Urban sketching equals finding your tribe

Do you feel like you just don't fit in? I honestly have felt that way on and off through out my life.  Actually for me it was more post-high school.  I went to a junior college on a full ride scholarship and then finished my degree at a local 4 year institution.  I lived at home and commuted to both schools.  So college was actually a very isolating experience.  In my twenties, I ran 5ks for a while and had a few friends who ran and we would all hang out.  I felt like I'd found my tribe and then I damaged my knee.  Bye bye running tribe. When I started drawing, I found a new passion.  I started seeing things differently.  I was as I tend to be, a little obsessed.  I drew rather badly, all the time.  This year I found a group of people who love to draw.  They are passionate and kind. They want to help you and love to share tips about everything from the best markers to the best restaurants.  They live right in Chicago so they are local.  They are Urban sketchers.  They are awesome! This weekend I had the chance to attend their yearly seminar.  We got tote bags full of art supply goodies (who doesn't love S.W.A.G.).  We had different classes to choose from uber talented teachers. Then we got to head out into a beautiful city on a beautiful day with our new tribe.  It was the best.  

New work spaces

I worked late last night.  I was on a mission!  My office is a mess.  It has paperwork piled up everywhere.  My new Wacom tablet was hanging off the computer table.  In order to work, I had to squeeze past piles of papers and art to reach my chair.  I was tired of trying to work in that space.  In fact, I never work in that space.  I always lug my computer downstairs (it is a laptop) and work at the kitchen table.  So, last night, I got to work!  I started unloading my bookshelves to begin finding a spot for my new-to-me art books.  I moved my computer to a different table so I can sit facing the room instead of the wall.  I know have an empty table!  I can paint, draw, and do paperwork on my empty table.  There's plenty of space for my Wacom tablet to fit next to my laptop.  There's more organizing that needs to be done but I am happy with the space. 

Creating

“Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” 
― Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland

To believe impossible things is truly the work of all creatives, artists, writers, poets.  In fact it may be the secret in this world for those who create. Because sometimes the world is kind and sunny and joyful but sometimes the world is cruel and cold and stormy.  There are plenty of people who will tell you that you aren't good enough or you're not like this person or that person. And you're not! You are you! And you need to be the most you or more you as the caterpillar tells Alice. Otherwise you won't even recognize the you you are becoming! And it's hard. It's not hard in the back breaking sense of working on a farm all day. It's hard in your head more than anything else! So, what do you do, curl up and hide under the covers. Ok, maybe for a day but then you have to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and keep going and be more you! You are the only you we've got on the planet and we need you!

Traveling and drawing

I recently returned from a trip to London. It was a great trip. I feel very blessed that I was able to spend this time traveling with my mom.  When I left I had planned to spend a lot of time painting and drawing. In reality, I only did a few doodles in my sketchbook. I think it was because we were traveling and sightseeing so much that we hardly stopped to eat! The times when we could have taken a few minutes and painted or drawn, it was cold or raining.  One thing we had planned that was such an awesome experience was sketching DaVinchi's Virgin of the Rocks at the National Gallery. That was fantastic!!! Happy travels!

Motivation and art work

I have a totally different day job.  I teach first graders.  I've been teaching for a long time.  I know how kids act and I know what to do to teach them.  I know my strengths and my weaknesses.  Art is so different than teaching in some ways.  In doing artwork, I feel so vulnerable.  As if I have painted my heart and soul into something.  I have to push myself to share my work sometimes.  After I've painted or gone through a process with a piece, I am so happy with the piece but there is always something about the piece that I can't get quite right.  Each time I do a drawing or a painting, I figure out different things that I hadn't even thought of before.   Sometimes, I will complete a piece and not be satisfied with it.  I have to hang on to it until I can go back and figure out what I need to do to rework the piece.   It is truly a way to go and stretch yourself.

Saturday morning sketches

I love sketching people. So on Saturday, I headed to my favorite coffee shop for some sketching. I just started a new sketchbook. I've been watching YouTube videos of CalArts sketchbook submissions.  I have gotten some great ideas from these videos. My new favorite thing is to use post it notes to add a colored background. I also used black ink to make a background. I spent almost two hours sketching and I got a few pages of people sitting and talking, lining up to order and working on their laptops. 

Watercolor

Watercolor wasn't my favorite.  I couldn't control it. It was too wet or too dry or not the right color.  It's taken awhile but I finally like watercolor. In the midst of a crazy week at school, I have found that I am craving getting that brush in my hand at the end of the day.  My brain doesn't get to rest from the day but a different side of my brain clicks in.  I can hear my inside voice trying to make sense of my work. I think my left brain is trying to verbalize what my right brain is already doing. Is the paint the right shade? Do I need more shadow? What if I try a little white? It's so fun!  And in a short time I have a little watercolor doodle.  Check them out on Instagram at cb4drawing 

Nests and Van Gogh

I've had the chance to see Van Gogh's special exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago twice already.  I love it.  It is a great insight into the artist and his work, especially focusing on the three bedroom paintings.  One thing I learned from the exhibit is that Van Gogh did a lot of drawings and paintings of birds nests.  An interesting concept for him to be painting since he lived in 37 different places in his 37 years of life.  I'm that age and I can't imagine moving that much!  I've only lived in three places.  He used to pay kids to collect nests for him to study.  Have you ever really looked at a nest?   They are very difficult to paint and draw.