Reporting for duty on day 1/30 of my September blog challenge! After I made this ridiculous promise to myself I got a little worried that I would run out of topics. I started jotting down ideas on a piece of paper, and was surprised to have come up with at least 25. I have also enlisted by best friend to keep me accountable. It’s good to have both a plan and someone to judge you when you want to reach a creative goal.
On to the color story! I was fortunate to have acquired a day pass to Bumbershoot 2014 in Seattle through my boyfriend who was performing in one of the comedic acts. After he finished his show in the early afternoon, we had the rest of the day to eat deep fried food and watch the other performers. We stayed the rest of the weekend to walk around and be tourists for a couple of days.
Aimee Mann at Bumbershoot 2014
Pike Place Market
My two favorite things to do when I travel are wander around on foot and take photos of beautiful things. I love to set out an intention of what kind of photos I will gather at the start of a trip. This is especially fun for long term trips because it becomes a sort of scavenger hunt. A few of the photo themes I’ve explored in the past have been feet photos, reflections and typography. A couple of fun themes I’ve come across are Jessica Swift’s cats of Morocco and Lisa Congdon’s blue doors. If you’re interested in exploring your own theme, here is a great list of ideas at WORLDROMPER blog.
For this short trip, I decided to focus on color and street art. It’s amazing how color pops out at you once you decide to look for it. I’ll be sharing the street art photos in a later post. Here are some of my favorite places from this weekend.
01. EMP Museum: A museum dedicated to music, pop culture and science fiction. Awesome combo. First off, the architecture by Frank Gehry is out of this world. Twisting and turning forms of sheet metal in impossibly beautiful colors. I could stare at the building forever. Inside, the exhibits were beautifully designed. I really enjoyed the Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic exhibit.
02. Gum Wall: Exactly what it sounds like. Gross + beautiful, with a little bit of smelly on the side. To get to it, walk up to the main entrance to Pike Place Market and to the left, you take a staircase down to Post Alley.
03. The Five Point Cafe: Super nice servers and hostess, awesome neon signs and really great pie. We had a piece of plum blackberry pie. The server said that one of the servers makes the pie, and that they are vegan, which was super surprising because the crust was really buttery tasting.
04. The Hurricane Cafe: Diner food. The onion rings were perfect.
05. Pike Place Market: I know putting Pike Place Market on a travel list is about as obvious as the Space Needle, but my tip here is to GO EARLY. Which is also sort of “duh” advice, but as a late rising traveler, I had never done this before and I was so pleased with the experience. Usually in the summer the market is so crowded with tourists taking photos (myself included) that it’s difficult to push your way through to the vendors to actually buy anything. We arrived at around 8:45 a.m. as the vendors were setting up and it seemed nearly empty. We were able to get breakfast with no wait at a table with a view of the water. After we were finished, the market was still not very crowded, and very enjoyable to walk around.
Let me know if the comments if you have any travel tips for Seattle for our next visit. More tomorrow on day 2/30 of my September blog challenge! Bye for now!
Just as the month of August is winding down, I’m officially starting my summer. I finished my summer classes at PSU today, and I have the excited feeling I get when the whole summer is wide open, as well of a little bit of feeling not sure what I should do with myself now that I don’t have homework projects to work on. I have some trips coming up—Seattle and Columbus, OH—and I hope the weather holds up at least until I go back for fall term at the end of September.
The close of classes means that I have more time to work on personal projects. I have a list about a mile long, so I’m going to need to prioritize and decide which projects are the most exciting/important. At the top of my list is blogging. I’ve been terrible with follow through—two blog posts in 2014—even though I know that blogging is good for my creative output. Blogging gives me a place to be accountable, and I make tons more work than I would otherwise. I’m going to do something terrifying and commit to putting up a blog post every day, no matter what, in September. I will be on vacation for half of the month, so this is an ambitious goal, but I’m going to set it anyway.
