Surgery and the Need to Create

I can now say with all confidence that carpel tunnel is not fun. After coping with for 9 months, I finally had surgery on the 14th. The worst thing about healing after carpel tunnel surgery is the inability to work on any of my artwork. So in an attempt to bring a small amount of creativity into my day, I've started doodling with my left, non-operated on, hand.

So far this little picture is the one I'm the most pleased with. It's kinda funny that I've been working on a more simplistic illustration style recently and that's pretty much all I can muster with my less dominant hand right now. I'm actually really liking the simple style with the looser, scribbly lines. I love that watercolor paints are so forgiving of my sloppy application and actually seem to work really well along side the looser lines. I'm hoping to keep playing around with this style some more while my hand continues to heal.

A Peek Inside My Sketchbook

I guess it's an obvious sign that someone is new to blogging when it's been a month since their last post. It would seem like it's going to take some time for me to become disciplined enough to keep up with a regular schedule. Just add it to the expanding list of things I need to improve in. 

I may be falling short in the blogging department but I'm happy to say I've been pretty good at keeping up my artwork. Feel free to follow me on Instagram (@createdtocreatestudio) where I'm much better about posting my work as it's created. 

Anyway, I figured I'd give you a peek inside my sketchbook and the work I've done since my last blogpost. I've been doing some of my usual portrait sketches but I've also been playing around with some illustration ideas.

Fresh Out of the Studio

Two days and a couple evenings in the studio and voila, a new portrait is made!

I'm trying to be looser in how I apply my watercolor paints. I'm happy with how well it worked in this painting. The colors came out looking softer and lighter; adding a gentleness to the portrait. I also forced myself to keep the background supper simple.

The highlight of my day was when Mochi decided to grace my workspace with with her little cat butt. She also made it clear that she did not seem impressed with my productivity. 

Be sure to check out Created to Create Studio art classes for your kids in 1st through 12th grade.

Feeling Productive With New Artwork

I'm happy to say that I've been keeping busy in my studio this past week. 

Sketch33.jpg

I've been playing around with backgrounds, framing and even challenged myself to keep things simple. That last one was harder to do than I thought it would be. 

Also a quick reminder that I am offering art lessons for students in 1st through 12th grade. Check out all the info HERE. I love making art but I love teaching it, too. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Studio Upgrades and My First Commission

I know there are a lot of artists out there who can create amazing artwork no matter where they are. I can certainly doodle just about anywhere but if I want to to really become immersed in my work, I have to be in a space that feeds into my creative process. I've been blessed to have a studio space in our home for a few years now. Each year I've added to it in an attempt to make it a warm and creative space. I ripped up the old carpet, painted the walls, hung artwork, installed custom storage and shelves, and my dear Troy even relocated the entrance to the closet to optimize the space. Yet, despite all that work, I still didn't feel comfortable working in the room, and for me comfort is a major necessity for a creative working environment. 

When I ripped up the carpet I refused to put down more and we didn't have the funds to install some fancy flooring. So I painted the concrete floor and felt that would do just fine. After all the other work I've put into the space I finally realized that it was the concrete floor holding it back so much. It just felt so cold; both figuratively and literally. Looking for cheap flooring options, I discovered that laminate wood flooring has really come a long way in looks and durability. The fact that it was so easy to install on my own was just icing on the cake. Though I do have to give a BIG thanks to my Dad though for donating and installing the baseboards for me. Those were not so easy to do.

 A very empty studio with freaking awesome floors

A very empty studio with freaking awesome floors

I was blown away by how much simple flooring could change the look and feel of a single room. I'm very happy to say my studio is now the warm and inviting space I've wanted it to be for years. It stills needs a few things here and there but it is a place I want to be now. A place I can be my most creative.

Since the install, I've been trying to stay as productive as possible and having a studio space I want to work in has helped a lot in that. I've even gotten to work on my first commission piece.

Commission - pencil, watercolors, gouache

I really enjoyed the challenge of this piece and I want to do more like it. I'm working hard so I can open up commissions in the next few weeks. If your interested, be sure to keep an eye out for more info. You can even follow my blog with Bloglovin by clicking the link below.

