progress that are being worked en plein air in my town, Portales, New Mexico. (They’re just sitting on my easel to dry between painting sessions… it’s the only place my cats don’t seem to mess with them!) They belong to a series of paintings of the Southwest I have been developing sporadically for the last few years . Working on them has been a nice complement to my “Portraits of Portales” project which I focussed on all autumn, and have tried to make a bit of time for in 2014.

en plein air paintings from Southwest series - in progress
en plein air paintings from Southwest series – in progress

I believe I have mentioned the “Portraits of Portales” project before and will certainly mention it again. My intention is to publish them in book form, rather than display them in a gallery. This will heighten the intimacy of the pieces and embrace my intention of creating a “keepsake” of this small town. But I will share more on that project at a later date. This week it has not been worked on so no progress pics here for you!

3. Also still in the works is my Crafty Coloring Book. I only decided this week that it needed to be pulled to the top of my priority list after the biology textbook illustrations. It’s delightfully fun to work on and provides a break from the technical illustration while still keeping me “in shape” drawing-wise.

portion of a coloring book drawing in progress
portion of a coloring book drawing in progress

4. Lastly, I have been spending my evenings finalizing three new knitted shawl designs. Two are in the test-knitting phase and the third is close behind. The motivation behind this project? A fast-approaching deadline!

Detail of the Happy Happy Shawl in progress
Detail of the Happy Happy Shawl in progress

On April 1st the Multicraftual Podcast Ravelry group will be casting on any of my knitted designs. For two months participants will post their progress and finished object pictures in the corresponding group discussion threads to win prizes. There will be coupon codes for discounted pattern prices and other random goodness distributed via the video podcast I host with my long-distance bestie Liby Ball. If you are interested in watching our podcast while sitting down with your own knitting or crocheting, go check out the Multicraftual blog or subscribe on iTunes!

As you can see, if you’ve read this far… I’m keeping busy! In fact… a little too busy. I’m the kind of person who can sprout in every direction and need intense pruning to look at all respectable. I’m currently reading “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” by David Allen. Perhaps I will give a review on that when I finish it… hahahahahaha… first I will have to learn how to reign in my many projects, harness my creativity and GET THINGS DONE.

Wish me luck!!

If you’d like, tell me about what projects you’re working on and what creative activities you’re most excited about in the comments section below. Are you a see-one-project-through-to-the-finish-line kind of person, or a wildly-sprouting-crazy-face like myself? It’s time I get to know YOU more and try to enhance the online creative community.

Thanks so much for reading!


First Quilt… and its very adorable “tester”

I finished my first quilt yesterday night!

I took the free “Block of the Month” quilting class on and loved it. The video-tutorial style class teaches you how to piece more than 12 different quilt blocks, how to do basic machine quilting techniques and how to finish your quilt. For free. wowza.

I decided after making 10 or 11 blocks that I should stop there and make a small quilt to start. As my first quilting project ever (not counting the tiny bit of hand-stitching I used to do with my mom back in the day) it was far less intimidating than a full-sized quilt.

The result is a colorful, kinda sloppy and kinda lovely lap quilt. Was it a success? The ultimate test was giving Dragon access to it…

Hm… then I suppose I just got side-tracked and obsessed with her cuteness because there are more pictures of the kitty than the quilt! oops.

Well, you’ll likely see more of this quilt pop up in future paintings, but I will also try to post a picture of the entire quilt in the near future.

Yup, she loves it. Check out my free-motion stipple stitch action in the border!
Yup, she loves it… 
Cuteness #2
… and I love her…
Check out my free-motion stipple stitch action in the border!
Check out my free-motion stipple stitch action in the border.
Quilts double as caves... in case you didn't know.
Quilts double as caves… in case you didn’t know.


Yarn Bowl Study

Today’s small study was inspired by a visit to my friend Liberty’s house yesterday. Her house is a quilty/crafty/shabby-chic heaven and I took lots of photos to work from in the weeks to come. Thanks Liberty!

My husband commented that the yarn ball on the right looked a bit flat. I hope some of my knitter friends may counter with, “but it’s a yarn cake silly! Tsk tsk.” I’m going to sleep on it before making any alterations. Feel free to give your input by commenting on this post.

Yarn Bowl Study, oil/canvas, 8 x 10"
Yarn Bowl Study, oil/canvas, 8 x 10″

Cat in the Yard

I managed to finish this painting today and start work on a another piece in this series. You’ll see that one at a later date. For now, enjoy this kitty on the lawn/quilt painting, inspired by a photograph I took when I was 13.

Cat in Yard, oil/canvas, 16 x 20"
Cat in Yard, oil/canvas, 16 x 20″

Drawing Challenge? What drawing challenge?

Happy Thursday world!

I have gotten a bit off track today but since I make the rules here… everyone wins! The drawing challenge yesterday called for a comic, and today called for hmm… something equally neat to draw but for some reason I just couldn’t muster the motivation. That leaves me two days behind on the challenge with other drawing projects piling up on the side. So, today I focussed on one of those side projects instead. Pencil still hit paper, so I forgive myself.

My side project is a bit difficult to explain. Essentially I am part of a knitted-monster swap wherein I knit a toy and embellish it along a certain theme and mail it to a stranger along with a few other fun things to match the theme. In return, I will soon receive a package in the mail with a knitted monster embellished in ways that would please or delight me.) My partner loves the movie Fantastic Mr. Fox so I set out to knit a character for her and wanted to include some “character studies” drawings as a fun thing to include in her package.

Because you probably want to see the actual knitted toy component itself, here sits the villainous rat and a little bandit monster companion for the fox thieves. Note: Bandit hat is removable to reveal big scary white felt teeth. Bandit also comes with knitted black cape.

knitted toys, fantastic mr. fox rat and rebecca danger monster
Rat and Monster Bandit

Here are today’s sketches I’m going to include in the package… probably with little matt frames and plastic, as one might buy a print.

ink and watercolor drawing of weasel from fantastic mr. fox
Weasel (voiced by movie’s director Wes Anderson)
watercolor and ink drawing of rat from fantastic mr. fox
Rat (voiced by Willem Dafoe)

Day 7 and 8 of the Drawing Challenge

Day 7: Favorite word (I don’t really have one but whimsy was what I felt like doodling). The little hexagons in the top third of the drawing are giant sparkles… like sequins.

drawing stamping of whimsy, wine, daisies, books, yarn
Whimsy in mixed media on paper

Day 8: Favorite Animated Character. Dori.

In terms of favorite characters in animated films, I adore all of the puppets used in the animation the Fantastic Mr. Fox by Wes Anderson but in terms of animated drawings, Dori is lovely. My sketch doesn’t do her justice but to draw her was a little pinch of fun in my day…

drawing of dori from finding nemo pen ink marker
Dori from Finding Nemo