Happy National Handwriting Day!

Sorry I've been incredibly absent lately.  Even this post was supposed to go up yesterday!  I don't always like to use the "I'm busy" excuse, so I'm not going to now.  I have been in a blogging lull, working on new projects for the shop, a whole new look for the blog, and creating a new website focusing on my work, and the new projects.  Plus, I feel like I'm still on Christmas break leftovers, trying to get in more visits with friends (who got engaged while they were here!! yay! I'm honoured to be a bridesmaid for her!), playing lots and lots of N64 with our friends while we try to escape the bitter cold, plus trying to spend more time with my husband, especially this week, since he's off north for a few days this weekend for work.  Throw in a few custom orders, thoroughly cleaning the house, extremely thoroughly, and planning an office reorganization.  Whew.  And I feel like I'm just starting to cross things off my to do list.

Yesterday was National Handwriting Day, so I thought that I'd include my handwriting as part of a little celebration for the art of handwritten letters.  I think that 'National....Day' holidays are really funny.  Which nation declared it, when so many nations often celebrate.  I know my instagram was lighting up with all the different calligraphers around the world, celebrating this day.  Whatever the national day, I've decided that I want a little bit of everyday of my life to be national handwriting day.  I am going to practice more and more, build a couple unique styles, and really build a portfolio, to partner with my new projects.  I can't wait to show you what I'm working on!  I can't yet though, until my sister gets a special little package in the mail.  She gets first peeks at one of the new projects, and first critique!  Oh, I can't wait until it can be released!

Off to bundle up with some Netflix!  It's been extremely cold this week, (last night was -43*C with the wind chill!!), and there's been lots of tea and hot chocolate, toques being worn in the house, layers of sweaters, and cuddling under blankets watching movies.  We watched all 7 Saw movies in three days.  We had to, since Josh was in the final film, but wanted to be able to follow the series all together, so we wouldn't forget anything.  So glad we did.  So many story overlaps and twists!  Almost as many overlaps as there is blood!  So much blood.  It's so good though!

Recent Sketchbook Pages

I've been spending all my free studio time playing with my inks and getting my fingers nice and colourful.  I love the glossy texture that they leave, and how smooth my favourite pens write on top of them.  The gel pens just glide over the ink so smoothly.  I love that the white shows up so opaque over the backgrounds that I've created.  

I painted almost all of these pages with my hands, and a couple elements with some different brushes.  There's also a couple stickers layered in there too.  I have a whole pile of ephemera to stick in there, and layer within each page, but I can't make myself do it!  I just want to get my fingers all messy, all the time.  Most of these pages are just for me, but I like that I can share them with you too!
My sketchbook of choice for painting with inks is Moleskine's Folio A4 Sketchbook, a hardcovered, large book with heavy smooth paper.  Inks go on like butter!

Paining Again After a Long Time Away

It's been two years, maybe even more, since I broke out my large glass palette.  I can't believe that it's been so long since I really sat down and painted.  Painted for me, painted for fun.  Not for a present, not for an order.  Just for me to have some time to myself, creatively, emotionally, spiritually.  I cracked open some seriously old oil paints (hello, I haven't been used in almost 7 years!) and gave up on the bottle of linseed oil that I just can't open for the life of me.  I had just a dribble of mineral spirits, so I settled for stinky, headache inducing Turpentine instead.  Most of my brushes were stiff and a little crusty, so I only had two decent ones to choose from, plus a knife.  My mom has my table top easel and my standing easel, so I had to make shift something to set my canvas on.  Man, looking back I feel like I should have quit while I was ahead, and gone to the store to get better supplies.

Even though the conditions weren't prime for painting, I didn't let that stop me.  I wanted to get my fingers messy, smell the oil paints, create something.  I squished out little bits of the couple colours I had, poured out some of my turpentine in a jar, and started getting some colour on the canvas.  It felt good!  I didn't have any kind of plan, I was going completely abstract, and I didn't care too much about my colours mixing.  I started with thin washed out layers of colour, and covered the whole canvas with swashes and dabs and blobs.  I started going in heavier after that, working the paint with my knife, scraping it across the canvas.  I really love the sound that a palette knife makes as it travels across the rough canvas.  It brings me back to the time I first used oils, first used a knife, first worked on stretched canvas.  I feel so blessed with the various mediums and techniques I've been able to try in my short life.

I'm not sharing bits of the piece I started working on just yet, as I'm not totally comfortable with it at the moment.  For now it's hanging on a nail on the wall of my studio, drying before I can put more layers and more colours down on the canvas.  I'm thinking about switching up my mediums a bit and going in with some vibrant fluid acrylics and lots of white.  I want to experiment with more mark making techniques than just a brush and knife.  I want to paint with my fingers, brushes, found items around the house.  I want to write messages and cover them up.  I want to share secrets in those layers, secrets only I will know are there.  I love the beauty of layering paint, the evolution of a painting, and the whole process in general.

I'm so glad that I broke out my palette again.  It had been way, way too long.

Sept 23: Life Lately

Monday, September 23: A "life lately" post. What you're up to, how you're feeling, how you're doing on your goals, etc. Bonus points for great photos!

I feel like life around here has been work, work, work since the summer has ended.  For me, this has actually been pretty excellent.  I'm so in love with my job, so I'm glad that I took the risk back in January to give it a go.  This week, I signed up for a Skillshare class with Molly Jacques to improve on my calligraphy skills.  I'm so looking forward to starting the class Wednesday, it just won't come fast enough!

I thought that I'd share a few of the pieces that I've been working on lately, to show what my life, and my work has been up to.  If you are interested in any of these pieces, hop on over to my Etsy shop for purchase!

So Thankful

I just want to write a little post about thankfulness.  I'm thankful right now for the internet world, who has been so gracious to me through my Etsy shop.  This last month I've seen new orders come in at least every other day (yesterday I had 4!), and I think it's so amazing.  When I started this home business Etsy adventure in January, I never imagined that so many strangers would like the things that I make enough to want to to spend their hard earned money on it.  I had never purchased anything on Etsy before joining, so I wasn't exactly sure what to expect.  I figured that most of my purchases would just be from some family members or a few friends, but when I received my first order from someone I didn't know, within three days of opening my shop, I was overjoyed.  Now, most of orders come from strangers, mostly from the States too, and I couldn't be more thankful.  I'm thankful to God that he gave me the skill and talent to be able to create, and I'm thankful to my great customers who are so kind and loving!  People have put their faith in me and my work, and I've started to get lots of custom work orders.  I've started to do more research, through books, videos and blogs by other artists, to hone my craft, and be able to use my tools to the best potential.

So, to you, I want to say thank you.  Thank you for supporting me and my art, and for challenging me to do more, make more, and make better.  I have been truly blessed that I get to work from home, doing something that I love, and share it with the world.
My most recent custom order.  This was so much fun to paint!