Look out internets! I’ll be back on September 1 with a new post.
p.s. Hello, if there is anyone still out there reading this. I hope you are having an excellent summer.
p.p.s. This second one is for my bestie, who hates the electronic p.s.
Hello! It’s starting to feel like summer here in Portland. Sunny skies (sometimes), longer days, and farmers markets are some of my favorite parts of summer. I also love packing up a little bag and finding a sunny place outside to sketch. For the next two months, I’m going to be including a small stack of index cards in my bag.
I’ve been busy with school projects, but I haven’t been doing much personal work lately, so I’m excited to get into the Index Card a Day challenge, starting today. I can’t say enough good things about the content that Tammy puts out into the world, and I really admire the way that she organizes this challenge, and inspires so many people to start small, and build a consistent creative practice. You can find out more about the challenge at her FAQ page. Essentially, the idea is to create something out of an index card every day in June and July. Easy, right?
The index cards in this post are a few that I made last summer while I worked on this challenge. There are lots of reasons why I love working in this way.
- Index cards are CHEAP. Using index cards takes the intimidation factor out of creating art. Made a mistake? No big deal. Toss out your index card and start again. Or, cut it up and make something new out of it.
- 3 x 5 inch index cards are small. Five minutes is enough time to finish a card and feel good about spending part of your day being creative.
- Using cheap and small index cards is good for experimentation with other materials. I’ve wanted to work with gouache for a while, but haven’t put much effort into it. I’ve also had a Gel Printing plate that has gone unused for over a year. This will be a perfect time to experiment.
- A commitment to working on a daily project makes you feel motivated to make more work. I often find that a challenge like this creates a snowball effect, and I end up working on more projects.
I’ll be posting my cards on Instagram somewhat daily, and will do a weekly wrap up here on the blog. You can follow along or contribute on Instagram or Twitter using #icad.
I should probably write a long list of excuses to explain why it’s been so long since I’ve posted here, but instead I’m going to write about my green bowl.
In 2007, I went to Hawaii for a Christmas vacation with my family. The whole family. My dad, his girlfriend and her kids, my sister, aunt, uncle, cousins. That was the first time we’d ever done something like that together, and the trip was warm, magical and absolutely paradise. Out of everything I’ve done in my life, that would easily make the top five. One of the days we were there, I drove to Hilo with my sister and cousin. We ended up finding a small market that wasn’t as touristy as the markets on the other side of the island. One of the vendors made beautiful ceramic pieces, and I fell in love with a green bowl. I loved the simplicity of the design, and the green reminded me of how lush Hawaii was. At the same market, I bought the most perfect papaya and ate it right there. I was so happy.
I had used this bowl for oatmeal, cereal, soups and salads multiple times a week ever since. I liked the feel of the bowl in my hands. It was a little off center, and the glaze on the rim was imperfect. Every time I used the bowl I either got comfort from using something I loved so much, or I thought of the place and time that I bought it. It made meals special. I speak of the bowl in past tense because tonight I dropped the bowl (full of delicious taco seasoned quinoa with scrambled eggs and veggies, made by my amazing boyfriend) and broke it into pieces. Pulling little bits of the bowl out of quinoa splattered all over the floor was definitely the lowest point of this week. I cried over the pieces of this bowl. And not little sniffling tears, but sobbing, streaming tears.
After I pulled myself together (somewhat), I started to reflect on objects and the meaning they have in my life. This bowl made a special memory tangible. Experiences are so fleeting, but having this bowl made that experience part of my everyday life. I bet the woman who made that bowl never would have thought it would still be so important to someone almost seven years later. If I could put even one thing out in the world that could do the same for someone else, that would make me so happy. This is why making things is important to me.
