Watercolors, Sketching, Printmaking, and Stitching – an Art Studio Update
As I mentioned in the last post, I have mountains of unfinished art in my studio, and tucked into my meandering artist’s tote bag. I’m working on watercolors, sketching, printmaking, and stitching, all at once. (Insert big-eyed scaredy face here.)
I’d like to share a few adventures here, with an art studio summer update on my boil-over of projects, and a significant sale of all framed art in my Etsy shop over Labor Day weekend. A bit about the artist, as well as the art.
Textile Painting with Colored Threads
There’s a hill I’m climbing called Sashiko, or embroidery and stitching arts. My sorely missed, late stepdaughter was a talented stitcher, quilter, and crochet expert, so I’m staying connected to her by touching All The Things she used to design and handle every day (see above).
Every battered, well-worn, and much-loved shirt I own is freshly adorned with visibly mended, colorful threads and fabric scraps (see below). It’s an extremely meditative process – especially at the end of the day.
Drawing with Colored Pencil on Black Paper
Colored chalk on a blackboard has always been appealing to me. As a kid, I loved doodling on blacktop with colored chalk, and I find the same pull still holds with black paper and dry pigments.
Strathmore Artagain is a smooth, black 60lb paper that works beautifully with colored pencils and pastels. I’ve been doodling from vintage family photos that are sepia-toned, so I can imagine the colors in their skin tone and clothes. I’m using a small set of Amazon-branded colored pencils, and a 12×9 sheet of Strathmore black Artagain paper split into four 6×4.5 practice sheets.
Watercolor Practice in Small Format
I keep a stash of headshots of my friends and family in a folder, and the images go back decades. That makes it easy to grab one or two on the couch for small watercolor studies on a lap desk.
Painting small like this is such excellent practice in the evenings with an audiobook in my ear. I try to stay relaxed about the process. No attempt at resemblance – just a watery pigment play session on a 6×8 watercolor block by Fluid (below).
Respite on the Water
There’s a lot to be said for getting your creative engines serviced by going on a little vacation. My husband and I recently spent time in a small anchorage called Emerald Bay on Catalina Island, just off the coast of California. It was magical.
Even a few days away from home (though I admit to being a homebody) leads to hundreds of painting images on my phone. I get to scroll through those in the next few weeks as painting, drawing and printmaking fodder.
I can also reflect on interaction with friends, swimming in the sea, and opening one’s mind to meandering thoughts under the influence of mother nature and island environs. A deep breath, for sure.
Sketching with a Good, Old Fashioned Pencil
There is a funny saying: You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead (Stan Laurel). It’s cute that the words refer to the material in the pencil, as well as the fact that we have to pick it up and lead it across a page.
Drawing and sketching with a pencil is one of the simplest forms of art practice. Two things: paper and pencil. That’s all you need, and the whole world disappears.
When life feels overwhelming, I grasp a pencil and a sketchpad to cloak the noise with that simplicity.
Amidst the stitching, painting, and drawing, I’m on a bit of a tear with printmaking.
After my recent blog series on gel plate monotypes and monoprints, I’m off and running to test a new water-based sealer for mat board collagraph plates, and building a new drypoint and linocut combo (below).
And there’s an old rubbery block of softkut that needs something carved into it. It’s an art studio whirlygig of perpetual starts.
Art Festival Retirement Party
During the Pandemic lockdown, many of the art festivals where I exhibited shut down for good. After the world started congregating again, I thought long and hard about the physical and time-related challenges of the art festival circuit and decided to stop.
I have a lovingly built and fully loaded road case from my stepdad TC in my garage. It was assembled over 20 years ago to hoist into and out of my car. It rolled framed art safely across fields, parks, sidewalks, and asphalt and it has traveled hundreds of miles to countless art festivals with me.
Framed Art Labor Day Sale on Etsy
The primary reason I framed my work was for art festivals.
Since I’m no longer doing them, it’s time to empty the road case with a Labor Day Sale. From August 23 to September 4th, all original framed art (watercolors, drawings, printmaking) in my Etsy Shop is 25% off – with free domestic shipping. 🎆
Select the art you’d like to add to your collection, and during checkout, use the code LABORDAY2023 to get the discount.
If you have questions about shipping or the framing, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you in the next post –
P.S. This is a 9-minute talk by actor Ethan Hawke, filled with encouragement to give yourself permission to be creative. Well worth the time to watch.
Art has to do with the arrest of attention in the midst of distraction.Saul Bellow