Prepping for the Urban Sketching Symposium in Chicago

I'm in Boston now visiting friends and sketching whenever I have a moment free. Yesterday I did some people watching on the beach and sketched them while my kids swam. It was great. But mostly I'm just spending time with friends here. But in a few days we will be heading to Chicago and in a week I will be surrounded by Sketchers and sketching nonstop. I'm so excited. Who else is going? I packed rather light and everything but my sketchbooks fit in a small bag. I'm interested to hear what others are bringing.  

My kit for Chicago.  

My kit for Chicago.  

Sketching people at the beach.  

Sketching people at the beach.  

Sketching the Boston south end with the local Urban Sketching group.  

Sketching the Boston south end with the local Urban Sketching group.  

On finishing.

When you are a bit of a perfectionist it is a bit hard to complete art and put it out in the world. And half done projects are a serious danger. But for the third year in a row I kept at my #the100dayproject despite the bumps and hesitations along the way and finished it only a few days late. In the end I learned a lot and am glad that I did it. Follow #100daysofmetals if you want to see the whole collection. 

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Getting (and staying) fully invested.

As I write this I am more than 1/4 of my way through my #100daysofmetals challenge for the 100 day project. While I haven't missed a day it is still a struggle and I have had to accept that I am not going to love every piece I do and that's okay. That's not the point. Growing as an artist, making connections and following through with your plans and commitments are the ultimate goals for me.  

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Challenge Accepted: My 100 day project.

I am a social media/ Instagram challenge addict. I know I have a lot going on but I could not resist joining in on #the100dayproject for the third year in a row. I would like to thank Elle Luna for creating this inspiring challenge and I hope to participate for many more years to come. Take an action and repeat it for 100 days in a row and document your progress. Since I am enjoying my metallic watercolors/gouache paints so much I decided to base my theme around them and other metallic art materials. I am looking forward to seeing what this next 100 days brings me creatively as I know it will challenge me in unexpected ways as it progresses. I'm also very interested in seeing what other creatives are doing. How many new voices are participating in 2017 and how many are returning like myself. Say hi in the comments and let me know what action you plan on repeating over the next 100 days. It's a long time, but we can do it! 

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Endless Challenge : How I tackled the challenge of drawing 100 people in five days

Last week I took on the intense challenge of #oneweek100people2017 that Liz Steel outlined in her blog and managed to not neglect my other activities and responsibilities. I started out with using photos from the awesome iphone Sktchy app before realizing that I was being far too precious and working far too slow to get to 100 that way. So on Tuesday when I was able to get out in the sunshine and sketch tourists and students around Oxford for a few hours I took advantage. Inspired by the energy of Marc Taro Holmes I sketched 100 people that afternoon perched from my vantage point in the Oxford tourist centre. Now that I had my 100 sketches done by the second day I was free to play without counting for the rest of the week. Thanks for the challenge I learned a lot from the experience and am glad that I joined in. The rest of the week I continued to do slower studio portraits using Sktchy and quick gesture drawings from life. I made it to life drawing on Thursday already warmed up and ready to draw. Balancing this challenge while not falling behind in other areas forced me to step up my game and step out of my comfort zone. I already want to do it again next year. 

Here are some of my highlights from the week.  

First #sktchyapp portraits were way too slow

First #sktchyapp portraits were way too slow

Fast and loose sketching tourists.  

Fast and loose sketching tourists.  

Warming up sketching tourists and students.  

Warming up sketching tourists and students.  

Back to slower studio portraits.  

Back to slower studio portraits.  

But first coffee. A new challenge for 2017 starts now.

But first coffee. A new challenge for 2017 starts now.

A 365 art challenge for 2017.  

Etsy!

I'm super excited and pleased to announce the grand reopening of my Etsy shop after a bit of a longer break than I had planned when I was packing up to move to England. Please check it out. Currently I am selling a variety of original painting, a selection of my woodblock relief prints and I am looking forward to having prints from my paintings made as I grow.