At some point I’ll post another update and write about some exciting changes in my life. For now, I’m going to try to glue that bowl back together and see if it can be salvaged as a decorative piece. Wish me luck… :)
Hello again! I’m back for Glue it Tuesday with a collage that’s been coming together on my desk for the past couple of weeks. I took the cover of one of our weekly newspapers and have been cutting all of the solid bits out of it and sticking a few pieces down here and there. I don’t often collage with pictures or patterns created by someone else (it’s hard to make it feel like mine), so I get really excited when I find a cover or illustration page that has a lot of big blocks of color I can use.
I have been feeling very uninspired lately, and have had a hard time getting myself to work in my sketchbooks, write blog entries or work on projects for my printmaking class. It’s been difficult to push through it and have faith that I will have new ideas again. I’m trying to find the right balance of being gentle with myself, but also to not be so lax that I slip into a bad habit of not working on projects because I’m “waiting for inspiration”. Projects like this sketchbook collage page are perfect because they don’t require too much thinking, and it’s more about the physical act of cutting and gluing than it is about the end product.
Here is a small collection of links that have provided me with some inspiration to keep going over the past week. If you’re looking for some more reading, check out Tammy’s fantastic Link Love mission. I’m hoping that I’ll be back soon with some notes on how I broke through my creative block!
Happy Monday! Last week was a quiet one, and my sketchbooks were left untouched. I’m on a quest to make sure my sketchbooks feel the love again this week. I’m also joining in Tammy’s mission to share the link love at Daisy Yellow. I’ve found loads of inspiration to start off the week, and now it’s time to turn off the computer and get to it.
- I just discovered Mae Chevrette’s blog today, and was particularly inspired by this sketchbook page. The combination of collage and lettering is lovely.
- I’m a little bummed out that this blog appears to have been abandoned. I am a big fan of to-do lists, and these painted lists are probably the most charming I’ve ever seen. Enjoy the archives!
- Another fun blog by Alison Worman. I’m so inspired by how she uses a wide variety of media. Fiber arts, book arts, printmaking, painting, drawing, collage. I love artists who are so versatile.
- I love this crayon transfer technique tutorial by Marcia Beckett. I used to do this as a child, and totally forgot about it. I’m excited to try this technique again!
- I’m really intrigued Heather Day’s loose painting style. I love her little tiny drawings and paintings. Her blog has inspired me to try to loosen it up a little this week.
I hope you all had a great weekend, and are full of ideas for the new week. I would love to hear what you’re working on in the comments!
Good morning! I’m joining in Glue it Tuesday this week with some color tests for my printmaking class. I created a few linoleum blocks with simple textures, and my plan is to tear them all up and sew them back together for the final project. I brought the blocks home with me, and worked on some color tests tonight. I’m not thrilled with this color combination yet, but I do like seeing the simple textures next to each other in different colors. I was trying out burnishing with my hands (placing paper over the linoleum and rubbing), and really liked how personal it made the process feel, as opposed to using the press. I can see the areas where I pressed very hard, and those I backed off of a bit.
These are the prints I made on the press on Saturday. This chartreuse color is one of my favorites, and I am always happy when I work with it. I can’t wait to get started cutting up and assembling these prints back together.
Sometimes it’s hard to feel okay writing about color and sketchbooks after a day like yesterday. I initially felt a tinge of guilt even working on my prints last night. I think the only thing I can figure out to do is to try to be more grateful, continue to do the things that make me come alive, and try to do more good in the world. I’m grateful for this space, for being able to share the things that make me happy, and for the encouragement from you, my lovely readers.
I’m hoping that soon Portland will be getting enough sun for me to make a small series of photographs of shadows and patterns. These are from a couple of weekends ago when the weather was warm, and I was taking some walks through the neighborhood. The sky here is flat gray a lot of the fall and winter, so the shadows were a pleasant shock. I seemed to find an interesting shadow or pattern everywhere I turned.
This weekend I have a printmaking class all day Saturday, and the weather forecast tells me we’re in for another gray weekend, so I’ll be getting caught up on my Project Life scrapbook pages, and some other artsy projects on Sunday.
I’m participating in Tammy’s wonderful Link Love mission today, and leaving you with some links to check out over the weekend. Stop by Daisy Yellow to say hello, or join in spreading the link love.
