Stretching an Isolated Artist’s Social Sphere

The Little Mermaid’s Shoes

Last night I got to sit down and work a little more on my current WIP. One of the challenges of being diligent and managing my time is that at night Hubby likes to watch something on the Tv to “unwind”. And usually he wants me to be there. Night time is uninterrupted time for me to get anything done in my studio, so I’m torn between being a couch potato and spend my precious time watching movies (that I’ve seen already usually) or be away in my studio doing art. Being a mom is tiring, and so just vegging on the coach is such a temptation. Because of lack of discipline I’ve accumulated weight gain and regret of wasted time, instead of accumulating more finished art pieces and meeting goals. Which leads to feeling depressed. Tired of being a lone artist, and thinking I’m being frugal by learning from books and YouTube videos I decided to take the leap and take an oil painting class. Although I had taken oil painting class in college, I didn’t apply myself and take advantage of the opportunity. It has been so so long since I’ve re-entered a class-like setting. Whether it’s rational or not I was nervous.

I’m now about six classes in. I’m glad I took the step to sign up for a real-time class (instead of online). One of the pleasures of taking a real-time class is meeting real people face to face in my community. No longer feeling so isolated I can interact with other creative people. I didn’t realize that I didn’t have a separate social sphere from m family until just now. Bonus! Something of my own, venturing out from the family nucleus (stretch, breathe, yes!). Hubby has his coworkers and church, my kids have school and church. Everyone have their own separate spheres of social circles, converging with church that we all share, but I had just the one, church. I don’t even have a mother’s group because I’m somewhat new(er) in our area, and the people I do know are at church and they are scattered around, none of them live close by. Suppose this is a hint of what I’ll be figuring out when empty-nest season comes upon us; what makes up my life separate from being a mom or a wife?


Still lifes and Saucers

It’s getting toasty around here. The PNW has been waiting for its days of continuous sun and warmer temperatures for months now. The weather with its on off of the clear skies with chilly sunlight and moody overcast clouds and buckets of rain was on the verge of being called bi-polar.

The kids have one more day of school and then they are free from school. I always like to tease them that there’ll be Mom-homework during the summer because i know how much they’ll miss it. The kids can’t get on with summer soon enough in their minds. Especially my daughter. This school year was a real challenge; for her and for me. So, in some sense I’m ready for summer too.

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Saucer and napkin sketch…what’s missing??


Speaking about education. I started taking an oil painting class at the local art center. We’ve met twice now, and I have to admit, it’s so nice to get out among real people with similar interests. I’m somewhat a shy person and hesitant with taking that first initial step into doing something new by myself. But, I knew I was lacking the comrade-like connection with other artists when I’m at home trying to do art. So this mom/artist has art homework just as my kids are freed from it.

I gave myself a drawing assignment: a circlular object seen at an angle and keeping it proportional. As I was drawing my still life set up for oil painting class, and then drawing this it really made me slow down. I’ve forgotten how observing something to draw really requires you to remain focused. (I can’t tell you how many times I was easily distracted with having to check things on my phone) The sun moved quickly and the temperatures got too heated for me to add the mug – yes, a mug – of tea where the shadow on the saucer falls. Oh well, it was a good start.

Moving slowly from sketch to final piece

The sun is showing itself a little more frequently the past week. Which means good and bad things for me. Good in that I’m so ready for sun and warmer temperatures. Flowers and trees are budding and it’s refreshing to see colors other than grey, dark grey, and more grey. The downside it means it’ll become more difficult for me to focus on my stationary indoor activities, specifically studio time, and I’m fighting the urge to buy up every single plant in the nurseries.

Distractions are so, well, distracting. Especially when one is terrible with keeping on task. I’m trying to manage my time better and be more purposeful and productive. Because, well, because I have an ultimate goal I want to achieve. (Maybe I’ll tell what my goal is soon. When I’m ready to declare it to the world and not feel like a fool, maybe.)

So my current project I’m working on is a small one. It’s from a sketch I did a few weeks ago. I finally got around to feeling motivated enough to carry it through as a finished project. However, it’s taking me a while to complete because it’s spring break and the family has been out doing activities. (Makes me a little panicky about summers.) Yes, the “balancing” of family life and artist life is very difficult, and I’ve not figured out how to do it. It seems either my family life lags or my artist life suffers, which makes for a very unhappy mom/artist person.

Anyways, turns out I didn’t center it like I thought I had and so I’m wondering how to remedy that. Along the way I felt the border was rather boring so I spent a little bit of time doodling out border patterns. As you can see I ended up with mussel-like shapes growing off the border and tiny barnacles. How it turns out will be fun to see.

How Do You Start Your Day?

Here is photo manipulation of handlettering and some flower “branches” from our hedge out in front. The firey vibrant colors make me think of flames.  Which in turn made me think of the fire in our hearts, our passions, drive or motives as we set about through the day. When people view your art are they drawn to the Great Creator, Jesus Christ, who created them, created you, created everything? Whatever I make I want the joy of God glows through me to the final product, bringing glory back to Him. Thus, I must mindfully start my days with God in the forefront of my life so He can fill my heart with His Joy. This will be a challenge for me; for the human heart is easily drawn to darkness and daily living has many distractions. 

“You reveal the path of life to me; in Your presence is abundant joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures.”  Psalm 16:11

Regaining the Wonder of Christmas

Every year the holiday season seems to accelerate into an impossible speed of craziness. And before I know it Christmas has come and gone. I’d like to change that by being more purposeful with Advent. (Yes, it is here already.) And how much I, and all of mankind, need this time to slow down, refocus, and prepare our hearts for this Hope-filled birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is He who gave the most glorious gift on his day of birth to anyone who is willing to come and accept it; Himself!

Unfortunately, this celebration has been turned into something other than what it originally was suppose to be about. I don’t want my children getting sucked into what the world has spinned Christmas into. They need to be reminded of the hope and wonder that comes with His birth. That’s what gives Christmas its indescribable “magic”; the impossible becoming touchable and known. 

I linked a YouTube video of a classic Christmas hymn. A little something to help kick off the Advent Season, and get us more into the heart of Christmas!

Yes, I finally drew something!

After the MATS Bootcamp ended at the beginning of the summer I didn’t really have any regular assignments to prompt and motivate me to get creative and practice. And I won’t mention that I didn’t do anything relatively creative during the summer. Yes! The whole summer I didn’t have any creative art time! I can’t believe it either….Well, that’s what happens when the kids are out  for the summer. And the house gets boxed up for moving. Which didn’t happen. Yeah, good times…

So since July I’ve been itching for some serious creative time! Thank goodness for the trusty ol’ pencil and paper when all the “fancy” materials are packed. And camera. And internet connection. So, yes, I’ve dusted off my sketch book and pencil and sat down…. AAaand Nothin’. For a while nothing was all I had. Then I remembered Illustration Friday! The theme is octopus! Not bad. I like sea creatures. Octopus is interesting, unusual. I’m sort of good at drawing them. But did I want to draw an straight up octopus? How could I make it different? Let’s see…. I like faces. And the octopus doesn’t really have a face…Should I give mine a face? But then, who hasn’t done that? How about doing a girl octopus?? Oh, that’s been done many times too. Hmmmm. I have to remind myself not to make things more complicated than necessary. Ok, back to the face on the octopus…. Where to put the face….

Can you find where I put the face? ;P