Saturday, July 25, 2015

Half-way to Thirty!

I'm currently taking a break from working on my painting for Day 15 of my 30 Paintings in 30 Days, so I thought it would be a good time for a recap. If you've been following on Facebook or Instagram, thanks for the encouragement! This has been really fun so far and I'm excited to keep rolling. It hasn't been without setbacks - the reality of life is that it is HARD to set aside focused time each day, but I'm doing my darnedest, and I've only blundered a few times. Mostly I'm just pumped that this has helped me stay entwined with my creativity! I've found myself sketching again at night before bed, both plotting the paintings for upcoming days and designing ahead for things outside of the scope of my project. I feel really in the zone... and you know what Jay-Z says about that... :-)

A few people have asked what I plan to do with my results. I'm very happy with several of these things, so the ones that I deem worthy I'm going to ultimately put for sale in my shop. Many of them are going to become prints and card sets. A few of the larger items will be taken to Smiling Turtle in Omaha for sale there. Some of the "meh" ones will hopefully get re-envisioned in the future and be spectacular then. I'm planning to run a print sale in my shop in August, so I'll make sure to get these in there for that and post the coupon code on social media.

So - that being said... back to work for me! Stay tuned! Pics of the first 14 Days below. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Finding a Rhythm - A Painting a Day for Thirty Days!

There's something about motherhood that just forces me to constantly evaluate my priorities. I think it's that sense that time is fleeting. Ren is growing so quickly and I see bits of change in him every day. It makes me reflect on every moment that we spend together, as well as how I use my time when we're apart, or even when he's napping. It has made me really want to focus on the things that I love. In our heart of hearts we all know that's what we should be doing, but at least for me, it takes some level of work just to allow myself the freedom to focus, as well as the discipline to say no to other things and let that guilt go.

If you follow me on social media (mostly instagram) you've probably noticed that I've been painting a lot more often lately. I'm feeling great about where I'm headed and a little fearful that I'll let this positive rhythm slip away while I worry about other things... you know, laundry and Dr. Who and such. Ha. 

So, that brings me to my next art project. I enjoy following several inspiring artists through blogs and instagram and I've seen many people find their way back to their creative selves in different ways when they've gotten sidetracked. This time I'm going to take inspiration from Emily Jeffords, whose work I adore. In the past she has done "painting-a-day" challenges to help reinvigorate her creative spirit. I think it's time for me to follow suit.

My only rule is that I need to complete one painting each day. I tend to work best with several things stewing at once so I'm not restricting myself, but I need to complete one work each day. This can be any size, subject, medium, and on whatever surface I'd like - canvas, notebook, panel, paper, etc. I'll post lots of progress pics on Facebook and Instagram and then try to recap every few days here. I thought about pushing this whole thing back a week because we're heading out of town for a wedding and this weekend is a holiday, but I thought these might present good challenges for me.

So, in the spirit of Dr. Who - Allons-y! Look for Day 1's painting tomorrow!


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Back to work (art work, that is!)

I'm about to life-update y'all, so before I do that, here are few important things:
  •  My Etsy shop will be re-opening later this week. New stuff and pretty spring gifts! If you're looking for wooden eggs, you're in luck.
  • Also, I'm encouraging you to go follow smilingturtlene on Instagram! This is the handle (is that what you say on Instagram?) for Smiling Turtle Art Spot in Omaha, which is one of the shops that carries my work. I'll be instagramming for the artisan collective out there as well as on my own (link to the right) so I'd love to have you follow and see lots of great Omaha artwork, as well as opportunities for classes and the like, if you're local!
Now... on to the post:

