Finding inspiration.

Finding inspiration can be one of the toughest parts of being an artist.

Sitting down at a blank piece of paper or stark, white canvas can feel intimidating. What do I draw? What do I paint? Where do I start?

I took a very inspiring online course presented by Alisa Burke (check out her blog here) which helped me to realize and remember I can find inspiration all around me.

Yesterday Andy and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary. He surprised me with a very pretty little flower arrangement he carried carefully in his backpack while riding the train and then hopping on his bike to finally make it home. He pulled the flowers from his backpack like a magician pulls a rabbit from a hat, and was met with a look of awe and surprise as he handed them to me.

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I love flowers.

I love that he carried them in his backpack for me.

I love that they took me by surprise.

I love him.

So, today I dedicate a page in my sketchbook to him and those sweet, surprising flowers.

45 minute sketch

Mechanical pencil, Koi watercolor, .05 Micron pen

I started off with a quick pencil sketch, trying to capture the shape and texture of the flowers without worrying too much about perfection.

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Then I added a bit of watercolor, exaggerating some of the actual colors found in the arrangement.

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And when I was through with all the color, I thought it could use a bit more definition. So, I outlined the original pencil drawing with one of my Micron pens.

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A happy 45 minutes spent in my sketchbook this morning reflecting on a sweet gesture from my love.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Love,
Janine

Journey.

No this isn’t about the band…

This is about the journey I’m on. The one we are all on, I suppose.

Navigating life here on earth.

I have given myself a lot of titles and labels and been given several of them as well throughout the years. And I’m sure you’ve experienced this, too.

Here are a few of mine:

Wife. Mom. Artist. Christian. Friend. Baker. Singer. Musician….

As I watch my life unfold day by day, moving to the beat of the soundtrack in my mind, I see times where I have deeply embraced these titles, and other times where I have neglected some or a few.

This is part of the journey.

As long as I can remember I’ve been making “stuff”. Doodling with paint and crayons, constructing miniature scenes from cookie cutters. Altering clothing, sewing patches, painting on buttons and shoes and canvases. And this has always brought me joy.

I even spent four years of college spending endless hours in dark rooms, standing at printing presses, holding torches and pneumatic hammers, and most of all building, stretching, and painting enormous canvases.

But now, it seems other things have taken priority of these joys. Jobs, laundry, walking the dog, being a wife, mom, and friend…

So, I’ve been on the endless cycle of figuring out how to balance everything. Until I finally realized… that life isn’t about the ability to balance it all. It’s simply about the choices we make each day.

So, I’m making the choice to do something creative every day. (And chronicling it for you, here!)

Even if it’s 5 minutes in the sketchbook or two hours at a canvas when Lucy decides to take a really great nap. I have a feeling there will be a lot of days where it’s just 5 minutes in the sketchbook, but that’s ok!

So, this is part of my journey today.

30 minutes in the sketchbook.

Koi watercolors, Prismacolor colored pencils, and a couple of Sharpies:

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artist.

Let me tell you about number two on the list, while number three is in the oven. (Chicken Tetrazzini a la cleaning out the fridge.)

So yes, I was that kid whose friends started asking, “do we have to do a craft project at your Birthday party this year?” I don’t know what it was about puff-paint t-shirts, shrinky dinks, and friendship bracelets that were more fun to me pin the tail on the donkey and eating cake and ice cream. (And that’s saying a lot because I absolutely LOVE ice cream and not in that selfless putting others’ interests in front of my own kind of love, but the rather gaudy tub-at-a-time-til-you’re-sick kind of love.) But there was just something inside of me that would rather paint on t-shirts or melt crayons on my mom’s hot plate when she wasn’t home, than do anything else in the world.

I was that kid. I was that kid that did her older sister’s school projects for her whenever they required a visual aide, not because she begged me to do it or bribed me — okay well maybe sometimes she bribed me, but because I WANTED to do her projects. (Sorry to rat you out on this one, sis!)

And yes, I was that kid that everyone else hated because I had working lights and miniature bookshelves in my ‘Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nihm’ diarama in the 6th grade and they just had poster boards with print-out pictures from the computer.

I was that kid… well, I AM that kid. Still. Only difference now is I have a degree to prove it. Literally.

So now, instead of melting crayons and playing with shrinky-dinks… though now that I’m thinking about it those two activities are starting to sound really enticing… I spend my time painting, sewing, drawing, and working on little things like this:

6"x6" wood block, image transfers, acrylic, gouache

Bird block.

Harness your inner artist and make a handmade card for someone.
Love,
janine