Being Sneaky on Sunday in the Studio

The husband snuck up on me while I was working today and took this picture thus giving me content for a blog post while I wait for permission to show the commissions I completed today.

Sidenote: LOOK!! I haven’t killed my bonzai tree… yet.

studio

New Academic Space

I finally got around to cleaning, lowering, and changing the angle of my drafting table in the studio. The result is a large space to pile my books and notes, sketching, reading light, beverage, computer and cats. I also imagine this will be a better place to work on watercolor painting – safe from oil paint residue.

I expect much mind expansion as a result.

ps. Can you see one of the reasons I named my cat Dragon?

pps. Please excuse my ill-fitting old t-shirt and zebra-print chair-fur-control-system

Dragon inspects new studio "thinking" space
Dragon inspects new studio “thinking” space

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

Illustration in the studio

I’m working on illustrations for a biology textbook today, while the kitten is  hard at work grooming.

Can you see the beetle on the computer screen? I totally took a picture of that beast yesterday… it was very dead and preserved nicely in the ENMU biology lair of course… but it was still fantastically cool.

It’s the good life.

Yes, that is a drafting table to the right… I just haven’t quite made the transition to drawing on it full-time yet… it takes some getting used to after more than 25 years drawing on flat surfaces. That, and who could kick that adorable kitten off the drafting chair? Not me, no.

Illustration in the studio
Illustration in the studio

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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TGIF: painting marathon outcome

Well, it’s been a long day. I spent a total of 9 hours painting and regardless of hot packs, stretching and ibuprofen I am in quite a bit of neck/head pain this evening. I know the painting is not quite done yet, although I don’t know exactly how far I am to the finish line… let’s just say I’m a lot closer.

Here is the progress picture I promised you, complete with an appearance from Dragon, who leapt up onto a chair to look out the window as I pressed the shutter.

Quilted Lake in Progress, oil/canvas, 2 x 4' with kitten
Quilted Lake in Progress, oil/canvas, 2 x 4′ with kitten

TGIF: painting marathon

Good Friday morning to everyone!

It’s 9:30 and I’ve jogged, showered, breakfasted, cleaned, laid with the kitty and prepared my palette. I’ve been working on “Quilted Lake” for weeks now and it’s just really dragging. I did really really enjoy working on it yesterday though so I decided today was the perfect day for a painting marathon!

Meaning? I’m sitting down to paint now and I’m not going to stop until this painting is DONE… or my body gives out… whichever happens first. I’ll take breaks to stretch and eat obviously and maybe to work in a mini solo dance party or two (I listen to really upbeat music while I paint and sometimes can’t help dancing.)

Wish me luck. I will post my progress tonight whether it’s done or not!

Palette is ready!
Palette is ready!

Quilted Lake Day 5… and a study

The simple fabric still-life study got me in the studio and working, and after an hour or so I spent the remainder of the day working on my bigger piece, Quilted Lake.

Blanket Landscape study 2, oil/canvas, 8 x 10"
Blanket Landscape study 2, oil/canvas, 8 x 10″
Quilted Lake in Progress, oil/canvas, 24 x 42"
Quilted Lake in Progress, oil/canvas, 24 x 42″