Hear ye, hear ye - I'm back to making art in a regular-sort-of-way, at long last. :-) Since welcoming the fantastic Mr. Ren, it has been a daily experiment, figuring out the balance of mom-life, work, art, and time to just relax.  The thing is - the balance I've had to strike is completely about me - not about Ren. I have the world's easiest, happiest, generally most-agreeable baby. He has slept through the night for months now and we've had very little stress with him at all. The challenge for me is parting from him for even a little while when I come home from work in the evening. When we've been apart all day, going up to my studio has just not been a priority (or emotionally possible). That being said, I've missed painting something terrible, so over the last few weeks I've been working to carve out a little more time for it that doesn't interfere with my mom time. I've been evaluating a lot of the ways my days are spent, and that's still a work in progress, but I feel good about the direction I'm heading and the changes down the road. Momhood is a life in constant flux, so I'm embracing it!
Here's my happy owlet:

So, what am I making now? Well, I'm at my best when I'm jumping from project to project. I've been working on a REALLY big, acrylic canvas for our house, which is intimidating and forces me to step back and think about it... a lot. But it's fun and challenging in a good way. And I'm plotting some spring watercolors with birds and flowers. And I'm working on new cards and notebooks to get out into the shops. I have several ideas for my pretty blue typewriter that are going to come to life over the next few weeks.

Pretty significantly, last weekend I CLEANED MY STUDIO. Any of you that make things know that there are times when just walking in the room could result in injury, and I was totally there. Now it's better and I'm feeling so good about the possibilities in here. Happy art on the horizon.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sweetest Sunday


Today the sun was out and the weather was perfect (for me anyway - I know that a lot of people are sad that it has gotten cool, but I'm a fleece/sweater sort of gal). I spent the morning with my fellas on a long walk around Standing Bear Lake in Omaha. The monarchs are on the move and the fall flowers are blooming. I snapped a few shots with my phone, but Brad took several with our camera that I'll share soon. You know how I feel about things with wings... Ren has gotten so big lately and we have fun watching him take in everything around him. This afternoon the two of them have been watching football and playing while I sneak some time in the studio, so I'm happy to stop by and say hello! Hope you're all having a great start to fall, too.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hello, Friends.

Well, I’ve been avoiding this place for a while, and it’s time to get back to updating. We’ve had a few life changes, to say the least, so this post will likely be the longest this blog will ever see.

Part of the reason I’ve been gone has been the business of being a new mom, which has been wonderful. For those of you who don’t follow me on Instagram or Facebook, we welcomed the new little love of my life, Ren, at the end of May.

My days since then have been filled with learning about him and learning about myself as his mom. We quickly discovered the wonders and challenges of parenting. Our first night home together we learned just how many times he was going to wake up and the tricks of changing little boy diapers, as we panicked and then laughed like idiots when he sprayed our bedspread at 3am. We also saw how perfectly babies behave while their grandparents are here to help, and how instantly they scream and fuss when they’re gone, making you seem like a terrible liar. We’ve watched the magical moments as he sees new things for the first time. Our little Lorax loves the trees, and his dad has taken to going on tree walks around our yard whenever he cries, which instantly soothes him. We laugh when strolling him around our neighborhood because the moment we go underneath tree limbs his eyes widen in awe, and once we pass he goes back to clear boredom. He’s almost 3 months old now (where has it gone??), and full of smiles and coos and attentiveness.  Our voices are familiar, and the feeling when he has a smile just for us is the bee’s knees. He also has a very serious expression he wears when he’s focusing on something new that seems strange for a baby, and is one I can’t get enough of.  

Just this past week I went back to work, which was hard, hard, hard, even though I really enjoy my job and my coworkers.  Now I’m learning to soak up every cuddle and moment when I’m home.  We’re lucky in that Brad’s schedule allows one of us to be home with him more than many people can.  I’m ridiculously emotional still, and even though he hasn’t had to go to daycare too much yet, and even though they’re incredibly sweet there and give him lots of attention, I’ve cried after dropping him off every single time so far. We’ll get there. So. To sum things up: being a mom is making me emotional, but happy and in love, and it’s suiting me just fine. Ren is more than I could have ever known he’d be.

Sadly, the other reason I’ve been avoiding writing here has been heartbreak. This spring we found out that Scout had a progressed lung cancer, and ultimately we had to let her go. We tried to treat it for a little while, but it was just too developed for that to help, and instead we chose to spoil her for the last month and then let her rest. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll ever really get over this loss. She wasn’t very old – just nine – and it caught us by surprise, with her decline happening really quickly.