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Tuesday November 8th - Election Day

As an American living abroad I am resisting the impulse to be filled with anxiety today. Instead I am focusing on work and checking of a number of tasks during the day so I can go to bed early tonight and miss the endless nail biting speculation. My Etsy store reopening is delayed until I get prints sorted. In the meantime I will be offering original artworks up on Instagram at super reasonable prices. They would make fabulous gifts and the sale of them would help me purchase a new printer and scanner.  

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Greetings from Madrid

The first days were rainy but then it was beautiful perfect weather. Lots to do, see and sketch here. 

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Illness, Inktober and some rambling

Wednesday blogging turns into Thursday blogging. I have a sinus cold and possibly an infection right before a family holiday. I am resting as much as possible so I can be at my best in Spain. The kids are already home from school and that is actually a blessing because the two mile walk picking them up from school every day was not helping me recover quickly! I miss having energy and a clear head but I am managing to just barely keep up with #inktober and other smaller projects this week. I am glad that I decided to be flexible and not stick with any theme or format for this years Inktober as it has allowed me to keep going and not give up when I am not feeling my best. The motto that I need to pin on my wall and remember is that done is better than perfect. It is so easy for me to get sidetracked searching for perfection that I never finish or never share a project, blog post, artwork or whatever. Is this a common problem? I am all ears for any good strategies for avoiding the perfection trap?

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Back to blogging and Etsy

Hope everybody had a great summer and is having a great autumn. Mine was excellent, family focused yet artistically productive. After taking a long summer off blogging and focusing on building my body of work and Instagram I am ready to blog again once a week. That leads to my first announcement that I will begin regularly blogging again starting with once a week on Wednesday and I will build from there. My second announcement is that I have new work ready for sale and will be reopening my Etsy shop as soon as I have everything scanned in and some prints made from my original watercolors. In the meantime I will be selling small well priced original paintings on Instagram so keep an eye on my feed for a chance to pick those up. 

Watercolor Cacti

Watercolor Cacti

Greetings from Lisbon: a Giveaway

Over on Instagram I am hosting a contest to win a postcard that I sketched in Lisbon. Comment here with a place you would love to visit for a chance to win and head over to Instagram for a second chance to win. I will pick a winner June 8th. 

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Urban Sketching in London

One of my favorite times of the month is when I get to spend the day in London sketching with the Urban Sketching/ USK gang there. It's so worth the journey from Oxford.  I am looking forward to returning in June and July!

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Patterns for 100 days!

I am participating in the #100daychallenge over on Instagram for the second year in a row. Last year was florals, this year is patterns. I am not giving myself any restrictions in terms of materials/ media used or format this time around so there is a lot of room to explore, grow and do things on the go when needed. I hope you join me. 

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Winding Down in Athens, Greece

My Midori Traveler's Notebook has traveled all over Europe with me this past year and Greece for our first trip in 2016 it has been by my side even more. Feeling very inspired and filled with energy to create here in the sunshine  

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Athens Sketches and a giveaway

Head over to my Instagram for another original art postcard giveaway. Details on how to enter can be found there. I am in Athens Greece with my paint kit always by my side! I've been sketching my way though this city and my family has been super tolerant of me slowing them down or disappearing for periods of time as a result. An artist must create, especially in a place like this.  

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Spring Break!

It is term break here in the UK and my kids are home from school for two weeks. We enjoyed having their father around and abundant sunshine on Friday and going into London over the long weekend. Today he wS back to work and I took us to the local Oxford University Botanic Garden and the three of us sketched there for hours. So far so great with my creative nature loving kids. They never even asked to turn the TV on.  

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Botanic Studies. Happy Spring.

It may be rainy and grey in England, but there are still springlike moments to celebrate. Elements of spring are all over my daily art practice.  

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Vintage Explorations

My own past through family photo albums. Studying and exploring this time period is filled with painful memories that I have spent years building a wall around. Confronting rather than avoiding. Reframing my experience with mature eyes. Deep breaths. 

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Leap Day. What did you do with your bonus day?

Bummer that it fell on a Monday of all days but I hope that everybody got a chance to carve out some creative time today. Did you make anything today? What? Did you do anything different than your usual Monday routine?