Monday after school

This evening, to beat the back-to-school blues I prioritized painting. This is NOT to say I am not enjoying the chaos and excitement of being back in my library with all the new students and returning students… just that I need this part of my day to keep me sane and to recharge.

Dragon was enjoying her favorite window ledge snoozing spot and I enjoyed listening to the rain coming down as I painted. My best friend from high school entrusted me with her precious yellow tea cup years ago and it is my watercolor painting vessel.

Dragon yawns
Dragon yawns
Palette and watercolor tea cup
Palette and watercolor tea cup
How far I got today
How far I got today, second session with this piece
Close up working
Close up working
Fancy angle close up
Fancy angle close up
Evening tea to finish the experience while I blog
Evening tea to finish the experience while I blog

A little study and a big new job…

My new studio space has proven to be a wonderful spot for watercolor. Here’s a hint of a study I did last week.

I’m also happy to report my new position as an elementary school librarian and computer teacher which, since school started Aug. 14th, has been a bit hectic. My love of libraries has been life-long, and I’m so excited to get to spend time with all the young people as they develop their interests, skills and character. I’m sure this will influence my art life as well, although my posts here may be even more sparse. You’ve been warned.

Desert plant study, watercolor on paper, 5 x 7"
Desert plant study, watercolor on paper, 5 x 7″

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

Day in Santa Fe

I just got back from a mini vacation with my husband to the Santa Fe region of New Mexico.

The view from our balcony was stunning and my favourite part of the trip was watching the light change on the mountains:

Working on the balcony
Drawing on the balcony
Balcony View, ink in sketchbook
Balcony View, ink in sketchbook

We did some exploring in the town when we weren’t reading by the pool and enjoyed some delicious coffee and tea at the Station Cafe:

Cafe table at the Station
Cafe table at the Station

My favourite piece from the trip:

Sundown on the Mountains, Santa Fe, Watercolor and ink in sketchbook, 3.5 x 5.5"
Sundown on the Mountains, Santa Fe, Watercolor and ink in sketchbook, 3.5 x 5.5″ $50 unframed

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!

Jessie

Tuesday on the town

I’d like to give you glimpse some of the sketches I made yesterday from around town.

While I sketch I either listen to the radio or a book on CD. Right now, it’s “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.” hahaha. I find the strangest things at Goodwill.

I’ve decided these works will be best displayed in published book form, rather than hanging on any gallery walls. This also means I’m free to work on both sides of the pages in my sketchbook, without worrying that later, one will be hidden in the back of a frame somewhere.

It also means I am not uploading the best quality photos on my blog. Nor am I posting all of my drawings, only some. Otherwise, what reason would you have to buy the book?

Main Street, sketchbook
Main Street, sketchbook
Daylight Donuts, sketchbook
Daylight Donuts, sketchbook
Pumpkins on the Porch, sketchbook
Pumpkins on the Porch, sketchbook
Crumbling, sketchbook
Crumbling, sketchbook

 

A belated yet well-deserved Sketchbook Sunday post

Hiya!

While making a concerted effort last week to work more in my sketchbooks – they are invaluable tools for artists: they help one learn to see, think, play, practice and hone… I could go on but it could turn into an inarticulate ramble so I will move on to my point.

I discovered that I have been really wanting to make a “Portrait of Portales”.  A collection of drawings or paintings that describe the personality and character of my town.

This is a project I sort-of began over a year ago with small, “en plein air” oil paintings done from my car, of scenes around town. Let me jog your memory with a photo-collage:

8 x 10 oil on canvas paintings
8 x 10 oil on canvas paintings

Grated, the above could really be paintings of anywhere in New Mexico, so common are the scenes of yellowed grasses, cows and crumbling adobe structures. Many of my new works will be specifically Portales, its stores, real estate, lawns, animals, abandoned buildings and neglected alleys. And as the title of this post suggests, they are being worked in my sketchbooks.

So now I’m back to venturing around town in my little mazda, and at the risk of looking like a creep-o or a cop on a stake-out, parking and sketching from the car. It really does make me feel like a cop… or okay, more like Stephanie Plum…

It is SO MUCH FUN and really IS showing me more about where I live. Nothing makes me appreciate a place more than painting it.  Here are some examples of my work so far. I will share more detailed/close-up pictures of them in the future. For now you just get a taste:

sketchbook pic A
sketchbook pic A
sketchbook pic B
sketchbook pic B
sketchbook pic C
sketchbook pic C

Reinstating the Sketchbook Sunday Segment!

Here is a sketch I made yesterday from a rocking chair on my front lawn. I know you can hardly see what it is of but that’s not the point. (It’s a house and some trees at the end of our road.)

The point is that I remembered some of my old blog posts being titled: “sketchbook saturday” or “sketchbook sunday” and like the idea of using my sketchbook each weekend… religiously shall we say.

in the neighbourhood, graphite
In the neighbourhood, graphite in sketchbook

 

Flat Rock Falls

My Dad and Grandma spent the past week at the family cottage on Go Home Lake. Thinking of them there made me crave the landscape (more than I already am) and so another lake painting was born.

These falls are accessible by boat and I remember special picnics there with our yellow lab Spencer. Maybe I’ll add him in this painting… I haven’t decided yet.

Happy Monday folks.

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