It's Been Awhile but Here I Am

Let me start this post by first wishing everyone a blessed and happy new year. 

I’m also happy to say that I’m back! 

It feels like forever since I posted but I guess in this day and age, two months away from social media is a really long time.

At the end of October I started a new job and Troy left to spend time with his dad and family in Kansas City. This left me with a lot of alone time and I felt that I needed to take a break from social media to refocus my attention in preparation for the new year. 

I experienced a lot of sudden and unforeseen life change in 2017 and I’m positive God will be doing a lot more in 2018. I have more goals set this year than I’ve ever had and a lot of it focuses on my art. I’m both excited and nervous about what this year will hold for me but I trust in God to lead me through it. I just pray I can become better at listening when He has something to say. If I had been better listener then those changes last year would not have been so sudden and unforeseen. Thank you Lord for your patience with me!

I could easily make this a long winded post but I wanted to start things out simply with a new year hello and a posting few pieces I've worked on since I last posted. I hope to have more of these soon.

Finished watercolor and gouache painting

Work in progress - Pencil Sketch

Work in progress - Pencil Sketch

And Lo, It Is Done!

This past week has been a rollercoaster of impromptu happenings, travel, and emotions.  It's been exhausting but I am very grateful to have been a part of it. I never thought I'd say that I was happy to be unemployed but if I weren't, then I would not have been able to be by my husband's side this week. 

I'll be honest though, after a week away from my paints and my favorite coffee shop, I was starting to experience some major withdrawals. It has really emphasized just how much working on my art (and drinking really good coffee) has become such a powerful form of therapy for me.  So I was beyond delighted to finally sit down today and finish the painting I had been working on. 

I think it came out satisfactory. There are some things I'd change if I could but I learned a lot in the process, which was kind of the point. Now on to the next one!

All Things Work Together

Things have been rough lately. I've had to quite my job sooner than I had planned and I'm now in search of a new job.  Money is tight and I'm trying not to replace once source of anxiety for another.    

Jesus told us in John 16: 33, "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows." Faith in Christ isn't a ticket to an easy life. Anyone who claims otherwise is lying to themselves. Jesus Himself faced suffering while on earth. "He was despised and rejected - a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief." Isaiah 53:3. If anyone deserved a life of peace and happiness, it was Him. Instead He left the very presence of God in heaven and entered a life full of sadness, pain and suffering. How could I ever expect life to be any different for me?   

Romans 8:28 tells us, "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them." When I look back and see how everything has become what it is today, I see God's hand all over it and that fills me with so much comfort. Has it been hard? Yes. Has it been frustrating? Yes. Has it been painful? Yes. Has it been without purpose? No, absolutely not.

Things are hard right now and they may get harder, but I know that at some point everything will work together for my good.

I am very thankful that God gave me a skill I can focus on in times like this. Sketching and painting have been my greatest form of therapy these last 6 months and have brought me a kind of joy I haven't felt in years. I am currently working on a goal to create a large enough body of work to display in a small gallery space within the next year. So no matter how difficult life might get from here, I'm going to be steadfast in this goal. This last painting is just one small step in that direction. 

My goal started off with just me wanting to draw again. Then my goal was to get BETTER at drawing again. Then I wanted to get decent at drawing portraits, then I threw some hands in there while I was at it. Maybe an animal or two.

If anyone else is going through a troubling time (I know you're out there), set yourself a goal. No matter how small or how trivial it may seem, do it. Prove to yourself that you can and then set a bigger goal and go after it. Could you screw it up on the way? Heck yeah. You just gotta refocus and get back at it. I have a TON of sketches that are embarrassingly bad but I didn't let them stop me and eventually a good sketch popped up again. I can guarantee you that I'll produce a ton of more crummy drawings but I'll keep at it until I get to another good sketch worth displaying.  

Don't be afraid, just do it. All things will work together for your good.

Comparing the Somewhat Old to the New

I've been working on my portrait drawing skills since late March of this year. I think I've finally reached a point where I've found my style. I'm not saying I've reached the pinnacle of my talents (I am FAR from that) but I think I've found a way of drawing that feels very naturally to me and has developed over the past few months.