- Emily Balsley’s Sketchbook Project: Emily’s sketchbook project is a wonderful little narrative about a sandwich making factory. Her illustrations are so fun. See also part 2.
- Create Every Day by Kari Maxwell: This blog is one of my new reads. Kari always has wonderful insights on the creative process, daily art practices and more.
Interview with Oliver Jeffers on The Great Discontent: TGD is one of my favorite sites to read interviews. The interviews are very in depth and feature a wide variety of makers, and (bonus!) are presented beautifully. Oliver Jeffers is a relatively new discovery for me, but I’ve seen his work pop up on a couple of blogs lately, so I was very excited to see an interview with him. This video about his work is also a very charming visual treat.
Flora Bowley’s 30-Day Blog Love Affair: I love Flora’s mission to blog daily, and reinvent her relationship with her blog. From her latest blog posts, it looks like it’s working!
- Itty Bitty Kitty Committee: If you are ever feeling down, this blog is the place to go. I dare you to not feel happier after reading about these kittens.
I hope you have a wonderful, creative weekend. Thanks for stopping by!
More important than what is on my workdesk this week, is what isn’t on my workdesk this week. I finally went to Ikea on Saturday to pick up a matching bookcase to put next to my desk, and was able to stash the pile of art supplies and papers that was on my desk. I’m very excited that my desk is usable again, and as a bonus, it looks prettier too! Today I’m linking up to What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday at Stamping Ground .
I started a new printmaking class on Saturday. It’s a mixed class of Printmaking I and Printmaking II students. As one of the Printmaking II students, I have absolute freedom in the projects I work on for the quarter, and can make up my own assignments. I always thought that would be a blessing, but now I’m sitting here with empty sketchbook pages wondering what to do with myself. I think I need to come up with some limitations because the wide openness has so far resulted in not a lot of ideas.
I live in a small apartment with my boyfriend, two dogs and a cat, so I feel very lucky to have this corner of the main living space to call my own. My desk is set up in the area that probably should hold a dining room table. It is right off of the kitchen, which is perfect for clean up and getting cups of tea. A TV tray and rolling cart expand my work area beyond the small desktop. The TV tray is good for holding cups of water and paint because it’s off to the side and doesn’t get in the way.
I always love peeks at artwork in studios, so I thought I’d share what’s up in mine right now. The TV tray is hand painted by my friend Carolyn O’Connor, who takes old furniture and gives it new life again with her brightly colored designs. The little bunting above my desk is by Robyn Wells. She has one of my favorite little eclectic shops on Etsy. The top print of the two on the wall is by Jessica Swift. The bottom print on the wall is Artist-in-Bloom Manifesto by Aimee at Artsyville. There is a tiny painting by Sherry Paylor on the right side of the top of my desk. I got it from an Art-o-Mat machine this weekend. You can get a better view of it on Instagram. And lastly, the painting to the right of the sewing machine is one of mine. It’s a study of a Richard Diebenkorn painting that I made in one of my painting classes. I have a ton of prints that are unframed, and now that I have all of the furniture situated, I’m looking forward to putting more artwork on the walls.
This is how the space looks all closed up! Lately this has been a pretty infrequent occurrence, but now that my desk is clear I can close it up more easily. A more seasoned blogger probably would have swept up the dog hair before taking the picture, so please ignore that. This is real life. :) I hope you have a very creative and colorful Wednesday!
Hello! I’m popping in today to share some of my doodles for Aimee’s Glue it Tuesday. Check out her blog to see her colorful work, and links to others participating in Glue it Tuesday. I’m not feeling particularly inspired this week. I think it has to do with the gray skies and rain returning after a lovely week with warm spring weather. Sometimes when I’m feeling the artistic blahs, I will do something really simple to try to get back in the flow. I’m not there yet, but I will keep trying! Thanks to all who came over to visit from Artsyville!