It’s still very fresh and sneaking up on me several times each day, when I turn to say something to her or feel her absence in the things I do. I can’t say how many times I swear I see her out of the corner of my eye, and it’s a pile of laundry or a shadow.  We were so thrilled to have her as a Nana for Ren, and it breaks my heart to think of him missing out on her sweet, silly ways.  I know she would have been a little bear, hovering over him and worrying about his every move, and then enjoying playing with him when he was big enough. 
 The thing about Scout is that she was truly a perfect dog. Not perfect in the sense that she never did anything wrong (though she was darn close), but perfect in that she was exactly what Brad and I needed in our lives. She started off as an engagement puppy, so she really was there from the minute we officially became a family. We rarely did anything without her. She picked out our first Christmas tree, crawling underneath it to eat the snow.  She went on all of our vacations, hiking, camping, and fishing until she curled up muddy and exhausted on a sleeping bag to snore and run in her puppy dreams. She helped us explore our new surroundings each time we moved, encouraging us to find new parks and hiking trails, and enabling me to feel safe whenever Brad was at work because I had a 100 lb companion. She was a rockstar with the neighbor kids wherever we moved, standing patiently to be petted by little people exactly her height and listening to them remark on her soft fur and Shaggy Dog resemblance.  She started off sleeping in our bed each night, covering my feet until she decided she was too hot, and then moving to the tile in the bathroom. In the winter she’d spoon with whoever was available – either us or our visiting family members – and make room for herself by squeezing between the sleeper and the wall and pushing with her legs until she was stretched out comfortably.  For all of her great size – and she was the tallest Old English Sheepdog and heaviest female that we’ve ever known – she was an absolute baby in many ways. She loved stuffed animal babies, and brought them to you to play with the minute you sat on the couch. She had a special love for puppet animals, and transformed into a wild woman whenever Brad put one on his hand, jumping to crazy heights. Fireworks, popcorn on the stove, and packing bubbles were reason for an exit to the bathroom or basement. A few years ago when we brought Lucy Cat into our fold, she quickly acquiesced to the little paws that swatted her nose if she got too close. She never did give up trying to herd the cat, but if ever Lucy found her too irritating, she’d let her know and Scout would move along. Scout was spoiled with people food, and rarely would we order anything out without consideration for the furrball at home. We learned quickly that the Wisconsin Dairy Queen had a “dog special,” which involved a sundae with a milkbone on top instead of chocolate. On road trips back and forth from Illinois, she’d get a cheeseburger, which she’d inhale in seconds flat, leaving the two pickles on the backseat.  Scout’s favorite thing in this world was a trip to the beach. For a sheepdog especially, she loved the water, plowing in immediately and gulping like a pelican. When we lived in Wisconsin, Lake Michigan was her playground. After that, we made sure to find camping trips with water and space to run.     


Last fall we went on what would be our final camping trip together – a trip that really shows just how quickly her sickness came on. In September, this beautiful dog who couldn’t walk more than a few blocks this spring hiked for 11 miles in the South Dakota hills, plowing ahead on trails, swimming in streams, and wrapping up the days with the deep sleep that only comes with real contentment. This is how we will remember her.  A little muddy, tongue lolling and fur flying, as she happily explored the world. 

I’m going to miss this girl, this Stubborn Dog, until the end of my days.  Brad and I are the luckiest to have shared our lives with her. 


So. That’s where I’ve been. Off being a lot happy, a lot sad, and just generally focused on those that I love. As we head into Fall, I’m learning how to find balance in my new life, and how to fit in the creative times that I need.  I’m working on things that are soft and simple right now, focusing on watercolors that I can bring out of the studio and work on near my little man as he sleeps. My work time is less frequent, but more focused and intentional, so I hope that will show in the things I create. 

Thank you for the support you continue to give and I hope to share more frequently here going forward. Please follow me in other ways to see more regular mini-captures of the things I’m working on. Instagram and Facebook are easy for those quick little hellos.