It's interesting to look at some of my first sketches side by side with my newer stuff. It's amazing how a little bit of practice can reawaken a skill that's been smothered under a career for a few years.

March 29, 2017

September 7, 2017

Folks, this right here is proof that if you don't exercise your talents, not only will they cease to improve but they can actually regress. Looking at that first sketch is so cringe worthy for me. After I drew it, I was so disappointed in myself because I knew I could draw better than that. I used to draw better than that. I think I threw in all the flowers just to distract anyone (including myself) from my deteriorated skills. I look at my newer sketch and I feel so much better about where I am now. It also makes me excited about where I have to go from here.  

Return to Watercolor

The first form of painting I was ever taught was watercolors by my very talented aunt. I loved how the paint flowed and the colors mixed. I've recently been trying to get back into watercolors thanks to my purchase of a Sakura Koi travel pallet.  

I'm not being sponsored but I just love this thing. It's one of the most well designed travel pallets I've come across. It's small size makes it easy to store in my artist bag along side two sketchbooks, a pencil and pen case, a compact paintbrush case, and a large set of over the ear headphones. 

Doing some paint doodles with this is what got me back into sketching in the first place. I've been focusing on the sketching part for awhile now; painting a few of them here and there, but now I feel like I should move on to drawing sketches with the intention of painting them. The first one I tried this on was in my regular sketchbook. It was okay at best but the paper just wasn't made for wet media.

So I whipped out a watercolor sketchbook I had lying around and began a sketchin'. The results were SO much better.

Ah, the colors are so smooth and vibrant! I'm definately going to keep working with this method and see where it goes.

Let's start at the beginning

Here it is, my first blog post.

The idea of starting a blog has been bouncing around my head for over a year or so now. The problem that kept me from taking the first step was content. What would I put on it? Stuff happens in my life but a blog about myself sounded pretty boring on its own. I'm an art teacher but I didn't want to make a teaching blog. I like to cook but I didn't want to create a food blog. I'm an artist but I hadn't made any personal art in a long while. 

Well, something finally changed.

A few months ago I decided I needed to get back into my art. I had spent nearly a decade so focused on teaching kids how to make art, I was too tired to do it myself. After handling 150 or so kids a day, I'd drag myself home physically and emotionally exhausted. If I had any energy left, I'd make dinner. All I wanted to do after that was plant myself on the couch and not move until bedtime. 

This daily regiment had been especially taking it's toll on me the last couple of years.  I tried as best as I could to stop what I felt was coming but there was no stopping that train. I crashed HARD. I was and am very blessed to have had the support of my doctors, my family, my friends, and most of all my husband.

Long story short, I needed to find some time in the week to get away from the anxiety inducing stress.

I had been going to my favorite coffee shop on my own every Wednesday to do my bible study. At the end of my study I began feeling guided to start using the rest of my time in the coffee shop to do some sketching. Nothing too demanding. Just some doodles. 

It was slow going at first. I tried going back to my old standby of figure drawing but it did't satisfy me. I'd look up inspiration online through Pinterest and random word generators. Nothing I drew felt right and I was starting to get frustrated.. Then an idea came to me. I decided to focus on drawing portraits, something I never really cared to do before. 

My first attempts weren't great by my own standards but I was driven to keep at it. 

After a dozen or so attempts I began to find my style, and in doing so, created a portrait I was actually impressed with. For the first time in a long time I was having fun while drawing, I was happy with what I was creating, and I felt at peace. I wasn't worrying, I wasn't stressing, I wasn't just trying to distract myself from life. While I was sitting in that coffee shop, earphones on with music playing, and with coffee by my side, my focus was on what I was doing. Getting the nose right, the lips, the hair. For a few hours my stress and anxiety was completely gone. 

I think I've become addicted to it in a way. If I can't get away to draw at least once a week (two or three times if I can manage it) I can feel it. I start craving it. And that's a good thing.

So now I think I'm ready for a blog. Somewhere to post and share my work as it's created. 

Maybe I'll put some stuff on here about myself, my teaching and my cooking. But I want to focus first and foremost on my art. I have felt the hand of God leading me through all of this. I've sensed the Holy Spirit gently pushing me forward and encouraging me. For that I feel assured, I feel blessed, and feel very, very thankful.