Friends, how are you?
These months have been weird, haven’t they? For me, it feels like they are strangely existing as simultaneously overwhelming and chill.
This staying at home thing – I’m into it. I understand this may not be the case for many of us, and I hear you, Dear One. Isolation can be hard too. . . especially isolation with say, many small children?? But for me, I am an introvert. The quiet of being in my solitary bubble, with daily end cap hours filled with my favorite people, is a recipe for contentment. Living in my hermit crab shell without disturbance (for the most part) from the outside world feels like security, even if my brain informs me that’s not actually the case.
And yet. . . . even if social distancing lends me the perfect excuse to exist in a happy illusion of safety and avoidance-constructed calm, there still vibrates in me stress. Apparently you cannot just ignore responsibilities and necessary tasks (or the actual, real life world) and have them magically evaporate into the ether. I’ve tried. The results are disappointing.
That, my friends, is where my sketchbook has come in especially useful this season.
Creatively, I’m coming down off a long period of assignments during which I always knew what I’d be painting. I had clear direction, but sometimes it was incredibly difficult to stay focused because I also had an (over)abundance of inspirations beckoning me away from my work.
So, in a combined effort to give myself a de-stressing practice AND test out the little curious sparks that were growing inside me, I (re)began a sketchbook practice. I’m allowing myself to be messy, try any material I want, look at artwork that elicits utter delight, attempt to express some disquiet emotions, and take those elements to the pages of my journal to see what comes to life.
These pages are not meant to be whole compositions or complete pieces of art. They are raw. They are questions. They are tests of ideas revolving around color combinations, marks, shapes, collage, and even some restless emotion.
I can already see patterns emerging and ideas I want to combine. The journal is giving me an opportunity to cast aside expectations, both personal and perceived, and dive into deep curiosity. It’s forced me to look at the work of artists I admire and ask questions about what exactly I’m attracted to, why, and how to bring those elements into my own work. It’s my pathway, as Austin Kleon said, to “steal like an artist”, taking sparks of ideas and combining them in ways that thrill my creative spirit.
Currently, I’m drawn to the black and white marks, that peachy-pink hue, a sandy tan, jumbles of stone shapes, and large planes of calm space. . . . I’m feeling a larger work emerging. Something along the lines of the one below – a digital piece I’ve just added to my Society6 shop this week.
What do you think? Does a sketchbook practice appeal to you? And really, how ARE you doing? I love hearing from you – feel free to share your quarantine thoughts with me in the comments section below.
Until next time, Friends. Sending love and hugs!
PS – this last month I had two really fun conversations that are available for you to hear at your convenience.
The first was one with Mariel Lazo-Duran of @hey.itsmariel on Instagram. We combined our art brains and created such beautiful art-baby earrings in our first ever collaboration together. Mariel and I sat down and chatted twice about our practices, once focusing in her polymer clay earring journey, and once focusing on me and my fine art journey. You can find our chat under her IGTV tab.
The second lovely chat I had was with Nisha Btesh of Hola Gwapa. Nisha is an amazing maker and entrepreneur, and her interview questions were insightful and juicy. You can listen to it here, or through Spotify or Itunes. Nisha also wrote up a lovely interview piece on me earlier this year, and I’m so grateful to her for the work she’s doing to feature female artists from around the world.
Oh! and one last thing – at the end of our conversation in a round of rapid fire questions, Mariel asked me what my favorite comfort food is. I had a really hard time deciding, but I landed on Chicken Soup. I know. So simple, but I DO love it! And in this month’s newsletter, I’m including the recipe for my favorite slow-cooker shredded chicken (which goes in my chicken soup!), because it’s soooooooo easy, a total kitchen super hero, and you can use it about a million different ways. Make sure to tap on that pink “subscribe” button at the bottom of this page, and get yourself on the email list! You’ll get all my artsy updates and the occasional random bonus like life-simplifying chicken too.
Double Oh! Another last thing: I’ll be adding new limited edition prints to the shop, so make sure to pop over there and check in over the next month or so, because – well, the holidays are coming, and they make lovely little (or big!) gifts!